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Monday, April 25, 2011

Patriarchal Control

The Bible is full of patriarchal double-talk used to control its members. As far as I'm concerned, the Jehovah's Witness patriarchy is out of balance. Only men are allowed to claim special knowledge of the human condition. Men who have been designated "elder" may have never been married and never had children, yet it is their job to instruct women how to be good wives. Here is an example of the counsel I received from many such experts, "…you wives, be in subjection to your husbands, in order that, if any are not obedient to the word, they may be won without a word through the conduct of their wives."—1 Peter 3:1 New World Translation.

Believing I would be blessed for my obedience, I was as subservient as any human could be to my sex-, alcohol- and drug-addicted husband. "Obedience" to scripture does not work. The only thing my "subjection" accomplished was to continue to enable his addictions by not addressing his issues at all. In fact, in that past marriage I was the one with the label of "sick one" because I bent over backwards to the point of depression, believing the patriarchal malarkey spewed by the ignorant and uneducated elders.

You see, the elders were considered by all in the congregation to be the "experts" on my well-being. Yet, quite frankly, they barely knew me. They knew nothing about co-dependence and even less about addictions or mental health. They had no training in those areas. Yet, elders' continual advice to me was:
  • "Be a better wife"
  • "Read your Bible more"
  • "Be a regular attendee of five weekly meetings"
  • "Render your sexual due"
  • "Win him without a word"
To the elders' ways of thinking, his vices had nothing to do with him choosing that life and having no intention to grow. Apparently, his addictions were about my failure to be a good enough wife. My job was to "fix him."

The elders, having no training in recognizing or counseling dysfunctional relationships could not see that their advice was detrimental, perhaps even compounding the addiction issues. Blaming me for the marriage breakdown was nonsense. I see that now, years after the fact and after much therapy. Thus my reason for saying the Bible is a book that supports ancient patriarchal societies and is irrelevant counsel in today's world.

I believe patriarchies will soon be a thing of the past. As humanity comes into balance, women will become self-empowered and independent. I have learned it is unnecessary for women to consult ignorant men spewing Bible texts for guidance when therapeutic insights, common sense, intuition and self-trust is all that is required to heal from enslavement to patriarchs.

Visit website "Phoenix of Faith" the memoir. Follow on Twitter: _Phoenixoffaith Copyright © 2011. Permission is granted to copy and re-distribute this transmission on the condition that it is distributed freely.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Crime & Punishment

A man gets arrested for stealing an apple. Instead of dealing with the thief directly, the judge's son gets murdered to pay for the theft of the apple that someone else ate. Does the punishment fit the crime?
Sounds bizarre.
It being the Easter season, I am thinking about the cruici-"fiction" story and shaking my head. A light goes on for me.
At this point, patriarchal Christian religions are sure to point to a scripture in the Bible to justify the insane reaction by their punishing god. "Through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned." — Romans 5:12 New World Translation.
Oh sure, I have heard that explanation pounded into my brain since I was born, but the logic eludes me still.
So Adam ate an apple. Why the need for capital punishment? Couldn't god just say, "Adam, I know you are a newbie on the earthly scene, so I'm going to forgive you and thus teach you a great lesson in love." But, no! God insists on blood. Nothing short of a human sacrifice would appease this blood-thirsty god.
Stop and think about it. Doesn't that "original sin" story lay a heavy load of guilt on humans for all eternity, when all that was needed was one loving act of forgiveness? Seriously, what rational, reasonable person would see Jesus' death sentence as a balance of justice — simply because Adam ate an apple?
God didn't just think it; according to the Bible he enacted it. That's what the whole deal is around the Easter story. Here on in, all sons must cringe and obey the honor stuff spewed by their fathers lest some imagined shame fall upon the family name. God set the example. Where honor is at stake, a blood sacrifice must be the payment price.
Sounds dark.
Most Christian religions teach the "original sin" story. I'm sorry, I'm not buying what patriarchal religions are selling. It's time to forgive Adam and all his offspring. After all, he is just human. Time to drop the self-righteous honor stuff. Drop the punishing belief system. Lighten up, show some forgiveness and love — starting from the top down — okay boys?
Oh, and somehow, a woman got blamed for the entire scenario…? Only under patriarchal rule *sigh*.

Visit website "Phoenix of Faith" the memoir. Follow on Twitter: _Phoenixoffaith Copyright © 2011. Permission is granted to copy and re-distribute this transmission on the condition that it is distributed freely.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Just Say "NO!" to Religious Fanaticism

The Baptist Minister thinks he was right to burn the Qur'an, after all "The Muslims are the Apostates and will burn in hell!" Conversely, the Muslims think they have the only right view, "The Christians are the Infidels and deserve to die!" With each religious group convinced they have the exclusive channel to "Truth" there can be no cultural growth.
Muslims and Baptists are not the only religions on the planet who have this mentality. As an ex-member, I know Jehovah's Witnesses think similarly, too. Their philosophy is, "Anyone who is not a Jehovah's Witness is going to die at Armageddon!" That's why they go door-knocking — to gain converts and "save souls." My childhood friend Vicky was Catholic and she declared openly, "You are going to burn in hell if you don't go to my church!" Different words, same mentality.
I believe religions enable a "Dark-Ages" type of thinking and behavior. Ancient religions that resulted from ancient "holy" books may have some historical value, but their theology cannot possibly apply to modern-day societies. Such "holy" books were written by men from ancient times. Sure, these men claim they were "channelling" inspired utterances. Just remember, the inspiration is only as "clear" as the channel it comes through—imperfect men. In other words, the "prophets" are still human.
The mistake religions make is their members turn channelers into gods. The "prophets" seem to make the worship of humans mandatory. Once the channeler, prophet or elder attains "god" status, members can no longer say "no" or question any words uttered. Therein lies the disempowering aspect of religion — the dysfunction of religion. When members cannot say "no" to their religious leaders, they no longer have possession of free will — their elder/prophet/god has it.
Realizing this inability to say "NO!" to religious leaders demonstrates that the Polygamous sect of the FLDS in Bountiful, British Columbia is filled with disempowered women and children who are unable to say to their prophet/god, "NO! I do not want a polygamous marriage with you!" Their very survival is on the line. "No" is not in their vocabulary—"Be sweet" is. The women and children do not know that they can say "NO!"
After leaving the Jehovah's Witnesses, I promised myself I would never give away my ability to think again. Give religion even more freedom to control and manipulate people's minds? Repeal the law on Polygamy? I think not.
Yes, I am human. I have a brain! And I have every right to retain that gift of free will. Simply put, that freedom enables me to say "NO!" when it feels healthy to do so. Give that gift of freedom away? "NO!"

Visit website "Phoenix of Faith" the memoir. Follow on Twitter: _Phoenixoffaith Copyright © 2011. Permission is granted to copy and re-distribute this transmission on the condition that it is distributed freely.