Monday, March 06, 2006

ORIGINS OF patriarchy V

PART FIVE: "The Origins of Slavery, Social Classes and Organized Warfare" (Continued from past posts; Auntie Athana is telling Virginia the Patriarchy Story.)

VIRGINIA: “Wake up, Auntie A. You haven’t finished the story. Before you fell asleep over your popcorn, you were talking about how the mangy Lord-of-the-Flies Boys found the first cities and tried to beat them up.”

ATHANA: “Whaa.. Oh… Hmm. Sorry Ginnie [Yaaaaaawn].” Okay, back to the story….

“...Over the next several generations, the psychotic Flies-Boys invented devices to scale the walls of the first cities. They also invented weapons to kill the gentle matrists.

"At first they just burned, murdered and pillaged. But that was no fun. All they had left was a pile of ashes and their own boring, smelly selves. With all the smart matrists gone, no one knew how to make any of the fine-looking matrist furniture, fountains and feather beds. No one knew how to sing the matrist songs, or dance the matrist dances.

“So the smellies mounted their mangy horses and rode off into the sunset to look for another city. This time they left a few matrists alive. Then they invented social classes. Face it, Ginnie: with breath that sinks ships and the table manners of trolls, you don’t make the party-invitation lists. So you invent social classes -- with you, of course, in the primo class."

VIRGINIA: "So people have to invite you to their parties?"

ATHANA: "Exactly.

"You can kind of excuse the flies guys for what they did next. They invented slavery. The matrists refused to make the nice fountains, furniture and feather beds, so the smellies were forced to put them in chains and beat them up a bit until they “cooperated.” But only men got to make stuff. The flies-guys’ were scared fly-less of women, so women were kept in cages for babymaking.

“After a while, though, the smellies got bored. After all, their daddies always said pleasure was for sissies, pain the road to Paradise. They began remembering how good it felt to smash heads, and murder a few hundred matrists a week. They got restless. Slowly it dawned upon them: beating up matrist cities needed to become a full-time occupation.

“And so it did."

VIRGINIA: “So is this finally the patriarchy, Auntie A?"

ATHANA: “Yes, Virginia, this at last is the patriarchy. Women brutalized. Pain glorified. Warfare institutionalized. Social classes. Slavery. And a daddy-god slavedriver/fearstoker. And all this is crystallized forever in a new way of life that is learned by everyone, shared by everyone, patterned, and transmitted from one generation to the next, ad infinitum.”

VIRGINIA: “Okay, Auntie, I’m going home now and drown myself in the bathtub."

ATHANA: “Oh, no, Ginnie. It’s not hopeless. Understanding the enemy is the first step toward conquering it. And of course the enemy is not people, but the culture that sits on top of our heads, running our behavior like a dictator. But cultures can be changed. Not easily, but it is possible."

To be continued. Next Post: DeMeo’s data
Thnx to bsilder & shOdan for the fotos


Paxton said...

I want to read this whole story some time but I only had time to read the latest entry.

I wish I knew more about the Biblical commands to treat women well, but I am vagueishly aware of a number of them. On the whole, the picture I have gotten from the Bible is that women are to be treated incredibly gently and respectfully.

You are no doubt eager to point out Old Testament passages in which all the women in a city are slaughtered by the Israelites. Please note that in these passages, the men of the city are also being slaughtered. So it is true that there is violence against women in these scenarios, but only because "violence against women" is a subset of "violence against people". If you are going to debate the rightness or wrongness of these commands, it is probably more accurate to leave the question of gender out of it. AFAIK, the only time that gender becomes a factor is when the women are being SPARED. This still leaves us with the rightness or wrongness of God's choice to kill the Canaanites but that's a different topic =)

As for social classes I don't remember any such thing in the Bible. I remember the NT stating that in Christ everyone is equal, and I remember Christ's consistent associate with low-class and outcast people.

Pain glorified also confuses me. There is an NT verse that says that systems which glorify physical suffering/deprivation are of no use in conquering sinful desires and thus ought to be avoided or at least ignored. I remember Solomon saying that it is good to enjoy things.

So far as I can tell, the passages which may seem to glorify pain (saying things about being joyful when you suffer for Christ, n'stuff) are not actually glorifying pain. Since there will be no pain in heaven I think we can assume that pain is not a Good Thing. But on earth, in the midst of sinfulness, the pain of discipline may prevent the pain of continued unchallenged sin. And it is never pain itself that is glorified. Paul mentioend all the times he was whipped, but the really valuable thing to him was being to delight in God and trust in him no matter WHAT your circumstances. What you call glorification of pain, seems more to me like a general minimization of the importance of worldly and temporary things. It may also be an endeavor to prevent people from glorifying *pleasure*. I do not know for sure. I just know that we should have God glorified, not pain glorified.

On a note of personal experience my Daddy-God protects me, holds me, saves me from fear and worry (not that I don't have fear and worry, but he is taking care of me).

Warfare Institutionalized is a big topic that I just don't feel up to addressing right now. I'm ignorant on the subject, even after reading the OT looking for every example of a battle. =(

Anne Johnson said...

Paxton, I'll bet you're a stand-up sort of fellow, but if there's no social class in the Bible, then how could Jesus choose to associate with the outcasts and the lower classes? In fact class is clearly delineated in both Testaments, and so is slavery.

I'm not against Jesus, and if you think his daddy is on your side, then you go! Only don't forget Jesus had a mama, and how did she know he could change water into wine if she didn't teach him or see him practicing in the backyard?

Morgaine said...

"On a note of personal experience my Daddy-God protects me, holds me, saves me from fear and worry (not that I don't have fear and worry, but he is taking care of me)."

You may indeed be protected, held and saved from fear and worry, but it isn't big daddy doing it. The Goddess will take whatever form you need to be comforted, and She'll answer to any name you call out to Her. Unlike the daddy deity, She is not "jealous" and doesn't accuse you of idolatry if you get her name "wrong" because She knows children make mistakes. She loves you even if you ignore, disdain, or blaspheme against Her. Good Moms are like that.

Paxton said...

Sorry for the unclarity Anne -- I didn't meant that the Bible doesn't mention social classes. I just mean that I don't remember it *encouraging* them. Just because social classes existed in Bible times doesn't mean that social classes are Biblically supported.

And the sections about slaves don't seem to be at all supportive of the idea that slaves are somehow "lower" than masters, IIRC. (haven't given this topic enough thought either).

Anne Johnson said...

Paxton, dear, you're not preaching to the choir on this site. My ancestors owned slaves, a fact of which I'm extraordinarily ashamed.

My ancestors did not marry their slaves, pay their slaves, or allow their slaves to seek better employment elsewhere. That is the definition of slave prior to the Civil War in America.

I suspect it is the same definition of slave that our Athana is talking about in her awesome posts.

Is it logical to assume, therefore, that while the Bible does instruct people how to sell their children into slavery (i.e. not outside the faith), they treated their slaves better than any other culture that owned slaves? If so, why is this bragging right not recorded in Scripture?

Also, who got the bright idea to re-translate the Bible and replace the word "slave" with "servant?" The two are not the same. Servants are paid and can change employers at will.

You see, we druids don't have to quibble over translation, because what little lore we had written down was burnt by St. Patrick and other Christian missionaries. We are free of literal translation, and every other kind!

BTW, I read your blog, and you're a good writer, but you could deep-six all those smiley faces. They undermine your message.

Paxton said...

I don't know what deep-six means ;) and I am curious why you think my smiley faces undermine my message. I like my smiley faces!

Colossians tells masters to be just and fair to their slaves (and reminds the masters that they, too, have a master in heaven). And the book of Philemon says that it is better to know people as Christian brothers, than to know them as slaves.

I do not like the callous way that the Old Testament seems to deal with slaves. You have caused me to seriously want to look into it.

As I say, it is better to wrestle with God than to turn away from him. (I don't know if that is the point of the story of Jacob wrestling with God, but I heard the allegory at my church and now I envision myself wrestling with God and asking for a blessing of clarity, when something in the Bible troubles me...some of the best things are learned from the most unsavory passages)

On a totally different note I am wondering if it is a personal failing of mine that I do not feel shame for things my ancestors did. I know that many godly Bible People prayed and confessed the sins of their ancestors (I think)...ok, I will stop cluttering your comment block with introspection ^_^

joe in oklahoma said...

so, paxton, since the NT counsels xns to treat slaves well,
it clearly does not call on xns to oppose slavery.
does that mean the Word of God endorses slavery?

by the way, a note to all on class and the hebrew scripture: the text acknowledges that classes are inevitable, but the jubilee is set in the calendar every 50 years to redistribute land and thus level the class system on a regular evidence that it was ever followed, but an interesting idea, somewhat like jefferson's idea that americans should have a revolution every 20 years or so, to keep things democratic.

Paxton said...

Hi joe =)

In Matthew 19:8 Jesus sais, "Moses permitted divorce only as a concession to your hard hearts, but it was not what God had originally intended."

I suggest that there is a possibility that the same thing applies to slavery. God's provision of the jubilee does not automatically imply that he approves of slavery.

I also caution you against the mindset of "If God doesn't forbid something, that means he encourages it." I know there is no text in the Bible that specifically says "Don't have slaves".

But there are texts that say "love people", "treat other people like you want to be treated", "be humble" as well as a number of passages that encourage people to remember that God has no favorites and that he does not judge men by social class and that we should not be prejudiced or show favoritism either (James 2).

Paul tells Philemon, "[your runaway slave Onesimus] is no longer like a slave to you. He is more than a slave, for he is a beloved brother, especially to me. Now he will mean much more to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord."

I don't know how a Christian could read the Bible and arrive that the conclusion that slavery is OK. There is the NT command to "treat your slaves fairly and justly" but if I owned slaves I would not feel that I had treated them fairly and justly until I had set them free.

Yet apparently there were many Christians who owned slaves. I believe they were wrong to do so. I can't imagine how they were blinded to it.

If they lived today, I wonder what blindnesses in me would be readily apparent to them.

By the way, even if the Hebrew text acknowledges that classes are inevitable (which I am not convinced of yet) that does not mean the Hebrew text acknowledges that classes are good.

Anne Johnson said...

If the slave-owning Christians lived today? They would be focusing their attention on weeding out all the homos. I severed all ties with the Christian church when my former denomination de-frocked a pastor because she admitted she was in a "covenant relationship" with another woman.

Of course, if that lady pastor had lived a lie and kept her mouth shut, she'd still be baptizing babies.

Alas, alas, ye lawyers and Pharisees.

Paxton said...

Homosexuality is pretty directly prohibited in the Bible. =)

I had hoped that the discussion on slavery would continue, instead of abruptly switching to homosexuality (not that I'm unwilling to discuss it). I'm still partly skeptical of my understanding of what God says about slavery.

Paxton said...

And I still want to know why you oppose my emoticons (I hope I am not being combative)

Morgaine said...

Actually, homosexuality is not strictly prohibited. The line that says for "a man to lie with a man is abomination" is mis-translated. The Hebrew text actually says that for a man to lie with a man in a Woman's Bed is unclean in a ritual sense. Big difference.

Paxton, I'm curious. Have you ever considered any religion other than Christianity? I"m not interested in recruiting, mind you, I just perceive you saying that you'll make "God" fit you rather than find a deity that already fits. Who says you have to be Christian, other than the book? What if "they" are mistaken?

Paxton said...

Romans 1:24-27 "God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. AS a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other's bodies. They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal pairse! Amen. That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved."

I know I said I didn't want to switch topics to homosexuality in this comment thread, but now that there is a separate slavery post I don't mind.

I have never considered another religion in the sense of "maybe I should embrace this instead of Christianity". I also don't "consider" other religions very much in the pondering-and-learning-about-them sense. I probably would benefit from some broader knowledge.

Eep, I hope that I never make a practice of making God "fit me". I am sure I do it sometimes but it isn't right. =(

The thing is, Anne, if I look for a deity that "already fits", I would be looking for a god that is compatible with my current sinfulness and corruption and imperfection. I would be trying to base "my truth" on my own imperfect nature. And that's not a good idea.

Rather, what I am saying is that I have faith that God is perfect. And if I do not happen to agree with God on some point, then I don't need to change God to fit me. I need to let God change ME to fit HIM.

To you that probably sounds like an awful twisting of who I am. On the contrary, though, if I had been created without sin I would already fit God. He is restoring me to what I originally should have been, before sin entered the world.

I will tell you this, I intend to learn more on the slavery issue. Athana's other post has caused me to think (not to doubt).

I still wonder exactly what you meant about my smiley faces =P

Paxton said...

Whoops, sorry, I had it in my mind that anne was the last person to reply. Scratch the emoticon question ;)

Athana said...

Paxton, you were born perfect and without “sin." Unless she was really damaged by the patriarchy, your mother knew that when she first looked at you. It’s that slimy warrior god in your head that makes you feel angry at times, and inlovable, and hopeless, and worth a hill of beans.

Morgaine said...

Paxton - who says that you are "sinful"? Corrupt? Imperfect? Who says you should strive for perfection? Who defines "perfection"? Is it possible to achieve perfection in human form? If not, wouldn't striving for it, or expecting it, make a person miserable?

What if you are ok, just as you are. Nothing to feel guilty about. Nothing to need saving from. Just wonderful and perfectly YOU.

Now, as to Romans... First, if you want to really look at those lines from many viewpoints, I urge you to read Religious Tolerance and follow all the links. Even Christians have widely varying opinions as to what the true interpretation might be.

Then, we have the source of the lines - the "Apostle Paul," a man who was a convicted criminal most of his life and who lived long after Jesus, if in fact there ever was an historical figure "Jesus" to beging with. Paul is essential to modern Christianity because until Paul, Jesus' teachings and salvation were reserved only to Jews:

"I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of Israel." [Matthew 15:24]

Paul extended the teachings to include Gentiles. I wonder how the white people would feel if they knew Jesus himself excluded them? Anyway, being deformed, smelly and ugly, women did not like Paul, so he brought back and reinforced the misogyny Jesus had started to undo, and created a lot of sexual taboos that hadn't existed before. To quote the Apostle Peter:

As stated in 2 Peter 3:15-17, we have to be very careful when interpreting the writings of Paul. "As also in all his [Paul's] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction." (KJV)

As stated by Dr. R.S. Truluck, "Paul's writings have been taken out of context and twisted to punish and oppress every identifiable minority in the world: Jews, children, women, blacks, slaves, politicians, divorced people, convicts, pro choice people, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals, religious reformers, the mentally ill, and the list could go on and on. Paul is often difficult and confusing to understand. A lot of Paul's writing is very difficult to translate. Since most of his letters were written in response to news from other people, reading Paul can be like listening to one side of a telephone conversation. We know, or think we know, what Paul is saying, but we have to guess what the other side has said." 2

That said, let's look at the context of Paul's words. He was merely listing the symptoms that befall those who indulge in Pagan Idolatry, probably in direct response to former Christian's participation in Roman or Greek rights to Venus/Aphrodite or Dionysus/Bacchus, which often expected people to have sex with either gender. These rites were a major distraction from the Christian agenda, which even went so far as to adopt little rituals people would not forego - like fish on Friday, the day of Aphrodite, said to encourage salacity in Her revelers - so they had an interest in discouraging participation in them.

The interpretation that seems most likely to me is that Paul was warning against doing things one would not do naturally - i.e. a heterosexual having homosexual sex - or, as some have speculated, that this was more an admonition against pederasty between men and slave boys.

For my part, Paul would not be included in the Bible, nor would any of the Old Testament, if I were to practice a Christian path.

I really do encourage you to check out that site. I've only begun to address this here.

Paxton said...

"Paxton, you were born perfect and without "sin." Unless she was really damaged by the patriarchy, your mother knew that when she first looked at you."

Because mothers are just *so* objective when it comes to their newborn babies! =D

btw there is a difference between being sinful and having committed a sin. Sinful nature is the disease, and particular sins are the symptoms.


To answer your first five questions: God. God. God. God. God.

"Is it possible to achieve perfection in human form? If not, wouldn't striving for it, or expecting it, make a person miserable?"

It is impossible for humans to achieve perfection ALONE. With God, all things are possible. The Bible says that if the Spirit of God lives in a person (and He lives in every Christian) that that person does not have to be a slave to sin anymore. And he not only has been set free FROM sin, he has been set free TO righteousness. That means that, because of God, I as a Christian have a choice now -- I don't have to sin. I am able, in every situation and at every moment, to do the right thing.

Of course I fail time and again, and I think everyone does. That is why there is a need for repentance and forgiveness even after salvation.

That is why 1 John says "I am writing this to you so that you do not sin. BUT IF YOU DO SIN, there is someone to plead for you before your Father in heaven, etc etc" (paraphrased)

And of course it is not foolish to try to do the right thing just because I may fail sometimes. Just because you don't have time for a perfect full-body workout does not mean that you should give up exercise entirely.

And morgaine? If my current state is the best I will ever be -- if I am "ok" as I am, and if this is what perfection is -- then I am given over to despair, because I am flawed in many ways. I don't want to go through the rest of eternity in lust and selfishness and laziness and reclusion.

I am getting better. =) Sometimes I get worse =( God is working in me. Some day I will be as perfect as Jesus. =) (not due to any personal merit, of course, but because of GOd's love).

As for the statement that "Jesus' message and salvation was only for the Jews", I really encourage you to pay attention to the *context* of what you read. 4 verses after Jesus said that, he healed a Gentile woman's daughter because of the woman's faith. Also, at the end of Matthew, Jesus tells his disciples to "go and make disciples of ALL PEOPLE". Maybe (hazarding a guess) what Jesus meant is that his earthly ministry was confined to the Jewish community -- but it is pretty clear that he intended for it to spread further, after his earthly ministry.

As for Peter's remark about Paul -- notice firstly that he says that the people who twist Paul's letters ALSO twist other parts of Scripture. So it is not exclusively Paul that we must read carefully. (Also note that when people twist Paul's writing, it is not just the consequently-oppressed that are hurt, but the people who do the oppressing [unto their own destruction]).

Also, as far as I can tell (which is not far because I need to stop writing now), Peter is referring specifically to Paul's teaching about "the End Times" and about how the Lord's patience gives people time to be saved, etc etc.

I'll check out that site if I can. =)

Morgaine said...

Did he tell you this directly? Or are you taking the book literally. If so, why? What if it's wrong? What if it has been altered since "god" dictated it to a tribal nomad 5,000 years ago.

My dad is fond of this question - it sounds flip, but think about it - if "god" had a plan, knew what would happen, and wanted us to follow his word, why didn't he just leave us a copy on DVD? Moldy old scrolls seem unreliable. Surely a supreme being could come up with something more durable.

***If my current state is the best I will ever be -- if I am "ok" as I am, and if this is what perfection is -- then I am given over to despair, because I am flawed in many ways. I don't want to go through the rest of eternity in lust and selfishness and laziness and reclusion.***

I didn't say you were perfect. I said you were perfectly you. If you never get any better than you are right now, you are good enough. "Lust" is not a flaw. It is your biological imperative. You are responsible for how you express it, but feeling it isn't wrong, it's the way you are designed. Are you selfish? Define that. Would you take bread from a baby, like the US does every day?

Define lazy. That's a nasty puritan ethic peeking out if e're I saw one. You are allowed to rest. You are allowed to revel. You are allowed to do what you want as long as you don't hurt anyone else. Reclusion? I'm a recluse by necessity, but I am never alone. A child of the Goddess is never alone, for She is here, She is around me, She is this, She is me, or rather, I am part of Her.

I hear in you the self-loathing born of an uncaring, demanding father. A father you can never please, who demands obedience and sacrifice, but if you're a good little boy, he might let you into his house.

Your Mother will always welcome you home, no matter who you are, or what you do. There's no "god" to fear; no devil to wrestle with or hell to avoid. There's only what you make of this life, here and now, and everything you do comes back to you. If you love, you'll be loved. If you steal, you will lose what you value. Be kind to yourself and you'll be kinder to others.

What would your life be like if you didn't beat yourself up for your "imperfections"?

Paxton said...

Lust is not a feeling. Lust is pursuing sexual pleasure in my thoughts about a woman. Lust is a negative expression of sexual feelings.

Selfishness for ignoring my family regardless of how much it hurts them.

Lazy for putting things off 'til the last minute then finishing them shoddily (and for not doing work I agreed to do). Of course I am allowed to rest and revel. That's not what I said =P

I believe reclusion is bad because I believe that one reason I am here is to affect others. Sometimes I hide away when I know I shouldn't.

If you hear self-loathing in me it is because you want to hear it. Surely I don't like myself sometimes, but it's not my mantra and I don't think I have communicated it in these posts.

It is worth noting that I spent the last 1.5 years learning about the love of God and how proud he is of me, and how delighted he is with me, every time I turned a corner. ^_^

Self-loathing and recognizing sin are two VERY different things, morgaine.

As to being perfectly me, I will give you a quick snapshot of a larger picture:

God defined me very richly and in perfect goodness. He loves me and made me exactly the right way. When I sin, this deviates from my perfect description. Therefore "perfectly good" and "perfectly me" are synonymous (in that without being perfectly good, I will never know my full description -- parts are blocked by sin).

^ doesn't make much sense when I'm tired, but I tried =P