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Vasu Murti

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THE NEXT DISTRACTION
Politics and Passions - Winter 1995-96

Part 31 Revealed Religion

Thomas Paine, wrote in The Age of Reason (1794), "The most detestable wickedness, the most horrid cruelties, and the greatest miseries that have afflicted the human race have their origin in this thing called revelation, or revealed religion…Of all the systems of religion that ever were invented, there is none more derogatory to the Almighty, more unedifying to man, more repugnant to itself, than this thing called Christianity...My mind is my own Church."

The early American feminist and vegetarian Elizabeth Cady Stanton observed that "the Bible…does not exalt and dignify women." Husbands are to rule over wives (Genesis 3:16), young girls are to be stoned (and not with marijuana, either!) for losing their virginity (Deuteronomy 22:20-21), women are subordinate to men (Ephesians 5:22-24), women must remain silent in the churches (I Corinthians 14:34-35), women are not allowed to teach or hold authority over men (I Timothy 2:11-14).

St. Augustine said, "Any woman who acts in such a way that she cannot give birth to as many children as she is capable of, makes herself guilty of that many murders." Martin Luther wrote: "God created Adam lord of all living creatures, but Eve spoiled it all. Women should remain at home, sit still, keep house and bear children. And if a woman grows weary and, at last, dies from childbearing, it matters not. Let her die from bearing; she is there to do it."

Even Pope John Paul II instructs women to go back to their traditional roles as "obedient and serving companions to their husbands," and refuses to have an audience with anyone advocating the ordination of women in the Catholic Church. The Catholic Encyclopedia still declares that women are inferior to the male sex, "both as regards body and soul."

The church of the past never considered human slavery to be a moral evil. The Protestant churches of Virginia, South Carolina, and other southern states, actually passed resolutions in favor of the human slave traffic. Human slavery was called "by Divine Appointment," "a Divine institution," "a moral relation," "God’s institution," "not immoral," but "founded in right." The slave trade was called "legal," "licit," "in accordance with humane principles" and "the laws of revealed religion."

New Testament verses calling for obedience and subservience on the part of slaves (Titus 2:9-10, Ephesians 6:5-9, Colossians 3:22-25, I Peter 2:18-25) and respect for the master (I Timothy 6:1-2, Ephesians 6:5-9) were often cited in order to justify human slavery. Many of Jesus’ parables refer to human slaves. Paul’s epistle to Philemon concerns a runaway slave returned to his master.

"Paul's outright endorsement of slavery should be an undying embarrassment to Christianity as long as they hold the entire New Testament to be the word of God," says contemporary Quaker physician Dr. Charles P. Vaclavik. "Without a doubt, the American slaveholders quoted Paul again and again to substantiate their right to hold slaves.

"The moralist movement to abolish slavery had to go to non-Biblical sources to demonstrate the immoral nature of slavery. The abolitionists could not turn to Christian sources to condemn slavery, for Christianity had become the bastion of the evil practice through its endorsement by the Apostle Paul.

"Only the Old Testament gave the abolitionist any Biblical support in his effort to free the slaves. ‘You shall not surrender to his master a slave who has taken refuge with you.’ (Deuteronomy 23-15) What a pittance of material opposing slavery from a book supposedly representing the word of God."

In 1852 Josiah Priest wrote Bible Defense of Slavery. Others claimed blacks were subhuman. Buckner H. Payne, calling himself "Ariel," wrote in 1867, "the tempter in the Garden of Eden...was a beast, a talking beast . . . the negro."

Ariel argued that since the negro was not part of Noah’s family, he must have been a beast. Eight souls were saved on the ark, therefore, the negro must be a beast, and "consequently he has no soul to be saved."

Every kind of social progress since the end of the Dark Ages and the beginning of the Age of Enlightenment thus appears to contradict the Bible. May the secular state prevail.

Go on to: Part 32: Abortion - A Societal Problem
Return to: The Next Distraction

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