Biblical Conservativism: Think of Your Daughter

Fri, 3 Apr 2015 | norman

This was originally written addressed to a 6-day creationist ...

Read the Bible, the whole thing. Every boring prohibition. Every single "begat". Women, count how many times God tells us what to do, and what not to do. (613 in the Old Testament.) Then count how many times God suggests that sex ought to be consensual. (0, Old and New.) You know what justice virgin girls get for being raped? They have to marry their rapist, and they are not allowed to get divorced. (Ex 22:16, Deut 22:28-29) Imagine if that had been you. No justice. No closure. Instead, your rapist's sweaty face, in your face, every night, for the rest of your life. Every time he has sex with you, a physical reminder of the first time you were raped. Surely Jesus would have had something to say about that commandment, though, right? I mean He had something to say about the Fourth Commandment. (Mark 2:23-28) (Don't work on the Sabbath, and don't even allow non-believers to work on the Sabbath. (Ex 20:8-11, Deut 5:12-15) If they do, stone them. (Ex 31:15, Num 15:32-36)) Of course Jesus had something to say about marriage, even marriage that involved rape. He said, "What God has joined together, let no one separate." (Mark 10:9) Rape within marriage was only criminalised in the UK in 1991, and in South Africa in 1993. The first conviction for marital rape in South Africa only happened in 2012!

As parents, we raise our kids the best we can. We give them the best opportunities we can afford. We teach them the highest morality we aspire to.


I think parents of daughters need to think long and hard about how they interpret their Scripture. Some men may struggle to see how biblical conservatism is misogynist and barbaric. But I don't think there are many women in the 21st century who can read the entire Bible conservatively, and conclude that it represents their interests as well as it represents men's. They either need to interpret it more progressively, as women like Sharon Bollum do, or they need to mimic Battered Wife Syndrome, where they support their oppression with loyalty.

No woman would want biblical literalism for their own daughter, would they? We have come a long way, as a society, and we are all better than that. I'm sure we are.

Look, I know that posting here is a waste of my time. Firstly, because only a handful of people will read this. And secondly, because I'm very unlikely to convince those who do. It's not facts or rational arguments that change people's minds; it's friendships and relationships.

However ... the fact that most of the people much smarter than us have changed their minds, and also the fact that many of the people who are experts in the Bible are desperately trying to walk away from their beliefs, should give serious pause. Don't just brush it off. Don't allow fear to guide your thoughts. Think about it seriously.

Get a wider circle of friends, I guess, would be my suggestion. I think it's a good principle generally, and something for which Jesus was criticised.

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