One friend, upon reading many of my blog posts, mentioned that:
“it seems like besides being vehemently opposed to traditional Christianity, what you’re FOR is a type of morality that is based on what you just happen to believe. For example, the idea that the God you ascribe to has a balanced personality of masculine and feminine traits – because that is how you think it should be. To me, this is like me deciding that the brains of males and females are indistinguishable (which is absolutely not the case) because I think that males and females are equally intelligent and capable of doing the same tasks with equal quality, and then using this belief as support for an argument against sexual differentiation in the brain.”
I think all religion, spirituality and philosophy are necessarily incomplete because of our finitude. For example, any revelation from God to us must come in a finite form so we may attempt to comprehend and receive it. We ought to try to do the best we can in developing our understanding with the data and experience available to us. This viewpoint fits with what we know about reality as a whole (religion, science, human experience, history, economics, psychology, etc.). After many years of serious thinking and research on this subject, I’ve composed a chart to provide a framework that might fit as much as possible inside it, titled “Descriptive and Conceptual Dynamics Of Femininity and Masculinity”. To me, it’s hard to argue with the content there, as it’s compiled from common sense observation about how the world works generally. Whether one prefers the terms of “masculine/feminine” or others like “sustainability/efficiency” or “right-brain/left-brain”, I believe it’s vital to consider how these aspects of existence may be found everywhere in the universe (and must be embraced and equally valued in order to have a healthy society), both at the grand scale and the microscopic level. Why wouldn’t the God of creation reflect this totality? The alternative is, of course, that we could focus in on one particular religious/philosophical slant on life, from one specific era and one geographical location, and then try to cram the whole of reality into that.
The Old Testament, for example, was written in a Bronze-Age patriarchal time period, in the Ancient Near East and its legal/cultural/literary/moral contents and type of deity profoundly reflect this. God here is presented primarily as King, Warrior, Master, Owner, Father, Judge, Redeemer and Savior, all of these being distinctly patriarchal concepts in that society. Yet, for tens of thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of years before the dominance of the patriarchy on a wide scale at the time of the Neolithic agricultural revolution (7,000 – 10,000 years ago), a much more integrated or alternating system of masculine and feminine philosophy, mythology, government and religion flourished. The evidence of this exists throughout the archeological record and oral histories continued into the times of inscribed communication. One biblical note on this point is that the many diverse neighboring “idolatrous” peoples/cities that God instructed the Israelites to murder were very often led by feminist or feminist/masculinist religious systems.
Aside from something like the macho cultural context found within the Ancient Near East, how else could you imagine a good, loving and honorable god still repeatedly endorsing and commanding any type of slavery, severe misogyny, seasonal/colonial warfare and genocide?
Historians have regularly explained that the reason for the rise of solely patriarchal power came with the uniquely new elements present within the Neolithic agricultural revolution. Through a stark break away from past lifestyles, this massive cultural shift required vastly greater amounts of male strength and emphatically left-brain operations: invention and use of the plow, irrigation, hierarchical ideologies, food storage technologies, written language, city planning/architecture/building, coded laws, regulated property rights, centralized administrative governments, sophisticated economic systems, civic/political art and complex labor diversification – a lot of depersonalized methods of knowledge and practice that men, at least at that time, were typically better suited for. In the earlier hunting and gathering communities, women were largely revered as the givers of life and as being more in touch with the earth – the sexes were collaborative in work, value and tribal decision-making by necessity – everyone had an important role. Interestingly, the work day only lasted about three hours for male hunters. I’m not at all saying that things were idyllic and utopian (as human existence then was often quite harsh and violent), but women were not thought of as intrinsically and practically inferior as they were after overtly patriarchal rule took over world society. With the newfound ability of males to seemingly “master” nature, women and the conceptually feminine side of life could be systematically ignored, diminished and subjugated. (These suppressed “feminine” traits can be generally described as cooperation, harmony, sensitivity, equality, holism, interdependence, fluidity and softness.) The work cycle drastically changed. Men were particularly employable in the new jobs and operational systems. The length of labor each day for most males stretched ten to twelve hours. Since women were either not allowed or able to participate in the tasks of this radically changed economy, they were limited to manage home life and raise children.
My “agenda” against Christianity is led by human rights issues that I’ve experienced, observed and read about elsewhere. Christianity puts people far down and then claims to be a wonderful rescuing force in their healing. The problem and scam with this religion is that God made us significantly weak and frail in our capacities toward spirituality and ethics, and then expects perfection (or else eternal damnation if total submission is not offered to Him/Her – this is not love either from God or by us in return – instead, this is totalitarianism). The testimony of natural history and all other fields in science is very clear that death always existed, yet the Bible says death came through sin. In truth, our species is evolving and has shed much of its brutal ignorance, at least in our collective social/spiritual/moral conscience.
The biblical God is sending humans to hell for eternity, judged on a short earthly life (and because of Adam’s/Eve’s sin, all their descendants are destined for endless “fire” aside from any good/bad action). This is primitive mythology and belongs squarely in the ancient, savage worldview of a humanity still trapped in a very frightening universe full of things unknown and unexplainable (before substantial developments of humanistic philosophy/art/morality/society and modern science that would offer significantly more humane and accurate views of life – some of this was both begun and thwarted by various contradictory teachings in the Bible).
It is what it is. Man has always formed gods in his own image, and it is the case our religion takes the special pleading that the reverse is true. What happens in the evolution of religion is to basically deprecate its original form in favor of some belief system that can somehow be tolerated. Christianity was a reformation of Judaism into a new form that could exist in the Roman Empire. What we have today in America is a cultural form of Christianity which is reduced to nothing more than a functional system of morality and belief. To return to a previous form of Christianity would be a step backward in our ethical evolution.