Even as I answer some male comments on this and other blogs, I feel that niggling worm of doubt, the one in every woman’s brain, telling me, “don’t offend them” “be a good girl” “don’t make the men mad” and then I began to realize that I’ve been so brainwashed by patriarchy that I fear my own thoughts! My gender has been brainwashed so well, that I don’t realize I’m self-censoring until long after the fact. I then think, “whoa! wait a minute! What do I care what a bunch of hypocritical mega-pastors or male pastor wanna-be’s or fundie male mouthpieces for the big P are going to think about me or what I post here?”
I mean, the self-censoring impulse is scary because it is so ingrained and unconscious. For those who never have to censor their own writing (ALL YOU big P(atriarchy) and F(fundie) C(hristian) MEN OUT THERE), they just wouldn’t understand what that means…
If you’ve ever talked with Christians after your own deconversion from Christianity you’ve inevitably run up against the old saw, “You must not have really been saved!” This annoying little sentence always sets my teeth on edge because as we know, this just reeks of spiritual pride and condescension. It also says more about one’s theology (eternal security believer) than about the state of anyone’s soul (as if we can ever know this). What fundamentalist Christians are really saying is, “Obviously you did not REALLY commit to my version of Christianity or you wouldn’t have left it” or “You do not fit into any of my categories so I’m going to dismiss your argument right off the bat.” Sheesh!
I found this argument on an anonymous web site when I tried to research the phrase “don’t use christians to judge christianity.” I was using it as a research side trip after having read “Blame the Individual, Not the Faith.” The web site I found in my research appears to be an email conversation between a Christian and a non-Christian discussing the merits of believing and not believing, each from his own viewpoint. The Christian offers the typical argument used by those who are trying to save our souls. The non-Christian writes:
Consider Matthew 7:16. It applies to Christianity itself. Christianity has brought forth mostly corrupt fruit even if that was not Jesus’s intent. People would be wise to avoid the church and if they are interested in Jesus’s teachings, read them for themselves. I don’t throw out Jesus’s teachings. I throw out the nonsense in the Bible that passes for the word of God. To me it is clear the Bible could not possibly be God’s word simply because it is untrue. (punctuation errors his)
The Christian responded:
When all is said and done you alone are going to be responsible for your own choices in life. Whether you base that on observation of other people’s behaviors and beliefs or on your own quest to find the truth for yourself is up to you. I, myself, wouldn’t hang my beliefs and eternal destiny on other people’s beliefs and actions…
Christians are often told that the Bible is God’s Word and that they must read it daily in order to maintain a close relationship with God. Only God’s Word should be allowed into our minds because Satan will work in what we see and read and will cause us to doubt God. One morning, I came across this article and this article. Both hit me quite hard and got me thinking once again about the nature of scripture. I believe that there are some good passages in the bible, which filled me with purpose and gave meaning to my life when I read them. Other scripture, however, caused me to recoil in horror and I questioned the goodness of God. So what happens when the bible does more harm to your mental health than good?
One can’t help but see that the bible, as a collection of myths, poetry, letters, and prophecies are valuable as literature and we spent many hours discussing aspects of this in university mythology classes. But, the bible, especially the Jewish scriptures, shouldn’t be taught to anyone with regards to morals, much less teach them to our children in Sunday school (and they say television and video games are violent!). These scriptures were aimed specifically at a peculiar people at a critical juncture in history. They tell us nothing really but how Israel set up an exclusive, monotheistic religion after wiping out whole tribes standing in their way with God’s blessing.
I don’t claim to ever have communed with “God,” as stated in my previous blog “Prayer: Communion with yourself,” but I got to know myself pretty well, especially as a woman.
As any woman can tell you, hormonal cycles are part of life and affect much of our thinking (please take note; I’m not arguing biological reductivism here, this is my personal opinion only). Some women are aware of their cycles in more concrete ways than men are and we are also aware of the changes in our thoughts and feelings during such times. We become attuned to such changes and work around them, with them, or against them. I found that my feelings of freedom from patriarchal thought and my feelings of genuine power came during these natural cycles, particularly during menstruation (I can see the men fleeing from the room already!). I slowly began to realize why men are so afraid of menstruating women (or even discussing it), why the scriptures have a lot to say about this natural phenomenon, and why patriarchal religions throughout the centuries have always forced the menstruating woman “outside the camp” during her cycle. They fear our power of life and death symbolized by the shedding of blood…