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.
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.
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.