Friday, 30 November 2007

An ongoing conversation - continued

Her:

I don't mind, but you have to watch taking passages from religious texts and using them as an excuse to explain the behavior or misogynistic cultures. Like it or not, every organized 'thing' has discriminated against women at one time or another [some countries didn't allow them to vote; shit, my country still 'grousing' over reproductive rights!] and religious is often misused by patriarchal cultures. [BTW - you'll find the same sort of passages in the Christian bible, about the secondary status of women and how women and children will come between 'man' and G*d] -it's down to how the culture interprets these passages that says a great deal.

I tend to get knee-jerky when you start quoting incidents of 'cultural' violence, and blame the religion as the reason. The Islamic religion is vast and diverse, just like Christianity [Catholics do no espouse the same rules as Protestants, and yet--it's all Christianity, isn't it?] And on Western Christianity, well, it can be just as stupid--some sects don't allow women to wear 'trousers or make up', they say working outside the home is unsound, and worst of all...keep having children even though you can't afford it. And this isn't obscure Christianity, this is modern Christianity. At the heart of it all, a flawed culture is just that, a flawed culture--ask yourself, if Islam disappeared tomorrow, do you still think there would be violence against women in those very same cultures? Of course there would. Turkish Muslims are nothing like Iranian Muslims, anymore than Mormons are anything like Episcopalians...one thing they all have in common is, there culture is the blue print for how their religion operates--

Like it or not, man existed before G*d [no matter what the man-made bible says] and women were subjugated culturally before there was an conceived Allah or Christ. :/

Me:


All of which I basically agree with - I grew up in Germany and the various countries of the UK, so I know all about the three Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Islam and Christianity) I can find similar quotes in all three 'holy' books.

But what you are missing is that these are the same religions as in the East, exactly the same, yet in this day and age, the West have abolished such barbaric practices and the East appears to revel in them. Despite the growing education of the world, the growing diversity, there are still those who prefer to live in the past and justify their actions using precisely the quoted passages.

You're also making the mistake of asuming that religion is shaped by culture. It's far more complex than that, it goes both ways - religion is shaped by culture, but culture is also shaped religion.

Back in the pre-modern era, it was indeed mostly a culture shaping religion toss, but now it's flipped and religion is shaping culture, so much so that what may have started off as nice and simple rules for keeping your people in place and happy, have turned into laws that are unconsionable in more advanced cultures.

It's the main reason the West strives so hard to keep fundamentalists watched and (metaphorically) beaten down - Muslim as well as Christian fundamentalists all want the world we live in now to go back to the days described in their 'holy' books.

Far more recently the Muslims have gone at it again, this time in Sudan, this time with absolutely no way anyone can say it's not because of their religion:

A teddy bear named Mohammad.

Different country, same schtick.

The problem is that the West is secular, with a distinct seperation of Politics and Religion - while the East has no such distinction. (Though unfortunately I have noticed that the US is beginning to blur the lines.) Precisely because Muslim countries lack this distinction, they still have barbaric laws that allow raped women to be punished for the grvious wrong of 'being with a strange man' and teachers to be punished for allowing children to name teddy bears 'Muhammad' (despite the fact that there is actually no provable evidence that it was the PROPHET Mohammed and not just a simple name).

If there wasn't this much needed distinction, those laws would never have been formed and they would not exist today. I find it shameful that the East, once so far more advanced than the West, is now living once again in the Dark Ages, so scared of what will happen to their religion in the future, that they are reacting in such barbaric ways to even the imagined threat.

So yes, I am incredibly wary of any and all religions, because when you get right down to the crux of the issue, our world has no place for them, certainly not in the fundamentalist versions - even the moderates aren't helping matters, because they pave the way for the fundies to step in and be heard.

2 comments:

Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...

I'd say it does not matter weather a culture that was inherently misogynistic shaped religion or the other way around the fact is that now Religion is a vehilce for misogyny and used as the justification for contiuing practices in a more enlightened world.

Hannah King said...

you just summed up my own argument far more eloquently than I have ever managed to ^^