Thursday, October 13, 2005

god IS NOT DEAD 2


A few days ago I posted on the Gregory Paul study that shows a choke-hold correlation between “religiosity” (i.e., god worship) and all kinds of nasties like homicide, suicide, STDs, teen pregnancies, and the like. Well, it seems there’s an imaginary tale going around the internet that this study is flawed because it defines “religiosity” as Literal Belief in the Bible. Not so. On another blog, I tried to explain this to a commenter there. Here’s a somewhat verbatim copy of our little conversation:

THE OTHER COMMENTER Said...
The problem I have with [the Gregory Paul] study, is that it defines "religiosity" as Biblical literalism. But Biblical literalism is a recent, geographically specific phenomenon; it's not the traditional form of Christianity at all. Rather, it's a specifically American, 20th-century freak of history. So the study radically redefines its central term in a highly tendentious manner.

ATHANA said...
I'm sorry to say, OTHER COMMENTER, that you are wrong. Gregory Paul did not define “religiosity” simply as "Biblical Literalism." Go look at the study. "The plots include Bible literalism and frequency of prayer and service attendance, as well as absolute belief in a creator, in order to examine religiosity in terms of ardency, conservatism, and activities" (p. 5). Also look at the study graphs. Each of the above criteria (prayer, attendance, etc.) are plotted in *separate graphs*, against homicides, suicides, etc., for all 18 countries.

Also, if Bible literalism is a "specifically American, 20th-century freak of history," as you put it, and if the study had used Bible literalism as the sole index of religiosity, how would there be any data at all for the 17 countries outside the U.S.? (And BTW, the religion data in the study was collected not by Paul, but independently by the International Social Survey Program).

THE OTHER COMMENTER Said...
Also, the idea that the Christian God is simply male is, in most mainstream theology, considered an error. The "Father" aspect is a well-known metaphor, of course, but, the "Holy Spirit" aspect is, by many, regarded as a female aspect. But God as a whole is regarded as being beyond gender. So that's another thing that the American fundamentalists are missing.

ATHANA said...
So God is not male; "he" has no gender, or, rather, parts of God are not male; parts of "him" are female; and "Father" is a woman.

Sounds as if you wouldn’t mind if we just drop "god," "him," "he," and "his" altogether? Let's go with "Goddess is not female." Or, "parts of Goddess are not female; parts of her are male." Mother is a man. Or, the part of her that's the man is the ghost part.

Nope, that doesn't make much sense either.

I appreciate the liberal churches' attempts to begin to welcome female divinity. At this point, however, in my opinion, they're not making much sense.

7 comments:

Morgaine said...

Not making sense is right. All we have to do is look at our own ontogeny to see the truth. All fetuses will be female unless several processes take place to change it to male. If any of those processes doesn't happen, the individual will remain female. Female is the original, male derived from the female. Simple.

(mailed your book yesterday)

ursa said...

We have more power so now they allow us ephemeral breasts in the curling smoke of the holy spirit. True to say though early Celtic Christianity was more egalitarian with female saints and preachers abounding, fair to assume we had more power then.

Athana said...

Yes, power does seem to make a difference, doesn't it? Do you think, Ursa, that early Celtic Christianity was more woman-friendly because Christianity hadn't gotten a true toehold in Europe at that point in time?

Morgaine said...

The Celts were an extremely egalitarian culture before the Christians invaded.

Early Celtic Christianity was just Paganism with Jesus as the divine child. It took them forever to get rid of the old gods of the Celts, and the Goddess is still present in their pantheon - Brighid became St. Brigette (sp?) Diana/Isis/Stella Maris became Mary, Mary Magdalene had a cult that still exists now.

ursa said...

Athana yes and Morgaines point above is so true.I even wonder if the story of the Lochness monster is realy about the Goddess,they say St Columba went there and drove out the local serpent or dragon and we know they are Goddess symbols, ditto St Patrick he drove the snakes out of Ireland but there never where snakes in Ireland .I have read somewhere they think it may refer to Goddess worshipers .Early Christianity must have had to pass through the prism of the Goddess powers it invaded altering and being altered, when fully established it changed nature especially when the Celtic church lost out to the church of Rome.

Morgaine said...

Snakes was definitely the code word for Goddess worshippers. I won't have anything to do with St. Patrick's day because he was an Inquisitioner.

Athana said...

The Irish and the Scandinavians were some of the last in Europe to keep the old pagan ways. The rest of Europe had time for Christianity to slowly work its way into their bones. But by the time The Church began to work on the Irish, it had perfected its "conversion" techniques. I shudder to think what was done to them to get them to give up their religious lifeblood.