Archive for June, 2016

Christie Goodman: Everyday Theology: Like a Mother WrenGood lesson from a good Mother ren.

June 29, 2016

There are several milestones in a child’s life that parents celebrate: sleeping through the night, taking those first steps, going to the restroom on their own, making their own breakfast, first da…

Source: Christie Goodman: Everyday Theology: Like a Mother Wren

Dominating of Women

June 28, 2016

Most religions and many ethicists declare that the key ethics test for any society is how the strong treat the weak. That is why glacially the lot of women has improved during human history. Because men are physically stronger men have dominated women and have required birth on demand. The Gospel of John alludes to it…”not by the will of man.” (John 1:13) The New International Version softens it to will of the “husband”, but the Greek is clear: “by the will of man.” It has been in my lifetime that it became possible for a husband to rape his wife. The legal definition of rape excluded wives.

In the 21st Century the domination of women is less by fathers and husbands and more by male-dominated organizations such as religions, governments and employers whose religious beliefs trump the religious freedom of employees, especially women employees. Before 1854, when the “Immaculate Conception” of Mary became doctrine in the Catholic Church a fetus that did not have a human form could not receive religious rites. When the pope became infallible in 1870, the Immaculate Conception became dogma. Mary was the mother of Jesus but she could not be the “Mother of God” until she was freed of original sin at conception.

Thomas Aquinas disagreed with the concept because if Mary were sinless she did not need a savior. Neither the Orthodox Church nor Protestants accept the immaculate conception because there is no biblical base for it. Many Protestants, including Fundamentalists, believe “Mother of God” is sacrilegious or blasphemy.

When my wife and I married in 1953, our Southern Baptist pastor warned that if she became pregnant she should not go to a Catholic doctor or a Catholic hospital because they would sacrifice her life to save a fetus. Our married friends heard the same from their pastors. Southern Baptists believed that was deplorable prejudice toward women.

In response to Roe v. Wade, Fundamentalist icon W. A. Criswell, pastor of First Baptist Church, Dallas, declared, “I have always felt that it was only after a child was born and had life separate from the mother that it became an individual person, and it always has, therefore, seemed to me that what is best for the mother and for the future should be allowed.” W. Barry Garrett of Baptist Press wrote, “Religious liberty, human equality and justice are advanced by the Supreme Court abortion decision.”

In 1980 Fundamentalists took over the Southern Baptist Convention and many Fundamentalists including Southern Baptists began to believe that ensoulment happened at conception. There is neither a biblical nor a scientific reason for that belief. More than half of fertilized eggs are not implanted and are flushed from the body, yet each is more sacred than the life of a pregnant woman? And how are they treated? Like human waste. No religious rites. No protesters demanding they be saved. What kind of morality is that?

Furthermore, there is no big bang, no “moment” in conception. There are a half dozen processes that must occur before an egg is fertilized and the processes take about 24 hours. Approximately half of those implanted will never become a live birth. Protestants base their beliefs on the Bible but beginning in 1980, Fundamentalists began reading the Bible in a new way. Adam was made in the image of God but had no soul until God gave him the breath of life. (Gen. 2:7) In the parable of the Valley of Dry Bones, the bones grow sinew, flesh, skin but are not alive until they are given breath. (Ezek. 37:9)

The Bible requires abortion for some sins. (Num. Chapt.5; Lev. 20: 20, 21) The prophet Hosea prayed for God to punish wayward Israelites with abortion.(Hosea 9:14) When God wanted to punish the Midianites all the women were killed; neither pregnant women nor their fetuses were spared. (Num. Chapt. 31)

If men fight and one hits a pregnant woman causing an abortion, then he must pay the father for the loss of his property. If the woman is injured, it is eye for eye. (Ex. 21: 22-25) When God established the value of persons pregnant women have no greater value than sterile women. Infants have no value until they are a month old. (Lev. 27:1-7) When God commanded a census of the Levites, only males a month old or older were to be counted. (Num. 3:14, 15) Babies less than a month old didn’t have personhood.

Unless a man has a good life and proper burial, abortion is better. (Eccl. 6:3) The Apostle Paul wrote “The spiritual did not come first, but the natural (animal), and after that the spiritual.” (I Cor. 15:46) The writer of Hebrews stated that Levi existed in the loins of his great-grandfather. (Hebrew 7: 9-10)

The Fundamentalist position is based on 1 Tim. 2:12, “I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man.“ If women did not submit their uterus to the control of their father, husband or a male-dominated organization like a church, state or corporation then women would control reproduction and women would sometimes have authority over men if they said no. If men maintain control of reproduction, that means birth on demand.