Friday, August 19, 2005

Woman

Back to religion. Yeah, it didn't take me long :)

So, I'm reading Who Cooked the Last Supper? and Miles is writing about monotheism and how the introduction of it into the world really screwed us women over. I mean, seriously, it did. And there's a passage on the Adam and Eve story which is really the essence of that poem I wrote that gave my mother pause:

For woman could never recover from one primal, overwhelming disability - she was not male. The ensuing syllogism represented a triumph of masculine logic. If God was male and woman was not male, then whatever God was, woman was not. St. Augustine spelled it out: "For woman is not the image of God, whereas the man alone is the image of God." As man stands beneath God in the hierarchy, so the woman, as further removed, comes below him: in practical terms, then, setting every man over every woman, father over mother, husband over wife, brother over sister, grandson over grandmother. In every one of these new systems, God freed man from slavery and took him into partnership for eternity, while women were never even apprenticed to the celestial corporation. [...] (pg. 91)

Under the father god, only man attains full adult freedom and control. Woman in diametric contrast is sentenced to a double subordination, to God and to man, as St. Paul instructed the Corinthians; because "man is the image and glory of God, but the woman is the glory of man... neither was the man created for the woman, but the woman for the man." [...] (pg. 92)

Women and men too had to be brought to believe in women's inferiority, to know that her rightful place was, in every sense, beneath the male. Accordingly the patriarchs of the One God embarked on a strenuous and hysterical myth-campaign to account for and enforce the subjection of women. Its essence is neatly summed up by St. Ambrose: "Adam was led to sin by Eve, and not Eve by Adam. It is just and right then that woman accept as lord and master him whom she led to sin." [...] The Adam and Eve myth, possibly the single most effective piece of enemy propaganda in the long history of the sex war, had other crucial implications. It performed the essential task of putting man first in the scheme of things; for in all the father god religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, God creates man first: woman is born after man, framed of an insignificant and expendable lump of his bony gristle, and taken out of him like a child from its mother. (pgs. 93-4)

Yes, she is harsh, I warned of that. But look at what she's saying here. I have been thinking about it nonstop, and you know... what the hell?

I was speaking to Mother about religion yet again the other day and I finally admitted to her that I don't think I can ever buy in to Christianity again. I told her that I can't imagine myself believing in a religion that degrades women so much or asserts that people will burn in hell for all eternity. Just can't do it. There is no way around the doctrines of the church, my friends. Either you can accept those things or you can't. I have been shifting for years and I think I am in the final stages.

Because I am not an atheist, that leaves me with very few choices, does it not? I cannot turn to any of the other monotheistic religions without encountering similar, if not the exact same, problems. The only religions I know of that are female-centered are goddess worship ones, and I couldn't embrace those. Besides, I don't need my spirituality to be female-centered, I just need it to allow me to express myself as a female without being put into a box labelled Dutiful, Submissive Wife or Will Never Be A Pastor, I Swear on it.

5 comments:

WOLVERINE said...

It took women until th' 1920s to get equal rights in society, an' yer surprised that holy books written by men centuries ago are anti-women? Frankly it's li'l things like that which make me think all organized religion is total bull. It was just a buncha jerks gettin' together to stroke their own egos an' say "Hey, lookit me! I'm equal to a higher power!" Until I see a book written by these divine entities THEMSELVES, I'll continue to think as such.

fp said...

try readin this.... :-)

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_P17.HTM#JF

http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_PG.HTM#JQ

http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_P1K.HTM#U

A. Estella Sassypants said...

I really love that book. She's harsh, yes, but it really forced me to THINK. Loved the bit you quoted. I need to re-read.

Robert van de Walle said...

I often recall that God can only work in the world with what is before Him; namely, if the people who will listen to Him are a pastoral people, the language He reveals Himself with will be of shepherds, sheep and good pastures.

God, as First Cause, must be genderless. Or, genderful! All creation proceeds from the dancing of God, the Holy First Begotten, and the Spirit who passes between and from them. We are participants and creations of that divine dance!

It's our expression that is imperfect; we keep working to understand.

I hold the intention for you, that your search becomes fruitful and that you keep to your path towards fulfilling practice and perfect expression.

sojourness said...

I see your points, Robert, but here is where I run into problems...

Firstly, why can God only work with the world as it is? Is S/he omnipotent or not?

Secondly, if this is the only way that God is revealing Her/Himself to mankind, and salvation/eternity is at stake for all people, then God leaving it up to our imperfect expressions is unfair and inefficient, don't you think?