Monday, July 25, 2011

Chauvinism that is called the Bible

The Bible is the Word of God. For non-Christians, the Bible is considered a very good piece of literature.

Recently, I read an article describing the Bible as a chauvinist, thus, it's not the Word of God.

I understand why the Bible is accused as such. The literature focused so much on the Middle East, particularly Israel, only going out during the Church Age or what is called by dispensationalist as Grace Period. Only the Books Esther and Ruth have female Bible book titles, while others either have male names or neutral words (i.e, Genesis, Exodus) for a title.

As a Christian, let not this defense be simply put as blind ones. After all, I have my own share of heartaches in my faith. This is written not by a religiously blind fellow, but by a person trying to balance schools of thought, if not trying to be objective.

The Bible was written in the different era. The Bible merely mirrored the society during those times, and described God’s feelings, actions, decisions on the society’s actions during those times.

Now, about the anti-feminine tendency of the Bible, the Bible may have been anti-feminism, but definitely, the BIBLE IS NEVER ANTI-WOMAN. Numerous accounts in the Bible prove it. Rahab was commended for her act of saving the Israelite spies (and she’s a prostitute by the way). Ruth and Naomi were commended for their acts to return to the true God. The Bible also recorded how God chastised David for committing adultery to Bathsheba. It’s a clear indication that the Bible is never anti-woman.

The word “submit” comes into mind. First, the Bible never stated that women should submit to men. It’s inaccurate to say that. The Bible stated, “Wives, submit yourselves UNTO YOUR OWN HUSBANDS”. Therefore, if the man is not your husband, never submit. Now, maybe it will be contested by this question, “what if the husband is not right?” Now, here’s my question: is your husband wrong all the time for you to ask that question? Chances are, when a wife or a woman asks that question, the underlying attitude is this – rebellion. Besides, reading Apostle Paul’s epistles, women were given the chance to speak or suggest…in their own homes and to their own husbands. Let’s remember that chauvinism is said to be an extreme school of thought…and so does the opposite side of it…FEMINISM. Reading it further, the Bible states more responsibility on men than on women. In the book of Joshua, when Achan committed sin by taking the “accursed thing” from Jericho, he, being the head of his family, was stoned unto death. Not only that, his family was also stoned unto death. The Bible implies that the biggest bulk of responsibility is on the men.

By the way, I forgot to mention that we’re talking about male chauvinism, not real chauvinism. Now, about real chauvinism, the Bible is not chauvinist. If you read the whole Bible, Israel was not normally praised. In fact, it is described as stiff necked people. In other words, the Bible describes Israel as stubborn. The Bible also mentioned that Israel committed idolatry, and this is the reason why God allowed them to be conquered by other nations, empires to be exact. If the Bible is a chauvinist, focusing on Israel, Israel’s wrong deeds will never be written.

Let’s go back to Bible being allegedly advocating male chauvinism. When Dinah was raped by Shechem in the book of Genesis, what happened? He was killed by Dinah’s brothers Levi and Simeon (if I’m not mistaken). However at the end, God through the Patriarch Jacob mentioned that their acts are not right. When Amnon raped his half-sister Tamar, Tamar’s full brother Absalom killed Amnon. At the end, Absalom was himself killed by Joab because of Absalom’s rebellion to David. But David instructed his son Solomon to execute Joab if he started to take over as King of Israel. These parts of Biblical accounts prove that not only the Bible is against man treating woman as trash, but also God being just.

It is never the fault of the Bible why they don’t have the so called gender equality. Besides, in the eyes of God, all have sinned (Romans 3:23). Now, discussion if the Bible is against gender equality is another topic all in all. It is not the fault of the Bible why, during the early times, women were not allowed to vote. It is how the people before interpreted the Bible. Like we said, the Bible mere reflected. Take for example polygamy. The Bible never justified polygamy. The Bible just mentioned that polygamy exists and the Patriarchs practiced them, but that doesn’t mean that it’s okay. In fact, in the book of Genesis, you can see the competition between Jacob’s wives Leah and Rachel. In the book of Samuel, Hannah cried to Elkanah because she has no children, while Elkanah’s other wife, Peninah, have kids (eventually, God gave to Hannah a child named Samuel. You know the story).

To say the Bible is a chauvinist is still, I admit, depends on your attitude towards the Book and your own view of life. However, I believe that the Bible is the Word of God.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Discredited because it is being personal

People who know me personally will say that I am hitting particular groups of people or specific people every time I write articles or posts. In other words, everything I write here and in my accounts are PERSONAL and BEING PERSONAL. Normally, when this happens, the essence or the substance of an article is diminished, plainly because it is, well, personal and being personal. A notch higher, the article written is no longer considered credible and sensible and it’s not worth his or her time. Plainly because it is personal and being personal. Some people that know me personally just laugh or smile when they felt that I am hitting someone or something again.

Normally, another way of dismissing an article is digging to the writer’s old skeletons, like a defense lawyer discrediting a state witness. Well, that’s a classic way of shrugging it off, and I respect that. It’s part of the normal flow between readers and writers. However, a person that takes time and dig old skeletons just to discredit a writer is in itself a form of giving compliment to the writer. Why? Because the person went to certain extents just to discredit an article. Articles are also discredited by rationalizing it as “derived out of bitterness”. Studying the writer’s frame of mind and how it works, rather than appreciate how the writer’s mind really worked.

I admit that my articles are derived from first and second hand experiences. I learned from these experiences, and I share them. It’s simple as that. The “Payong Bugoy” post is a quick way of sharing learned principles based on experiences. After all, experience is STILL the best teacher. I admit hitting particular people, schools of thought, certain attitudes through my articles. WRITERS DO THAT. For centuries, writers have done that, and we’re praising some or many of them for that. Editorial cartoonists do that, Comic strips artists do that. Satirists do that. Well, how about Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo? Oh, Pilgrim’s Progress, written by a BAPTIST PREACHER named John Bunyan, is also a book that “hits”. The Bible is a ‘twoedged sword’. The Bible ‘hits’. Why not burn or be apathetic to the Bible, after all, It is “personal and being personal”. Well, in fairness, it’s God’s Word you might say and all the writers in the world combined are no match. However, my point is writers write out of inspiration derived from personal experiences, other people’s experiences, and reading other books and articles.

Personally, to dismiss or discredit an article plainly because it is so called “personalizing without mentioning the names”. Writers write because they have something to write, even if it seems foolish for some plainly because they’re not into it.

Still though, just like what a young Pastor said to me a few days back, people are free to state their opinion. After all, that is the reason why I can freely write…responsibly. The young Pastor is right. As a writer and human being, negative opinions are also considered opinions. In fact, one fact should consider negative opinion as a form of compliment. Negative opinions mean you are noticed. When your article is noticed, it means you still exist. When people are indifferent in your article, it is worse than being criticized. Lyndon Gregorio, creator of Beerkada, once told me personally that the enemy of artists is indifference.

At the end of the day, even if some are quite mean and harsh, criticisms are also another form of appreciation. For that, thank you very much.