Women, the Church, Humility (Gasp), and Body Politics

I’ve been thrown around psychologically and spiritually quite a lot this week. I’ve felt a burden to blog about women’s rights in and out of the church. I’ve felt burdened to warn women about the cartoon antics of Protestant macho male preachers like Mark Driscoll, and I’ve felt a tug of war in my own soul between the voice of feminist liberation and the voice of submission to the church. Is there really any difference between emerging church guru Mark Driscoll and Amanda Marcotte, the new “preacher of feminism?” How is it different? Whose voice represents me? Neither. You see, it’s very hard to have humility when your whole life growing up was one of forced submission and oppression whether it comes at the hands of men or women. It’s very hard to admit your vulnerabilities when strength, wits, and supreme acts of will have been the only things that have saved you. Yet, whose voice becomes the new way? “There, but for the grace of God…”

Therefore, I’m still trying to come to terms as a woman with my own voice and authority and as a believer with an institution of religion that seems hopeless. I’ve read the views of women who stay in the church and try to change it from within and realize that I am not new to the scene. I do not have new ideas. I’m not that much of a revolutionary thinker. Many, many more worthy women have gone before me trying to challenge hierarchy and have “failed” in an institutional sense, but not in a personal one; Christine de Pizan, Hildegard of Bingen, Joan of Arc. Many Protestant women also took on the task of spiritual work, with or without the sanction of men. All of these women, and many more unnamed ones did not even think to “get permission” before they decided that things needed changing. So I am not in the least suggesting that my work is THAT important to the grand scheme of things. Carlos Carretto once said, “Perish the temptation that once we had come on the scene things would have taken a sharp turn for the better!” I have no illusions that I’m making any kind of difference in the world. This blog is mainly a forum for me and those foolish enough perhaps to read my rantings. Yet, I can’t help wanting to at least bring injustice to the attention of those who need to hear it most, whether male or female.

So, in this mood of quasi-spiritual despair/humility, I was contemplating what to blog about this morning that would even begin to address such issues, when I came across a wonderful bit of news from The Times in London. Apparently the Catholic Church admits the bible cannot be relied upon for “scientific accuracy or historical precision.” This is the most sensible thing I’ve heard come from the Catholic Church in years and goes a long way toward making me realize that there is hope in such a staid, stuffy, patriarchal institution. Once the bible gets taken down off it’s pedestal and is not worshiped by all, then real change can come. The news is one I’ve been saying all along on this blog. We shouldn’t be bound any longer by the breath of those long dead and culturally backward because of their words in an ancient text. Long held dogmas can now begin to change for the better; namely women’s roles in the Church. There I go being optimistic again. I have no illusions that change will come now or even 20 years from now, but this is a good start:

“We should not expect to find in Scripture full scientific accuracy or complete historical precision,” they say in The Gift of Scripture. The document is timely, coming as it does amid the rise of the religious Right, in particular in the US.

Some Christians want a literal interpretation of the story of creation, as told in Genesis, taught alongside Darwin’s theory of evolution in schools, believing “intelligent design” to be an equally plausible theory of how the world began.

But the first 11 chapters of Genesis, in which two different and at times conflicting stories of creation are told, are among those that this country’s Catholic bishops insist cannot be “historical”. At most, they say, they may contain “historical traces”.

The article continues with the UK Bishops showing profound wisdom:

The Bible is true in passages relating to human salvation, they say, but continue: “We should not expect total accuracy from the Bible in other, secular matters.”

They go on to condemn fundamentalism for its “intransigent intolerance” and to warn of “significant dangers” involved in a fundamentalist approach.

“Such an approach is dangerous, for example, when people of one nation or group see in the Bible a mandate for their own superiority, and even consider themselves permitted by the Bible to use violence against others.”

I’m encouraged. I’m also going to read the whole thing (link above). But the point is that the Spirit is not bound forever in one time or one place, on this or that page, in this or that thing. Protestant fundamentalists, who so castigate Catholics for “worship” of statues, fail to recognize an idol of their own making, the bible.

I suppose the whole week has gotten me thinking about religion, the Protestant and Catholic Churches, women’s liberation from oppression, and where I fit into this picture. Men will never understand the tension inherent in being a woman “forced” to submit to men and being a woman who submits “willingly” to the person of the mythical savior; Jesus. Is Jesus just another man in a long line of men who asks for all from women and gives nothing in return but the promise of “salvation” elsewhere, or is this truly a reciprocal relationship where Jesus in his humility also submits to us in our humanness, thereby enacting the model of all human relationships? Can women exist in morbidly patriarchal cultures and still honor the power and wisdom that is in them or must we be subsumed by men in power yet again? And again. And again. How can this theology be liberating when only women are asked to give their entire lives while men still enjoy the fruits of power under the mere guise of “submission?”

Virginia Mollenkott writes, in “Women, Men, and the Bible” that:

As we have seen, the New Testament teaches that the Christian way of relating is through mutual submission and mutual and voluntary loving service. But as somebody once quipped: “Who ever said that Christianity hasn’t worked? It’s never even been tried yet!” Certainly the history of male-female relations through the centuries demonstrates that Jesus’ teachings concerning mutual submission have at best received only lip service, and at worst have been converted into a cruel parody of themselves. Christlike submission has been taught to wives but not to husbands. Instead of giving themselves up for their wives as Jesus gave self up for the church, husbands have been encouraged to assume that their wives are supposed to make all the sacrifices.

And indeed, all women are taught in Protestant churches everywhere to make the most sacrifices, that they should just quit complaining about it, accept the status quo, and let men get on with their work! Don’t we know we are just slowing down the vital work of men in the church? Bah! I can no longer exist in fundamentalist churches and no longer will I go there. Because rather than be liberators of women, they have created the most oppressive atmosphere for women imaginable. And the Catholic Church, who used to be the chief oppressor and murderer of women, has come to recognize the valuable role women play. They are beginning to realize that without us there will be no more priests. Without our bodies and our childbearing, the church will shrink. Is it any wonder that women are using their bodies to protest, to procure abortions, to refuse surrender? And is it any wonder that men have become more violent against the bodies of women? Until women are fully part of the community, sadly, there will be more abortion and violence.

Acknowledging that more and more women are leaving the church, is it any wonder then that Pope Paul II threw women a “bone” in Evangelium Vitae? Is it any wonder that the Pope calls women to a “new feminism” because we are the bearers of life, something radical, pro-choice feminists resist to the very core of their beings? I’m not a fan of essentialism either, but must I give up honoring my role as mother and nurturer of life in order to make some political or intellectual difference in the world? Isn’t this more dualism? More of the same that we have heard from the church for years? Must I severely castigate one thing to be another? Why are women put in this position; to have to choose between egalitarian power, life, and a workable place in society through our wits and intellect vs. submission, essentialism, and breeders of a new patrist hierarchy? Are women merely the ladder whereby men get to their “heaven” and are “saved?”

The Ladder

I had a sudden vision in the night,
I did not sleep, I dare not say I dreamed.
Beside my bed a curious ladder gleamed
And lifted upward toward the sky’s dim height;
And every rung shone luminous and white,
And every rung a woman’s body seemed
Out-stretched, and down the sides her long hair
streamed;
And you, you climbed that ladder of delight.

You climbed sure-footed, naked rung by rung,
Clasped them and trod them, called them by their name,
And my name too, I hear you speak at last;
You stood upon my breast the while and flung
A hand up to the next–and then, oh shame,
I kissed the foot that bruised me as it passed.

Leonora Speyer (1872-1956)

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32 thoughts on “Women, the Church, Humility (Gasp), and Body Politics

  1. I read the article you linked to the UK, and found it pretty interesting. Particularly your second quote, I was nodding my head the whole time. With so many blatant literal and symbolic statements of loving our neighbor and speaking the truth in love, it is very discouraging to see a strictly literal interpretation of scripture used to manipulate and justify horrible treatment of our fellow human beings.

    Also, I loved the Virginia Mollenkott quote, I am definitely going to have to reuse that! She is so right that lip service has seemed to be the best historical example has had to offer. She said so much more eloquently what I was trying to eek out a couple posts ago.

    And equality for all sexes is most definitely needed. Many men have conveniently forgotten to take the lead in sacrificing as Christ sacrificed for the church. It’s certainly a lot of pressure and a high call, but one that is without excuse if not pursued to the best of our ability.

  2. Am I too picky if I wish that the Catholic Church had relaxed its stance on birth control, as well? After all, if one is saying that the Bible isn’t completely accurate in scientific and historical matters, why not go further?

    I probably am being too picky, because to have a Christian institution admit that is somewhat huge. I just keep looking at all the damage those institutions do, and thinking, “It’s not enough.” To not even help distribute condemns in Africa where many still believe that having sex with a virgin cures them of AIDS is morally wrong.

    It just gets a little tiring to see those institutions that claim to have the absolute path to love, morality, compassion and justice often seem to be the same institutions that are the last to make improvements: look at the womens rights movement, and how many churches used certain Biblical passages to justify keeping them second-class. Look at climate change, or birth control, or any of that. Religion, with its joy of God and life, should be leading these charges, not trying to drag us back into the dark.

    I also wonder if we’ll ever see this article in the US.

  3. I enjoyed your essay Moi.

    Here’s the part that you quoted from elsewhere that sticks out in my mind:

    “The Bible is true in passages relating to human salvation, they say, but continue: “We should not expect total accuracy from the Bible in other, secular matters.”

    Isn’t this still cherry picking? On one hand it’s true on the other hand don’t expect accuracy? It seems again, that the implication here is, “we” the Catholic church are the one “true” church because we interpret the Bible passages regarding salvation are true.

    I still hear the hierarchy saying, okay, here’s what we know now and here’s what to believe about it all. I’m not saying a woman can’t exist in this climate and work for change. I’m saying that if she remains continue on with thinking for herself and be careful about getting too excited on what appears to be progress.

    You are so right about some Protestants having their idols too and yes, in my experience that idol was the inerrant Bible. But it was also so many other things as well. Church attendance, tithing etc..

    I have always enjoyed your writing but Moi, neither of us are foolish. Believe in yourself first. 🙂

  4. Heather,

    Yes, the Catholic and Protestant churches are notorious for calling sin where there is none and making traditions where none should be but my focus is primarily bible interpretation and admitting where one is wrong.

    The Catholic church especially is a monolith of interpretations and opinions and while giving the appearance of the Borg mind is really not. I’ve known priests far more merciful than the institution would force them to be and I’ve known some priests who give all priests a bad name. Same goes for some Protestant preachers.

    I’m tickled to death that the bishops even thought about what it means to interpret scripture in this fashion. Of course for some it’s too little to late, but for women who wish to remain in the institution and work for reconciliation between the sexes or to somehow justify a “lost” situation as some see it, it’s a glimmer of hope.

  5. rebecca,

    Now, now I see some distinct finger-wagging in my direction. 🙂

    But, even I can admit when I’ve been too harsh or too critical and I thought I should rectify that by pointing out some light at the end of a long tunnel, however small the spark. Both extremes of the religio-political spectrum need to calm down and figure out a path of peace, because fighting against everything and everybody gets nothing constructive done (slight nod to Brad). I’m just trying to carve a “middle way” through the extremists and with a goal toward working together. Call me an optimist??

    Call it corny, but I see religions as like large ships barreling their way toward a redemptive goal they each call “heaven.” All believe that humankind will be better off where they are going. All the ships claim to be unique by having a special navigational tool. One has a map. Another has a golden compass. Still others read by the stars or watch the winds. None of the ships help each other. Some are slave ships, yes, and care not a whit for the destination or for the crew. They see their all male crew as eminently seaworthy and women as akin to the vessels they ride upon. They just want to plunder other ships and end up with the most goods and the most beautifully decked ship. They are content to sail with only this goal.

    Other crews have completely mutinied against the captain and are parked on islands enjoying the native girls and the view they see of themselves through their new crews’ eyes. They’ve believed their own legends and convince others that this is paradise right here. What’s good for them is how they they can use others to gain what pleasures they want.

    Other ships are staying on the waters and navigating toward more fruitful climes.It’s a long, hard journey and seasoned captains are needed. They recognize that all aboard have their allotted stations and if any one of them gets out of sinc, refuses to work, wants to be captain, or abandons the ship, the ship flounders, becomes dead in the water, or will even sink. Either way, both women and men have to be on board working for the same goal or once they get to “paradise” they’ll find themselves enjoying a somewhat lop-sided existence.

    Others yet, completely abandon ship and float out on the sea of ideas and philosophies, never finding islands big enough or with enough food. There are islands completely full of Amazons, or islands only full of of bird-watchers, or islands of cave-dwellers still trying to find the secret to fire, who refuse to come into the sunlight. Each is so focused on one thing and one thing only that none share with the other. They’ve given up sailing altogether and don’t care whether anyone finds “paradise” or not, they’ve found a semblance of it right where they are.

    Me? I still haven’t decided whether to completely jump ship or not or whether finding spiritual “paradise” is worth working for or not, I’m still hanging out in the rigging looking down on the ship, but looking out of my spyglass into the horizon. Until I see something worth completely fighting for, that doesn’t leave out have of the world, that fulfills the dreams of everyone, I still feel called to hoist the few sails of the ship I’m on.

  6. Moi,

    I understand where you’re coming from. It’s mostly a principle of people being kinder than their theologies — such as the priests who are more merficul than the instituation. I think a big problem for me is that, on a grand scale, the individuals get lost in the institution. There are a ton of wonderful Catholics out there who are okay with birth control, or not taking the Bible literally in certain aspects. They were just as outraged as the rest of us over the molestations. The problem is that we don’t see them, we see the institution, who simply moved the priests around, or held to the literal interpretatoin while the average people had moved past that years ago. Hence, the Borg.

    I’m thrilled as well that the Catholic Church is taking this stance. It gives me hope. 🙂

  7. “Me? I still haven’t decided whether to completely jump ship or not or whether finding spiritual “paradise” is worth working for or not, I’m still hanging out in the rigging looking down on the ship, but looking out of my spyglass into the horizon. ”

    MOI, don’t you see that wisp of myst in the distance, (it is not paradise), it is a waterfall, get off that boat, head to shore here with me and rebecca! We can get to paridise by walking.

  8. haha, no problem. I do wonder, though, about how widespread this admission is from the Catholic church. It seemed to be phrased as to insinuate that, but it looked like it was really only the British bishops/cardinals who said anything.

    I’ve been reminded several times that, with an institution that large, there are an almost infinite number of different sects, opinions, and pseudo-denominations. I wonder if this is an example of that… ?

  9. Noogatiger,

    Once again, the voice of reason. I’m just going with my whims here. I’m can’t tell when the real, human, grounded “me” is talking or when the indoctrinated “me” is talking. I have visions of both. So, like the wind, I change.

  10. It is all very interesting. The truth is we are all equal on a spiritual level and only unequal through the thoughts of the human ego.

  11. MOI: Just bumped into your blog for the first time today. Just an observation (take it or leave it) … you appear pretty consumed with the sinful shortcomings of men. Yes, we can be a dreadful lot in so many ways. But it would be far more productive for you to focus on Christ, not the church and certainly not on its fallible leaders.

    Problem is … if you choose to reject the Bible as a flawed, irrelevant ancient text, how can you possibly know anything about Christ? Without revelation, how can anyone know for certain the truth about God? By subjective experience? Surely you understand the historical problems associated with subjective experience!

    You seem pretty confident in your positions … I’m just curious what you base your “truth” on? I’m not looking for a fight … just curious. Thanks!

  12. pj11,
    Why must men always question the confidence of a woman? Yet, when I question men’s confidence in a fallible document or if I question their theology, or if I point out their obvious illogical arguments, you’d have thought I’ve questioned God himself (sic)!

    If I “seem” confident it’s because I am. I’ve lived long on this earth and know by experience whereof I speak. Experience breeds confidence. It’s how life is designed to work. The more you know and live, the wiser one becomes. I know myself. I know my limits. I know when I’m being fed a line of bullshit. I’m also an educated woman and can think for myself, something that both infuriates and scares men silly. I don’t need others to tell me what to think. I think for myself. When I was young, I looked to others to tell me what to think. I realized over the years that most people are just as clueless, if not more so, than I was about the larger questions of spirituality. I paid my dues, educated myself, graduated from the school of extremely hard knocks, and write this blog for my own enjoyment, not anybody else’s. Since men are the chief purveyors of religion, men must bear the brunt of criticism when religion goes bad. That’s all there is to it.

    Look, as far as my views about the bible, I advise you to read the rules, read other posts and then make your judgments about me. Read also my other blog at http://www.thejourneyout.wordpress.com. You’re not posing a new question. It’s been asked numerous times and answered.

    Peace.

  13. MOI: Thanks for your reply. I did as you requested … read the rules and read some other posts … I realize I am a guest in your world and I appreciate the opportunity to dialogue. I read your comments in “Love the Bible, Hate the Bibliolatry.” I now undestand your position on the Bible and inerrancy, although I found your logic in arriving at that position somewhat incoherent. Still, I have no desire nor ability to change your mind about the Bible … my experience tells me that only God can do this through the power of His Spirit. I desire only a philosophical discussion between two educated people.

    Originally I remarked about the confidence you feel in your positions and you surprised me by going straight to the issue of gender. You assumed the worst in me (but I’m not hurt)! Truly, it was a “person” question … it had nothing to do with your gender. I would challenge a man in the same way.

    I think it’s great that you are confident and able to think for yourself … I find this attractive in any person, not scary or threatening at all. I married a very smart, strong woman with an advanced degree … I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    As I said before, I’m interested in why you believe what you believe. You noted your vast experiences in life and your education that have formed your beliefs … good for you! But, as you well know, “belief” or “faith” can be completely irrational and/or insane (see Jim Jones, David Koresh, Charles Manson, etc.). Not all beliefs are equally valid or true … some are absolutely wrong and immoral. And when beliefs conflict, someone has to be wrong (the Law of Non-Contradiction). So, in your mind, what validates your beliefs as “correct” or “rational?” What is the underlying foundation that gives your beliefs the stamp of approval as “good” or “true?”

    If the answer is: “these are just my opinions,” then great! I would fight for your right to your opinion and your ability to express it publicly. But if you’re claiming (for example) that a position of biblical inerrancy is “wrong,” then you have an obligation to your readers to reveal your foundation for truth. I hope you’ll humor me with a response.

    Peace to you also.

  14. pj11,

    You wrote:
    “I now understand your position on the Bible and inerrancy, although I found your logic in arriving at that position somewhat incoherent. Still, I have no desire nor ability to change your mind about the Bible …”

    I don’t believe you do understand it. I also find your complete faith in a collection of books somewhat incoherent as well so we each agree the other bases their beliefs on illogic. There is our impasse.

    Look, you don’t have to take my word for it. Many, many faithful Christians also do not believe in inerrancy. I suppose that means every Christian who believes that the bible is fallible is wrong? Of course that’s what you mean. Here are some views:
    http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_inte.htm

    and here:
    http://www.religioustolerance.org/prog_chr.htm

    or this at http://www.mainstreambaptists.org/mbn/mainstream_&_bible.htm:
    “Salvation is not conditioned upon our belief in, or acceptance of, a book. . . . God’s revelation of himself comes through his direct action upon our spirits. . . . God thus becomes our supreme authority and the Bible is recognized as the authoritative record of his supreme revelation. . . . What is our supreme source of the knowledge of God . . . The answer is the revelation of God in and through Jesus Christ.” — E.Y. Mullins

    Listen, when people come to faith they do not come to faith in a book. They come to faith in a person. What I believe or don’t believe about that book is irrelevant. It’s merely a tool. What anyone else believes about the book is irrelevant. The book is only used as a weapon of exclusion in fundamentalist christian communities. I choose not to participate in that form of oppression. But if you wish to be exclusive, that’s your right. But you know nothing about the state of my soul or anyone else’s soul.

    I have never said in this blog that anyone has to believe what I believe. Take what I say or leave it. That’s everyone’s prerogative, but I also don’t have to defend my beliefs to you or anyone. That’s my prerogative. I choose to share it, but you don’t have to agree with it. You can believe the moon is made of green cheese and I’ll defend your right to believe it and set up your own web site for it. It’s not my business to question it. That’s what life is all about. Live and let live.
    Peace.

  15. MOI,

    “The book is only used as a weapon of exclusion in fundamentalist christian communities. I choose not to participate in that form of oppression. But if you wish to be exclusive, that’s your right. But you know nothing about the state of my soul or anyone else’s soul.”

    Come now, surely you cannot believe the absoluteness of that statement…? ONLY used as a weapon? As pj11 said, without the bible, you would have very little (if any) to base your belief on. Even the names “Christian” or “Jesus” are found and sourced in biblical text. It is obviously not being used as a weapon when you take such information from it.

    And if that is true, then it must logically also be a source for other things aside from weaponry.

    If all apples are red, are all red things apples?

  16. To all inerrantists,

    pj11 writes:

    “But if you’re claiming (for example) that a position of biblical inerrancy is “wrong,” then you have an obligation to your readers to reveal your foundation for truth.”

    My foundation for truth is my own capacity for reason, my experience, and education as well as the scientific method, which I do not have a background in, but which I believe in. I believe everyone has a capacity for reason and that people can come to different conclusions because of their experience, education, and or belief/religious culture.

    If people are that curious to know what I think they can read my blogs. But this site is not an apologetic site. I repeat: This site is NOT AN APOLOGETICS SITE! That’s not my purpose. My purpose is expressing my opinion and only my opinion.
    Should anyone want apologetics, I suggest they read the arguments for biblical errancy found here:

    http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/theism/christianity/errancy.html
    http://www.geocities.com/paulntobin/bibleanalysis.html
    http://www.peterballard.org/errancy.html

    I’m not going to get into apologetics. We differ on premise. End of debate. Move on people!

  17. MOI: Fair enough. You are entitled to your beliefs and you don’t have to defend them to me. I will stipulate to this. If you don’t mind, though, just a few follow-up issues …

    You have experienced much in your life, you have educated yourself, and you have come to a series of conclusions that you believe are right. Good. However, you must admit that yours is a pretty narrow perspective on reality. After all, you are (1) finite; and (2) you live in a particular time and culture that shapes your reality. Your beliefs would probably be different if you were a woman living in Nineveh in the 7th century B.C. Or Nazi Germany in 1942. Or Saudia Arabia today. Let’s face it … every person on this earth has their own view of things. Some of them are wrong (i.e. suicide bombers whose reality is jihad). Does a jihadist have the prerogative to say “these are my beliefs.” Of course … but they are still immoral and wrong.

    What if the truth about reality is greater and larger than your life experiences, your education, and what you can personally see and feel? The only way for us to get a fuller picture of reality would be for the Creator to provide us with that fuller picture. As you know, many believe God has done this. I realize you don’t believe the Bible represents God’s Word to humankind. But, can you admit this … if it were His Word, wouldn’t you be required to submit your personal perspective to His revelation? I think the answer is “of course,” because any message from God would transcend finite, human experience.

    I think you are dead right when you say “people come to faith in a person, not a book.” And, yes, the book is just a tool to get to know the person. It is the person who makes all the difference … I think we agree on this. However, what if the tool (the book) paints an inaccurate view of the person? This is the crux of the debate, isn’t it? If the book is an accurate portrayal of reality delivered to us by the Creator, it ought to be the most important thing we’ve ever laid eyes on. But if the book is incorrect in its portrayal of reality, it should be stored on the fiction shelf next to the romance novels.

    Just for fun, let’s say that my salvation depended upon an accurate understanding of a particular person – say, Hillary Clinton. If I sat in my home and decided I thoroughly “knew” Hillary Clinton because of my personal experiences of her through TV, radio, and the Web, you’d call me crazy. I don’t have the right to interpret a set of soundbytes and create my own version of who Hillary Clinton is. She is who she is … and my own created version of her would be just plain wrong. I would need two things to truly “know” Hillary Clinton: (1) her own personal description of who she is; and (2) a real-life encounter with her. It’s the same with Jesus Christ … you can sit on your couch and think you “know” Him based on your finite perspective. But He is who He is. To truly know Him accurately, you would need Him to reveal the truth about Himself. If the Bible doesn’t give us that accurate self-revelation, then humankind is doomed to never really “know” Jesus Christ in a trustworthy sense. Without an true revelation, we’re all just making up our own versions of Him, none of which will be totally accurate. Right?

    Sorry for going on for so long. I appreciate the dialogue … it’s a valuable discussion.

    Grace & peace to you.

  18. pj11,
    You wrote:
    “However, you must admit that yours is a pretty narrow perspective on reality.”
    I would posit that your worldview is pretty narrow as well. You cannot submit yourself to inconsistency and error yet you do it by making the bible your god. The bible contains both, so no, if God were to come down and thump me on the head personally, then a bible is not necessary for me. Until God does that, EVERYTHING pertaining to religion is not based on evidence but on the word of people of another culture and faith. To me that’s not evidence.

    I think you would enjoy posting over here more than my site.

    Peace.

  19. MOI,
    You wrote:
    “I would posit that your worldview is pretty narrow as well.”
    Yes! You’ve got it! Your worldview is a finite, narrow perspective on reality … just as mine is! There is no way that our experiences, education, and feelings can encompass the sum total of reality – not yours, not mine. Therefore, we both owe it to ourselves to search for a grander vision of truth, something outside of our own little worlds. That’s the journey I’m on! I’m seeking after the Creator’s perspective of reality because that’s the only truth that matters. By simple logic, I am obligated to submit my finite, subjective perspective to the Creator’s infinite, objective worldview.

    I have enjoyed my time on your site … thank you for graciously putting up with me. May God bless you and make His face to shine upon you in your search for truth.

    Oh, and one more thing … don’t give up yet on conservative evangelical men … we’re not all cretans! 🙂

    pj11

  20. Therefore, we both owe it to ourselves to search for a grander vision of truth, something outside of our own little worlds.

    Ah, Truth. Yes that is what we all seek isn’t it?
    How do we find Truth?
    Do we first accept some premise, any premise on faith?
    Do we first have to accept that the Bible is truth, before we can then see that it is the truth? Is this how truth is found?

    Ah, no I don’t think so.
    The truth does not have to be accepted on faith. The truth can be accepted as truth only after facts are presented which prove that it is actually the truth.

    If you accept any premise on faith alone, then you will never be able to see what the truth really is.

    pj11, I submit that MOI’s worldview is a lot more open than yours ever was or ever will be. If you really desire to know the truth, you must first do away with blind faith and start with just the facts. Then you can easily see that the Bible is not based upon truth at all.

    I have heard many people say that if you accept on faith Gods words then his holy spirit will help you see and understand his truth. If this is so, then why is it that not a single believer can explain this truth, (the Bible and the problems in it), even to other believers?

  21. Hey, Noogatiger … first, let me say I love the name. What is its significance?

    A couple of comments to spark your thinking …

    You seem to like facts … they seem to undergird your philosophical approach to life. But what happens when facts change? Surely you recognize that the “facts” about life and reality change in every generation (sometimes quicker). Facts are rarely static … many of the “facts” we trusted in 100 years ago are laughed at today. What you believe is a “fact” today may well be laughed at in the year 2107.

    So, do you re-evaluate your approach to life based on the new facts until a newer set of facts arrive in the future? Can you ever be settled with this type of foundation? It seems to be a moving target … a flawed, untrustworthy guide to live by.

    Secondly, my faith has never been “blind.” God has never asked His creation to believe anything blindly. Space does not permit me to cover this issue in full … but there are amazing and brilliant philsophers, historians, physicists, archaeologists, and geologists who follow Jesus Christ and believe the Bible is God’s Word to mankind (I can give you links if you desire to challenge me on this). None of these men and women believe “blindly.” They’ve examined the evidence and become convinced that Christianity is a very reasonable faith.

    Perhaps, Noogatiger, you’ve been spending too much time on skeptic websites and not enough time looking at what some very smart people believe about the Bible! Spread your wings and don’t be afraid to take a look around!

    Much love … pj11

  22. One small step foward, a billion steps back.

    Floods are judgment on society, say bishops
    By Jonathan Wynne-Jones, Sunday Telegraph
    02/07/2007

    “The floods that have devastated swathes of the country are God’s judgment on the immorality and greed of modern society, according to senior Church of England bishops. The Bishop said pro-gay laws were to blame for the floods…”

    Bishops blame floods on immorality

    LIVERPOOL, England, July 1 (UPI) — “Senior bishops at the Church of England are claiming the country’s recent floods are God’s way of punishing society for its increasing greed and immorality.

    One diocesan bishop is citing the relaxation of marriage laws and pro-gay legislation as a reason for the floods, which have devastated some areas of Britain and left thousands of people homeless.

    While others would say innocent people have been victimized by the flooding, the bishops argue God’s wrath is indiscriminate, The Sunday Telegraph reported.”

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/upi/index.php?feed=TopNews&article=UPI-1-20070701-17355100-bc-britain-floods.xml

    Sigh. I despair. Oh, how they regress.

  23. As a theist, I’m embarrassed by these guys. It’s utter foolishness for a finite person to presume to specifically know God’s infinite purposes in the midst of calamity. Oy.

  24. What is above God?

    Is God’s NAME equal to God? Then He places HIS WORD above Himself. Psalm 138:2 for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

    If you don’t hold HIS WORD in such a place, you will have a problem WITH HIM.

    AND you mentioned “submission to the church”, a believer submits to Jesus Christ, in obedience, and Him only.

    And by the way HE IS the WORD of GOD, John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us

    AND, among true believers there EXISTS true EQUALITY,

    Galatians 3:28 …there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus

    Why do you not KNOW these things Christians?

    In the service of the TRUTH, the LIVING WORD, JESUS CHRIST,

    Craig

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