In day-to-day conversations, both virtual and face-to-face, I frequently hear people refer to the concept of the “good Christian” or “good Jew” or “good Muslim” or whathaveyou. They are usually referring to themselves and the person with whom they are speaking. Sometimes they use terms like “christlike” or “godly” or some variant of those. And it always bothers me when people talk like this.
It bothers me because these terms mean so many different things to different people. They are amorphous. They can mean anything and, throughout history, often have. When one makes reference to the “good Christian”, what they are really referring to is a shared idea peculiar to a certain group of people in a certain place at a certain point in time with similar experiences, similar religious beliefs, similar political leanings, etc. Continue reading Good Christian, good Muslim, good person?
I like to write about religion. I like to read about religion. I even sometimes enjoy conversing with religious folk. But I am not religious. Religion is bullshit and its purveyors often unabashed assholes.
Religious spam is a case in point. As the administrator of a blog, I get a lot of spam. I even get spam from spammers offering to spam for me. Every day, I delete countless robo messages. Some of them consist of complete sentences hawking this or that product. Most are just random broken phrases stuck together and surrounded by links to who-knows-what website. I’ve come to expect this daily deluge. But here’s something I didn’t expect: religious spam. Continue reading Religious spam: Yes, religion is bullshit, and its purveyors are assholes
Several years ago, a friend and I came up with the idea for a show called The Show Show. The idea was to create a fictional talk show about other nonexistent shows. Whether the idea was meta or stupid doesn’t much matter since it never got off the ground. But I did write one script for a skit for the first episode. In it, the host interviews a self-proclaimed Satanic priest who wants to develop a TV show to broadcast his beliefs to the unwashed masses.
For Christian feminist theologians fighting patriarchy within the church and within the larger Christian religious tradition, the patriarchal image of God is an issue of primacy. As many battles as feminists and egalitarian reformers may win, whether it be the ordination of women or a simple revocation of the one-sided dictate for wives to submit to their husbands, the ultimate head of the church remains a patriarchal deity. Woman remains therefore, symbolically if not spiritually and practically, subordinate to man. To reconcile this inequity between man and woman as imago Dei, theologians have turned to the scriptures (canonical and apocryphal) and to the history of scriptural interpretation and lived faith to determine whether Christianity is an intrinsically patriarchal tradition or if it has simply been hijacked by men “who have made God in their own image” (Engelsman 1994, 156). If god is not wholly male, in image and in nature, then the Christian tradition is not intrinsically patriarchal and can evolve to meet modern standards of equality.
This post will not explore the concept of the Judeo-Christian god as a necessarily literal being having a set gender or nature. Herein the concept of god will receive treatment as a mythic character, subject to the mores of changing culture and evolving tradition. The nature of this god is best described as unknowable, transcending understanding, without limitation. Therefore, when we speak of the gender of god we are speaking not of literal gender but of the metaphors used to describe some divine attribute in a way that humankind can relate to it. When exclusively male-gender god metaphors are used, women are excluded from the central religious body and relegated to a lower spiritual standing than men. If female-gender god metaphors exist, and have existed from the beginning of the tradition, then the patriarchy of the current tradition is a construct not of the founders of the faith but of later men with an agenda and ideology askew of the tradition’s original intent.