St. Francis might be a good example of the non-passive, non-aggressive type ... and someone who was both brave and reverent, to a degree you (Hayden) don't find paradoxical but others do.
The guy went into the Islamic world to convert a sultan. That's brave. (Sultan admired him, but didn't convert.) He's a symbol today of reverence for the natural world (though I think he'd disagree with "reverence"; called his body "Brother Ass," as I recall), tolerance, and peace. Read his writings and you get to see just how mild he was, though, which is to say, not much.
J8ust a couple of points. Men and women whether they believe in God or don't, can be awesome people. People of faith don't have the corner on the morals, manliness, honesty - and all good things taught by the many volumes of Sacred scripture. I applaud the excellent character of all good men. I think sometimes that doesn't get said enough. Faith without it's evidence in the lives the of the faithful is the worse of sins. We get too comfortable with our own faults and take too much pleasure in our own inventory of the faults of others.
I don't think that Christ was "manly" in the western model of manliness. I believe that Christ is the example of manliness I hope to be an example of. I fail, often - given to anger, lack of humility, and self-satisfied.
I haven't read the rest of the posts, but I know one of the reasons I rejected Christianity is because it seemed like an emasculating religion.
I was brought up as a Methodist under my mother's religion. On my father's side, Catholicism was forced on my great grandfather by a priest so he could marry my great grandmother. When my great grandmother died, the old (10,000 year old) Cherokee religion was taught to my father. He kept his mouth shut as I was brought up in my mother's religion, but he dropped hints here and there. Around the time of my confirmation, I began to realize that there was a disconnect between my beliefs and those proposed by my church. I actually choked on my first confirmation 'wine' (grape juice for Methodists). I despised the teen Sunday school teacher and had intense arguments with my Sunday school teacher the few times I could stand to be in the same room with him.
Oddly, I discovered my true belief system while I was studying education at Vassar College. In one of my texts, there were readings about the belief system of Native Americans. It was an epiphany: I realized that the beliefs described were my beliefs. I had some spiritual experiences related to that epiphany, but they do not relate to the topic at hand.
Christianity denies many of the male archetypes that define masculinity. The essay, 'Iron John" by Robert Bly explains them for those raised in the European tradition. For myself, breaking from Christianity has allowed me to become a full man in the Cherokee tradition. I love the Christian emphasis on forgiveness, but there are times you need to smack the other cheek, not turn it.
For anyone interested, the following two books are thought by many to be the most powerful writings on the subject of Christianity as emasculating:
The Antichrist by F.W. Neitzche, http://www.gutenberg.org/files/19322/19322-h/19322-h.htm, and Might is Right by Ragnar Redbeard, http://www.scribd.com/doc/49173400/Ragnar-Redbeard-Might-is-Right-T...
Note I have not offered my backing of the works, and especially the ideas of a Superman by Nietzche and the superiority of the white race in Might is Right.
I will put this out there for the edification of those atheists here and those who are on the fence, perhaps on the road to giving up whatever religion you practice. If you are religious, I'm not trying to poke fun at you or ruffle your feathers; you're adults: you can choose for yourself how best to live your life, and doubtless you know better than me what's best for you.
I think one thing man has always represented is logic. Women tend to be less interested in those mechanical, physical problems whereof the solutions keep the world running (building bridges, making engines, installing air conditioning and heating, manufacturing computer hardware, mining, etc.) Name 10 great female inventors. ... ... ... I'm not saying they aren't out there I'm just saying it's easier to name 10 famous male inventors. Males can get really preoccupied with inanimate objects and conquering mechanical problems in a way that few females can. It's one of our gifts. When a man "gets into" a hobby he really gets obsessed with it and alot of girls just can't get excited about any personal hobby (plenty of exceptions though).
Now imagine the first guy in the age of sail to figure out how to navigate by the stars. What's more amazing than that somebody figured it out is all the hundreds of other people who saw the same stars and didn't figure it out. But when one guy figures it out and proves his theory, everybody can stand on his shoulders and use that system. The Wright brothers were among many, many people trying to solve the flying issue, but the point is that hundreds of others failed. Finally, those two Wrights succeeded, and others could build on their knowledge without which it might have taken a long time for anybody else to get on the right idea. Logic is something we all think we have, but really it is a very rare thing, as you Sherlock Holmes readers will appreciate. I mean someone like John Browning was a genius. You look at those first lever-action guns and see how beautiful simple logic is, and how sooooooo many others never saw it while designing their guns.
In terms of religion, being purely logical and not involving yourself with religion because you have insufficient evidence of its claims makes sense to alot of us. Being religious in some form or another is very popular all over the world. Standing with a tradition, standing with a crowd, is something we atheists don't really do and pride ourselves on. An atheist is trying to follow his own path of logic, unconstrained by the traditions he was born to or exposed to. He wants to evolve his own way, rather than support an existing institution. He wants to break new ground, to explore a way of life that's uncharted. He dismisses anything unproven because he's looking for progress.
But essential to both religious and non-religious people is that we must conquer the fear of death, which both religious and non-religious people can harbor no matter what they say.
The absence of the fear of death is perhaps the most manly thing we all aspire to. In the Aurora theater shooting, 4 boyfriends died acting as human shields for their girlfriends. Now, you'll probably never hear the opposite of that story. You'll probably never hear about 4 women who died to save their boyfriends. What could be more manly than to look death in the face and choose it over a less honorable alternative? In this atheists, who fear no afterlife whatsoever, and the religious, whose beliefs give them sufficient cause not to fear their afterlife, have something very manly in common.
This should be interesting.
I find there's a big difference in turning the other cheek and protecting ones family and honor. Being a man means you understand the right time and right place for being stern. There are times where it's more "manly" to just walk away, or it's time to stand up for someone who can't do so for him/herself. From my time in church I've listened to the readings and one thing I definitely have come to understand is that Jesus was 100% man. He was a leader who helped others, but also had his disciples backs. He was very firm when it was time to make a decision, and never backed out of his morals