Feminism, Human Nature, the Nature of the Divine, and Marriage

This section was partly inspired by a post I read in jezebel.com, but there is certainly a lot of stuff here that is not there. I am afraid I will break one of the rules I have in my “About Me” page here, I have to talk about Christian beliefs today.

That being said, the thing that ticked me off about the post as jezebel.com was not the central point being made in that post, though I am sure it is very central to the people/person over at Jezebel (very interesting choice for a name, by the way, I wonder if the connotation of the name is something they want us to take away from it, too). The post was about the recent outburst of racist comments about The Hunger Games. I do not have a twitter (thank God), but from the pictures of posts they have there, it seems like a lot of people have lost their mind (that’s surprising). If it were not in the book that Rue is, in fact, dark skinned, I could understand why some people would find the casting choice rather weird, because I was disappointed when The Lord of the Rings in movie version came with a skinny, twenty year-0ld Frodo, as opposed to a fat, forty year-old one. That being said, to say that one sees a person’s death as less tragic because of their skin tone. In the end, it shows how horribly we have severed ourselves from the understanding of souls, because the break of that bond, between soul and body, is a sad occasion no matter what or who it is.

Alright, time to talk about what actually ticked me off. In the very beginning of the post, when they are talking about the good news concerning The Hunger Games, there is a very post-modern feminist mood of only liking movies/book/things written by women, with female central characters. The author goes so far as to say that even though she (I’m going to take a wild guess here) likes J. K. Rowling, she basically did not do justice to the “cause” by making Harry the central character of her series. Of course, to say that the most-sold series in modern times, written by a woman, did not show that male chauvinism is simply silly is rather extreme in my mind, but I digress.

The point is, I find a rather extreme backlash against the chauvinistic epoch that me have just passed and whereas I would never be able to live in a society where any of my fellow humans were suppressed, neither can I accept that we change one stupidity for another, i.e. saying women are less than men is as wrong as saying men are worthless pigs. That being said, I find it rather ridiculous that the same people who ascribe themselves to this view are also supporters of the social contract theory. Basically, in order for the social contract theory to work (i.e. that society as a whole is contrived), one must accept that there is a point in time where there is no society and the most basic societal structure, we all know, is the family. So, to ascribe to that view is to say that there is a point in time where women gave birth to children and then left them out to the hands of fate, which is a very misogynistic thing to say, so to be a feminist and such a deep male chauvinist at the same time is rather confusing to me, but I digress. Of course, the older and much more feminist way to think of society is that it flowed from the family, but this very view was made up by [evil] dead white males, as if Hobbes, Locke and the others were not dead white males. Of course, you can always espouse the view that it was sent to them from the heavens by something or other that is female, but I don’t think their philosophy would quite fit that.

One other commonsensical point that I want to make is concerning religion. Post-modern feminism unleashes a very cruel attack on Christianity (and technically on Judaism, too) about the nature of the Divine, namely the fact that He is always referred to as “He.” One very common explanation for this peculiarity is that all ancient religions identify the sky with masculinity and the earth with femininity, which is true in a basic sense, but I don’t think much attention should be put to it. I study the classical world, so I am going to give examples based on that, but I am sure there is other religions where the same thing is true. In a basic sense, the Greek Theogony does say that the sky (Ouranos) is male and the earth (Gaia) female, but there are little kinks that make me disagree with making the above-mentioned statement. First off, it is Gaia who gives birth to Ouranos (without a male counterpart) and then marries him, so I don’t see a straight duality between sky/earth. In addition, not all goddesses are agricultural related. Of the children of the Titans, only Demeter relates to agriculture, whereas Hera and Hestia are not, Hera is the protector of marriage and Hestia the goddess of the family, which are not necessarily related to the earth or agriculture. In addition, there is a plethora of  goddesses which have nothing to do with agriculture or the earth, such as Venus (goddess of beauty), Athena (goddess of wisdom, and strategy), and Artemis (goddess of the hunt and the moon). In fact, as one starts to look at ancient Roman and pre-Roman culture, Saturn (Roman version of Cronos) is an agricultural god. In addition, Quirinus (later understood as the divine version of Romulus) and Mars (later changed into the god of war) are both agricultural deities, and they, together with Jupiter, make up the pre-classical triad central to Roman/Italian religion.

That being said, there is a very deep understanding behind calling the Divine “He.” The missing link to it is that humanity, as whole, should be referred to as “she.” What exactly does this mean? In both Christianity and Judaism, human nature is understood as in need of continuous impregnation from God, i.e. we lack something and God can provide it for us. That something is perfection and perfection can be attained by spiritual impregnation from God, so if there is any discrimination at all here, it is on the side of males, because it basically means that whereas the males are simply a metaphor for the divine, females are truly “it,” the female essence shows what we really are as a whole, the male essence is a pointing finger to what we need (what would you rather be, the Mona Lisa or the sign pointing to DaVinci’s house?). Calling God “He” and calling ourselves as a whole, for Christians the Church “she” is a contant pointer to what we must do, i.e. fall into God’s arms and allow Him to fulfill us.

That aside, I find the fact that post-modern feminists refuse to worship a male God simply on account of His being male rather confusing. As I said, I study classics and in those two civilizations there is countless examples of devoutness among males to female deities. First and foremost, the Galli, the priests of Cybele in Rome, castrate themselves. In Phrygia (mod. day Turkey) the cult of Cybele was very prominent and people basically fought to become her priests (i.e. to castrate themselves), even before it was brought to Rome in the third century BCE. In some mysteries of Demeter in Greece, the central ritual is the killing of the male high priest by the female priests and there were males who deeply desired to give their lives for their goddess, Isis eventually becomes a henotheistic deity in the Roman world and countless males worship her (look at the Golden Ass if you want an example), and so on and so forth. The fact that we have clear evidence of males going above and beyond the call of duty for female deities in the past, but the current belief that a male deity is not even worth worshiping in the present seems a little non-natural.

Last, I want to briefly touch on the dynamics of sex and marriage within a Christian society (or at least a Christian-dominated society). You’d be living under a rock if you had not heard someone call people like St. Paul or Christianity as a whole misogynist on account (most commonly) of 1 Corinthians 11:3, where St. Paul says that the head of the woman (more correctly the wife) is the husband, as the head of all men (humans/anthropoi) is Christ. Well, what exactly does it mean that the husband is the head of the wife, is it a master-slave relationship? I don’t think so, mainly because the Law of Non-Contradiction disallows it. To understand in what sense the husband is the head of the woman, one needs to explore in what sense Christ is the head of the Church. Is Christ the tyrant of the Church? No. Christ is He who dies for the Church and for all humanity, so that she may live. One proof of why Christians believe Christ is God is because He is full of power, power in its totality resides in Him, His purpose to come here on earth is to spread His power to all, i.e. the purpose of his power is not to enslave, but to empower, not to bind, but to lose the bonds. Therefore, the husband’s “headship” of the wife is of the same nature. The duty befalls on him to not enslave his wife, but empower her, not to increase her hardships, but to take her hardships upon himself, not to allow her to die, but to give his life so that she may live. Once you truly understand what that means, you would be an utter idiot to think that it is misogynistic. C. S. Lewis in The Four Loves calls this headship “the crown of thorns” placed in every man’s head.

There are, of course, those who say that this dynamic is condescending, but I have nothing to say to them, if the deep love that St. Paul is asking for in the husband does not touch your soul, then you might have lost it somewhere.

So, I am pretty sure this is my most controversial post to date, so feel free to leave a comment if you disagree. I love disagreements, because as long as they don’t come in “I think you’re wrong and you’re a chauvinist pig,” form, both me and whoever comments can learn something from each other.

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4 comments on “Feminism, Human Nature, the Nature of the Divine, and Marriage

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  3. […] Feminism, Human Nature, the Nature of the Divine, and Sex (modernplatonist.wordpress.com) […]

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