Archive for March, 2012

The concept of sin originates in the biblical story of Adam and Eve and sets the stage from which the rest of the Bible draws its need for salvation, or redemption. This sin idea that has adversely affected the lives of billions of people throughout history lies at the heart of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; all tracing their roots back to a mythical story of a talking snake in the Garden. When one takes a serious look at the story from which this concept of sin arose, it is quite unbelievable to say the least.

 

The story begins in chapter two of Genesis with the formation of the man called Adam from a lump of clay. Now, this in and of itself is the least offensive to a thinking person’s senses, because conceivably a creator god could form life from inorganic material, but what follows is beyond belief. After God created this man called Adam, he made a beautiful garden as a place for him to live, replete with animals and trees for food (except for one bad tree), but forgot to create a mate for him…oops. To solve this oversight of the missing mate, God instructed Adam to search through all the animals that were in the garden for a suitable helper and while he was at it to give the animals names. Well, as we expected nary a helper was to be found…poor Adam, he must have been quite discouraged by the time he finished naming the last critter, but never fear…God to the rescue. God in all his omnipotence caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam (he was probably tired from naming all those animals), and as he was slumbering took one of his ribs to form a helpmate for him (no lump of clay this time) that was part of his flesh. Sort of like the way a child comes from the mothers flesh, but this time instead of life coming from the female it was taken from the male (I guess God likes variety). Now, finally Adam had a mate, but apparently he didn’t inform her properly about the one tree in the entire garden that they weren’t supposed to eat from. Mind you this tree was a magical tree, not only for looks and food, but also for wisdom…and as you might expect the woman wanted wisdom. So, who do you suppose appears on the scene…a talking snake of course! This wasn’t just any old talking snake, he was the most subtle of every creature that God had made, and he knew all about the tree of wisdom in the garden. It’s not to hard to guess what happens next…the talking snake temps the girl to eat from that bad tree that will make her wise. As any parent knows one doesn’t tell their children not to eat something that is delicious and then put it right in front of them along with a tempter to entice them, but then God isn’t like a normal parent. Anyway, Eve eats of the delicious fruit offered to her by the talking snake, sharing some with Adam, and thus for all eternity introduces the concept of sin into the human picture…and gets their asses kicked out of the garden for good!

 

Now, we could blame Eve, or Adam, but I think the blame must be placed solely on the shoulders of Yahweh…that is if you believe in him, but if you don’t then sin has no place in your belief system either, and that means you are one of the lucky ones who didn’t get indoctrinated with the idea of sin that started with a mythological talking snake in a garden.

If I were asked to state what I thought the single most important message I could share with the world was, my unequivocal answer would be “women’s rights are human rights”. Down through the centuries women have been denied equal human rights with men solely because of their gender. Some of the biggest perpetrators have been institutions founded on the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The doctrines promoted by these religions teach that women are to be in subjection to the men, who in turn deny women the basic human rights that they themselves enjoy. These doctrines deny women the right to be educated as men, or to even be able to teach men. They teach the idea that women were made by God for the pleasure of men and must be subject to him, when in reality men are created from woman.

 

1Cor.11:7-9 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.

 

Gen.2:23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

 

Instead of woman being flesh and bone of the man as the Bible teaches, all humans come from and are literally part of the flesh and bone of the woman. A good comparison is that of constructing a building, both male and female contribute to the plans or “blueprint” (DNA) of the building, but it is the woman who supplies all the materials (flesh, and blood) to construct the building.

 

As long as lies concerning the equality of women are taught as God given doctrines by men, women will continue to be denied their equal rights as humans. The message that “women’s rights are human rights” is a message that needs to be preached from every pulpit and spoken from every mouth, until we live in world where all humans are treated equally regardless of race or gender.

Going on two years (March 19, 2010) since the inception of my blog God and Butterfly, its title has once again taken on new meaning. As a caterpillar goes through metamorphosis to become a soaring butterfly, so my perception of god has gone through many transformations and has soared to places that are quite different then where I was at two years ago. Two years ago, unbeknownst to me, I was just at the beginning of what was to become an exodus out of the Christian faith, like a metamorphosis from a caterpillar to a butterfly. Even though I didn’t know it at the time the single most important step I took to begin this journey was that of opening my mind to look at whatever I happened upon in my search for truth and I was most interested in finding out how the Bible Wheel came to be. Having been in the Christian faith for nearly 30 years I was an unlikely candidate for deconversion, yet that is exactly what happened in a much unexpected way. Two years ago, I was at a very solid place in my Christian faith, especially with the evidence of the Bible Wheel giving strong support to my belief. I had no clue at the time that the very thing that seemed to be the capstone of proof for the validity of the Bible being the “Word of God”, ended up being that which began the journey that would lead me to where I am today…outside of the Christian faith. I have come to fully realize that any religion that denies a person the right to follow their own heart and to fully experience what it is to be a human in this life, cannot be true.

 

A year ago I reported in my First Annual Progress Report that I had come to the place in my quest for truth where the Bible was dead and buried as far as being a text revealing the nature of the creator god, this I called the first leg of my journey. Now, I am a year into the second part of that trek and have once again gone through a tremendous amount of change in my perception of what makes up the Whole of our existence. The term “God” has taken on a much more generic meaning in my mind, compared to the specific reference it implied two years ago. I now view “God” as a term associated with the whole of universal consciousness that each of us is a part of. Life is what we each make of it, continually evolving…not a preordained script that we are born to partake in. The meaning and purpose of our lives comes from us, not from some imagined god. Each of us has a unique place in the universe that no other person can fill, what we do with our lives becomes part of the whole which makes a difference in the cosmos…it’s called the Butterfly Effect, meaning the whisper of a butterfly’s wings can make a huge change in the outcome of an event.

 

If I know that I will always be an integral part of the whole, then what gives meaning to this manifestation of my life at this point in time, is to leave “a path of footprints” on this plane of existence, that will become part of my eternal journey and always be there to help me find my way home. The journey continues…

A very simple test to determine whether the Bible or any other religious book truly treats women as equal human beings with men is to ask the question: Are the same human rights that are afforded men given to women?

 

If one finds any human right that a man enjoys, but denies to a woman then that teaching is clearly biased toward the male and should be noted as such and rejected. It’s long past time when all people should be treated as equals no matter what race or gender they are.

 

The women who have rights today would not have those rights if they would have sat back and waited for God to mete them out. One can look around the world at women living in countries ruled by religious men and see they are no better off than women were hundreds, or thousands of years ago…men are still dominating them and denying them basic human rights. This should tell women of all faiths that you can’t sit around and wait for a god to give you what he denied you in the first place. We must join together and raise our voices declaring “Women’s rights are human rights!”

 

One of the worst aspects of the faith that the Bible teaches is that it promotes the idea that one group of people (men) have the right to deny the other group (women) the same freedom of equal rights that they enjoy. To be able to live up to our full potential as humans is a right that all people should share regardless of gender, or race. We all share this planet equally, and all should partake in its abundance, the male gender has not been given exclusive rights to ruler-ship over the female gender as biblical teaching promotes.

 

Below are some of the worse offenders in the New Testament part of the Bible regarding male authority over women. These teachings come from the mouths of the Apostles of Christ, those upon whom the doctrines of the Christian faith have been built. Whether or not one wishes to accept these teachings as coming from God, one must accept that they are taught in the Church as doctrines given in the Bible. The harm, and suffering to women that these doctrines have elicited are far too numerous to mention…they run the gamete from domestic violence to burning women at the stake accused of being witches. It’s time for Christian women to wake up to what the Bible really teaches and declare with one voice that it is WRONG!

 

1 Tim. 2:11-14 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

 

1Cor.11:3-10 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God….But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.

 

1Tim.5:9- Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man, Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work. But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry; Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith. And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not. I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. For some are already turned aside after Satan.

 

1Peter 3:1-7 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation (conduct, behavior) coupled with fear (phobos: fear, terror, dread). Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement. Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge (intelligence), giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker (asthenes: weak, sick, feeble, impotent) vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

 

Eph 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

 

Col 3:18 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.

Ever since the dawn of civilizations, women have been treated unequally in male dominated societies, whereas in goddess cultures partnership is the standard. My guess is part of the reason is due to the fact that many men feel inferior because they can’t bear children, so to make up for their deficit men have suppressed women. Women constitute half of the human population and bear the other half, so the power to change cultures is available to women, but it must start in the home. If every mother taught her children to view male and females as equals, within one generation there would be a tremendous change!

The time is long overdue when the women of the world need to rise up as one voice demanding equality as humans. The same rights that are afforded men because they are members of the human race should equally be afforded women…no exceptions! Every woman has the power to speak out, even if it is only with one small voice teaching her children. One by one as women join together, an army of voices will be heard that cannot be silenced, for far to long men have played the role of the bully and used fear to oppress women and strip from them basic human rights…now is the time for change! Any religion or belief system that does not recognize human rights equally among both genders needs to be looked at long and hard…no “God” who supposedly created women with the ability to bear children, would in turn cause her to suffer at the hands of men because she is the child bearer. It’s time for the hand that rocks the cradle to teach her children that all humans have equal rights.

Another pattern in the Bible that is noteworthy concerning the violation of women’s human rights is the parallels we see throughout history exposing the fact that it is always men who abuse women and treat them unequally when they are in positions of being rule makers and of leadership.

 

In ancient societies where the goddess was worshiped, even though women may have had the position of authority, men were never treated as lesser citizens or property…equality was the standard, unlike the dominator model we see recorded in the Bible. This is a key factor in revealing that the Bible was written by men, because it matches exactly what one sees in all male dominated societies, when men have positions of power they tend to suppress women and deny them basic human rights.

 

It is only when women themselves are able to rally together and demand their equal rights as humans do we see any change in their condition. The God of the Bible has never stood up for women’s rights; in fact quite the opposite has taken place…Scripture is full of rules that take away a woman’s equal rights!

No matter what ones take on the Bible is, whether it be the inspired Word of God, or an historical account of men’s ideas about God, an undeniable fact remains that the Bible promotes sexual violence against women. I have listed a handful of verses below to show the extreme abuse that women have endured at the hands of men, condoned and promoted in the pages of the Bible without a single reprimand recorded against such barbarism. In each of the passages I have listed, men have inflicted sexual violence against women, and in each of the cases there is not so much as one word of condemnation written against their horrendous deeds.

 

It is time women and men alike raise their voices denouncing this sexual violence targeted specifically at the female gender. These passages that I have listed are just a few amongst the many contained in the Old Testament part of the Bible, and for the most part are ignored by believers, but what does that say about peoples moral values? The Old Testament contains the whole of the biblical writings of Judaism, and over half of the Christian Bible that Jesus said not one “jot” or “tittle” would pass away from. How can it be that all one hears is silence from the religious communities that hold these texts to be God’s moral laws? This is an issue that needs to be dealt with and it’s time the voices of those who care about human rights be heard. Sexual violence in never okay, even when it’s promoted in a book considered by millions to be the Word of God…it’s always WRONG, Wrong, wrong!

 

Gen. 19:5-8 And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may know them. And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.

Num.31:15-18 And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive? Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD. Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.

 

Deuteronomy 21:10 When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the LORD thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive, 11 And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife; 12 Then thou shalt bring her home to thine house; and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails; 13 And she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife.

 

Judges 19:23-26  And the man, the master of the house, went out unto them, and said unto them, Nay, my brethren, nay, I pray you, do not so wickedly; seeing that this man is come into mine house, do not this folly. Behold, here is my daughter a maiden, and his concubine; them I will bring out now, and humble ye them, and do with them what seemeth good unto you: but unto this man do not so vile a thing. When the men would not listen to his host, the husband seized his concubine and thrust her outside to them. They had relations with her and abused her all night until the following dawn, when they let her go. Then at daybreak the woman came and collapsed at the entrance of the house in which her husband was a guest, where she lay until the morning.

 

Judges 21:11-12 And this is the thing that ye shall do, Ye shall utterly destroy every male, and every woman that hath lain by man. And they found among the inhabitants of Jabesh-Gilead four hundred young virgins, that had known no man by lying with any male: and they brought them unto the camp to Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan…..14) And Benjamin came again at that time; and they gave them wives which they had saved alive of the women of Jabesh-Gilead: and yet so they sufficed them not….20) Therefore they commanded the children of Benjamin, saying, Go and lie in wait in the vineyards; And see, and, behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in dances, then come ye out of the vineyards, and catch you every man his wife of the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin.

 

As hard as I try I can come to no solid reason as to why sexual violence against women is not condemned in Scripture except to say that those who wrote the Bible did not view those deeds as human rights violations, but then what does that say about biblical morality? At the very least one would think that the many explicit sexual violations against women contained in the Bible should be exposed as examples of man’s wickedness instead of promoted as commands from Yahweh. So, the question remains unanswered as to why the sexual violation of women in the Bible is not condemned? Biblical morality is either right or wrong; it doesn’t change with the times. If it is immoral today to sexually violate a woman, then it was immoral three thousand years ago to sexually violate a woman. Women are humans and have rights over their own bodies just like men do, they are not the property of men as the Bible promotes. It’s time to speak up and condemn human rights violations wherever they are found, even in the “Word of God”!

Once a person becomes sensitized to the male bias of the Bible its footprints are obvious everywhere one looks. From the get-go in Genesis we read that it was a woman (Eve) who was the one made responsible for being deceived, thus bringing down the curse of sin upon all humans, then immediately following she is cursed by having the male rule over her…sure sounds like a script written by a man to me.

 

One glaring aspect of the Bible that seems to be overlooked by many is the perspective, from which it is written, especially in the area of sexuality. It becomes abundantly obvious who wrote the Bible when one focuses on that angle. Case in point: rape is a crime committed against women that does not have a male counterpart; men rape women because of their uncontrollable sexual lust, and complete disregard for women giving no thought, or caring whatsoever of how it feels to be sexually violated. This exclusively male mindset of sexual violence is exemplified in the Bible with the supposed creator of the universe, Yahweh commanding such deeds be done. On numerous occasions one finds Yahweh commanding that the virgins of a conquered people be given to the Hebrew soldiers as booty. These women who have just watched their families slaughtered before their very eyes are now given by the command of God to the soldiers to be taken as wives against their will and raped. There is no hint of compassion, empathy, or thought of the anguish these women would be going through, which is exactly what one would expect from a rapist, but not from a loving God. Throughout Scripture the sexual desires, and feelings of lust in men are made abundantly clear and catered to, but what is absent from its pages are the sexual desires and feelings of women. The examples below are just a few of many scattered throughout the Bible which exemplifies the total male perspective from which the Bible was written, condoning the sexual violation of women without any regard for their feelings because they are considered no more than property.

 

Num.31:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying15-18 And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive? Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD. Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves….30-35) And of the children of Israel’s half, thou shalt take one portion of fifty, of the persons, of the beeves, of the asses, and of the flocks, of all manner of beasts, and give them unto the Levites, which keep the charge of the tabernacle of the LORD. And Moses and Eleazar the priest did as the LORD commanded Moses…And thirty and two thousand persons in all, of women that had not known man by lying with him.

Deuteronomy 21:10-11 When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the LORD thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive, And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife;…

Judges 21:11-12 And this is the thing that ye shall do, Ye shall utterly destroy every male, and every woman that hath lain by man. And they found among the inhabitants of Jabesh-Gilead four hundred young virgins, that had known no man by lying with any male: and they brought them unto the camp to Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan…..14) And Benjamin came again at that time; and they gave them wives which they had saved alive of the women of Jabesh-Gilead: and yet so they sufficed them not….20) Therefore they commanded the children of Benjamin, saying, Go and lie in wait in the vineyards; And see, and, behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in dances, then come ye out of the vineyards, and catch you every man his wife of the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin.

 

 

It’s one thing to speak of an abstract “Mind from which all reality originated”, and quite another to speak of the masculine warrior god portrayed in the Bible as being the creator of all reality who would not only allow such brutality against women, but who himself would command it! Any book like the Bible that could be, and has been used to negatively affect the lives of half the human population (females) could in no way be inspired by a moral god. Because of the way the Bible is written it has been used by men as a weapon to control and destroy the lives of countless women…if such a god did inspired the Bible he would be deemed a moral monster by today’s standards. It’s time to wake up and take a second look at a book that has been held as a moral standard since its inception.

 

Everyday I read with horror accounts of the trafficking of girls and women in the Sex Trade, if one were to take a poll on how people feel about these egregious violations of human rights I’m sure it would be close to 100% (except of course those who are profiting from, and participating in this crime) saying this is a horrible crime against all humanity, adversely affecting women and men alike. What I feel is so sad is that many of the same Christians who abhor the idea of the sexual abuse of women through the Sex Trade, fail to see its glaring presence in the Bible. Until Christians can openly acknowledge that the Bible does indeed promote the sexual abuse of women with the express approval of and promotion by its author, they will never be free from its bondage. Throughout history women have never enjoyed the same freedom as men because of the domineering and aggressive nature of many men, with this in mind it becomes very apparent that the Bible reads like an historical account of how men think and their corresponding actions mapped onto a tribal war god.

 

In my own life, through all the years I was a Christian there was a constant anguish I felt every time I would encounter a troubling passage in Scripture that violated human rights because I believed so strongly in God, yet here in the Bible were words that seemed to reveal a side of him that went against my deepest feelings as a woman…all I knew to do was try and convince myself that somehow these words were a wrong interpretation of God’s perfect ways. Fortunately I am totally free from that burden now, after realizing through intense study that the Bible is not a book revealing the creator of the universe, but rather a book expressing mans ideas of who they think the creator of the universe is, and since it was men who wrote the Bible, their expression of God is quite masculine which is reflected everywhere within its pages.

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