Sunday, December 30, 2007

Yeah, off-topic but I've been neglecting this blog.

Some interesting stuff in this thread about women and religion, particularly Artic Stranger's Post #40:
For men, women represent a loss of power. To fall in love is to give your heart away. If you give your heart away, you can be hurt...very badly. (There was a recent play where one character tells her daughter, "Don't be the one in the relationship who loves the most. That person gets hurt. You need to be the one who is loved the most. You wont get hurt then."

Throw in the sexual drive, and have a very threatened man. How does that song go? "When a man loves a woman..." (See song lyrics at the end of Post)

Then throw in the historical feeling of men that one of the worst things you can be called is "sissy" or "pussy" or some other term to denote that you were a feminine type man. (In ancient Rome homosexuality was rampant...well SODAMY was rampant, homosexuality did not exist... and it was considered fine to be the one screwing other men, but you did not want to be the one who was screwed by other men.) Sexuality is a fluid thing, and most women have some masculine characteristics, and most men have some feminine characteristics. Men are much less comfortable with their feminine side than women are with their masculine side. (These are tendencies, not iron clad rules.) So when the feminine appears in a man, he feels threatened, from within, but he can easily focus the threat outward to other women.

Now throw in religion. Let's take Augustine, one of the main culprits in the Christian wrong turn on sexuality. Augustine was a man obsessed with sex. He was the one who prayed, "Lord make me chaste, but not today." It was his attraction to his mistress that kept him from fully converting to Christianity. When he did convert he renounced her and his child he had with her.

Now as I was writing that last paragraph, I ALMOST wrote, "It was his mistress who kept him from fully converting." Notice how I almost put the blame on her. It was rather instinctual, and I had reframe my own thoughts. That "innocent" little slip is a habit for many men who want to devote their lives to God. The major impediment most will encounter will be their relationship with women. And since we are masters at self-delusion and self-justification, it is rather easy to see how the problem shifts from "I have a problem dealing with my desires about women" to "Women are a problem to me." When that move is made, men must be protect from women.

(And remember that sexual roles were pretty segregated at one time. A lot of what women did was a HUGE mystery to men. And we did not know as much about anatomy either, so even the way women were structured was a mystery. Where DOES that baby come from? What is the deal with all that blood?)

So eventually, to "protect" men from the effects of women, they eventually put them into one of two boxes; virgin saint, or whore. They are either helping us toward our goal of sainthood (usually by making an incredible sacrifice of their own sexuality, violently and graphically) or they are seducing us with their sexuality and are poison apples.


  1. The thing I always bear in mind, trying to pick apart religion and slope-browed thinking, is that people will reliably twist religion to justify whatever idiocy they were planning on indulging in anyway. Examples:

    - Homosexuality and Christianity. You can find a few spotty references to how homosexuality is an "abomination" in the Old Testament, but those are right next to the parts where there are proscriptions against planting two kinds of crops, shaving your beard, and even wearing garments made of two different fabrics. (Careful with those polycotton blends!) To say nothing of kosher laws and other rules that Orthodox Jews hold to because they're in the Old Testament, but your modern Christian feels don't apply to them. Yet they cleave to the homosexuality part because it gives them justification to hate.

    - Anti-semitism and Christianity. The standard justification for giving Jews the stink-eye is that they killed Jesus. Well you know who else was a Jew? Jesus! This is the part where smoke would come out of the robot's ears and its brain would explode in a shower of sparks, but bigots don't have the same devotion to logic as Norman or Nomad.

    - To quote Jerry Falwell: "God is pro-war". Also to quote Jerry Falwell: "AIDS is God's punishment". This is a man who clearly has no idea what the hell Jesus was talking about, and if there is a hell, he's roasting in it.

    - Catholics vs. Christianity. There are plenty of evangelicals who look at the Catholic Church as some sort of pagan cult and I'm convinced it's because evangelicals embrace America as God's Favorite Country Ever. If America is God's favorite, then any sect that is tied to some old European city must be in league with Satan. Also, evangelicals charge that the Catholics don't pay enough attention to the Bible, which is a howler when you remember that the Catholics compiled the Bible in the first place. But hey, don't let actual history get in the way of your nationalism and xenophobia.

    Related to this: Pope Pius XII gets a bad rap as someone who allegedly didn't do a thing to help the Jews in WWII. Well, except perhaps for the 860000 that Israel credits him for saving. (Link. Yes, it's put out by the Catholic League, but all the assertions on the page are readily verifiable, and are more than sufficient to dispell the claim that the Pope didn't do a damn thing to help the Jews during WWII.) I'm all for calling the Catholic Church on its historical and current misdeeds, but when they do the right thing it's only fair to give them proper credit.

  2. A nitpick: homosexuality did indeed exist in the ancient Mediterranean. There's even evidence in the literature that suggests that there was a "homosexual culture", at least insofar as there were certain "codes" and established gathering places.