Dena posted an article this morning on EU. Adam, Eve, Original Sin and Mythology. It is written by Dennis Diehl and focuses on how a literal interpretation of the Creation Story(s) in Genesis promote a patriarchal society/ religion/ mind set. Thus there are laws and rules and total unpleasantries (especially for women) that are required to keep that system in place and running smoothly.
I have never really given a lot of thought to misogyny...the disdain for women....or its sister, gynophobia...the fear of women. I know this is very real and that in many parts of the world women are abused, mistreated, tortured and killed at the hands of men. Honor killings etc. I am not making light of any of this, however it is not the focus of this post.
When I am reading something, quotes jump out at me, and get the creaky wheels in the noggin' moving in a direction not necessarily related to the gist of what I am reading. Several phrases caught my attention this morning as I read this but for the purpose of this post, I am going to focus on one of them....
This is what literalist Christianity does to people. Literalist, Patriarchal Christianity thrives on division. If it has no enemy, it has no purpose or motivation. There can be no "we only" without a "not them". There can be no "chosen" without the "unchosen" . There can be no "converted" without "the unconverted". And certainly no "true church" without the "false church".
Wow...talk about the classic trick of the egoic mind. It is strengthened by finding an "other." Its concept of "me" is bolstered when it forms the concept of "you." And it works so much better when the "me" can find a reason to make the "you" an enemy. Christianity...as in evangelical, right wing Christianity (the kind we hear in the rhetoric of Pat Robertson, Ann Coulter, James Dobson) is exclusionary and always, always has an "other." It needs an enemy to rail against...someone/something to hate...to damn to hell. Muslims, left wing Democrats, homosexuals.
Evangelical, right wing Christians are the guys holding the rocks...while Jesus, their namesake, their "reason for the season"...the one whom their religion is supposedly all about...well, he's the one squatting down, writing in the sand saying those who have no sin should be the ones to make that first pitch.
Jacques Ellul said people try to take possession of God. Christians especially try to take possession of God. But he refuses to be confined in the box they keep trying to stuff him into. God loves all of his children.
Do you really think, as some have argued, that God will be saying: "You know, that guy, the Dalai Lama, is not bad. What a pity he's not a Christian"? I don't think that is the case — because, you see, God is not a Christian. —Desmond Tutu
The following photo from Loci Lena's photo stream on Flickr fits well with the musings in this post. It is part of an extensive collection of stained glass photos that you really should take a few minutes to check out.
God said he would pour out his spirit upon all people. And he is doing just that....whether we like it or not.