Monday, January 24, 2011

Proverbs 6-7

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

6:20 - "My child, keep your father's commandment, and do not forsake your mother's teachings."
6:24-26 - "[The commandment is a lamp] to keep you from the wife of another, from the smooth tongue of the adulteress. Do not desire her beauty in your heart, and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes; for a prostitute's fee is only a loaf of bread; but the wife of another stalks a man's very life."
6:29 - "So is he who sleeps with his neighbor's wife; no one who touches her will go unpunished."
6:32 - "But he who commits adultery has no sense; he who does it destroys himself."

Proverbs 7 subtitle: The False Attractions of Adultery
7:7-8 - "I saw among the simple ones, I observed among the youths, a young man without sense, passing along the street near her corner, taking the road to her house."
7:10-23 - A woman goes towards the man dressed like a prostitute, for "her feet do not stay at home" and she approaches the young man. She takes him and kisses him and tells him how she has offered her sacrifices and paid her vows and has come out to meet him. Her couch is decked with coverings and perfume is on her bed. She wants the young man to come and they will take their fill of love till the morning since her husband is not home but on a long journey. She "compels" the man with "seductive speech" and "smooth talk." He follows her "like an ox to the slaughter."
7:24-27 - "And now, my children, listen to men, and be attentive to the words of my mouth. Do not let your hearts turn aside to her ways; do not stray into her paths. For many are those she has laid low, and numerous are her victims. Her house is the way to Sheol, going down to the chambers of death."

My Comments

I want to first, before I delve more into the fuckery that is Proverbs, talk a bit about adultery and the importance the Bible seems to lay on it. From all the crimes listed in the ten commandments (don't murder, steal, make false idols, covet, on and on) it seems adultery is the one that keeps popping up over and over and over again. Now I don't know about you, but on that list of things to do and not do, I think "murder" would be first on my list of things to talk about and elaborate on. Stealing and coveting would probably follow right after that, but only because the rest of the commandments are just ridiculously petty and childish in nature. I can guarantee if this was my holy book I would put a lot of focus on why I do not think people should be killing each other rather than why married women should or should or should not be sleeping around outside of marriage.

And yet, it seems adultery makes the top of the list every single time. We are warned again and again about how women will work their wiles and drag men down to the very depths of death with their seductive ways. But here's the thing, adultery is probably only a huge deal because they trace lineage through the fathers instead of the mothers. The mothers is the only parent who is guaranteed to share genetics with the child, but the father is never for certain. So in order to make sure that the father can be known the men have to take extra care to minimize adultery. They have to keep their women under lock and key, and if the women happen to be found with another man they are killed along with the offending man. Yeah, even for rape (as long as didn't take place outside the city walls; these people weren't barbarians, you know).

The whole concept is ridiculous from the start anyways, because you could get rid of all this hassle by just following someone's decent from the mother's lineage. But I guess that would give women SOME standing in history so they would just prefer to do it the ridiculous and often cruel way.

Anyway, onto the actual chapters for today. I don't know why but I thought proverbs was supposed to be general wisdom and knowledge, the kind of feel good stuff like "do unto others" and whatnot. Generally just light and fluffy. But nope, instead I get this rage inducing bullshit.

So, I imagine the dialogue during Proverbs 6:26 went something like this:

Father: So, son, instead of taking another man's wife just go out and take advantage of one of the many prostitutes wandering the streets. It's okay because the adultery thing only goes for women. The men can fuck around how ever much they please without consequence. You know, as long as they aren't fucking around with a woman who already belongs to someone. Women, we must always remember, are not people, so they have to follow men's rules because they are our property but we do not have to respect them because they have no feelings in the matter on account of them being objects and not people.

Son: Wow, thanks dad! Being a man sounds freakin' awesome! :D

Well, you know, I'd like to think of it as going that way. Though I don't know if it's better to think that these men probably believed this in ignorance or that they may have really understood the vast depths of their fuckery. Either way it's pretty bleak and fairly rage inducing for me to read.

Now Proverbs 7 goes back in to territory we have waded through before. You know, the usual nonsense on how it's women that seduce the men and so the men are merely passive players in their demise while the women are actively working to ruin the men's souls (about the only instances where the woman is always active and the man is always passive). It seems that a woman's sole (note: I had originally spelled that "soul" which I think works as well) purpose is to walk around and tempt men to stray from God's path-

Wait, hold on. Does that make us demons? Servants of the evil one himself? Satan is well known for tempting men into turning away from God, so it would seem his perfect minions would be women who walk around, tits out, luring men into their bedchambers while their husbands are out doing good husbandly duties. Eve ate the apple, which was in turn "given' to her by the snake (often rewritten as being Satan himself), so maybe we're just unwitting servants for the dark lord. That would explain our supposed ignorance of our evil. We're like robots with hidden programming that we are unaware of but which can be triggered at any time if we are not constantly kept in check. So perhaps we are minions for Satan without any knowledge of it (sweet!).

But wait... if we have no knowledge of it then why are we always the active ones when it comes to seduction?

No wonder men work so hard to beat us into submission. It's all just too confusing to bother figuring out. So instead of exploding their brains trying to make that illogical thought process work out, they choose to beat those they don't understand into submission since it is just easier on the brain.

I mean come on! No wonder most people in the world today are so much more likely to believe the myth that most women make up rape stories to get back at men. That story is so ingrained it's even in our holy books. These women are always the ones asking for it. Wearing revealing clothes and seducing men into their beds. The men are just pawns in their games. When I'm sure a more likely scenario was a man taking advantage of a woman and raping her. Shoot, if he does it while the husband is away no one would be the wiser. And what is the wife going to do about it? Tell it to the authorities? No matter what, whether the sex was consensual or not, she gets killed for it. And if she isn't able to convince others that the man she points to actually did it (and let's be honest, who do we think the people of this time are really going to believe) she dies and the man lives.

Really, the biblical times under biblical law were probably the best time to be a rapist. You can violate any woman you wanted and as long as you didn't get caught in the act you were likely to get away with it without a problem. The woman is powerless to say anything unless she wants the people in her town to take her life. Probably the best silencing tactics to date. And it makes it all the more difficult when young men are taught by the authoritative holy men in their village that women are just succubi waiting to take a man to bed and destroy his soul. That pretty much seals the fate of any woman wanting to come forward and try to get justice for her rape/sexual assault.

It's just... I have to be angry because if I don't seethe and rage and yell at the offensive book sitting in front of me I'll just cry. I cry for these women I read about, whether the specific ones written about existed or not. Because I know women in their exact situations did exist in their time. Those women were put through this. They were stoned for crimes they were powerless to stop. Treated as objects and things. Abused and broken so that they would keep in line and never do anything the men around them did not want them to do.

I cry because this still happens today. And then I hear people tell me that this shit that I seethe and rage at in the Bible is just cultural. It's all in the past. It's just silly tribal sheep herder nonsense.

Well it fucking is not cultural and it's not in the past and it's not silly nonsense. Women all over the world are still treated and thought of as things to be dealt with as men please. Women who are raped or assaulted are always treated as liars first (the alleged Assange rape cases, anyone?). It is always, "What did you do? What were you wearing? Did you tell him to stop? Well you must have done something to make him do that to you." It is one of the few crimes where the victim is considered guilty until proven innocent, and the man is treated as if he's the one who has been wronged. Even without the threat of death for coming forward, women are silenced by this bullshit. And this bullshit is everywhere, even in religious fucking "holy" books.

At least being angry makes me feel like I can do something. Makes me feel like I have some control. Like there is some hope.

So I scream and yell instead of cry.

Wednesday: More Proverbs


  1. You're right on target here, NulleFide.

    I think it relevant to quote what Sam Harris has to say about a different moral failing of the Christian religion:

    "I mean slavery is clearly endorsed in the Bible. It’s endorsed in the Old Testament. It’s endorsed in the New Testament. We all agree that slavery is wrong. We conquer that ground morally through some very hard fought conversations, and also wars. Religion was of very little help in that. I mean there was . . . It’s true that abolitionists were cherry picking Scripture trying to find ways to justify their project. But their project wasn’t coming from Scripture, because Scripture is clear. It supports slavery. There was . . . There’s no . . . The evil of slavery is not recognized in the Bible, and it’s certainly not repudiated in the Bible. And so the . . . the slave holders of the South were on the winning side of that theological argument. And it . . . Religion was an impediment to making that moral progress."

    In that same way, the treatment of women in the Bible is not moral or ethical. Those who punish women for their sexuality or treat them as property are on very solid theological ground because the Bible endorses that treatment of women.

  2. Tis true.... "adultery" in the Bible, particularly in the Hebrew Bible, is more noose on the married woman than on the man, regardless of his marital station. It frustrates me how many Bible readers equate their own definition of adultery onto the text and so find in the Bible a recapitulation of their own values and ideas.

  3. @Peter: It frustrates me how many Bible readers change the definition of a lot of bullshit in the Bible to fit their own morality. Usually by saying, "Oh, those were the old ways. They just didn't know any better."

    Oh really? You're all powerful God couldn't manage to get the proper moral message down to us? I know some people who can influence minds better than this supposed higher power.

    What kills me is when it gets to the point where a Christian decides they think the Bible really is just a bunch of faulty nonsense written by flawed men. Yet they insist on using the "Christian" label. Why bother? Christianity rests on you believing the Bible is at least a somewhat accurate portrayal of the God you worship. Without the Bible you basically just believe in a greater being whom you have no information on so you can add anything you want to it or take anything you dislike away. I then get the, "Well I'm still a follower of Christ, that's all a Christian really is." Which I still call bullshit on because Jesus IS God, and if you don't think you know anything about God then you don't know anything about Jesus. And why people think they can discount the Bible and yet they still think the Jesus bits are accurate is beyond me. Part of the problem some people have with Jesus is the lack of any written history about him outside of the Biblical text. So again, if you don't think the Bible is reliable you can't have an accurate picture of God OR Jesus so you can't really follow either of them.

    People just confuse me. I think it's just an extreme attachment to a label, really. I know many "Christians" who could be better defined as desists, but they cling to that label. Which, in the end, hurts them because it keeps them attached to the hateful teachings of the Bible whether they like it or not.

  4. @efogoto: I keep meaning to read some Sam Harris, but I just never really have any time to read now a days (blame it on the xbox, lol). I have read some Dawkins and my brother recently got me a Hitchens book "God is Not Great" which I have been meaning to start. Guess I should try to get a hold of a Sam Harris book after that. :)

  5. I read the text of these proverbs today and noticed that they are directly addressed from a man to his son. Is there any indication that any portion of the Bible is written by a woman? I think not, but it's another indicator that women are not equal participants in the Bible. It seems the sort of thing that ought to be noted here.

  6. I think I have commented previously on how the Bible is just not for women. It is not written by women and it rarely ever addresses women directly.

    But yes, the problem of women being seductive is a man's problem here even though it is not the men who are the problem, according to this book. This means the men are charged with controlling the women who can't even control themselves. You'd think if they wanted to stop this they would address the women who are the trouble makers, but I guess they think women are too stupid to understand or something.

  7. I forgot to mention that "Letter to a Christian Nation" is a short work by Sam Harris (less than 100 pages) that contains the same sort of thing as the slavery link above. You'd get through that in a hurry, or you could just catch some of his stuff on youtube or if you'd prefer to listen.

  8. @nullefide....

    Just followed up on your comments. yes, why bother calling yourself a "christ follower" or a "christian" when your idea of "christ" is just a "perfect man god" defined however you wish?


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