The beauty of earning a Master’s degree in Literature is the myriad ways you learn to while away the hours of a dry Thomas Hardy seminar or that Semiotics colloquium by making up words with the person sitting next to you. My best friend in college and I would amuse ourselves by coming up with outlandish theories for our forthcoming research papers (this is called “doing theory” in literary circles). 🙂 In other words the more bizarre the theory the more attention you’ll get, but I digress. Creating words is usually a male-dominated domain (see Mary Daly for being bold enough to take the bull by the horns), but my best friend and I decided to rattle some cages. Hence, we came up with many humerous combinations.
Now, those hours of whiling away class have finally payed off. It occurred to me while answering comments about my previous entry, “Giving Up the Bible for God” that I needed to coin a term for a certain type of activity displayed by persons whom I’ve encountered on numerous occasions; bibliolaters. (And I’m not targeting those who’ve commented, it just made me think of some college classes I took on the Bible and Mythology!) Bibliolatry is not the correct term for people who take the Bible literally. While a bibliolater literally means “a worshiper of a book,” the term could describe any book, like Gone With the Wind or To Kill a Mockingbird. I am a bibliolater because I believe nothing compares to a good book. I worship, live, breathe, and devour books. That’s not the type of bibliolater I mean. What I mean is the religious bibliolater or those that people on the left call religious fundamentalists or religious right.
What I want to coin is a word that describes a specific viewpoint and the idolization of a particular religious document, hence I just now coined the term mascuscriptolatry. “Mascu-” is the common beginning for words that indicate “all things male (as femi- is female).” “Scriptolotry” is obviously the worship of Scripture, which is defined as a constructed document with religious connotations. In other words, written documents that male writers imbue with supernatural qualities can safely be called Scripture. If we discuss those politicos who believe the Constitution is akin to scripture, we may call it Constitutolatry. Therefore, mascuscriptololaters are worshipers of religiously constructed documents written by men. Or you could call is Scriptomasculism which sounds even better. Either way, these documents are given much more weight than they often should because some believe that God literally “wrote” these documents THROUGH men. Men thought they were simply God’s amaneunsis, if you will.
However you define it, mythology, legends, scripture, and any communitarian documents have always been written by men. Women have written such items, but they’ve been spurned, burned, and un-canonized out of existence. Of course all of this is predicated on the premise of a male god sanctioning men to write male-oriented scripture.
The whole point I’m making is that you cannot argue with mascuscriptolaters. I have engaged in enough “debate” with fundamentalists and atheists to know this. I’ve had discussions ad nauseum with all kinds of people and have learned that people will generally believe what they want to believe. Fundamentalists in particular are VERY hard to have a discussion with because they are obssessively convinced of their own rightness. I used to be a fundamentalist, so I know there’s at least a smidgen of hope of breaking through to them, God willing. The starting point for any argument with them would HAVE to be based on a premise that all documents throughout the history of the world have been and are generated by humans, not gods, and no religious fundamentalist (mascuscriptolater) will EVER agree to that premise unless reason somehow breaks into their thought process and overcome the brainwashing. I’m not saying that some scripture is not inspired, even magnificent in its insight, but all scripture is human-generated. God can and does use Scripture to get through to us, but God is not confined to Scripture. God is not confined to theology. God is not confined to Nature. Therefore, argument without the premise of the human generation of scripture is futile.
When I look at the Bible and when I engage in biblical interpretation through the Holy Spirit, I am also looking through the human lens because I am human. I then look at all biblical interpretation through a female lens because I am female. I then look to God for inspiration, the God that represents all aspects of humanity and not just half of it. You begin where you are because that’s where God-with-us begins, “existence precedes essence,” and until that is acknowledged, it’s best not to get into semantics with religious fundamentalists (of any religion) at all.