Sunday, June 14, 2009

Darwinian Religion

Take a look at this bizarre instructional paragraph from Timothy:

"A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety." 1 Tim 2:11-15

I'm actually kind of embarrassed to highlight this verse, because it's a totally outdated concept that most Christians don't believe is relevant or true. However, this is an example of how our "truth" changes with the times, and with our social evolution. As a society, we no longer believe that women are unequal to men, and this based on logic (ie. no one chooses their sex, just like they don't choose many other things that they are, so it's not logical to create a hierarchy of people-types; we choose hierarchy now more based on individual choices like determination, talent, achievement and so on).

So with the shift in beliefs about women, this societal value has become a value of the church as well (well, we're getting there), where women
aren't made objects of submission who aren't allowed to speak in a church building and must have long hair and a head covering and so on. We don't believe this anymore. In fact, the writer of this instruction - Timothy - would be scoffed at and mocked if he showed up with these ideas in a church today.

Further, we have seemingly altered what seems to be a foundational Christian doctrine, which is that only men can be saved by God, and women are saved by their association with men (ie. they bring men into the world physically). Can you believe this is in the Bible? This is absolutely foreign to us today, and
thank God it is. So much for the full and absolute authority of the Bible, eh?

Addressing the same issue (women in the church), Paul - the ultimate Church authority - says 3 words that seem to encompass the logic behind value-evolution, and even doctrine-shifting over time (and with the times):
"Judge for yourselves" (1 Cor 11:13). It makes sense right? As we learn and grow as a species (sorry to use that word), and as we discover that long-held traditions are perhaps baseless and sometimes superstitious, we adapt our beliefs to what we know is true. It's Darwinian Religion.

It's this evolution that allows women to speak in church, to have other-than-long hair if they so choose, to wear the dreaded trouser, and to have an uncovered head; it overturns our previous endorsement of slavery, not to mention our institutional racism; it now forbids polygamy where it once found such arrangements easily justifiable in Scripture; it blesses interracial marriages, and for a few denominations, same-sex marriages. Heck, the first shift was to allow non-Jews to become Christians! Shifting of belief, and evolution with human thought is
absolutely necessary for the church's survival.

Funny the things we argue for and against without comparing modern struggles to issues of old. Funny these former issues are laughable to us now, but were matters of end-all damnation back in their day. And funny how in modern arguements the "absolute authority of Scripture" is used to keep us in the past, creating a stale, irrelevent fossil of a thing. Not funny actually; there's never been anything funny about extinction.