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Is Religion bad for Women?

Ben Forbes G.
Epicurean306
Kissimmee, FL
Post #: 323
“Who speaks for god? You don’t.”
This ridiculous quote fallaciously assumes (petitio principii) that there exists any actual god who it’s possible for anyone to “speak for” even though this is unknown and unlikely — sanctimonious self-appointed “earthly representatives” (various sorts of clergy, priests, gurus, etc.) have spuriously claimed to speak for and interpret “supernatural” divine “authorities” and their vile and primitive alleged “revealed” words for millennia and unfortunately continue to do so though — and therein lies the problem… especially when their immoral myths, unjust rules/teachings, and “prophesies” are inexcusably and egregiously sexist or otherwise deplorable. Moreover, it’s not truly possible to “speak for” imaginary entities which are obvious and demonstrable culturally-borrowed and/or syncretic inventions of human, all too human imaginations — or are inherently defined in ways that are so self-contradictory, internally-inconsistent, or incompatible with reality as to render such deities logically impossible. Unlike some theists, I don’t sanctimoniously claim to speak for any imaginary deity (and to imply that I do as if that could prove anything for your side is a straw-man or tu quoque fallacy depending on the intended connotation), but I also don’t let vile and antiquated scriptures or unjustifiable veneration of them off the hook from warranted criticisms — and I take them more seriously and analyze them more realistically, thoroughly, and unflinchingly than most believers.devilish
“God spoke though the prophets and prophetesses, starting as best as we can tell through Israel, or if your perspective is wide enough, though Adam and Eve and on down through to today.”
As best as you can tell, perhaps…cool Indeed, the level of understanding of ancient history on display in the above quote is sadly myopic and naïve if you fail to realize that there were plenty of documented purported “prophets” in various cultures long before Israel existed — and, more importantly, the “predictions” of ancient Israeli prophets are nothing even close to special or impressive when tested by the lights of the sensible standards detailed below… And actual belief in Adam and Eve as described in Genesis is just asinine, preposterous, risible, and morally deplorable.angry In general, I’m aware of zero proven examples of verified, specific prophecies that couldn’t have obviously been contrived, and the Bible certainly contains none... Also, what “prophesies” do you imagine are valid or purportedly prescient “on down through to today” and why? Alleged “prophesies” should rationally be rejected under any of the following conditions:
  • If the “prophecy” is vague, unclear or garbled (like Nostradamus’ ramblings, for example). Real prophesies worth taking seriously should be detailed, specific, and unambiguous in their predictions and wording.
  • If the “prophecy” is trivial. Anyone could predict that it will be cold next winter, or that this drought/plague/flood will eventually subside, etc. A “prophecy” should predict something surprising, unlikely, or unique.
  • If the “prophecy” is obviously contrived. No official seer or court astrologer ever predicted that the king he worked for would be a brutal, evil tyrant who would ruin the country or would die a horrible, ignominious, and inexorable death.
  • If the “prophecy” is self-fulfilling; i.e., if the mere fact of the prophecy’s existence could cause people to make it come true. The Jewish people returned to their homeland in Israel just as the Torah/Bible said they would, but this isn’t a genuine “prediction” — they did it because the Bible said they would. The “predicted” event can’t be one that people could stage.
  • If the “prophecy” predicts an event that already happened and the writing of the prophecy itself can’t be shown to have preceded the event.
  • If the “prophecy” predicts an event that already happened and the happening of that event can’t be verified by independent evidence. For example, Christian apologists claim that Jesus fulfilled many Old Testament prophecies, but the authors of the New Testament obviously had access to those prophecies also; what would have prevented them from writing their story to conform to them? The extra-biblical evidence for the existence of Jesus is so pathetically scanty that it’s impossible to disprove such a proposal.
  • And finally, if the “prophecy” is the lone success among a thousand failures. Anyone can throw “prophecies” against the wall until one sticks. The book or other source from which it comes must have at least a decently good record on other predictions.
These conditions, at minimum, are eminently reasonable — and are only what should be rationally expected of any “true” prophet with a genuine gift.biggrin
Ben Forbes G.
Epicurean306
Kissimmee, FL
Post #: 324
“The standard for woman is the standard for man, you paint a picture of a double-standard where none exists when it comes to the Lord.”
Now who is claiming to “speak for God” Rami?devilish Moreover, what’s missing from the “picture you paint” is anything even approaching superior EVIDENCE in quantity or quality to that which I have marshaled in polemic. The salient point is that your Pollyanna assumptions about the allegedly egalitarian “mind of God” are factually at odds with inexcusably sexist/misogynist scriptures and widespread traditional as well as ongoing teachings and practices. Also, I’m not the one painting a picture of divine double-standards by undeservedly venerating or taking seriously “holy” scriptures wherein Eve was created as her husband’s helpmeet / from Adam’s rib, wherein natural and healthy expressions of sexuality are prudishly repressed, wherein women are misogynistically portrayed as virginal innocents or whorish temptresses (or meek and dutiful mothers/wives), wherein women are treated like subservient chattel by law and in actual practice, wherein there are circumstances under which sexual slavery is legal, etc.angry The incontrovertibly sexist double-standards I’m referring to demonstrably exist not only inherently and inextricably in scriptures (including in commands and laws attributed to God AND to the Jesus character), but also in how organized religions have actually played out in the world in human cultures in terms of legal and social expectations for billions of women for millennia.crying
Even if one accepted your unsubstantiated argument that god is secretly “egalitarian” — despite the vile and inexcusable contents of allegedly “holy” and venerated scriptures, the salient point is that this doesn’t change how religions actually play out in the world in unnecessarily detrimental ways explicitly inspired and endorsed by scriptures; even if a few particular sects believe in equality of the sexes and somehow manage to ignore or downplay enough of their scriptures to attempt to practice gender equality in some exceptional religious communities which are nontraditional, it’s nonetheless a damning indictment of one’s scriptural theology and religion as a whole (if not the practices of one’s sect) that such a progressive interpretation is the exception, not the rule (and that this is sadly unsurprising if one takes Judeo-Christian scriptures seriously, in particular).
“And that is the stumbling block for you as the believer’s worldview is that there is The Lord — one. Not Lords, not Ladies, not this and that, and the other, or intermediaries. There is Lord, and it is the believer’s right to seek after and find one’s place in the kingdom thereof.”
So, do you not believe in the trinity or the divinity of Jesus?shock What about angels, demons, or the Devil/Satan? The sanctimonious arrogance of monotheists hypocritically dismissing polytheism when they have no better evidence for their own equally preposterous beliefs is as hilariously self-defeating as their henotheism risibly cloaked in the guise of ostensible “monotheism” which they baselessly consider to be such a “superior” form of religion when it is merely more autocratic. tongue Furthermore, you believe in and talk of “prophesy” and venerate scripture but mock “intermediaries” — what exactly do you think believing in prophesies or imagining any scripture to be “holy” or “inspired” involves?wink

Certainly, believers should have the right to “seek after” whatever self-contradictory imagined theologies they please and pretend they have a place in a wishful “divine kingdom” as long as they don’t use government, public schools, businesses, or undue special social privileges to impose such unjustifiable beliefs on anyone who doesn’t share their faith.cool Almost no atheists would seek to deny believers reasonable free-exercise of any religion so long as it’s not criminally harmful (in which case the crimes, and not religion per se, would be the harms prohibited/curtailed by state power — for example, not allowing the unnecessary killing of children by faith-“healing” instead of crucial medical care, not allowing FLDS Mormons to abuse young girls, etc.).
“At this point the valid question: is our language (which defaults to male) bad for women?”
Yes, of course patriarchal default pronouns are bad for women and girls (and it’s definitely good and long overdue that modern language tries to be more politically-correct with various methods of “solving” this problem). That said, even the inherently sexist and preposterously anthropocentric idea of a masculine God is arguably much more psychologically detrimental to women than “default” masculine pronouns… and antiquated traditional conventions in language in no way let sexist theology off the hook (much of which is MUCH worse than pronouns, as I’ve amply proven throughout this thread)! Concurrently, an omnipotent and present egalitarian deity could easily fix any sexism in our language or at least proclaim and teach unimpeachable “sacred texts” that would respect women as equals; moreover, there is simply no acceptable excuse that could possibly in any way exonerate the egregious sexism/misogyny that inherently and inextricably permeates most religious scriptures if these books are mistakenly and deplorably still meant to be taken seriously beyond mere mythological literature within their primitive historical context. The Bible should be considered far worse than merely “troubling” by any conscientious modern person who reads it thoroughly — indeed, it should be acerbically condemned and lampooned as inexcusably and irredeemably vile as well as ethically, epistemically, and ontologically inferior to the point of worthlessness.cool
Rami K.
Rammy
Orlando, FL
Post #: 565
“And that is the stumbling block for you as the believer’s worldview is that there is The Lord — one. Not Lords, not Ladies, not this and that, and the other, or intermediaries. There is Lord, and it is the believer’s right to seek after and find one’s place in the kingdom thereof.”
So, do you not believe in the trinity or the divinity of Jesus?shock What about angels, demons, or the Devil/Satan? The sanctimonious arrogance of monotheists hypocritically dismissing polytheism when they have no better evidence for their own equally preposterous beliefs is as hilariously self-defeating as their henotheism risibly cloaked in the guise of ostensible “monotheism” which they baselessly consider to be such a “superior” form of religion when it is merely more autocratic. tongue Furthermore, you believe in and talk of “prophesy” and venerate scripture but mock “intermediaries” — what exactly do you think believing in prophesies or imagining any scripture to be “holy” or “inspired” involves?wink
Trinity is God in three persons — still one. And yes I do believe in the anointed one — same one. As for angels, demons, or the Devil/Satan: aids, hindrances, and another who is not the focus of my devotion, or the worship of the communities of which I'm member. We, which is to say the multitude of saints, are indeed absolute in necessity, and without the corporeal participation of the body, how would anyone not already member ever have the chance of the knowledge of the almighty? A point however of the protestant revolution, a co-revolution of the enlightenment, is that while worthy of study (and even appreciation) saints as beautified are not necessarily in-and-of-themselves the point of worship.

As for the nature of prophecy in general, looking even with secular eyes prophets are themselves not limited to the religious domain, as the term has been appropriated out to the likes of science fiction authors world-wide. And with this perspective it is easy to see that prophets are often not predictors of the future, but mouthpieces of the present, especially when there is no cause for change in status quo. So if the prophets of ancient Israel and Judah appear to be messengers of doom, then perhaps we should listen as to why, as time and again what they claim we find indeed comes to pass. And yet in each of these we find always God's promises do not change -- though the aspirations of those listening to false prophets often and do have their hopes dashed.

Do you honestly think that because of our technological achievement our moral advancement is so far past the biblical Israelites; and have not the Israelis themselves advanced in understanding, as you've alluded? Or is the nation today just as capable of mistakes, as any other people, who might incorrectly think themselves somehow advanced beyond Elohim
Ben Forbes G.
Epicurean306
Kissimmee, FL
Post #: 325
It’s quite ridiculous that you seem to think that simply explicitly stating and describing the precise theology that I correctly criticized as inconsistent with views you have expressed on this thread (in the passage from my post which you just quoted) somehow constitutes a substantive “defense” of that theology based on anything more than blind-faith and dubious subjective exegesis…tongue Indeed Rami, you quite damningly prove my polemical points devastatingly correct with your own hypocritical and self-contradictory words… Furthermore, in a good example of the efficacy of “the outsider test for faith” — most Jews and Muslims recognize (correctly) that trinitarian Christianity is essentially polytheistic in all but name, with merely an illogical pastiche of henotheistic “monotheism” spuriously attempting to “reconcile” the preposterous savior-cult of Jesus with the zealous monotheism of the Torah — and Jews do not (nor did they ever) believe in the asinine and completely illogical doctrine of the Trinity. This should be seen as a highly relevant fact too, because if the Judeo-Christian deity ostensibly existed and was indeed allegedly a “trinity” as most Christians imagine, then why would He not have clearly and unambiguously told His own “chosen people” that consistently throughout scripture? There is no satisfactory excuse. If it was always God’s intention to “redeem” humanity in the person of Jesus (which constitutes a barbaric and immoral doctrine, by the way, and an indefensibly backwater place, time, and mechanism to send a “savior”), should Yahweh not have prepared the Jews by telling them ahead of time that He was three in one? For Him to conceal this purportedly basic fact about His own nature for so long would only have unnecessarily confused them when it was finally “revealed” — and certainly increased the likelihood that they would reject Christianity as a false religion (as it deserves). Why did the “prophets” of the Torah not preach the trinity? What assurance do theists have that the Trinity is a “true” fact about divine presence that is genuinely beyond our ability to comprehend, as opposed to a false claim invented by people whose illogical idea is protected from scrutiny by cloaking it in “mystery” we allegedly aren’t intended to rationally understand?

Risible apologetic contortions attempting to “justify” the Trinity such as κένωσις can fit at least as well, and in most cases much better, into non-trinitarian interpretations. Admittedly though, as far as the New Testament goes, the idea of the Trinity is not wholly without scriptural support, but neither does scripture require it or state it as unequivocally and consistently as one should have every right to expect regarding an ostensibly BASIC DEFINITION of the purported nature of the God(s) described and presumably meant by the authors to be worshiped according to their conceptions. Suffice it to say: a great deal of baseless subjective interpretation is involved either way. There are verses that can “fit” into a trinitarian framework (although that is not such a great feat — since there are almost no imaginable passages that could not be shoehorned). However, an incontrovertibly salient point is that these same verses, as well as many others, can also be more harmoniously fit into non-trinitarian frameworks. Sorry, but the reality is that the New Testament “evidence” is simply not decisive one way or the other, even giving your dogmatically biased view the benefit of the doubt. Finally, what should be seen as the most devastatingly decisive factor to consider is the complete absence of the Trinity from the Old Testament (as well as its basically irrational nature, of course… which I’ll critique in my detail in my next post).devilish
Ben Forbes G.
Epicurean306
Kissimmee, FL
Post #: 326
Christians are too often quite deplorably, sanctimoniously, and baselessly proud that their religion is ostensibly “not polytheistic” (as if true monotheism would be so much “better”), and just because they naïvely accept the claim that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are purportedly not three separate gods but are in some vague way “all the same being” (without conducting adequate critical exegesis or historical research to confirm whether there is really any good reason or evidence to believe this). Let’s assume for the sake of argument though, just for a moment, that trinitarianism is somehow true; in that case, what is it that makes the Christian god a trinity? In what way are the three persons/parts “distinct” while at the same time remaining One? The difference is ostensibly not one of presence or extent; all three members of the Trinity are usually believed by Christians to be omnipresent (after all, Christians indulge themselves in the delusion that they can effectively “pray” to God and Jesus and “feel” the Holy Spirit). The difference is supposedly not one of power, either; Christians typically believe all members of the Trinity to be omnipotent (they often speak as though they imagine Jesus and the Holy Spirit to “work” in their lives as well as God, etc.). Nor is the difference allegedly one of knowledge; Christians believe all members of the Trinity to be omniscient (like creepy celestial peeping-Toms watching our most intimate moments, judging our thoughts and intentions, and convicting us of thought-crimes!). Anyway, what else could be the source of the distinction? Do the members of the Trinity have separate consciousnesses, so that their thoughts are different from each other? Do they have separate wills, so that their desires and preferences differ? If neither is the case, then in what sense are they distinct? This is the fundamental and irresolvable “paradox” (self-contradiction) of the Trinity. If the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have separate consciousnesses or desires, then they are each separate gods, and there is no sense in which they could equally be the same being. In that case, Christianity is polytheistic. But on the other hand, if the Son and the Holy Spirit have no separate consciousnesses or will from the Father, then they have no independent existence at all — they are merely subordinate instruments or tools through which God “works in mysterious ways” (shapshifting much like Zeus) to accomplish his conveniently inscrutable (or capriciously malevolent) will. One would not call a carpenter’s hammer a carpenter in and of itself, nor would one say that the carpenter was the same as his hammer. In this case, if the members of the Trinity have no separate consciousness, will, or desires, then there is no Trinity at all — the whole doctrine is essentially just a convoluted way for God to talk to himself and conveniently “do” and “be” things Christian mythmakers wanted to emphasize. No matter which way contemporary Christians care to imagine it though, the entire trinitarian concept is a ridiculously stupid and completely baseless insubstantial fantasy.smile

Moreover, any objective and unbiased analysis should conclude that your risible trinitarian doctine is merely an accident of military history, and if different sects of early Christianity had happened to triumph in the brutally intolerant holy wars of the first few “Christian centuries” and codified their beliefs as orthodox theology (instead of the trinitarian victors who happened to win), then your trinitarian views would be the obsolete and nearly dead obscure “heresy” that almost nobody believes — and one or more others would instead have been credulously believed by billions (for centuries and still popularly to this day) in their place! At the time, I can assure you that the survival or Christianity in general, or any early sect’s theological dogmas in particular, was my no means assured. Furthermore, except for in the especially dubious Gospel of John (which at best supports a duality rather than a trinity and barely even that), there is hardly any unequivocal scriptural support for the trinity whatsoever — and anyway, as I’ve already explained, the extrabiblical evidence-based reality is that trinitarianism is an asinine doctrine anyway no matter who endorses it or claims it in ignorant, convoluted, and self-contradictory ancient scriptures or apocrypha. Without actual proof of how such a paradoxical and unlikely “mechanism” could logically work, it should be insisted that the Christian divinity concept should be either one (monotheism) or three (henotheism/polytheism), but not magically both at the same time plus a cast of supporting ancillary supernatural beings (yet somehow ironically in denial of being hypocritically polytheistic while managing to get away with stridently disparaging and looking down on polytheism). I call bullshit when Christians take that attitude, as they so often do... Moreover, there is realistically not even adequate evidence that any god exists, let alone that an illogical “trinity” is even possible at all, let alone ostensibly the most “probable” possibility. I have yet to see a Christian even try to substantively meet the burden of proof to “support” their dubious trinitarian tenets without pathetically fallacious petitio principii appeals to subjective interpretations of scriptural claims. Demonstrating more than reasonable doubt regarding trinitarianism, even authentically by the lights of Christians’ OWN scriptures, is a trivially easy reductio ad absurdum case to win. The only real trinity is the outdated, primitive, and overgrown trinity of squabbling and intolerant Abrahamic faiths, the latter two of which have been especially detrimental, historically, though there is sadly no solution in sight to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.crying

Also, there was little religious “Enlightenment” and much puritanical sanctimony and intolerant sectarian civil war involved with the Protestant Reformation — and the Enlightenment era and Scientific Revolution built much more on the Renaissance as well as multifarious pagan and secular influences. Christianity run amok led to relatively Dark Ages, crusades, pogroms, torture of heretics, burnings of books and witches, etc. Furthermore, not that Jesus is worthy of admiration, but Martin Luther arguably had more in common philosophically with Hitler than he did with Jesus (not that it’s hard to improve on the low-bar set by the Catholic Church then or now). Moreover, repudiating saints does make Protestantism less polytheistic than Catholic or Orthodox sects — but my main points regarding the trinity, angels, etc. still stand without refutation — and I’ve now more than amply expanded on my summary statement which you quoted to thoroughly demonstrate why even most protestant Christians are not nearly as “monotheistic” as they naïvely and sanctimoniously/hypocritically suppose. It should also be noted that, in general, one of many reasons Christianity is so obviously false is the irreconcilable incompatibility of the Old and New “Testaments” of the Bible.cool
Ben Forbes G.
Epicurean306
Kissimmee, FL
Post #: 327
Moving on: secular predictions are NOT prophesies, since they do not purport to be “divinely inspired” or claim to conform-to or receive “revelations” of any “divine plan” or “will” — secular futurists, science-fiction writers, and others may be more or less evidence-based in their predictions (and their predictions may ultimately be vindicated or prove false/mistaken), but they are not prophetic and almost never claim to be. Furthermore, the bible is demonstrably full of false prophesies, and has made no impressive specific or surprising predictions which have been “fulfilled” based on the eminently reasonable standards outlined in my previous post.cool The false promises of imaginary deities (including Yahweh) are empty — and yes, our scientific and technological achievements and our moral advancement is so far past the biblical Israelites it’s not even funny… but it is nonetheless certainly sad that Zionists/IDF forces and Palestinians are still fighting in an asymmetric conflict with plenty of human-rights violations on both sides over the same relatively worthless and far from “holy” patch of desert that spawned the poisonous memetic virus of monotheism and most of its major extant mutations.sad
Rami K.
Rammy
Orlando, FL
Post #: 568
Ben: "do you honestly delude yourself that political female empowerment or equal rights by law for women is the 'moral' of any biblical story?"
What about the woman at the well? Liz Curtis Higgs encourages us to consider the question under another light.
Ben Forbes G.
Epicurean306
Kissimmee, FL
Post #: 328
There is not an iota of impressive feminist political female "empowerment" or equal rights by law as the moral of that περικοπή. Do you seriously think anyone should be impressed that the Jesus character would apparently be somewhat less sexist than the inexcusable standards of the time to obnoxiously and sanctimoniously proselytize to a woman at a well? Concurrently, I'm definitely NOT impressed by the perikopē's deplorably sexist implication that sexual relations outside of marriage (or desperate women resorting to desperate methods of survival) are somehow "sinful" or shameful, or the implication that creeper Jesus "psychically" guesses at (and is implied to magically "know") her history when he ought to mind his business; furthermore, it should be noted that the significance of the behavior of the Jesus character changes assuming he really did know she was unmarried, and not in a way that helps your case.devilish

More broadly, this περικοπή (and the preposterously credulous Polyanna interpretation the article you cite offers) is merely another irrelevant anecdote, and not even one that helps the case you are so desperately trying to make. The plural of anecdote is not "data" (and the overarchingly consistent pattern of inherent, inexcusably egregious, and allegedly divinely sanctioned/mandated sexism and misogyny throughout the Bible is firmly on my side of this debate in the form of overwhelmingly superior quantity and quality of multifarious unequivocal examples that you cannot even begin to TRY to supercede).tongue
Rami K.
Rammy
Orlando, FL
Post #: 570
The history of human rights is quite a story, and certainly to this day universal human rights remain debated. Indeed the idea of rights themselves are an interesting invention. Let's focus however on whom you think would be quick to deny certain people their rights while at the same time insisting on maintaining the same. At the bottom of your posts of late the argument appears to be that the act of faith, especially faith shared, is presumably misogynistic and therefore ought to be eradicated. Is this what you are saying?

I can only stand as a representative of my self, my family, and my spiritual communities of practice - out of which you are free to continue to explore and examine. I hope only that your prior objectification of faith as a risible thing which ought to be rejected at every turn does not keep you from truth.

True beliefs are the ones that make you a better person and happier
-- Charles Sanders Pierce

Rami K.
Rammy
Orlando, FL
Post #: 571
Michael Marlowe has published a piece entitled Quo Vadis? which we may find helpful in this discussion.
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