Tuesday, January 03, 2006

War, Women, & THE UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST


Dwight penned a dynamite set of questions regarding the Dec. 30 post, “Sinning BigTime for Jesus.” If Christianity is a warrior religion (asks Dwight), why are some Christians pacifists? And,
“What about those denominations which were ordaining women *before* women had the right to vote, such as the Congregationalists? They ended up becoming the United Church of Christ, the ones who this summer just voted to support gay marriage. I suspect these and other liberal Christians would have a hard time recognizing the description you just made.”
The “description I made” was this:

“All warrior gods want their humans to breed like flies”;
“All warrior gods break their women”;
“All warrior gods lead to war”; and
“All warrior gods destroy the environment."

Now, I grew up in a pacifist church and spent my young Sundays among some of the loveliest people on earth. Also, I have a United Church of Christ friend who’s a seminarian. Given half a chance, people are incredible creatures. Some even manage to sift through the warrior-god ickiness and come out in fairly good places -- at least for others if not for themselves (i.e., they work hard at not hurting others, but still hurt personally). For umpteen centuries, most of the western world has limped along with no religion. The warrior gods used war to wipe out other religions. So anyone wanting “religion” has been stuck with the warrior god malarkey.

As for my friend the United Church of Christ seminarian, she was raped repeatedly, before the age of ten, by her highly-respected, upper-middle-class, biological, Christian father and brother. I admire her greatly because to help expose and stop incest she’s had the courage to talk openly about it. I personally think she’s a bit optimistic; I feel there’s a deep, deep warrior-god need to cripple women. Incest and sex abuse are far worse among Christians, I’m afraid – even liberal Christians -- than we dare imagine.

This is from one of my friend’s published articles: “If the Other (god) has the ultimate power and right, … the duty, to define the purposes for which people and things exist, then the probability of abuse is inherent in the construct – not only of women by men, and children by both women and men, but of the earth itself and of nation by nation.”

I feel I’ve only scratched the surface when it comes to answering Dwight’s questions. Anyone else have anything to offer? I’ll add this: I think warrior-god followers are masters at hiding things, at keeping down mountains of guilt, and at living double lives. All excellent traits for warriors in wartime.

6 comments:

nikkormac said...

here's a Woman-centric approach to religion that feels very true to me (who had naught but disdain for religion and all its terminology until about twenty hours ago when i found this site): http://www.womanthouartgod.com/ . enjoy!

Morgaine said...

Athana - I think the difference is in the Old and New Testaments, as I posted in another section. The Bible is an amalgam of two very different religions. Jesus, if such a person existed, included some warrior symbology in his teachings, but we don't know that this wasn't added by others during later translations. I do know that all of the positive qualities in modern Christianity can be traced to him - charity for the poor, care for the sick, forgiveness for the sinner, peace instead of war. I contend that this line of thought is Egyptian and probably matriarchal in origin, though that has been carefully sifted out of the text over the centuries.

Most of the violence, incest, rape, adultery, etc. takes place in the Old Testament - Yahweh/Jehovah/Adonai is a male god in the typical mode - violent, racist, sexist, vengeful. Even the rape of the Goddess, though toned down to suit Christian sensibilities, is echoed in the Annunciation.

Also, there are references to the earlier Goddess religions all through the Old Testament - the serpent, the Dragon, Asherah, the Queen of Heaven, the Golden Calf (Hathor) and there are specific complaints about Hebrew women refusing to give up worship of the Great Goddess.

There was a specific campaign to establish a patrilineal system of inheritance among the Jews that made control of women absolutely essential. The control the new system wanted to impose on women enslaved them within the control of fathers and husbands, who could exploit their work to amass wealth. The Hebrews wanted to free themselves from the control of the late patriarchal Egyptian system, but sought to impose their own slavery on their women. Slaves were seeking to become masters in their own right, rather than creating freedom for all. As they watched Egypt benefit from the exploitation of women's work, they saw that liberation would give them the benefit now being enjoyed by the Egyptians. Women have always created wealth, but since the advent of Jehovah/Yaweh/Adonai, they have not enjoyed it as they once did in a matriarchal system.

You are right about the deep need of patriarchy to cripple women. If women were truly inferior - less intelligent, weaker, less ambition - there would be no need to oppress us. Our natural limitations would limit our success, so we would not be a threat to men. There would be no danger from us, so we'd be given all the freedom we desired. This is not the case. Ounce for ounce, brain cell for brain cell, women are superior to men in every respect.

Look at what is happening in Universities right now. Women have only had reasonably free access to education for maybe 40 years. (Yes, there were much earlier exceptions, but I'm talking about availability to the masses, not the elite.) Already, women outnumber the men. In any discipline that allows fair access, women are excelling. There's even talk among University Administrators in giving preference to men in admissions to try and even the score. Given equal opportunity, women will easily overtake men - again.

They oppress us because deep down, they know they cannot compete with us on an even course. They try to hobble us because it is the only way for them to maintain control. As soon as most women realize this, the shift will begin. When we understand our potential and take control of it, accept responsibility for it and get seriously focused on remaking the world, it will happen - and we are closer than men want to admit.

It is already happening in Africa, probably because that's the most extreme haven of patriarchy right now. Women are forming their own villages and businesses that exclude men, and it is creating wealth among women there for the first time since the ancient matriarchy was usurped.

Notice how desperate the men visiting here are to convince us that matriarchy is a looming evil. It's looming alright, but it will be our deliverance.

Athana said...

What I can't understand, Morgaine, is why at least some Christians haven't pitched the Old Testament, and just gone with the New. When I've suggested this to a few, they just look at me blankly and move on to another topic.

Athana said...

Welcome to the site, nikkormac. Hope you continue to find it meaningful.

Morgaine said...

Athana-

It has to do with their level of moral and ethical development. There are three levels, and most of the people we are talking about are at level 2, which gets its beliefs from external authority: It's the Law; It's in the Bible; That's how I was raised, etc. It never occurs to them to question that authority because the ability to do that requires abstract thought.

They are stuck in the material world, and though we have the capacity to entertain abstract thought at around age 16, the average person never develops it. That's why they look at you with that blank stare - they can't imagine anything other than what they've been told. They don't have the ability to step back and examine "reality" objectively or apply critical analysis to their value system. It's as if it's invisible to them. They think "right" and "wrong" are things, not concepts or value judgements.

We aren't really having a war between cultures, we're having a war between developmental stages. Notice how they abhor "moral relativism" and scoff at intellectuals. It's the mark of an undeveloped mind that ridicules a thing it cannot comprehend. The very concept that there might be other value systems of equal validity to their own threatens the very nature of reality for them.

nikkormac said...

thank You, Ms. Athana, for the welcome and for the good blog.