Christians told to stop beating their wives

October 5, 2006

Further proof today that it’s no longer fun to ridicule the Church as they make such fools of themselves without anybody’s help. The latest report by the Church of England says that “calling God ‘He’ encourages men to beat their wives.”  ‘A view of our relationship with God in terms of domination and submission, along with uncritical use of masculine imagery to characterise God, can validate “overbearing and ultimately violent patterns of behaviour” in intimate relationships’, it says. So, Christianity dirves  people to beat their wives (sorry, wife.) And all because of that macho imagery. Now all over the country Christians will be saying ‘Oh my God, just in case He’s a She better not beat up the old lady tonight.’ I can’t see, however, how swapping a relationship with God seen in terms of domination and submission for, presumably, a sort of matey chumminess is going to help. What might would be getting these people to adopt a rather more submissive attitude by making it clear to them that God will beat the living daylights out of them if they so much as touch their partner. After all, if God, as they tell us, is all-knowing, all-loving and all-powerful, shouldn’t we feel just a little bit inferior ourselves?
Back to the wife-beating. “Domestic abuse is fundamentally an abuse of power, and many conceptions of God derived from the Bible and the Christian tradition have portrayed divine power in unhealthy and potentially oppressive ways,” state the guidelines. Well, at last Christians are recognizing that their religion is fundamentally unhealthy. The report also sounds the death-knell for the traditional marriage vows in which the husband promises “to love and cherish” his wife “till death us do part”, while the wife promises to “love, cherish, and obey” her husband. This I am very much in favour of- the responsibility of having to give orders to one’s wife, making sure they were strictly adhered to and administering the occasional beating when they weren’t was beginning to get a bit tiresome. There might be one or two more anachronisms the Church could sweep away, too.

2 Responses to “Christians told to stop beating their wives”

  1. SilverTiger Says:

    Referring to God as “he” obviously causes problems. However much one deplores religious machismo, as long as God is considered male, this is likely to continue.

    What is the solution? One could agree to refer to God as “she” as in Wicca and other “goddess religions” but is this any better: is it not the men who are now pushed into the shade? Some people might think this is just punishment for centuries of male domination but swapping one tyranny for another can hardly be regarded as progress.

    In any case, I cannot see how you can assign gender to God. It’s not so much lack of evidence one way or the other; it’s simply that the notion of gender is clearly absurd in a non-biological being.

    Is the solution, then, to refer to God as “it”? I believe some religions already do so. If God were referred to as “it”, then surely neither male nor female officiants could claim to more suited to its service.

    But would we then run into problems with such concepts as “the son of God”? Can an “it” have a “son”? As a first approximation I would say yes: years of study have convinced me that anything is possible in religion.

    Cheers,
    Tiger

  2. tomeemayeepa Says:

    English is really a rather impoverished language, not having a pronoun to cover a being that is regarded as singular but is actually three in one, two of them being neuter and one masculine, the last mentioned being the offspring of one of the neuter ones.


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