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Fri Dec 7, 2012, 12:18 PM

Why Is Religion So Afraid Of Women?

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/ralph-jones/why-is-religion-so-afraid-of-women_b_2243185.html

Ralph Jones
A writer of comedy and articles on religion?
Posted: 06/12/2012 00:00

The latest in a long line of upsetting news for women, and women in religion, has hit us square in the face in the past 24 hours. The Christian Union at Bristol University has insisted that women cannot speak at their doubtless fun-filled meetings. If, however, they are accompanied by their husband, then of course they may.

The university's feminist society labelled the decision "hugely discriminatory, deeply offensive and sexist to women"; no argument from me there, but just apply this quote to religion in general, whose history is mired in inescapably revolting attitudes towards women, and you need not change the phraseology. The insistence that the Church ought to change its ways in this regard is like asking a vegetarian to eat a fillet of steak. It is also a relatively recent development and will always be swimming against an enormous tide of misogyny founded in Scripture.

Will religion, then, ever be able to shake off its subordination and discrimination towards women?

The Christian Union's move comes in the immediate wake of - and may well have been inspired by - almost 50% of the Church of England's House of Laity deciding that permitting women bishops would be a step too far in the name of equality. The fact that the vote made the news at all demonstrates how much progress has been made in the Church over the years and how appallingly its sexism has become enshrined.

more at link

76 replies, 4578 views

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Arrow 76 replies Author Time Post
Reply Why Is Religion So Afraid Of Women? (Original post)
cbayer Dec 2012 OP
pegasis Dec 2012 #1
niyad Dec 2012 #3
cbayer Dec 2012 #8
ZombieHorde Dec 2012 #19
Big Blue Marble Dec 2012 #2
dballance Dec 2012 #6
cbayer Dec 2012 #7
Squinch Dec 2012 #28
iemitsu Dec 2012 #32
cbayer Dec 2012 #34
iemitsu Dec 2012 #36
cbayer Dec 2012 #37
iemitsu Dec 2012 #44
Squinch Dec 2012 #65
iemitsu Dec 2012 #66
Sekhmets Daughter Dec 2012 #63
rocktivity Dec 2012 #4
cbayer Dec 2012 #5
rocktivity Dec 2012 #9
iemitsu Dec 2012 #39
Moonwalk Dec 2012 #40
cbayer Dec 2012 #41
Moonwalk Dec 2012 #42
Phillip McCleod Dec 2012 #50
Moonwalk Dec 2012 #73
hrmjustin Dec 2012 #10
cbayer Dec 2012 #11
hrmjustin Dec 2012 #12
cbayer Dec 2012 #13
iemitsu Dec 2012 #43
hrmjustin Dec 2012 #46
iemitsu Dec 2012 #48
hrmjustin Dec 2012 #49
iemitsu Dec 2012 #59
hrmjustin Dec 2012 #60
okasha Dec 2012 #70
iemitsu Dec 2012 #72
okasha Dec 2012 #75
longship Dec 2012 #14
cbayer Dec 2012 #15
longship Dec 2012 #16
cbayer Dec 2012 #17
longship Dec 2012 #18
okasha Dec 2012 #23
longship Dec 2012 #45
okasha Dec 2012 #69
longship Dec 2012 #71
okasha Dec 2012 #74
ZombieHorde Dec 2012 #20
dimbear Dec 2012 #21
Squinch Dec 2012 #29
Odin2005 Dec 2012 #22
Squinch Dec 2012 #30
okasha Dec 2012 #24
cbayer Dec 2012 #25
okasha Dec 2012 #31
cbayer Dec 2012 #33
okasha Dec 2012 #35
cbayer Dec 2012 #38
okasha Dec 2012 #68
CrispyQ Dec 2012 #26
rainin Dec 2012 #27
dimbear Dec 2012 #47
dimbear Dec 2012 #67
Phillip McCleod Dec 2012 #51
cbayer Dec 2012 #52
Phillip McCleod Dec 2012 #54
cbayer Dec 2012 #55
Phillip McCleod Dec 2012 #58
Phillip McCleod Dec 2012 #56
cbayer Dec 2012 #57
Phillip McCleod Dec 2012 #61
cbayer Dec 2012 #62
Phillip McCleod Dec 2012 #64
Deep13 Dec 2012 #53
Dawson Leery Dec 2012 #76

Response to cbayer (Original post)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 12:21 PM

1. Because we have spooky special powers.

Of course we're conjuring up trouble for the men all the time. That's all.

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Response to pegasis (Reply #1)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 12:29 PM

3. welcome to du, and you are correct.

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Response to pegasis (Reply #1)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 12:42 PM

8. Welcome to DU and to the religion group, pegasis.

We do have spooky special powers. That's a fact.

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Response to pegasis (Reply #1)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 09:49 PM

19. Ha! So awesome! nt

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 12:24 PM

2. You are asking the wrong question.

Men creates and control all major religions and most minor ones.
They use religions to control women.

The question you need to ask is: Why are men afraid of women?

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Response to Big Blue Marble (Reply #2)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 12:39 PM

6. Good Point /eom

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Response to Big Blue Marble (Reply #2)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 12:41 PM

7. It's not just religions. It's societies and cultures despite religions as well.

So why are men so afraid of women?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #7)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 04:38 PM

28. Because we have the control over a number of things that they need or want.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #7)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 04:57 PM

32. men are afraid of women because of their

spooky powers. The main power being procreation or maybe, more generally, sex. Since women always know who their children are and men can never be certain, all women are suspect.
Recognizing women's equality with men would mean that men could no longer lock women in towers, make them wear chastity belts, chain them in the kitchen, under-educate them, or force them to cover themselves in public in an effort to control women's sexuality and guarantee that her children were his.
The value of women in society is directly tied to contributions to the survival of the family or community. In farming societies women enjoy fairly high status. The industrial economy made women less important and they lost value. Their restricted rights, lower wages, etc. reflect this lowered value.
Churches (the big three Messianic faiths) promote manifest hierarchy. Men on top. They derive their power from the myth of the man savior.
It wasn't always this way.

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Response to iemitsu (Reply #32)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 05:10 PM

34. I agree that this is the bottom line to some extent.

It's about reproduction and who has power over it. If men maintain control over women, then they have some degree of power over their reproduction.

It would explain at a rather primal level why so many men are so interested in issues like birth control and abortion. It might also explain the opposition to GLBT rights, as reproduction can become much more complicated and difficult to control when GLBT couples decide to have children.

Interestingly, the Mayan Nobel Laureate Rigoberta Menchu Tum has talked about the 2012 Mayan calendar event as being a shift towards true equality for women, as opposed to the end of the world. Perhaps it is the men who see this essentially as the end of the world, lol.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #34)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 05:31 PM

36. Yep, its about reproduction and

inheritance. Men need to believe that what they leave when they die goes to their children, not someone else's.
I am a man who could embrace women's equality with men as a new beginning and not the end.

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Response to iemitsu (Reply #36)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 05:34 PM

37. I believe that there are many like you, but I also

see that some of the efforts to control women have intensified. So there may be a major battle on the horizon.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #37)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 08:20 PM

44. I see the battle intensifying too.

I hope what we are really seeing are the death throes of the old world view but, apparently there are even some young men who wish to preserve the old ways.
I see the same reaction, on the part of some, toward President Obama. Like his having power somehow lessens the power other men enjoy.
Its the pecking-order, hierarchy model, the idea that sharing power means we have lost something that has to be destroyed. I thought that was part of what the American Revolution was about but evidently not.

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Response to iemitsu (Reply #44)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 05:34 PM

65. I think the battle is intensifying precisely BECAUSE there has been progress. The progress

threatens a few groups of men, each of whom is a small percentage, but together make a voice. First there are those men who feel powerless and therefore really want to exert power over those who are physically weaker. Second there are those who have grown up in an entitled position, and don't understand that everyone doesn't consider that to be the "natural order." Third there are those who truly are freaking over their inheritances; often the wives of very wealthy men are the most sheltered.

Strangely, the push-back is a measure of the success of the forward motion.

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Response to Squinch (Reply #65)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 06:40 PM

66. Sure, people don't fight unless they feel threatened.

The push-back is the measure of the success that women have made in the quest for equality.
It is also partly the measure of our economic strife. In good times we are generous toward others but in bad times everyone is a threat. Those who have traditionally been marginalized in the economy are the first targets when things get tight. The three groups you identify, and their issues, are certainly part of the mix too.
Times are changing and those who embrace change will come out ahead.

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Response to Big Blue Marble (Reply #2)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 05:24 PM

63. Exactly...

and fear, all too often, leads to loathing.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 12:29 PM

4. It's sex that most religions fear

and they fear it because it's their biggest competitor.


rocktivity

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Response to rocktivity (Reply #4)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 12:34 PM

5. I can't agree with that. Since it is the goal of some religions to increase their numbers,

they can't be afraid of sex but have to embrace it.

I think it may be more fear of women claiming some control over their own bodies and refusing to have sex unless they are provided with some way of preventing pregnancy.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #5)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 12:46 PM

9. Yes, some religions NEED their followers having babies in order to increase their numbers

and may even have doctrines to that effect. But that's procreation, not sex.

Maybe what I should have said was that most religions fear sex because so many people embrace it.


rocktivity

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Response to rocktivity (Reply #9)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 05:40 PM

39. Its not so much sex that religions want to control

but who women have sex with. Legitimate children are good but illegitimate ones are a problem. Who will be responsible for their raising? Who can they go to for aid? If women are dependent and a child has no father is it the church's responsibility to raise the child?
Power structures such as the church or a government need to answer these questions and the solutions require control over women's bodies.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #5)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 05:56 PM

40. That may be the goal of some religions, but early/Catholic Christianity at least had the goal...

...of no sex. Chastity was valued--both in men and women, but women most of all. Almost all stories of women saints are about chaste women who die (I.e. give themselves to god) rather than allow themselves to be defiled by mortal men. (Which, ironically, is what made Christianity appealing to women of old as it offers an alternative to being forced into marriage and childbirth--both of which could kill her).

Christianity, at least, views the only good woman as one who doesn't have sex. Even the best mother that ever lived, a woman venerated above all women, starts off as a virgin (talk about having your cake and eating it, too!). We can probably thank the Roman Empire and its veneration of Vestal Virgins for this; women who had great powers but only if they remained chaste.

Which is why i think this religious fear and hatred of women has less to do with children than with a woman's sexual power to divert men. Eve, by sex appeal, makes Adam sin. That is her evil power. And the power of mom-hood is made a punishment. They have kids after exile from the garden and childbirth pains are Eve's punishment. Compare this to Vikings who thought women who died in childbirth went to Valhalla like great warriors who died in battle.

Putting it simply, I think it's all about guys making sure no girl ruins the "bro-hood." Like "no gurls allowed" on the clubhouse door. When a guy's best friend gets into a girl it ruins everything. And it doesn't help that the guy is wildly jealous of his friend and hates the girl as much for not bring into him as taking away his friend. I mean, Yes, of course kids and the mystery/envy of childbirth comes into it, but keeping meddlesome women from ruining sport's night (or the geeky religious club) is probably more on the mark. And it is easier to accept the sexy girl belonging to god--and thus no mortal guy gets her, then see her with your best bud.

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Response to Moonwalk (Reply #40)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 06:01 PM

41. I think much of what you say is valid. At the very least, it is a really ineteresting.

But where is the evolutionary advantage to a system where all women are chaste? What is the point of having sports night if you never reproduce and all the players get too old to play and then die out?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #41)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 07:55 PM

42. Evolutionary advantage in a social/religious system doesn't mean producing kids, it means...

gaining a lot of followers. Remember that back in the early years of Christianity, Mithraism was also on the rise and the contest between them was pretty much neck-n-neck. Mithraism was an all-boys club of warriors and soldiers. No women allowed, no peaceful scholarly men allowed. Why didn't it win the contest? Well, first, thanks to Constantine deciding to go with Christianity (back to that in a minute). But, second, because a religion like Mithraism is one where followers are often dying (soldiers are always fighting someone and dying)--and even if Christianity was in favor of virginity, they were not only reproducing but living because most followers weren't dying on battlefields (not yet at least). The whimpy scholar who gets stuck in the monastery not only can live and pass on the religion to the kids he has to teach, but also learn to write it up and so spread it farther than the guy who can only pass it on in some secret, all-boys ceremony. Such fraternity style religions get a lot of attention, but secret clubs with secret rites don't get a lot of followers.

Also, keep in mind that religion and culture aren't always the same. When Christian culture came to South America, the natives found it fairly easy to embraced the Christ metaphor as South American myth had plenty of gods who sacrificed themselves for their people. But it did not embrace the idea of men not having sex as that was seen as un-masculine. Which is to say, people have always cherry picked, and Christianity's evolutionary success is that it has allowed its converts (most times) to do that. To keep their old gods if they make them into Christian saints, for example, to keep their old holidays if they make them Christian holidays, and to keep their old sex-loving, child-producing ways so long as the kids were baptized into the Christian faith.

Getting back to the contest with Mithraism--another evolutionary advantage Christianity had was to offer women membership in the religion (Mithraism didn't) and, early on, near equal footing. There were women deacons in the early church, there was an important woman in the religion's story (Mary), and a sympathetic god (Jesus) who was nice to women, as well as women saints to pray to; nuns and nunneries had a lot of power. A virgin might not be able to escape to a nunnery if dad pushed for marriage, but a widow could, and with Mithraism not an option for girls, what other religion was a mother supposed to raise her daughters in? Or their sons for that matter if they'd been raped or dad was off at war or had died....

And the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.

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Response to Moonwalk (Reply #42)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 03:59 PM

50. also mithraism was the religion of nobles

 

of the caesar and his court. rome had long divided religion up between the public religion (at that time sol invictus) and the elite religion. sol invictus raised the caesar up in apotheosis but only for the plebes not the initiated elite. so by his 'vision' of the cross in the sun constantine replaced sol invictus with christianity for the public but the elites kept worshiping mithra for another couple centuries.

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Response to Phillip McCleod (Reply #50)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 02:25 PM

73. Good point. As I said, secret fraternity religions--including elite ones...

...get a lot of attention, but not a lot of followers. Not unless the followers (as in some cults) have lots of wives and produce a lot of kids. Thus, the religion where the rites are well known (and people can come in, see them and want to join in on them), where the religion is spread by missionaries (not kept secret) and anyone of any class can join down to the poorest and most outcast, is evolutionarily superior as a religion.

A lack of flexibility won't hurt it so long as it is in tune with the culture and times; if, however, the religion remains in the dark ages as the culture and times moves into the 21st century, then it's going to risk extinction. Evolutionary success requires not only reproduction but the ability to adapt to new environments.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 12:52 PM

10. Women upset the good old boy culture which many denominations have.

The Episcopal Church which is the American branch of the Church of England has been a shining light for female ordinations. We have a female presiding bishop, several female diocesan bishops, and scores of local female clergy throughout the nation. There is still much to do, but some churches are leading the way.

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #10)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 12:56 PM

11. Agree. It is too bad that the CoE has not followed in kind.

There are some prominent protestant denominations who are leading the way for women, GLBT rights and other progressive causes as well.

Having been shouted down for years, they need a voice and support whenever we can give it to them.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #11)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 01:07 PM

12. The COE is going to have another vote on it by summer.

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #12)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 01:16 PM

13. Now if they can just figure out why so many women voted against it,

maybe they will have a chance of passing it.

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #10)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 08:10 PM

43. Plus the head of your church is Queen Elizabeth.

Can't put a woman in a much higher position in an earthly religion.

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Response to iemitsu (Reply #43)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 09:03 PM

46. The queen is the head of the English church only.

Here in america it is the elected presiding bishop, who at this moment is a woman. We love girl power here in the American branch of Anglicanism.

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #46)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 01:14 AM

48. Thank you for the clarification.

It nice to know that the current Presiding Bishop is a woman. I am pleased to know that the Episcopal is so liberal and reasonable. What is the election process for determining who is the Presiding Bishop? Do church officials alone participate in the election or do congregants have a voice? How long does an elected Bishop preside? Is there a Canadian Episcopal Church or are they Anglican?
I think that women play a natural role, in the spiritual lives of their families and communities, and I believe that women had an important public role in religious practice in the pre-Christian world. There clearly was a open assault on the power of women by early Christian leaders, especially Paul, which the Roman Church and many Protestant denominations are still waging.
It is good to know that there are several options within Christianity that those who respect women may attend.

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Response to iemitsu (Reply #48)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 01:16 PM

49. The Episcopal Church is governed by the house of Bishops and Deputies.

The house of deputies is four representatives from each diocese of the nation. Every Bishop in the church has a vote in the house of bishops. All Bishops are elected by diocesan conventions. Members of the house of deputies are also elected by these local diocesan conventions. Members of the house of deputies are clergy and lay people. The term of the Presiding Bishop is 9 years, and is elected by the General Convention of the Episcopal Church. General Convention meets every three years, and is the largest convention nationally after the DNC and RNC.
Each parish elects a vestry that governs the parish with the clergy of the parish. Rectors of most US parishes are elected by these boards, and assisting clergy are chosen by the rector. Some smaller financially poor parishes that require money from the bishop to survive do not elect the clergy. Each parish elects members to go to local diocesan conventions that elect Bishops, set diocesan policy, and elect members to the General Convention. So the Episcopal Church is a democracy.
World wide the denominations name is the World Wide Anglican Communion. It is a group of churches founded by the english when they colonized the world. Each national church has it's own governance style, and is responsible only for their church. The US church having money does donate to her sister churches. The Canadian Church is called the Anglican Church of Canada, and they are fairly liberal as well. I believe they ordain women. Many member churches do ordain women and are ant-gay.

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #49)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 05:03 PM

59. Thank you for your thoughtful and informative post.

I really should have done, and will do, some reading about the Anglican Church and its American, Episcopal sister church rather than ask someone on DU to provide so many answers. Your earlier response to my post is what prompted the questions, and it was late, and I am lazy, so the questions were directed to you. Thank you for graciously providing me with the information.
The organization of churches associated with Anglicanism seems remarkably liberal among Christian denominations. Besides doing some research I think I will attend a service (mass?).

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Response to iemitsu (Reply #59)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 05:06 PM

60. I was happy to give you the info.

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Response to iemitsu (Reply #59)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 02:16 PM

70. A former Presiding Bishop

was an African American, John Walker. Both secular and religious conservatives frequently referred to him as "Johnny Walker Red" because of his very liberal stances on social and faith issues.

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Response to okasha (Reply #70)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 01:25 AM

72. :) Conservatives are so cute.

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Response to iemitsu (Reply #72)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 02:49 PM

75. I'm sure their mothers love them.

Some of them, anyway.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 01:18 PM

14. Explained very well in the article.

Also, it is an article of faith that the cited bronze age scriptures be taken literally in many sects. They were written "by people to whom a wheelbarrow would be emergent technology," as Sam Harris has put it.

But, the recent brouhaha in the skeptic community over these same topics which has been recently (somewhat) echoed here on DU -- the various rape posts -- states fairly unequivocally that this isn't merely a religious issue, it appears to be a cultural one.

Granted, religion and culture are intertwined. And, I suspect that the former has much to do with the latter. For centuries, the power of government was derived substantially from the power of the church (mosque, temple, etc.). I also suspect that these memes would not have power they do now if religion hadn't had the power then -- when they claimed that these things really are true, and if you don't agree, we'll kill you. It may take some time, but we'll get the job done. (Thank you, Christopher Hitchens.)

I would not argue for purging religion from culture, or even its practice. Either would be impossible anyway. But it would be nice if religion's hold on culture could be more denatured. Our government was designed for just that purpose. If only people would all see that fact and realize the extent to which it is not a threat.

Thanks for the post.

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Response to longship (Reply #14)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 01:24 PM

15. Definitely cultural and can still be seen most everywhere.

But some religious groups feel they can easily justify it using scripture, while secular organizations have a harder time doing that.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #15)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 01:44 PM

16. Your post gave me a chuckle.

Alas, all secular organizations have is a secular US Constitution and its historic and philosophical underpinnings.

And the religious right are trying their damnedest to undermine that.

Examples:
David Barton: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Barton_(author)

Texas Education "reform" --
History: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/17/AR2010031700560.html

Science: http://ncse.com/news/2009/04/setback-science-education-texas-004710

Louisiana curriculum in voucher schools: http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2012/07/photos-evangelical-curricula-louisiana-tax-dollars

And it never ends until people open their eyes to what's really going on here.

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Response to longship (Reply #16)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 01:52 PM

17. Have you seen the "God in America" programs?

It's a 6 part series done by Frontline and American Experience about the history of religion in the US.

It's exceptional, imo. I have watched the first two episodes so far and learned a lot that I did not previously know. It explains very well how we have struggled with the separation issues and why we continue to do so.

Thanks for the links! I particularly like the Mother Jones article.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #17)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 02:11 PM

18. I saw parts of the series.

IMHO, they soft peddled some issues. But as I didn't see the whole thing, I should reserve judgement.

You know that I take the attitude of some of the more militant of the atheist activists, that religion does not deserve a free pass on being respectable any more than atheism -- or any other thing -- does.

I am much aligned with Daniel Dennett on this. We have to break the spell that religion has had on culture and, especially politics. Only then, can we be a whole society again. That could be a worldwide society if we got it done. And nobody would have to stop believing in anything they want, except that their beliefs trump everybody else's.

Citation for lurkers:
Dennett, Daniel C.: Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon
Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breaking_the_Spell:_Religion_as_a_Natural_Phenomenon
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0143038338

As always, my friend.

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Response to longship (Reply #14)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 04:08 PM

23. There are no "Bronze Age scriptures" cited.

The first five books of the OT were compiled during the reign of King Josiah, in the 7th. century BCE, in an effort to establish Yahwist monotheism in the kingdoms of Judah and Israel. The wheelbarrow would hardly be "an emergent technology" to a people who routinely moved multi-ton building stones, built aqueducts and irrigation systems,and lethally efficient battle chariots. (Actual Bronze Age people would have been equally familiar with such "emergent" technologies, though. Where does Harris think the Egyptian temples and pyramids came from? Or the chariots in which, say, Akhenaten and Tutankhamen are portrayed driving?)

And Paul was almost a thousand years in the future of the Bronze Age. Harris apparently thinks the Roman army somehow got around its vast empire without supply wagons. I would not argue for purging historical illiterates from culture, but I do wish someone would teach them to read before they hit the keyboard. It would be an act of charity.

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Response to okasha (Reply #23)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 08:29 PM

45. They are metaphors, my friend.

You do understand that, don't you.

It's like Matt 27:52-53:
And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.


What is this? The night of the living dead? I am sure that they gathered at the shopping malls of Jeruselum to wreak havoc.

Does any rational person really take any of this shit seriously? It is not historical. It doesn't even rise to the level of bad horror fiction.

Harris, Hitchens, et al are merely trying to contrast what theists are told what they must believe with the cultural framework in which these beliefs developed.

If you choose to believe it's all true, that is fine with me. But, please do not start picking rhetorical arguments.

I understand the cultural importance of religion. I just do not see any truth in it. I love Bach sacred works (among many others), as well as the visual and written arts which can only have come from a theist social structure.

But I also recognize the horrible damage it has done. I just wish others would look at the history of a way of believing which... Yes! ...came out of Bronze Age legends, from people who knew nothing of science. In fact, they actually smothered the Greek philosophical schools and all their works.

Google Hypatia, for instance.

Ignorance is everywhere today. It all stems from the same know nothing rubbish that had risen to the elimination of cultures throughout antiquity, always through the arrogance that some illiterate dude centuries ago knew the truth merely because somebody wrote something down.

It is bronze aged rubbish from people for whom a wheelbarrow would be emergent technology.

I am done here.

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Response to longship (Reply #45)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 02:10 PM

69. Uhm, I'm not the one who's proceeding on faith, here.

Sorry, longship, but you're essentially parroting an Internet mantra that the Hebrew Bible was produced by "Bronze Age goatherds." You'd know that if you'd bothered to do some fact-checking.

And by the way, I do know there are metaphoric passages in the Judeo-Christian scriptures. And no, they're not essential to my own beliefs, since I'm a pagan.

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Response to okasha (Reply #69)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 04:45 PM

71. Here's some help for you.

A metaphor is a literary figure of speech that describes a subject by asserting that it is, on some point of comparison, the same as another otherwise unrelated object. Metaphor is a type of analogy and is closely related to other rhetorical figures of speech that achieve their effects via association, comparison or resemblance including allegory, hyperbole, and simile.


Nobody was saying that the Bible was literally... Etc.

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Response to longship (Reply #71)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 02:48 PM

74. Aw, gee, thanks.

Another reply that has nothing to do with my post. You're beginning to fit right in with your peergroup here, longship.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 09:56 PM

20. For a long time, people who valued gender equality and wished to belong to a religious group

in the West had to join a fringe religious group, such as a witch's coven or a New Age cult.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 10:00 PM

21. It goes back to Yahweh's divorce from Asherah. It was apparently a bad breakup.

See any modern history of Judaism.

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Response to dimbear (Reply #21)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 04:40 PM

29. She got the kids, and he's been pissed ever since.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 02:07 PM

22. Men's fear of the women's ability to give birth to new life.

It seems to have been a common theme historically that a lot of men in earlier times were for some bizarre reason freaked out by women's ability to bear children.

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Response to Odin2005 (Reply #22)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 04:48 PM

30. Or freaked out that they were not in control of the ability to give birth, which is also the ability

to make workers for the family farm or business. It's also the people you transfer your acquired power and riches to, which is the way people's legacies lived on. And it's that thing of passing on the genes: they have no control over where their genes go. Or if it's their genes that they're paying to bring up.

Really, they are in a pickle, not having any uteri.

And for some of them, not having control pisses them off. Or scares them.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 04:13 PM

24. It's the wrong question.

The right question is why men are so afraid of women, a problem that extends well past the borders of religion.

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Response to okasha (Reply #24)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 04:20 PM

25. If you mean, why are men so afraid of women having power, I agree.

Why do you think it is?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #25)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 04:49 PM

31. I'm not sure there's just one answer.

Gimbutas blames it all on the conquest of peace-loving, matriarchal Neo- and Chalcolithic cultures in Central Europe by the invading, patriarchal Indo-Europeans. Riane Eisler makes the same assertion, though she calls the IE's "Kurkgans." What is common to both is the identification of a warrior ethos with patriarchy, women presumably being either unable or unwilling to take up arms. Patriarchy thus becomes a function of male violence dispacing women's supposed pacifism.

Unfortunately for this notion, archaeology shows us that warrior women were not at all uncommon among the steppe peoples who spread out both east and west from an original homeland somewhere in south-central Asia. We also know that women in cultures at both extremes of IE expansion held positions of public honor, and that most, if not all, Celtic societies before contact with the Romans practiced gender equality.

Others like to blame it all on relgion, of course, usually failing to note that not all religions are patriarchal. We're talking here about a conditioned response, frequently by patriarchally privileged men.

I think patriarchy happens when women's economic contribution to society is overshadowed by male-generated wealth. The stay at home, trophy wife (or wives) thus becomes a mark of a man's superior position in the community. Women of lower economic rank may still have to work, but high-status "ladies" can sit around doing embroidery all day without doing any labor other than that necessary to birth their menfolk's (preferably male) heirs.

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Response to okasha (Reply #31)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 05:00 PM

33. Interesting.

I was just thinking about it from a biological/evolutionary point of view. If the male is usable, but eventually disposable, his role becomes secondary. It is even possible to conceive of a system where women could reproduce independent of men.

This might be a tremendous motivation for men to maintain and wield as much power as possible.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #33)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 05:24 PM

35. At least in popular intellectual myth,

there was a time when men did not realize that they had any part in procreation. Children were gifts from the Goddess to women alone, and there was no such thing as socially recognized fatherhood. Frankly, I find this difficult to believe of any society that has had any contact with non-human animals, especially domesticated species. My cousins and I spent many of our childhood and adolescent summers on our grandfather's farm, and when our mothers managed wo work up the courage for "the talk," we had to tell them that we'd figured it out long ago from seeing our baby brothers/cousins naked and watching the bulls with the cows and the stallions with the mares. If we kids could figure it out, so could Neolithic adults.

There have been societies in which the husband's role is secondary. In traditional Southeast Woodland Native American cultures, a husband's function was to father children and to provide protein through hunting. All children belonged to their mothers', not their fathers', clans, and the most important men in their lives were their mothers' brothers. They were raised by their mother and their uncle(s). A married man helped raise his sisters' children, not his own. Even in more nearly patriarchal warrior-oriented NA cultures, such as those of the Great Plains, the family dwelling and the prerogative of divorce belonged to the wife. In these societies, men were to variable degrees "disposable," but genuine patriarchy developed only after contact with whites.

As I understand it, we are now very close to reproductive technology that can produce a child from two ova. I suspect that that ultimate disposability is one of the things fueling the current patriarchal resurgence.

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Response to okasha (Reply #35)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 05:39 PM

38. It really is hard to imagine that they didn't see the connection, but who knows.

I am sure we are much closer to reproducing using two ova than we are to finding a way for a male to carry a child to term. Again, on a primal level, that may trigger some serious subconscious terror.

The history of the Southeast Woodland cultures is really interesting. What would be the advantage to having a society where men were responsible children not their own? Less possessiveness? More actual equality?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #38)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 02:02 PM

68. Less possessiveness and more actual equality, certainly.

It would also strengthen kindship relationships within the clan, since the children's mother and her brother would belong to the same maternal lineage. At a biological level, too, it would guarantee that a man would parent children he could be positive shared his own genes, since women were as sexually free as men in these societies.

A similar pattern evolved in western Europe before the Middle Ages. A king's or chieftain's heir was his sister's son, not his own. His own children would in turn inherit from their maternal uncle.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 04:36 PM

26. It's not fear, it's hate.

I am not Christian, although I was exposed to Christian teachings. I was taught God is neither male nor female yet God is always referred to as the Father & Him & He. During confirmation, I asked our pastor why we didn't have a special pronoun for God & I was laughed at by the class & dismissed by the pastor.

There's a reason why they didn't call God a parent & come up with a special pronoun. Religion is a key tool in the patriarchy to keep women oppressed.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 04:37 PM

27. They are afraid of us because we might be witches.

If we want to speak in public, we just have to go out into the water. If we drown, then we can speak.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 11:05 PM

47. Any survey of world religions points out that women have been under quota in making religions up.

What with women emerging so brilliantly in science fiction and mystery writing, efforts seem bound to be rewarded. Since the laborer is worthy of her hire, I don't expect those new religions would fear women at all.

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Response to dimbear (Reply #47)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 07:55 PM

67. Tentatitively proposing Janet Morris, since my fave James Tiptree, Jr. has

left this earthly sphere.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 04:13 PM

51. also why do women outnumber men in the pews?

 

at least in the 'west' as they say the same women who are doctrinally marginalized and sometimes oppressed by patriarchal religions outnumber the men who are doing the oppressing. catholicism is one example most of the laity are female. 'we' meaning society sometimes wonders why women stay with abusive spouses. if we figure out the answer to the latter i imagine we'll have the answer to the former as well. personally i suspect the long-established social construct in which women tend to be more concerned about feeling socially secure than men. 'better the devil you know' and all that.

we progress in fits and spurts. that we're asking these hard questions at all is surely a good sign.

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Response to Phillip McCleod (Reply #51)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 04:18 PM

52. Because religion has often provided a place of refuge and solace for people

who are oppressed, imo.

Where does the idea that women tend to be more concerned about being socially secure than men come from?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #52)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 04:27 PM

54. its a social construct meaning a stereotype

 

that women tend to be more concerned about security. i'm not saying its true or good just that a large segment of the population reinforces the construct and over time that takes a toll. for example from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender

According to Kati Niemelš of the Church Research Institute, women are universally more religious than men. They believe that the difference in religiousity between genders is due to biological differences, for instance usually people seeking security in life are more religious, and as men are considered to be greater risk takers than women, they are less religious. Although religious fanaticism is more often seen in men than women.

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Response to Phillip McCleod (Reply #54)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 04:37 PM

55. I think it has to do more with your station in life than need for security.

The more oppressed one is, the more appealing is the notion that there is something more than this or following this.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #55)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 04:50 PM

58. i'm not sure station and security are incompatible constructs.

 

concern over station is concern over security. under the dominant paradigm to increase ones social status is to acquire greater security and sense of certainty whether material or 'spiritual'. in the 'next world' we are all equally loved by god and equally protected so its like we obtain the highest possible status and level of security in that station.

certainly i can see the appeal of that ideal for an oppressed class. i also can see that it reinforces rigid constructs here on earth never mind the next world. for women to break out of this station en masse is a threat to worldly power of men who have historically run the religious show.

more clearly: feminism threatens male privilege and religions have historically been bastions of male privilege. so feminism threatens religion in the minds of male religious leaders. in other words male religious leaders are feeling insecure because the stereotype that gives them privileges has been proved a lie

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Response to Phillip McCleod (Reply #54)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 04:38 PM

56. come to think of it

 

feminism confronting this stereotype goes a long way toward explaining why patriarchal religious leaders are more than ever afraid of women. in abraham's religions at least there is plenty of ancient doctrine to support misogynistic stances and feminist theory has correctly i think identified rigid gender roles as a social construct like race. to change that relationship would benefit women but it also confronts 1000s of years of established dogma.

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Response to Phillip McCleod (Reply #56)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 04:46 PM

57. Excellent point.

Of course, the more power women accumulate, the more threatening they become.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #57)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 05:15 PM

61. true that. another thought along that line

 

historically men abuse and oppress other men too. so there may be fear of the tables being turned and being treated the way men have treated others. its all projection of course like the republicans accusing democrats of cheating because thats what they would do. such men just cant comprehend a concept of 'power' that isn't 'power over other people'. its a knee jerk defense mechanism maybe?

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Response to Phillip McCleod (Reply #61)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 05:21 PM

62. Sounds like you are talking about tribes and why people associate with them.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #62)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 05:33 PM

64. a fair analogy i think.

 

like in 'the republican brain' fear of uncertainty is stronger in authoritarian psyches as is revulsion to ideas that make one feel insecure. that overwhelming desire for security can then be used to justify authoritarian rule over others.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 04:26 PM

53. power of creation is an implicit threat to the patriarchy?

just a guess

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 02:58 PM

76. Religion was the law of primitive (ignorant) man.

By commanding an all male patriarchy, it was easy to keep society under control.

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