Over at Seasons of Tumult and Discord, Alkibiades drafted a rough formula for predicting the probability of a beta provider being cuckolded. Silas Reinagel chimed in to express an optimistic view of Christian behavior that I wish I could support. Alkibiades replied to Silas:
I think Talleyrand would be able to comment more accurately on his experiences with the devout than I could. I believe I lack sufficient experience with devout Christians to give a definitive answer one way or the other on their likelihood of cuckholdry.
I began to reply in the comments with what little I know, but it seems I have a lot to say about that very little.
Most Christians fall off the horse to the left or to the right, as with Luther’s drunken peasant. In my neck of the woods, the so-called Churches of Christ, we see two broad movements comprising roughly 90 percent of the congregations (I made that number up). To the right, the fundamentalists have been circling the wagons for decades. They don’t think about anything because they don’t have to: God already told them all they need to know. To the left, the mushy evangelical types don’t think about anything because God will tell them anything they need to know if they wish for it hard enough.
Jostled about a fair amount, but still holding on in the middle are a few congregations whose leaders and pillars care about truth enough to think about it, to pray about it, and to avoid trusting fully in what they think reason or the Spirit tells them. We are men, we are fallible. My entire adult life as a swineherd has been spent in one of these congregations. As a teenager, my parents took me to one of the mushy liberal places. My grandparents strictly attended the fundamentalist congregations.
The mushy liberal congregations are completely stupid about sex. I recently remembered a co-ed camping trip we took where the adults provided absolutely zero chaperonage. I usually slept on a parking lot where the bugs couldn’t get me quite so easily, and where I could see the stars. One morning I walked back to the main campsite at dawn, before anyone else was up, and was shocked to find six or seven guys and girls all sleeping in a tangle in the same large tent. All clothed, but spooning in plain sight. This congregation is now actively subverting or controverting most of the peculiar doctrines that make the Churches of Christ interesting.
Somewhere on the other side of the spectrum is the congregation my grandparents attended, which was virtually an extension of the Christian university across the street. One of the female professors at the university confessed before the congregation her long-standing affair. She was fired from the university, and I believe she left the congregation. This congregation had, from what I hear, stopped slouching quite so much to the fundamentalist side, and so she was not kicked out of the church directly.
The congregation I attended until a recent move had a fair amount of sexual misbehavior among the members. None of it was tolerated, but sincere repentance (so far as it can be determined) was accepted. The elders had strict policies about divorce. In one instance, a couple with children separated, and the elders allowed both the man and woman to remain members so long as they were working toward reconciliation. When they found out that the woman had started dating, they told her not to return.
The leaders of this congregation, strong men all, may have been mildly stupid about the nature of feral females in the way most social conservatives are stupid. From the podium, at least, females were not pedestaled. Father’s Day and Mother’s Day were given comparable treatment, with Father’s Day having the obvious advantage in terms of relevant sermons. No Mariolatrists here. But the young alphas had their harems, and the betas were very courteously HATE HATE HATED. I doubt that very much fornication was going on, but not because I trust the women. It was at this congregation that I saw the most spectacularly beautiful wellspring of cleavage I have ever seen in public, in real life. My wife was right there with me, and she was staring, too. No, not because I trust the women, but because I know the men. They, like me, stank too much of swine.