Can you genuinely convert a man through good conduct (1 Peter 3:1-2)?

byzfash

Pigeon
Woman
I've been talking to a man for the past two days who is really a catch. He's quite a bit older than me, but is masculine, successful & wants to commit to having a married life. He wants his wife to stay home to raise the kids. He has a great head on his shoulders and so far I have every reason to believe that he is compassionate and honest. I'm not getting too far ahead of myself, but I'm hopeful that it may lead to something.

He believes in God, but has yet to take the plunge into something more serious. He respects religion, and is glad to hear that I'm a devout Christian who is living a moral life, but he hasn't yet made Christianity a part of his life yet and generally struggles to feel that any set of practices, rituals and doctrines can actually encapsulate or circumscribe the spiritual experiences that he has had. I've told him that I wouldn't marry a man who isn't a Christian, as it's necessary to passing that onto my children, and he hasn't been scared off yet.

I largely converted to Christianity for intellectual reasons. I read philosophical arguments for the existence of God that I found quite compelling. But I'm not naïve and I know that these things are not going to be an impetus for converting most people. Scripture gives women advice on how to go about converting men in their lives. Quoted below:
"Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear." (e.g., 1: Peter 3:1-2 OSB) [emphasis not added]

Does anyone have any experience converting a man through a submissive spirit and moral conduct? Can it really be that easy? Is there anything that your experience can expound on in regards to these verses?
 

Kitty Tantrum

Woodpecker
Woman
A godly woman cannot expect to convert a man who is rebelling against God (aka serving Satan), by marrying him and trying to set a good example. The husband has the authority in the marriage, not the wife. She is more likely to grow further from God than to bring her husband closer.

But I think that a godly woman CAN absolutely encourage a man who is simply slow or stagnant in his faith, to grow faster or more deliberately. If her desire to worship is not contrary to her husband's beliefs, but simply more enthusiastic, energetic, devoted, etc... then I think that yes, there is a lot of potential there.

Discerning which scenario you are in can be trickier than it seems, however.
 

byzfash

Pigeon
Woman
A godly woman cannot expect to convert a man who is rebelling against God (aka serving Satan), by marrying him and trying to set a good example. The husband has the authority in the marriage, not the wife. She is more likely to grow further from God than to bring her husband closer.

But I think that a godly woman CAN absolutely encourage a man who is simply slow or stagnant in his faith, to grow faster or more deliberately. If her desire to worship is not contrary to her husband's beliefs, but simply more enthusiastic, energetic, devoted, etc... then I think that yes, there is a lot of potential there.

Discerning which scenario you are in can be trickier than it seems, however.
Absolutely. I think the question is whether someone who seems to be onboard with the lifestyle and the idea of God, but who has thus far failed to really commit to a specific instantiation of those sentiments, is in active rebellion against God.

Assuming no, I'm wondering whether any woman here have experience that would allow them to expand upon what the Scripture says.
 

Genevieve

Chicken
Woman
I largely converted to Christianity for intellectual reasons. I read philosophical arguments for the existence of God that I found quite compelling.

Off topic, I know, but what philosophical material did you read specifically that argued for the existence of God? The reason I ask is that I've been slowly trying to reach my brother from this avenue and he is apparently approaching things from this manner as well. Coincidentally, he actually sent me the link to the icon of the philosopher's (the same one you posted ;) ) awhile back as his interested has slowly piqued in regards to Orthodoxy. I'd love to share some specifics with him that assisted you in converting.

Also, wanted to share this with you as it's pretty neat. https://www.omhksea.org/archives/6141
 
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byzfash

Pigeon
Woman
Off topic, I know, but what philosophical material did you read specifically that argued for the existence of God? The reason I ask is that I've been slowly trying to reach my brother from this avenue and he is apparently approaching things from this manner as well. Coincidentally, he actually sent me the link to the icon of the philosopher's (the same one you posted ;) ) awhile back as his interested has slowly piqued in regards to Orthodoxy. I'd love to share some specifics with him that assisted you in converting.

Also, wanted to share this with you as it's pretty neat. https://www.omhksea.org/archives/6141
Sure, so the motivation behind my conversion on an intellectual level was four-fold.

1) I was already familiar with the human anthropology of Locke and Hobbes. It's the one that we're all raised with for past few hundred years. We're primarily individuals, who exist as self-determinant, rational creatures that merely use our bodies as an organ or as our property, and thus we can freely dispose of it or utilize it any way that we wish. Given that it's merely property, consent and non-interference become the predominant guiding moral principles, rather than virtue, obedience or human flourishing. We aren't determined by heavens (natural law, the Church, etc.) or earth (think: nation, gender, family, etc.), but rather by our own rational will.

This idea, interestingly enough, was debunked for me largely by reading Hegel and Marx. Marx, for an example, sets up the idea that we're primarily a laboring animal, which exists in a community with others. We have to work to survive, but also do so as an expression of ourselves. We work past the point where we have to, we work for the sake of others, and we work to create art and a world. This worlding helps to fashion others, and only through being fashioned and fashioning others do we become fully formed human beings. When prevented from doing this, we become stagnant and alienated.

Now, obviously, this isn't an argument for Christianity. Nor is it the human anthropology I ended up settling on (read Orthodox Psychotherapy to get a better sense of what I think about the human person these days), but it was important for destabilizing a lot of the liberal assumptions that I had about what a human person is & how we ought to go about thinking about morality. I started to think less about consent & non-interference, and more about human happiness & community.

2) Understanding the Categorical Imperative properly really helped me to come to a lot of conservative moral conclusions. If you've been taught about this concept in university, you were probably taught about it incorrectly. Rather than it being about prohibiting actions due to universalizing the consequences of said actions (example: "you can't kill, because if everyone killed, then everyone would die"), it is about universalizing the concepts implicit in the action. So, for example: theft is taking someone else's property. Property is what can be said to rightfully belong to someone else. If you think that you universally have a right to take anything, you are saying that others don't actually have a right to it. Thus, you are saying property doesn't exist. But how can theft be possible if property doesn't exist? After all, theft requires property to even be a meaningful concept. Hence, the action is a contradiction of the will. It's literally impossible to will this rationally. It's merely your passions driving you towards evil.

The second formulation of the CI works in a similar way, but is centered around respecting people as ends to themselves as sources of value. We know that people are sources of value, because if we try to trace back anything (example: hitting the ball in baseball is valuable because we value scoring runs, we value scoring runs because it allows us to win the game, we want to win the game because... etc etc all the way back to the human person itself). Hence, to disvalue the source of value becomes a contradiction. So to do things like masturbate (which is to use yourself as an object of pleasure for yourself) is objectifying. It's wrong. It's demeaning. Whereas previously I had believed that things like masturbation were harmless, I started to see them as gross, perverted, weird & embarrassing. Becoming more conservative made it easier to swallow converting.

3) I was already Christian, attending a progressive Protestant Church, but learning about the sacraments was a major impetus for me. Reading St. Ignatius of Antioch and seeing him clearly talk about bishops, the Eucharist, etc. in the first century was mind-blowing. I had never even heard of sacraments before, and yet now it became clear that if I wanted to ensure that I was receiving grace, I had to convert.

4) As for arguments for the existence of God itself, honestly: St. Aquinas' Five Ways is some of the best that you'll find. Whether you're Catholic or Orthodox, there's nothing to really object to in them. They may seem unconvincing to those that aren't used to understanding reality in terms of the natures of things, and their desired ends (as most of us are raised to understand reality as a bunch of physical objects colliding in space), but if you step into the headspace of the ancient and medieval world they become quite convincing.

Here is a link to the relevant passage in the Summa Theologica: https://www.newadvent.org/summa/1002.htm#article3
You can also check Anthony Kenny's book: The Five Ways
 
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Vigilant

Kingfisher
Woman
No, no human agency can convert another to Christ, only the Holy Spirit.
(My comment is in response to the title question only)
 

byzfash

Pigeon
Woman
Well yes, but God also uses humans to aid in that goal. And 1 Peter 3 seems to imply that being submissive & having proper conduct can aid in that.
 

Virginiahousewife

Sparrow
Woman
I would be wary until he starts making tangible progress towards devoting his life to Christ. It’s a great that he is aware that you are only willing to marry a Christian man. But until he converts and commits to Christ it’s a risky gamble. I would not pressure him, that usually has the opposite of the desire effect. Remain cautious and prudent until his intentions become clear.

The man you choose will lead you and your children, but where?
 

nagareboshi

Woodpecker
2) Understanding the Categorical Imperative properly really helped me to come to a lot of conservative moral conclusions. If you've been taught about this concept in university, you were probably taught about it incorrectly. Rather than it being about prohibiting actions due to universalizing the consequences of said actions (example: "you can't kill, because if everyone killed, then everyone would die"), it is about universalizing the concepts implicit in the action. So, for example: theft is taking someone else's property. Property is what can be said to rightfully belong to someone else. If you think that you universally have a right to take anything, you are saying that others don't actually have a right to it. Thus, you are saying property doesn't exist. But how can theft be possible if property doesn't exist? After all, theft requires property to even be a meaningful concept. Hence, the action is a contradiction of the will. It's literally impossible to will this rationally. It's merely your passions driving you towards evil.

Great explanation. I always thought that Kant was a hack, but this analysis of thievery is spot-on.
 

Eusebius Erasmus

Kingfisher
The verse from 1 Peter 3:1-2 refers to married women. The best example of this is St. Monica, who, through her obedience, converted her alcoholic and abusive pagan husband to Christ. It wasn't pretty, though. Before his conversion, he would repeatedly beat her, even when she was pregnant.

You should be extremely wary with this man. Just 'talking' can quickly progress to other things, especially if you're both attracted to each other, and he's a masculine fellow.

(Tangentially, we initially tend to view romantic partners with rose-tinted glasses, ignoring their flaws completely.)

St. Paul warns us against marrying non-Christians in 2 Corinthians 6:14. This man you're interested in is lukewarm towards Christianity; Jesus doesn't want that. If this man becomes a Christian, then hallelujah! However, at the moment you should probably steer clear of him.

Find a solid Christian man. God will guide you -- ask for his help, as I'm sure you already do. Also, pray to the saints and angels for intercession.
 
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byzfash

Pigeon
Woman
Smart move.

Be strong, I know how hard it is to find an eligible quality man.
Yeah, it seems like a lot of Catholic + Orthodox men replace masculinity with piety. I absolutely want a pious husband. I attend daily liturgy before I go to work. But the man I was seeing previously was doing that, and attending evening vespers and acting as cantor for the parish and creating sheet music. And all of this came at the expense of finding a fulltime job. Men who serve their parish community are amazing, but if they think they have a marital vocation they need to be working towards that. I have a hard time finding this when more trad parishes are overrun with men who have a theology degree and not much else.
 

byzfash

Pigeon
Woman
Great explanation. I always thought that Kant was a hack, but this analysis of thievery is spot-on.
I don't blame anyone for dismissing him given the way he is taught in university. And obviously, given that he wants religion to remain "within the bare bones of reasons" and doesn't admit for revelation, he really can't be adopted wholesale in any way.
 

Eusebius Erasmus

Kingfisher
Yeah, it seems like a lot of Catholic + Orthodox men replace masculinity with piety. I absolutely want a pious husband. I attend daily liturgy before I go to work. But the man I was seeing previously was doing that, and attending evening vespers and acting as cantor for the parish and creating sheet music. And all of this came at the expense of finding a fulltime job. Men who serve their parish community are amazing, but if they think they have a marital vocation they need to be working towards that. I have a hard time finding this when more trad parishes are overrun with men who have a theology degree and not much else.
It doesn't help that most men, Christian or otherwise, have been cucked by the culture. Lord have mercy.

I agree with your position entirely. A Christian man shouldn't think of marriage if he cannot support a family, or at least has a short-term plan to do so.
 

byzfash

Pigeon
Woman
You should be extremely wary with this man. Just 'talking' can quickly progress to other things, especially if you're both attracted to each other, and he's a masculine fellow.
Hmm, I don't have a lot of experience on the dating / courting scene. I've only seen two men who I had been friends with beforehand. I find it hard to imagine that a relationship could progress to anything official without an intentional decision, or fall into anything sinful given that I'd never be alone with a man in private. Do you think that I'm being naïve here?
 

Eusebius Erasmus

Kingfisher
Hmm, I don't have a lot of experience on the dating / courting scene. I've only seen two men who I had been friends with beforehand. I find it hard to imagine that a relationship could progress to anything official without an intentional decision, or fall into anything sinful given that I'd never be alone with a man in private. Do you think that I'm being naïve here?
Yes, unless you are graced with inordinate self-control.
 

byzfash

Pigeon
Woman
Hmm, I do think that I have a high degree of self-control, but nevertheless, I'll be more cautious.. I was hoping to maybe aid in his conversion but if it's a bad idea I don't want to jeopardize my own soul.
 

Eusebius Erasmus

Kingfisher
Hmm, I do think that I have a high degree of self-control, but nevertheless, I'll be more cautious.. I was hoping to maybe aid in his conversion but if it's a bad idea I don't want to jeopardize my own soul.
Typical advice goes here: ask a priest.

I don't know you. Random strangers on the internet can only offer general advice.
 

TexasJenn

Robin
Woman
People don't tend to change much, and when they do, the decision to change, and the commitment to see it through, comes from within. I'm also looking for a husband, and I won't consider anyone who's not aligned with me in terms of spiritual values. One of the most significant decisions in life is choosing a husband or wife. It's critical to choose someone who isn't any kind of fixer-upper, especially with regard to something so critically important as spiritual views and lifestyle around it. What you see is what you get.
 
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