Saturday, 9 December 2006

Is the Bible sexist? 2

Part 1. They were equal in dignity and personhood, because they’d been made in God’s image. They were together with no shame, and God had said it was really good. So what happened?

We’re now in a world of sexist jokes, of slagging off the other sex, of power play, of manipulation... We’re in a world where, according to a Warwick report just out, 5 year olds give teachers sexist abuse! And the Bible’s real to this too: it goes on to describe not this good harmony of equality in complementarity but men abusing women, women manipulating men... You see, we got our dignity and equality from the creator: he was the source, and it derived from him. They enjoyed each other under his rule. They fitted together under his rule, as equals. But rather than enjoying that dignity and equality they got from God, they rebelled against him. And we rebel against him.

There was no sexism, no male chauvinism under God’s good creator-rule. But we decide that we want to rule; we want to decide what’s good. But you can’t rebel against the source of goodness and remain completely good!
You decide that your tutor doesn’t really want you to understand his subject better; he’s just being mean. Who’s he to say what’s good and what’s not? So you and a couple of friends depose your tutor, take over his office, and now you decide what makes the grade. You award A’s to yourselves, of course, and... pretty much everyone else. Well, that's all nice to start with, but are you actually good academically? Not without teachers you aren’t... and not if everyone else is getting A’s either!

If you rebel against the tutor, who declares what’s good and what isn’t, then goodness actually goes out the window. You get discrimination, or falling standards, bribery, and general corruption right until some other student deposes you in a military coup.
The man and woman rebelled against the one who makes good, gives good and declares good – enter corruption, power-play and sexism, stage left.

Same now: we don’t want our own roles; we want to usurp God’s role. And in doing so, we pervert God’s design. You’re worried about sexists? I tell you it’s worse: we’re all sexual perverts!

God said the gender war would start: they’d rejected dignity as God’s creatures so the man would be abusing his power trying to rule harshly over the woman; and they’d rejected harmony like God so the woman would be trying to manipulate the man for power. They’d rejected the giver of harmonious dignity so they’d attack each other’s dignity.

The Bible, far from being sexist, describes life as it is. It doesn’t cause our sexism, it explains the cause of our sexism. We know we’re equal. We know we’re different to animals: how many animals have seminars on sexism in society, or counselling sessions on relationships?! We know we’re different. We know at best it can be beautiful. And we know that at heart we’re pretty perverted.
Just look at the number of books in Smiths (probably even in the uni bookshop) trying to sort us out on sex, gender & relationships. For goodness sake, we even nod sagely when someone says, "It’s like... men are from Mars, and women are from Venus!" We don’t have to go so far to find why we’re like we are: we’re both from God, but we’re perverted rebels.
And we recognise the perversion only because there was a good plan to start with: the Bible gives the only explanation for sexism and reason for our objecting to it - we're both from God, but we're perverted rebels.

But the Bible not only explains out sexism, it judges our sexism.
The trouble with trying to claim that the Bible’s sexist is that it turns the accusation back on us.
But that's for the next post.

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