The Blog

The Bible Is Man-Made: Why Patriarchy Still Reigns

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

The fact is, this is a man's world.

War of the Sexes

We've all heard this. It is both true and and soul-destroying. But for whom? Don't women benefit from the world being gender-centric? What I mean to imply in my question is that while we all live in a world structured by the masculine/feminine divide we will always have a hierarchy. There will always be a "war of the sexes."

Patriarchy is a system inebriated by its over-dependency on identity, power and manipulation. This is not to insinuate that all men exhibit these features; but, let's be honest, there are quite a few in history that stand-out. Patriarchy demands submission and slavery by those who are outside the sphere of the masculine gaze. It resists equality by nature; it defines equality by its own agenda of chauvinism.

Take for instance in the simplest sense, the phrase: "the man is the head of the household." Even though there is social evidence that today this is gradually shifting, there is still more evidence to proclaim otherwise. In this phrase we encounter the violence of metaphysics, where man is quite literally reified into a divine being who rules/defines the family by his very presence. Even the marginalization of God being male has immensely detrimental effects on any society on the whole. It promotes and defends all kinds of violent behavior -- both literal and symbolic.

If humans are meant to submit to God and wives are to emulate the same, which some claim the Bible states, which I believe is a misreading then what we are met with is the endless cycle of devaluing the feminine spirit an marginalizing other possible gender categories. Dont get me wrong, the Bible is holy, but I use holy in the Hebrew sense: unique. The Bible is unique, but it does not make the only source for experiencing God, in fact, the author John at the end of his gospel implies that it could limit us and our belief in God.

[Note: even deconstructing the claim of wives submitting to their husbands is enough to demonstrate the underlying male-chauvinism implied in these titular identities - not to mention a slap in the face of the LGBTQ community]; there is also evidence that Paul might not have written a large portion of the letter attributed to him - See Jesus Seminar].

Even reading the Bible as an 'authoritative' book materializes some problems with the idea of authority, the implication being that authority descends from a male [i.e., because God is a male who composed scripture, according to some]. Jesus [the 'son'] of God is speaking with a Rabbi, at night, a religious leader. And tells him, [note: a RELIGIOUS LEADER - Piper, Driscoll, Roberston - listen up!], to be born again if he wants to experience the all- inclusive kingdom of God. That phrase from the Hebrew, the word 'born' (in Hebrew is: Yalad) implies a family-tree {the very center of identity in the Jewish culture}. The family tree was how one was known and also treated in the Jewish culture, if you were the 'son' of...well, depending who's son you were would determine your fate and direction and character in life.

Gaining Weight

Actress Ashley Judd was recently spotted by the paparazzi "gaining weight"; they ran a large column on this vulgar act of an actress actually gaining weight, which is again another gaze of the male psyche on perverse display. In response, Judd said something very akin to what Jesus was essentially saying to the Rabbi Nicodemus: "F*ck the Patriarchy!" Identity in the ancient world was quite easily defined by patriarchy. Jesus was not simply upsetting the system, he was claiming the system was out-moded and in need of decay.

The Bible was predominantly written in a patriarchal context with male-writers (not all); I am not claiming we need a new bible [although there is something there to think about] but rather claim that we need to reclaim it for the feminist, for the transgendered, for the androgynous. It seems these people Jesus were after, not the one's who had identity and held onto it, but the one's without it. Maybe this is why Paul claims gender and ethnicity don't exist, but are hidden in Christ. That all distinction both disappears and is discovered in the spirit of Christ. If the Bible is getting in the way of this, then we need to find a new book.

Popular in the Community