Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Taliban & Genesis

 Now that the Taliban has returned to power in Afghanistan, girls over 13 are once again denied education and all women’s freedom is restricted.  There, women and girls are regarded as chattel to be controlled by men.  That was the ‘norm’ of all history prior to the 20TH Century.


As humanity gradually inches toward enlightenment, we now see horrible mistakes make in the name of ‘progress’.

   --historically, kingdoms sent adventurers to find and conquer ‘new lands’; then, subjugating the natives, claimed the territory for their far-away monarchs. 

   --in the 1600’s, an emerging ‘industry’ was designed to capture and restrain dark-skinned humans, then transport them across the ocean to sell them to white slave-owners.

  --in the mid1900’s, a nation perceiving itself as ‘superior’, rounded up other humans deemed ‘inferior’; then devising a ‘final solution, gassed and burned them in incinerators.


Ever since the earliest institution of government, women were not included.  That position came to be known as: Patriarchy—a system of society or government in which men hold the power and women are largely excluded.  In our time the Taliban demonstrates that.


In general, men and women have different fundamental perspectives on life.  Individually, points-of-view vary across the spectrum, but taken as a whole, males tend to value power and control; while females value nurturing and compassion.  Each perspective has its value, but it was patriarchy that determined the unfolding of civilization.  By having excluded the ‘female voice’ from participating in shaping the world, our world has become distorted.  That is not to suggest either voice is superior . . . the problem came from males believing their voice was superior, and disavowed the female voice.



Bible stories tell of how people of that time sought to understand their world.  They lacked science and used story-telling to explain life.  Because it was only males in control, stories were heavily male oriented.  We wonder how the stories might have been different if the story-tellers were women.  How might a woman have told the story of Genesis?                                                                    



          If we look at Genesis (2 & 3)—the very beginning of scripture—as written, the story is told of God placing the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the center of the Garden of Eden and forbidding the human couple to eat of the fruit . . . but Satan tempts them, saying they will be like God if they eat the fruit.  The woman picks the fruit and eats, then gives it to the man to eat . . . (here we see the male author blaming women for original sin . . . and thus justifying millenniums of oppression of women and establishing the superiority of the male gender) and then we see God, learning they disobeyed him, so in anger, he curses them and their children and drives them from the Garden.



Had a woman told the story in Genesis, it would have gone differently . . . 



Retelling the Story 



          In the beginning, God placed the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the garden, saying to the human couple it was their choice to eat or not; but for their own good he cautioned them not eat it because it was the nature of The Garden to hold only the good, so if they ate of the fruit and came to know evil (it would become part of them) they would have to leave. They would then have to make their own way in the world.

          When Satan told them that if they ate the fruit they’d know all things like God, Adam became restless.  He wanted to be like God.  He was curious, ‘what was this thing called evil?’ and he longed to see that world beyond the Garden.  He talked of adventure to Eve, how exciting it would be to explore the unknown.  She’d listen and agree that it sounded interesting, but she was more content with the garden and it didn’t seem wise to go against God’s advice.  One day as they sat under the tree Adam said:

          “Eve, reach up and pick me one of the fruit.”

          “I think that’s not a good idea” she said.

          He laughed and said, “Come on, Hun, trust me, it will be OK.”

          “But God said not to”

          “No, God just advised against it—and how do we know what we are missing if we don’t’ try it?”

          “No, we shouldn’t” she pleaded.

          “Come on, if you really love me you’ll do it.”

          “Well,  . . . I don’t know.”

          “Go ahead, just pick one.  That one right above your head.”

          As she reached up gingerly, he said, “Great going, Hon!  Now take a bite and give it to me.”  She did.

          After a while as the awareness of evil seeped into them, they knew they could no longer live there.  Together they walked out of the garden; God watched with great sadness as they left, knowing the tribulation ahead.


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