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  •  It depends... (7+ / 0-)

    On which passage you read and how you interpret it.  The notion of women as property may be supported by a very asinine reading of certain biblical incidents.  But traditional commentary, both Jewish and Christian, utterly rejects this view.

    •  Not really. RichM is pretty spot on. (38+ / 0-)

      Believers just like to attempt to place a fuzzy lens on parts of the bible that don't sound good in polite society, or even parts they don't personally believe but are able to self-twist out of believing is actually there in black and white by citing "interpretation."

      Religion is convenient in that way since it doesn't rely on logic or facts.

      As an additional note: if it wasn't for the Christians having such a deathgrip on our nation's government, we'd have marriage equality already.

      •  Also... (26+ / 0-)

        These are very RECENT developments.  You can't say 'traditional Biblical marriage' or 'thousands of years of tradition' without pointing out that the institution has dramatically changed over those thousands of years and some of those dramatic changes are quite recent.

        'Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost' - Ronald Reagan, Communist

        by RichM on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 10:33:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  You make it sound so malicious (4+ / 0-)

        You might also say that believers see their text as a living document that can be read in the light of their time and circumstances.  Just like, I might note, liberals read the constitution as a living document.

        I might also point out that nobody who reads scripture in the original language considers anything to be "black and white".

        •  If you're going to dismiss any part of it you (15+ / 0-)

          don't like as "it's a living document" then why think about what the words say at all? Why not just live your life according to your own beliefs and stop searching for them in words written in a bunch of different slave-owning misogynistic societies thousands of years ago? The people who wrote the Bible did the best with what they had, but let's be real about what they had and where they were coming from.

          •  Tradition and Radicalism (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            raincrow, Dirtandiron, Ahianne, deminva

            Because the text grounded the faith of your father and mother and their fathers and mothers, for centuries if not millennia.   Because the text still offers a radical vision for a just society.  And because much of society still embraces the text, you cannot successfully preach a radically just society without use of it.

            Just to name a few.  

            The text has,of course, also been used to promulgate horrible injustice.  And that too can be cause to reject the text.

            But the metaphysical and legal scribblings of bronze age people are in fact holy.  Holy in a very literal sense in that they are set apart and exist in a pure way.   You can accept it or reject it, use it for good or evil, but ignore it at your peril.

            •  I'll grant you that there are some impressive (6+ / 0-)

              ideas about building a good society in the Bible, particularly the New Testament, but a lot of your comment really doesn't make much sense to someone without religious faith, I'm afraid. The concepts of good and evil and purity and holiness just don't chime with me, and nothing relying on them will convince me of anything.

              And, by the way, my parents don't ground their faith in it either. They put up Christmas trees about of habit, and that's about it.

          •  I would suggest that Jesus' parables (6+ / 0-)

            explicitly demonstrate not just the importance but outright requirement of interpretation in attempting to make sense of them.  As parables, they are metaphors, which are always subject to the reader's (or hearer's) subjective experience.  

            As a Christian, I believe that Jesus expects me to try to understand his teachings in light of my subjective experience.  In this way, his teachings are very much living documents.  

            The next time a conservative Christian says the Bible shouldn't be interpreted, say, So, you believe that, when Jesus said 'I am the alpha and the omega,' he was telling people he was the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet?!

            A 47% return on investment--that's pretty doggoned good!

            by deminva on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 05:41:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Do you ask them when they learned Hebrew (6+ / 0-)

              and Greek?  If it is in English, it has been interpreted.

              “The future depends entirely on what each of us does every day.” Gloria Steinem

              by ahumbleopinion on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 07:08:09 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  not according to the Official Party Line: (0+ / 0-)

                even TRANSLATIONS - and the translation process itself - are rendered INERRANT, which means they CANNOT BE wrong.

                By the same sort of multiple dishonesties that allow Christianists to believe that  - oh, sod it.  It dishonors the thought process and the thinking brain itself to joust with these people as if their most transparent bullshit was somehow reasonable, laudable instead of the toxic corrosion it's proven itself to be WITHOUT FAIL FOR 2000 YEARS.

                At this point, Christian theology is the VERY DEFINITION of sophistry - of evasive bullshit for its own sake.  Talking with them about it is the stupidest and least-productive thing we could possible do...except maybe, talking amongt ourselves over which parts of the manufactured Christian superstructure might 'feel differently'....

                I am a leaf on the wind - i hover, twirl, float,
                Weightless, frictionless, I fly

                by chmood on Sat Mar 30, 2013 at 05:08:48 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I am continually amazed (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  at how defiantly non-Christian commentators make such statements with assurance.  What in the world does the "Official Party Line" mean for Christianity?

                  I've never heard of it, although I'm married to an Episcopal rector who also has a PhD in religious and medical ethics.  She has studied Greek and Hebrew (as well as Spanish, Russian, and Chinese) and Jewish religious ethics (and with it the Talmudic tradition).  Her dissertation focused on narrative ethics, so she's also highly attuned to text, author, audience, and the dynamics of power among them.  So, no, she doesn't believe any claptrap about inerrant translations.  

                  If I as a Christian made a claim about what all scientists believe -- or all biologists, or all archaeologists, or all of any subspecialty no matter how small, I suspect you'd laugh me off the thread for daring to generalize so superficially about a rich, complex, contradictory set of individuals.

                  Hell, take a look just at the two most recent popes, then tell me how all Christians interpret their faith the same way!

                  A 47% return on investment--that's pretty doggoned good!

                  by deminva on Sat Mar 30, 2013 at 06:23:47 AM PDT

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        •  I would like to see (8+ / 0-)
          I might also point out that nobody who reads scripture in the original language considers anything to be "black and white".
          Support for the argument.

          I have known 'biblical scholars' who had copies of the bible in the original Greek (as close to as could be found) who were still cherry-picking absolutist nitwits.

          I am not religious, and did NOT say I enjoyed sects.

          by trumpeter on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 10:55:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Greek.... (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sfbob, raincrow, wasatch, Eyesbright, kyril

            I was mostly referring to the Hebrew scriptures, not knowing Greek myself.  Greek may be more rationally constructed, as the Greeks afterall invented rationalism.  But struggling with even the literal meaning in biblical Hebrew is a good tonic for any absolutism, though in some the disease may be too strong.

            •  Only the Old Testament is originally in Hebrew. (11+ / 0-)

              The New Testament, the foundation document of Christianity, is originally in Greek, and possibly partly in Aramaic, translated into Greek.

              And both parts of the Bible as we know it considers women to be chattel.  Even the celebrated ones quite literally belong to their fathers or husbands.

            •  Zizek is incredibly (5+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ChurchofBruce, codairem, kyril, caul, aitchdee

              misguided on these things, has eulogized the virtues of the ultra-conservative John Milbank and his defense of traditional catholicism (who has sided with the British conservative party and waxed poetic about feudalism(!!!!)), and has talked about the failure of Judaism in texts like The Fragile Absolute and The Puppet and the Dwarf.  Nor is it true that the universalist legacy arose from Christianity.  It arose from Greece and is clearly present in the thought of Plato (who you might recall argued that women could serve as philosopher-kings and guardians, a claim the Bible doesn't remotely explore).  Zizek's said some pretty despicable things about the Roma as well.

              All that aside, the Zizek-Eagleton brand of Christianity is tremendously cynical:  "We know it's all false, that it's all a bunch of myths and stories as in comic books-- Caputo has actually argued this! --but the vast majority of people are dopes and need these things so we should cynically use them to our advantage."  Do you really need a Straussian politics of noble lies?

        •  It's fine to treat the (12+ / 0-)

          text as a living document, but it's dishonest to pretend that all of these things aren't there.  Fundamentalists aren't pulling these things out of thin air.  I'd even say that from the standpoint of literary criticism, fundamentalists are even the more accurate and holistic readers of the Bible.  My leftist Christian friends, God bless them, seem to think the Bible consists entirely of the red print and that all the rest can just be ignored.

          The problem with comments like yours above is that they deny history and in doing so dishonor the memory of those millions that have been oppressed by this religion.  Yes, there have been small instances of Christianity siding with emancipatory projects here and there; but the history of Christianity has consisted in overwhelmingly siding with oppressive forces.  I'm all for a different type of Christianity, but we shouldn't pretend this hasn't been its history.

          •  The fundamentalists I know seem to pay (12+ / 0-)

            attention only to Paul and Leviticus and especially ignore the red print.

            You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

            by sewaneepat on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 12:37:51 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The argument I often (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Eyesbright, maf1029, kyril, caul

              hear from them is that Jesus came to fulfill the law, not abolish it.  Either way, from a strictly historical perspective, fundamentalism is more representative of what Christianity has been than liberal Christianity.

              •  Maybe so. (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ahumbleopinion, kyril, caul, aitchdee
                from a strictly historical perspective, fundamentalism is more representative of what Christianity has been than liberal Christianity.
                since from a historical perspective, Christianity has certainly been a religion enforced by higher ups (whether clerical or lay), making the people  believe certain "facts" (all of which are impossibilities,) as opposed to a guide for living one's life (which seems to be what Jesus preached about). Throughout history, the Church has mostly been about the "law" -  and Leviticus and the writings of Paul are where many of these prohibitions are found. But what do you expect when the Church became the arm of the State and a potent way to keep the people in line.

                You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

                by sewaneepat on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 01:00:05 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  All what things? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kyril, caul

            At least the theologians I read take the anti-modern, anti-women, anti-gay readings of the bible head on.  Read Steven Greenberg or Daniel Boyarin, for instance.  Nobody there is pretending anything doesn't exist or selectively blinding themselves.  

            •  I'm not sure what (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kyril, caul

              you're responding to in my post.  All I'm saying is that throughout history Christianity has overwhelmingly been on the side of the oppressors.  There are small exceptions here and there, but not many.  Trying to brush this aside is a form of denialism.

              •  Your claims about liberals vs. fundmentalists (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                kyril, aitchdee, melo

                I was countering your claims that liberals don't read or ignore the parts of the bible they don't like.  Which if you had actually read any liberal religious thinkers, you would know to be totally absurd.

                And BTW, most social systems, Christian or not, are overwhelmingly on the side of the oppressors.  That's how anything but band societies work... they prop up tyrants and oppressors.

                That does not change the fact Christianity has a radical social message that has indeed often by harnessed to forward social change.  The fact that you can identify social radicals of a Christian persuasion throughout western history speaks to the enduring power of this message.  The fact that the elites condemned such radicals has little to do with Christianity and a lot to do with how power in society works.

                •  MLK without the church? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  missing a big force multiplier...

                  just cuz the repugs are using the religious the way they do, no reason to throw the baby jesus out with the bathwater.

                  happy easter!

                  why? just kos..... *just cause*

                  by melo on Sat Mar 30, 2013 at 05:59:23 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  One question worth asking (5+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              codairem, kyril, caul, aitchdee, RockyMtnLib

              is why you believe theologians are relevant to these issues and discussions?  Theologians are academics whose work has next to no influence on the lay.  These are issues pertaining to really existing social institutions, religion as it is actually practiced, and what people in these groups statistically believe.  Evoking theologians who have no impact on these institutions and practices just misses what these debates are about.  When those theologians command large swaths of the lay then we can talk.  

              •  wish I could recommend this 100 times! (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
              •  How big a swath do you need (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                kyril, aitchdee

                Rabbi Greenberg more or less single-handedly created space for gays and lesbians within the modern orthodox community.  If you care at all about how religious gays who do not wish to leave their communities are treated, he's somebody you should pay attention to.

                •  This is wonderful, but (0+ / 0-)

                  also the exception, not the rule.  My point is simply that if we want to understand what religion is, we need to focus on what the lay believe and practice, not the formalizations of theologians.  The question is one of how these institutions really function and act in the world.  We should treat these institutions sociologically and ethnographically and investigate them the way we'd investigate any other group.

              •  I'm reminded of the quote from Edward Gibbon... (0+ / 0-)

                author of The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire:

                The theologian may indulge the pleasing task of describing Religion as she descended from Heaven, arrayed in her native purity. A more melancholy duty is imposed on the historian. He must discover the inevitable mixture of error and corruption which she contracted in a long residence upon Earth, among a weak and degenerate race of beings.

                Is it courageous to propose tax cuts but not identify a single tax expenditure to rein in? Is it courageous to target your deepest cuts on the poorest Americans, who vote in lower numbers and provide little in campaign contributions?

                by caul on Sat Mar 30, 2013 at 01:25:51 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Just as disbelievers like to attempt to place (11+ / 0-)

        a fuzzy lens on parts of the Bible that express generosity, self-awareness, open-mindedness, compassion, egalitarianism, and other enlightened attitudes still badly wanting in today's world among today's humans -- even non-religious, a-religious humans.

        Even the Pharisees and Jesus sparred with competing Bible verses, so it's not as though the Old Testament's complexities, contradictions, and ambiguities, and the ability of different parties to cherry-pick for their own purposes, are a recent discovery.

        The problem is that, so far, the web of human beliefs and conflicts of purpose is not easily untangled.

        You ostensibly want moral simplicity and reductionism where there is none. Humans, billions of them alive on the same planet at the same time, aren't likely to be so convenient. If you could magically strip the species of any memory of religious belief, do you truly believe we would be simpler and more easily reduced; more pliable, obedient, and uniform; and less morally troublesome to you?

        I posit you have absolutely zero clue -- and neither do any of us -- what our nation would or wouldn't look like if it weren't for "the Christians," any more than you can guess at the character of the nation if our ancestors hadn't shipped in vast numbers of slaves from Africa, or if the secession of the South had been peacefully uncontested, or if English settlers had refused to allow the assimilation of immigrants from other than the British Isles, or if those before us had treated with the First Nations and bought our property rights fair and square.


        by raincrow on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 10:48:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  ??? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          zinger99, maf1029, caul

          I don't understand what point your word salad is supposed to be making. It's nicely-formatted, though...

          It is time to #Occupy Media.

          by lunachickie on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 11:24:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I'm pulling the bs card (18+ / 0-)

          Nonbelievers don't have any fuzziness about the good aspects of the Bible, of which we know there are many. What we take issue to is Christians who pick and choose which parts to pull out to support their bigotry.

          But nice try on the "both sides are bad" argument.

          Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

          by moviemeister76 on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 11:50:52 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Both sides are bad (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Dirtandiron, Ahianne, deminva, melo

            When the atheist side tries to make a person feel unwelcome among progressive circles just because of their faith.


            by DAISHI on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 12:54:55 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Except that didn't happen here (7+ / 0-)

              Calling out hypocrisy is not treating believers terribly. Ignoring the history of how many have routinely cherry-picked the Bible to justify their hatred and evil is not being mean. It's being honest.

              Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

              by moviemeister76 on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 01:53:30 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  That's right, (7+ / 0-)

              you're the one being oppressed here because someone dared disagree with a religious belief that has state sanctioned holidays, that is practiced by 80% of the population, that is the norm, and so on.  Oh man, those wicked atheists and their atheist privilege!  Christ.

              •  You're sadly (0+ / 0-)

                Unable to distinguish personal responsibility for civil conduct from societal behavior as a whole.


                by DAISHI on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 09:03:52 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  What does that even (0+ / 0-)

                  mean?  It doesn't seem to me that anyone has done anything here but disagree with certain religious beliefs.  Every other walk of life allows for points and views to be contested:  law, science, business, medicine, etc.  Religion seems to be the only sphere where mere disagreement or voicing of disbelief is seen as somehow abusive and oppressive.  This is one of the central ways in which religious power and oppression functions in the United States.  We're told that these are private matters and that they are never to be questioned, yet somehow the religious are able to enshrine their views in public displays, law, structures of government, etc.  Your response to the rather mild disagreement in this threat reflects that attitude and a standpoint of Christian privilege that gets a free pass in our country.  I'm sure you'll now go and talk about how mean an atheist was to you-- and you know nothing of my religious beliefs --and how they're just as bad as militant fundamentalists.  What you fail to notice is that you were the one that spoke up here in a rather privileged and sanctimonious way and others merely responded to you lack of polite behavior, coupled with your refusal to reflect on your social and political privilege in the United States was what prompted this response.  Seriously, reactions like yours are as bad as white men whining about reverse racism and sexism.  Reflect a little and contemplate how you come off.  Additionally, remember what Jesus had to say about wearing your religion on your sleeve, praying in public, speaking about your beliefs in public, and so on.  You're behaving like a sanctimonious Pharisee, while others are having their rights taken away and their very lives attacked by those that call themselves Christians.  Maybe a little perspective and compassion is in order?  Maybe it's not all about you?  Maybe you should do a little less whining about how your feelings were hurt and a little more listening to others and thinking about where this hostility might come from?  Sheesh, talk about narcissism.

            •  dkos welcomes both (0+ / 0-)


              were atheism as inclusive!

              why? just kos..... *just cause*

              by melo on Sat Mar 30, 2013 at 06:01:47 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Well . . . (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Great Lakes Liberal

        The New Testament ostensibly supersedes the Old Testament, which is why most Christians don't follow the many explicit rules of the Old Testament.

        A 47% return on investment--that's pretty doggoned good!

        by deminva on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 05:31:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Until very recently... (10+ / 0-)

      Most of the United States marriages were property agreements.  Just because modern day theologians reject the idea, doesn't mean the original intention was women = property.

      'Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost' - Ronald Reagan, Communist

      by RichM on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 10:31:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Women were considered property when it comes to (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kyril, caul, aitchdee, VegLane

      marriage in the not so distant past even in Western culture.  You only have to go back less than 200 years, not 2000.  Women went from being the property of their fathers to the property of their husbands.  They had very few rights to own property, have custody of their children, hold a job, or of course vote.

      “The future depends entirely on what each of us does every day.” Gloria Steinem

      by ahumbleopinion on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 07:03:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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