Archive for the ‘Re-Thinking the Bible’ Category

The differences in motherly love versus fatherly love become quit clear if one digs into the nature of each. A mother’s love for her baby begins as one of an unconditional nature; she must love her offspring regardless, because without that unconditional love her offspring cannot survive. This unconditional love continues all through the childhood years, and more often than not a mother’s love remains unconditional for a lifetime. Motherly love is unconditional, it is the love given to a child with no expectations; it is not earned, and requires no work. Nothing is done to deserve this love; it is given merely because the child exists. The child is loved because he is, “I am loved because I am”

 

Fatherly love on the other hand is many times based on a “conditional” love that must be deserved, it can be lost if one does not do what is expected. In the nature of fatherly love lies the fact that obedience becomes the main virtue and disobedience the main sin…its punishment the withdrawal of fatherly love. Since this love is conditional the child can do something to earn it, acquire it, or work for it. Its principle is “I love you because you fulfill my expectations” it says, “You did wrong and you must change your ways if you want me to like you.” The child is loved because he has earned it. This conditional love is the type of love one finds in the male god Yahweh, who is portrayed as, and called Father in Scripture. Jesus says of his father in John 12:26If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour”, showing the conditional aspect of earning God’s love. Read the rest of this entry »

 

 

In Luke 10:27 Jesus tells the lawyer that the summation of the law is contained in “loving your neighbor as yourself”. The lawyer then proceeds to query Jesus and asks “who is my neighbor?” to which Jesus replies by reciting the parable of the Good Samaritan, implying that anyone regardless of race is your neighbor. This answer is a much more expanded interpretation of neighbor then one finds in the Old Testament version, which only applied to ones Hebrew brethren. Now, to carry the meaning of neighbor one step further we need to ask if women were included in the general idea of ones neighbor. Did loving your neighbor as yourself apply to women? I think the answer is obviously not, because nowhere in the Bible are women treated in the same manner as men would want to be treated.

 

Jesus might very well have included women in his understanding of neighbor, but we know for certain that neither Paul, nor Peter did by the words that they wrote in these verses.

 

1Cor.11:3 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.

 

Eph.5:24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

 

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

 

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.

 

Titus 2:4-5 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

 

1Peter 3:1-7 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands;

 

Under no circumstances would men feel they were being treated in a manner equal to loving one neighbor as oneself, if the roles were reversed and those verses instead read “Husbands, submit yourselves unto your own wives in everything”. What a far different society we would live in today if the Golden Rule of treating ones neighbor as themselves had been taken to apply equally to women as well as men. My motive in bringing up these questions are to try and encourage people to look at the religious teachings they so blindly follow and find out what their sacred texts really contain. I believe most people –especially men – would be very surprised to know just how biased the Bible really is.

I am growing weary of the same repetitious justification for the many biblical incidences of mass slaughter commanded by Yahweh.  Over, and over again the same tired excuses are made for the utter destruction of every man, woman and child…commanded by the biblegod, and carried out by the Hebrew soldiers. The incidences are too numerous to quote here, but can be easily found by anyone who has access to a Bible. The accounts themselves can be attributed to historical events in which primitive barbarians acted upon what they perceived to be instructions from a deity; the problem arises when modern folks seek to justify such acts as being necessary to rid the world of evil. If we applied the same logic to our modern judicial system any person or group that committed what was considered wicked acts would not only be judged themselves, but judgment would also be brought down upon their entire family and neighbors that lived in the community. Now how insanely crazy is that?

 

To a rational thinker this pattern of thought seems “off the charts” crazy, but this is exactly the lengths that biblical apologists must go to in order to excuse the biblical god of his barbaric behavior. Time after time we read in the Bible where whole cities are massacred because of the sins of the adults, is that justice? One apologist by the name of Clay Jones says that the law of the Old Testament commands death for those who participate in sinful behaviors like adultery, idol worship, and child sacrifice, and that is why all those cities of people were slaughtered. What I would like to ask is which of those sins did the children and babies participate in to be worthy of death? Again, I must reiterate, would any rational, thinking person ever considered it right to sentence a family, or a community to death because of the crimes of the leadership, no matter how horrific those crimes are? The innocent are never responsible for the crimes of the guilty.

 

It’s one thing to ignore the “terrible texts” of Scripture and go about ones daily devotion to their god, but entirely another thing to write articles justifying behavior that only primitive barbarians participated in. People need to wake up and speak out against the “terrible texts” and the “sins of Scripture” and quit allowing religion to twist and pervert their morals. Just think of all the innocent children who learn in Sunday school that it’s okay to kill entire families and take the young girls away to be raped, all because adult members of the family were participating in what the Bible defines as sinful behavior. How can anyone with one ounce of compassion or empathy allow such teaching to be propagated without condemning them in the strongest language possible?

Have you ever wondered why part of God’s plan for sacrificing his son included torturing him? If one looks back at the Hebrew sacrificial system contained in the Bible, held by believers to be given of the biblegod, it doesn’t include torturing the animals that are to be sacrificed. The animals are killed in a humane way by slitting their throats; this wasn’t the case with Jesus. Supposedly the whole plan of salvation, construed in the mind of Yahweh included not only the horrendous death of being crucified, but also the inhumane act of being beaten to a bloody pulp by flogging.

 

If the biblegod needed a human sacrifice to fulfill his plan of saving people from their sins, why was it necessary to torture that person to death? If it was the death itself that was needed, what was the use of the agonizing torture that led to it? Does Yahweh delight in human suffering? The authors of the Bible seem to think so. God could have chosen to have Jesus killed without torturing him, but he didn’t…why?

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.

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…

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.

Until one frees themselves from the dogma of Scripture and is able to see the Bible as one of many stepping stones on the path to higher consciousness, they will remain camped on that particular stone, thus it becomes the end of their journey. The rest of the path is lost to their vision and the stone itself becomes the complete way. In my search for truth it was only when I was able to rise above the Bible and free myself from the bondage of its religious doctrines that I could truly see it for what it is. It in and of itself is not the whole picture, or the complete path, but only one of the many stepping stones that lead us on this journey of life progressing to an ever higher conscious levels as we continue on. When one becomes trapped in a mindset, no matter what it may be the rest of the world is seen through that perspective and its true nature becomes hidden from view. The Bible does not contain the whole answer anymore than the teachings of any other religion or philosophy. All the parts of the human experience are just that “parts” nested inside one another and together they make up the whole.

 

For many years I was trapped inside the religious box of Christianity and was admonished not to explore outside the parameters of the faith for fear of being lead astray. What I discovered a couple years ago is that there was and is a whole world of truth beyond the Christian stepping stone that I had camped on thinking it was the end of the journey. Now, I view the Bible in a new way, as just one stone of many laid down by those that came before me denoting their understanding of the world around them and where they were in the walk of life. If I confine my point of view to encompass only the narrow perspective of those that saw the world in a more limited way because of lack of knowledge, then I shut down my possibilities to continue growing and learning.

 

The plan and purpose of mankind did not culminate and come to an end with Jesus in the first century, as the Bible would lead one to believe, rather meaning continues to unfold as human understanding and consciousness progresses to a higher and higher levels. Much meaning can be derived from great literary works such as the Bible, but they are not an end unto themselves as many believe. It is only when we allow Scripture to speak from the age and time in which it was written that its purpose can be fully realized and that is of one stepping stone on a path of many on the journey of life.

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