~ A friend of mine at coffee has been less than happy with my articles about Christianity, he contends that “You are too obsessed with the Old Testament Kenneth, it doesn’t apply today, so stop being so fixated with it!”
The problem that my coffee friend doesn’t want to acknowledge is the implications that Christians make about the Old Testament. If Christian’s simply said the Old Testament was a bunch of interesting stories, then that would be that. However, they take things a step further and say that the Old Testament is the very word of God the Creator incarnate, and that the various laws instituted by Moses came from the very mouth of God.
That is a tall order to drink, because many of the laws in the Old Testament are downright outrageous. Take for instance this little ditty in Exodus 21:7,
“When a man sells his daughter as a slave (concubine), she shall not go out as the male slaves do. If she does not please her master, who has designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed”
There are two major elements in this text that fly off the page;
1) A man sells his daughter into slavery!
2) The daughter isn’t being sold as a slave that makes beds and sets the dinner table; she is being sold to be a sex slave!
The Hebrew word for “slave” in this verse is “amah” and appears three other times in the Old Testament, every other time it is translated as “concubine” because this is the type of slavery being inferred by the text.
If you are simply the type of person that writes these crazy Old Testament verses off as merely being the writings of men who were living in a male dominated society where women were less than second class citizens, then it is easy to move on and finish our coffee over a different subject. However, the problem is that for the majority of fundamentalist and evangelical Christians, these laws in the Old Testament were spoken by the very creator of the universe….and that is a very difficult cup of coffee to drink.
We live in an odd day and age. Largely motivated by the religious right, the State of Indiana created a law recently that sent shockwaves through the country as the law appears to give business owners the right to discriminate against non-Evangelicals. It is as though we have turned the clock back in time, what is next; do Christians want to force blacks to drink from a garden hose behind the back of the building?
My coffee house friend who has been arguing with me over this topic believes business owners should have the right to refuse ALL services to homosexuals “If a gay couple or an unmarried heterosexual couple came to me and wanted to rent a house from me, I would refuse to let them rent the house because I do not approve of such lifestyles” he said
It is no secret that Evangelical Christians believe their religion is under attack. For much of the last few centuries they were the power players in American politics and ideology. My friend resents the advances women have made, “It is wrong that women are taking jobs away from men” he has told me on more than one occasion, “Women’s first responsibility should be to stay at home caring for children” he said
Such positions nowadays seem rather radical. It is as though conservative Christians are trying to turn the clock back and move society backwards to a day where men sat in their studies smoking cigars and chatting, while the women were relegated to the kitchen in servitude.
Much of the Christian perspective on modern day issues stem from their interpretation of the bible. They believe that the Creator of the universe spoke down from heaven and placed women in positions of servitude; they believe God authored selling daughters into sex slavery, and that men should be the top dogs in all ranking issues of culture.
When we consider the radical Muslims all over the Middle East; we see the same type of anti-women attitudes, and we see the same reliance on their holy scriptures. They too believe God spoke down from heaven and made women second class citizens who exist to serve men.
For some reason these people, whether Muslim or Christian, can’t seem to understand that the Old Testament and Quran were written by men in male dominated cultures. They are scriptures written by men who believed and taught the superiority of men. Far from being the very word of the Creator, many of these biblical laws are nothing more than the writings of men.
Just a few thoughts as I sipped my coffee,
Categories: Culture & Society