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Jan 09 2007

Notes from Godbaggia

Because blind faith in an invisible, omnipotent, human-obsessed deity is asinine no matter who’s doin’ it, it is difficult for the spinster aunt to whip up much in the way of an enthusiastic froth over the news that some bishop in Wales has publicly reversed his opinion on ordination of women priests.

When I say “reversed,” I mean that 10 years ago, when his vote to bar women from the priesthood in the Church in Wales carried the day, he was a slightly more misogynist godbag than he is now. Today he admits that there are “inconsistencies” in the reasoning that would prevent women as delusional as himself from taking up Jesus-ing as a career. A pity he can’t apply his momentous cerebral breakthrough to the lunacy of ghost-worship.

One reason I mention this little episode is that some feminist boosters will undoubtedly conclude that, whether or not one “believes” in a god, it’s certainly a step in the right direction that they’re letting chicks into the boys’ godbag club over in Wales. This “it’s better than nothing” response is a cop-out, and here’s why: it promotes the languid acceptance of powerlessness and weakens resistance. I feel compelled to reiterate that equality with men is not only unattainable, it is undesirable because it fails to address the enormous flaws inherent in the patriarchal paradigm.

Anything less than total liberation from the tyranny of male dominance is an unacceptable result.

30 comments

  1. Sylvanite

    Yes, I suppose it’s not very impressive to be allowed into the club of the Invisible Sky Daddy. Don’t anger him, though. He’s easily angered if you get any of his arbitrary rules wrong. If only you flatter him enough, and follow the rules, no matter how silly they seem, he may give you a lollipop, or a pat on the head.

  2. Lya Kahlo

    Or 70 virgins to serve you forever.

    Which makes one wonder if hymens grow back every day in heaven.

  3. figleaf

    “…equality with men is not only unattainable, it is undesirable because it fails to address the enormous flaws inherent in the patriarchal paradigm.”

    Ri-i-i-i-ight. Because if everybody’s equal the patriarchy wins.

    George Bush is from Texas too. Is it something in the water or what?

    figleaf

  4. Pinko Punko

    Lya- I have never considered the metrics on Heavenly Virgins before- I had to laugh.

    TF- sounds like the batteries are recharged. My computer was sizzling when I read this post!

  5. Lya Kahlo

    they’re like Prometheus’s liver. Apparently.

  6. Megan

    Which suggests that heaven ain’t heaven for virgins.
    (duh.)

  7. Lya Kahlo

    not in phallocentric religions, no.

  8. Cass

    “Which suggests that heaven ain’t heaven for virgins.
    (duh.)”

    Well, you can’t expect God to think of everything.

  9. Spinning Liz

    70 virgins. Hunh. Whenever I hear this number, I have a satisfying recurring vision of the deserving godbag spending all of Eternity carpooling a bus full of angry, surly, rebellious, acne-ridden, eternal adolescents doomed to perpetual virginity back and forth to the mall, with the radio turned up full blast to their, not his, station of choice. Back and forth, back and forth, house, mall, house, mall, forever and ever, spending eternity trapped in a van with 70 virgins who never grow up and their favorite radio station. The Eternal Damnation of the deserving godbag.

  10. uncomplicatedly

    I recently heard on NPR a female rabbi of some very large congregation who was retiring express that she was saddened that no females were stepping up to take her place. But then she said something along these lines: “I think that women just tend not to prefer large congregations. Women are good at personal communication, and need the kind of intimate relationships that a small congregation can provide.”

    So, even in a religion that’s allowed women into its upper ranks for some time now: no change.

  11. Pinko Punko

    St Peter or analogous figure:

    “You’ve some how made it through life without being violated, let me explain how “Heaven” works.”

    Virgin: “This sounds more like Hell.”

    St. Pete: “You say tomato.”

  12. acm

    Anything less than total liberation from the tyranny of male dominance is an unacceptable result.

    To the barricades!!

  13. Urban

    “I feel compelled to reiterate that equality with men is not only unattainable, it is undesirable because it fails to address the enormous flaws inherent in the patriarchal paradigm.

    Anything less than total liberation from the tyranny of male dominance is an unacceptable result.”

    Bing! The lightbulb above my head was just illuminated. I’ve been reading IBTP for a while and recently the whole muckspreading incident over transsexuals made my heart hurt on a variety of levels, and it fucked with my brain a bit too. So much so that I almost stopped reading.

    But this statement! Yes! I knew the truth, somewhere deep down, but I think I’d forgotten it. Thank you Twisty. I have learnt so much from reading IBTP (including the comments), that it isn’t readily quantifiable. I really, sincerely, thank you.

  14. Puffin

    “I feel compelled to reiterate that equality with men is not only unattainable, it is undesirable because it fails to address the enormous flaws inherent in the patriarchal paradigm.”

    Yup.

    T’was Andrea Dworkin who so astutely observed that to seek equality with men was to seek to become the oppressor instead of the oppressed, the rapist instead of the raped, the murderer instead of the murdered.

  15. Twisty

    Figleaf, your novice-ness is showing.

  16. Aussie Liz

    “Jesus-ing as a career”! Ha! I can just see the brochure on careers advice day. Do you have your own willie? Why not take up Jesus-ing as a career.

  17. scratchy888

    “I think that women just tend not to prefer large congregations. Women are good at personal communication, and need the kind of intimate relationships that a small congregation can provide.”

    Why should women need this quality of intimate relationships so badly? It may have a lot to do with not receiving enough nurturing within the nuclear family structure. If all the love and attention have gone to the male offspring, then they get the boost past the stage of neediness and into the public realm where they are already emotionally equipped to do something more interesting.

  18. Random Lurker

    The “virgins” in question aren’t humans, they’re androgynous soulless beings without any sort of free will called houri. They don’t complain, do whatever God tells them to, and cater to the every whim of the dead person they’re assigned to.

  19. Twisty

    Thanks, Urban. We aim to give satisfaction.

  20. kate

    I think Random Lurker has got it right, heaven is just another level of godbaggery.

    Its no wonder women don’t want to enter into the rabbi-hood or that they aren’t falling all over themselves to lead in any other organized religion. I think most women get that there’s an inherent contradiction in leading the band when all they can play is, “Its all her fault anyway”.

  21. kcb

    Back and forth, back and forth, house, mall, house, mall, forever and ever, spending eternity trapped in a van with 70 virgins who never grow up and their favorite radio station.

    Goddamn, Spinning Liz. That’s the most I’ve laughed all week.

  22. Gwen

    This “it’s better than nothing” response is a cop-out, and here’s why: it promotes the languid acceptance of powerlessness and weakens resistance. I feel compelled to reiterate that equality with men is not only unattainable, it is undesirable because it fails to address the enormous flaws inherent in the patriarchal paradigm.

    Right, but one way of subverting the patriarchal paradigm is the entrance of women into traditionally masculine roles and institutions – depends on the woman, obviously, and the institution, but it is possible for it to be a positive, radicalising step. I think the Christian churches are the type of institution that could benefit from such changes – but then, I’m a Christian. But setting Christianity aside – even if it is so inherently a misogynist and patriarchal institution that nothing good can become of it – the general point is that formal equality can lead to greater, more deep-rooted changes, and so should be celebrated.

  23. roamaround

    Random Lurker I would love to think that Islam or any patriarchal religion gives equal satisfaction to women (sign me up), but the “houri” awaiting the righteous are not generally interpreted to be androgynous. While the translation as “virgin” may not be perfect, they are supposedly beautiful, doe-eyed and untouched by man. It doesn’t sound like paradise has women lounging around with metrosexuals at their feet.

    I take your point about simplistic and/or erroneous translations, though. Annoying and dangerous.

    Sadly, in so much of philosophy and religion women are not even considered significant enough to be discussed, much less given a place at the paradise table. Which brings me to my current annoyance: Sam Harris of the so-called “new atheists.” He writes a whole book about the “end of faith” and why religion is stupid and dangerous without even mentioning religion’s role as enforcer of patriarchy. Plus I think he unfairly beats up on Islam when Christianity and Judaism have just as much dumb stuff in their books and histories.

    I haven’t read the other new atheist, Richard Dawkins, yet. Does anyone know if these guys even acknowledge patriarchy? Didn’t anyone else read Gerda Lerner’s “The Creation of Patriarchy”? Where is the feminist “new atheist” book?

  24. yankee transplant

    Twisty, you never fail to give satisfaction.

  25. Ann Bartow

    Twisty, I agree with you when I view the situation from 40,000 feet, but on the ground, here in South Carolina, I do see it as a positive development when women move into positions of power and authority, even if the institution at issue is an organized religion. Let me explain why I don’t think this is a cop out:

    At a time when, here in the South, the Democratic party was far worse than the Republicans on issues of race and segregation, the civil rights movement and its leaders emerged from the African American churches. I find a lot of things about religion, and Christianity particularly, quite alarming, but nothing much of a positive nature is going to happen here in SC in terms of economic reform, reproductive freedom, improved public education, etc., unless the progressive Christians are involved, so I need to work with them, and I’m happy when they are female.

    But I admit I don’t care much about churches in Wales!

  26. clew

    I was once told, by a woman who had lived in Saudi Arabia in the 1950s, that the original ’70 virgins a day’ referred to a particularly delicious kind of date. She also said that most of the country was poor enough that that was an image of luxury and wealth.

    I have never looked this up, because it’s a comforting story.

  27. scratchy888

    the general point is that formal equality can lead to greater, more deep-rooted changes, and so should be celebrated.

    This is generally true. Not all feminists are radicals, and so long as they are not in the habit of commissioning all other women to act and think as they do, their more formalistic approaches to equality can create an atmosphere in which radicalism is not treated with such hostile force.

  28. figleaf

    “Figleaf, your novice-ness is showing.”

    I know. Again.

    I’m aware of Dworkin’s “to seek equality with men…” thing but if she’d really meant it she would have been buying into the man-centric view of the world where either everybody has to be like men or else for every bit of progress non-men make men have to give something up.

    “Equality with” and “equality” live in totally different universes. If you really only meant “equality with men” then yeah, where’s no mileage in that. And my novice-ness was stuck to my heel and flapping behind me all the way back to the can.

    figleaf

  29. Gwen

    for every bit of progress non-men make men have to give something up.

    Well, men do have to give something up – patriarchy, and the privileges that come with it. So do women. I agree with Twisty that just letting some women have some of those privileges doesn’t in itself get you anywhere, if you still stay locked into a patriarchal paradigm (though I disagree with her about whether this is what’s happening). Because patriarchy isn’t just bad because it oppresses women – it’s bad because it oppresses, because it structures society in oppressive ways. It’s not really better if 50% of the oppressors are women.

  30. scratchy888

    for every bit of progress non-men make men have to give something up.

    I tend to disagree that they they have to give up very much — at least in the relationship sense — which is not part of a psychologically and socially dysfunctional programme. Who really wants the little woman who, being punished and repressed for most of her life, bleeds resentment? Men have to really consider that giving up their “privileges” is likely to involve a gain.

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