Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Male Image of God Encourages Wife-Beating

WARNING...Barking Moonbat Alert...WARNING

Just when you think it can't get any stranger...from The Daily Mail (UK):
Church of England leaders warned yesterday that calling God 'He' encourages men to beat their wives.

They told churchgoers they must think twice before they refer to God as 'He' or 'Lord' because of the dangers that it will lead to domestic abuse.

In new guidelines for bishops and priests on such abuse, they blamed "uncritical use of masculine imagery" for encouraging men to behave violently towards women.

They also warned that clergy must reconsider the language they use in sermons and check the hymns they sing to remove signs of male oppression.

The recommendation - fully endorsed by Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams - puts a question mark over huge swathes of Christian teaching and practice.

It throws doubt on whether the principal Christian prayer should continue to be known as the Lord's Prayer and begin 'Our Father'.

I'm afraid I am much more likely to refer to Archbishop Williams as a "mother" than I am to refer to the Lord God Jehovah in such a manner.

It means well-loved hymns such as Fight the Good Fight and Onward Christian Soldiers may be headed for the dustbin.

The rules also throw into question the role of the Bible by calling for reinterpretations of stories in which God uses violence.

The guidelines also claim that abuse is common within marriage and says this is because marriage heightens a sense among husbands that they own their wives.

[...] "Domestic abuse is fundamentally an abuse of power, and many conceptions of God derived from the Bible and the Christian tradition have portrayed divine power in unhealthy and potentially oppressive ways," say the guidelines.

I suspect that means that God has sometimes been portrayed as approving of some behaviors and sending one to hell for certain (unrepented) others.

"There are particular problems in the attribution of violent actions and attitudes to God, chiefly but not solely in the Old Testament, which require careful interpretation." The document adds that Biblical violence, 'in combination with uncritical use of masculine imagery, can validate overbearing and ultimately violent patterns of behaviour'.

It quotes a feminist thinker that "If God is male, then the male is God". Calling for the Church to "correct this major imbalance", it says changes must extend to sermons, formal teaching and hymns.

If a lion is a cat, then my cat must be a lion. I'd best go home and shoot it. I knew they had quit teaching theology in the seminaries quite some time ago; I didn't realize they'd given up on logic as well.

There should, it recommends, be "imagination and sensitivity in using potentially problematic language".

"For example, the idea of God as "Lord" may be used in harsh and domineering ways."

The idea that God is Lord has been a source of offense for centuries to those who desire no Lord but themselves.

Actually, I think the whole issue of "oppressive" biblical imagery derives from the way modern liberals regard the scriptures. Rather than viewing them as an integrated whole, delivered over the centuries by God ("a seamless garment," as Abuna Don at Our Lady's would say), they splinter them. Each book, or even part of a book, is a world unto itself, to be read pretty much independently from the rest of scripture. The modernist will write one book on the theology of Paul in, say, Ephesians, and another book on the theology of Paul in Phillippians, as if the two had nothing to do with one another. In a humorous way, it is the modern, up-to-date cleric's version of fundamentalist proof-texting. Reductionism is a marvelous tool in science; in theology, it is a marvelous way to miss the whole point.

The problem isn't that the scriptures portray an "oppressive" God; the problem is that the liberal clergy have lost the ability to find God in the scriptures at all. Therefore, they invent one that fits the peculiar sensibilities of our particular, transient moment in history. When a passage of scripture doesn't match up with their god of the moment, guess which one gets scrapped.