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Saturday, September 12, 2015

Exploring the Absurd : Religious Objections to Variations in Gender Identity

The Christian doctrine of Creation teaches that God made a man, Adam, and then because the man was still without companionship after all else was created... God put the man to sleep and took "a rib" from the man out of which he made a woman. We won't complicate matters here by pointing out that the word "Adam" is more exactly to be interpreted as "Mankind". For the purposes of this little piece we will stick to the notion that it is the name given to the first man. Eve was therefore...essentially an afterthought. Please excuse me... I'm just trying to think this through.

If woman was a by-product of Man, isn't a woman essentially a man with the capacity to satisfy the companionship needs of Man? Again, you have to excuse me... I'm just trying to make sense of this... Story. After all, the Omniscient One didn't take a different kind of "clay", into which he breathed the "breath of life" and then declared "You are Woman, because you were engineered to be the biological opposite of Man!". No, no, no, ... She is Woman, because He made her "out of the man"... That is what Adam said, "bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh".

And then there is the Doctrine of Salvation. You see, the woman that was made from the flesh and bone of the man was tempted by a serpent and sinned. She then led her man to sin, at least that is what he claimed... He told his Creator that he messed up because of "the woman whom thou gavest me". He ate of "the tree of good and evil", and wasn't bold enough to take responsibility for his actions when confronted by his Creator. I guess he bent under the pressure of his guilt because he was missing a rib.

According to the Christian doctrine of Salvation we are all screwed because of the sin of Adam. So, to save us from damnation the Omnipotent One found himself a virgin (who was by the way, engaged to one Joseph) and put his holy seed in her. Seriously? Seriously. Joseph was mad as hell when he found his espoused "with child". But the All-powerful One sent one of his angelic crew to let the young man know that it was OK... This was the doing of The Boss. So Joseph cooled off and went through with the marriage. To paraphrase Bonhoeffer, a Christian theologian in Hitler's Germany: When the Almighty One wants someone... He takes him...or her, repercussions be damned.

The holy rollers among us believe these things. They declare to us that "all things that were created, were created by Him." I'm reminded of the hymn we sung very often when I was in elementary school:

 "All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small; all things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all. Each little flower that opens, each little bird that sings, He made their glowing colors, He made their tiny wings." 

All things, from the great eagle to the bumble bee, He made them all. Which takes me to the issue of gender and sexuality in our human experience. 

Let me get straight to the point of the religious objections to variations in sexual identityFundamentalists like to shout down our homosexual peers with the rebuke that " God didn't make Adam and Steve; He made Adam and Eve." Well I hate to screw with your facts here... But that isn't true. According to the story in Genesis, God made Adam. Period. And then, from that same piece of enlivened clay, after putting Adam to sleep, he took a part of the created Adam and made Eve. Eve is a  part of the same piece of the enlivened clay called Adam. Herein lies a subtly inconvenient truth that we mostly ignore. The truth of the story of the creation of Humankind is that  the woman was originally incorporated in the man. Adam is male and female unseparated. Read it in your Holy Book.

If the salvation of our souls is the ultimate goal of religious dogma, then let us be clear about a few things. Believers hold to the idea that God is the Creator... Of all. As in the story of the Virgin Birth, this same God does not ask our permission at critical moments when our experiences are entered into by Fate. Our common experience teaches us that we can as much choose our gender identity as we can choose who our parents will be... Or what color we are born.

This God that Christians believe in  "came upon Mary", and the result was that she became pregnant with the child before whom all "Believers", hypocrites included, now bow. It didn't matter what her social class was. It didn't matter, in a culture where your name was important, that her name means "a rebel". It didn't matter that she was engaged to Joseph. It didn't matter that she was still a teenager. It didn't matter that she would be stigmatized for being pregnant "out of wedlock". It didn't matter what the definition of marriage was at the time... Joseph may not have been able to explain to the hypocrites around why he was still marrying this girl, but he did any way. Imagine explaining to family and friends that... Oh, "an angel of the Lord is the daddy of her baby...". Hah! Which takes me to how we view and treat others whose experience with gender identity is at variance with our dogmas.

Who are we to judge? Who are we to persecute our children and our neighbors because they find themselves in the dilemma of Adam undifferentiated? As for the issue of "Marriage"... Only the most ignorant of hypocrites among us would insist that the standard is, or has always been some version of heterosexual monogamy. All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small; all things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all. That is what you say you believe.

1 comment:

  1. this is so eye opening
    i did,nt put it together until i read this

    ReplyDelete