Beards are important. As any evangelical will know, the words of C.S. Lewis are god-breathed and useful for teaching and training in righteousness. Hear what St Jack says:

“It is the business of these great masters to produce in every age a general misdirection of what may be called sexual ‘taste’. This they do by working through the small circle of popular artists, dressmakers, actresses and advertisers who determine the fashionable type. The aim is to guide each sex away from those members of the other with whom spiritually helpful, happy, and fertile marriages are most likely. Thus we have now for many centuries triumphed over nature to the extent of making certain secondary characteristics of the male (such as the beard) disagreeable to nearly all the females — and there is more in that than you might suppose….”
—C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

This chap elaborates.

More importantly (from my point of view), scribb1e likes them too.

Links courtesy of andrewducker and robhu.

12 Comments on "Beards"

  1. “The famous declaration of St. Paul, “that long hair was a shame unto a man” has been made the pretext for many singular enactments, both of civil and ecclesiastical governments. The fashion of the hair and the cut of the beard were state questions in France and England from the establishment of Christianity until the fifteenth century.

    “We find, too, that in much earlier times men were not permitted to do as they liked with their own hair. Alexander the Great thought that the beards of his soldiery afforded convenient handles for the enemy to lay hold of, preparatory to cutting off their heads; and, with the view of depriving them of this advantage, he ordered the whole of his army to be closely shaven. His notions of courtesy towards an enemy were quite different from those entertained by the North American Indians, amongst whom it is held a point of honour to allow one “chivalrous lock” to grow, that the foe, in taking the scalp, may have something to catch hold of.”

    — Charles Mackay, “Influence of politics and religion on the hair and beard”


  2. I’m finding it amusing to compare and contrast that blogger’s comment

    And besides all these things, God gave to men (generally speaking) the ability to grow a beard.

    with the passage from Cryptonomicon about beards:

    She pulled down statistics on racial variation in beard growth. American Indians didn’t grow beards, Asians hardly did, Africans were a special case because daily shaving gave them a painful skin condition. “The ability to grow heavy, full beards as a matter of choice appears to be a privilege accorded by nature solely to white males,” she wrote.

    I never quite managed to find out exactly how much of that latter paragraph was true in the real world and how much was a subtle – or unsubtle – twisting of the facts to better suit Charlene’s argument. (Even if it’s all completely untrue, of course, one shouldn’t blame Stephenson for poor research; it would be perfectly in character for Charlene to have done her research in a biased way or not bothered to do it at all.) But in any case, part of my brain is itching to put Charlene and Jeff Moss in a room together and let them fight that one out.


  3. That post you linked to has /really/ pissed me off. I shall now list the reasons:

    1. “Adam was commissioned to work, and Eve to help him in his work. “

    Just because God created Adam and Eve does not mean that Eve doesn’t get her own work to do. Is Adam not allowed to help Eve with her work, or is she stuck helping him because apparently she got created second (this is only one of two creation stories)? Is child rearing something that a woman does alone? Is Eve not allowed to take stuff to the market? Even the Proverbs 39 woman is a business woman with independent interests.

    2. “But in addition to this, God prohibited women from wearing what pertains to a man, and men from wearing women’s clothing”

    Does this mean that men and women can’t wear scarves? Are trousers not permitted for women? How come men in the middle east wear skirt-like/dress like garments?

    3. He decreed that a man or a woman should not take the position of the other in sexual relations, under penalty of death

    What the hell is this about? Like, the woman isn’t allowed on top? Is this really what this passage is saying?

    4. “while linking the salvation of women to childbearing”

    So nuns are out as well? And women who choose to be single for the gospel? And women who can’t give birth? And women who choose not to have children?

    5. “And besides all these things, God gave to men (generally speaking) the ability to grow a beard.”

    Yeah, and besides all these things, God gave to some women (occasionally speaking) the ability to grow a beard. Including me. And does the ability to grow one mean that men are compelled to grow one? No.

    6. “Yet a beard is one of the natural features that God has given men to distinguish themselves as men and not women.”

    So he rather messed it up for some women then? Does an excess of free testosterone in women mean that God got it wrong? Do I have the ability to grow a beard to distinguish me from other women?

    7. “It is noteworthy that the Hebrew word for “beard” (zāqān) is closely related to the world for “elder” (zāqēn), which helps to illustrate the symbolic value of the beard as a mark of honor and wisdom.”

    Yay. Well this looks like I get marked for honor and wisdom then. I should be so lucky 🙂

    8. “For men, wearing a beard tends to be a mark of honor and even of wisdom.”

    What about for women?

    9. “For God wished women to be smooth and to rejoice in their locks alone growing spontaneously, as a horse in his mane. But He adorned man like the lions, with a beard, and endowed him as an attribute of manhood, with a hairy chest—a sign of strength and rule.””

    I’m not even going there. *fume*

    10. “it removes one of the natural marks distinguishing men from women”

    I really don’t get this. Why do we have to be so hung up on gender /difference/ all the time? I appreciate that men and women are different, but it seems as though some Christians are so insistent that we might forget that they go on and on about it.

    11. “godless Western culture has a deep-seated resentment against men who are masculine (along with women who are feminine)”

    What does this mean? I don’t really like rowdy football fans, but I don’t really see rowdy football fans as the most attractive purveyors of masculinity. And western culture seems to love forcing women into stupid clothes like high heels, just for the sake of differentiating men and women.

    Rant over.


    1. “For God wished women to be smooth and to rejoice in their locks alone growing spontaneously, as a horse in his mane. But He adorned man like the lions, with a beard, and endowed him as an attribute of manhood, with a hairy chest—a sign of strength and rule.”

      I understand why you’re fuming, but my reaction was laughter :-)) This is such a hilarious quote. I assumed at first that the blogger had made it up, but he turns out to be quoting St. Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-c. 215).

      Wikipedia has no pictures of St Clement, but I imagine him toiling away with brush and papyrus to show that God thinks hairy men are best, occasionally stopping to plait his chest fur or tuck his beard under his arm. And then retiring to bed to dream about nice smooth women with flowing locks…


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