We all know that the Bible is used to perpetuate abuse; abuse on women, abuse on children, and those who are deemed unbelievers. It’s been used to justify slavery, bigotry, misogyny, and hate mongering of all manner. Whether or not the Bible actually teaches those behaviors (IMHO it does) or whether it’s twisted to justify them is, of course, an argument to itself. Frankly, I don’t know how, other than deliberately choosing to ignore some of it’s contents one could argue that these teachings aren’t in there. It’s a book rife with examples of each. The Old Testament is filled with instances of spiritual and ethnic cleansing that rivals modern day genocide in the Sudan.
The Books of Exodus and Leviticus are replete with the refrain that if someone has some sort of deformity or disease they may not worship along side of others. Even if you believe in the “One True God” if you are a woman or a non-Jew you have your own special section…not at the front. This makes anyone, regardless of belief, who isn’t a Jewish male a second class citizen.
Enter Christianity and the theme is really no different. If you are a well-to-do Christian male you are first-class. Slaves, women, and children are still relegated to second-class status. Women are to cover their heads, keep silent in the church and have no authority whatsoever. If a slave gets beaten they’re not to complain, but take it like a good little Christian. And what of this not speaking in Church thing for women? They’re supposed to go home and ask their husband. What if their husband is a misogynist jackass who treats her like dirt, or worse, beats her? Then what is she supposed to do? Submit, likewise as a slave to his master. That’s what.
Many people are abused and trampled on all because they’re supposed to be submissive like Jesus. Does this actually ever win over a “lost soul”? Not really. When you’re a doormat it’s hard to command any respect. Submitting more doesn’t suddenly become the door to the heart of a sadist. A soft word is supposed to turn away wrath. In the heart of a normal person this is true. In the heart of a wretched, angry, abusive person it becomes a license.
It begins and ends with respect; respect for the value of others regardless of their place in life. When you’re taught that people are less-than due to some physical malady, sex, sexual orientation, where they happened to be born, who they happened to be born to, religious affiliation, or the color of their skin the cycle of abuse begins. Abuse begins in the heart when the belief that you are better than another takes hold and you begin to buy your own press.
*edited because there’s a major difference between masochist and sadist and I’m just hoping you all read what I meant, not what I wrote. ::rolls eyes:: Thank you, Ahab!