marjaerwin: (Default)
(I’m including non-religion within religious diversity here.)

First, neurological differences affect whether and what kinds of religious experiences people have. Epilepsy is an obvious example - Harriet Tubman had epilepsy, and there’s speculation that Paul had epilepsy.

Second, our language doesn’t really help describe either extraordinary religious experiences or everyday neurodivergent experiences, and our society uses the same ableist concepts to dismiss both. I have sensory differences, and chronic illness leading to extreme sensory hypersensitivity, and getting beaten up with sensory bombardment hurts worse than getting beaten up with fists and feet and clubs. I have tried to talk about this, but I often get dismissed as “ranting” or “exaggerating” or my descriptions get dismissed as “inappropriate” or “nonsensical.” I just want abled people to stop beating us up.
marjaerwin: (Default)
In my experience, estrogen makes it easier to feel connected to G’d and to other people, progesterone is complicated, and excess testosterone makes it harder.

It’s possible that this is because dysphoria makes it harder.

It’s also possible that estrogen generally makes it easier, just like it generally makes emotions stronger, migraines nastier, etc.

And throughout history, there have been religious movements of trans womyn, and transfeminine people, and also of apparent men who castrated themselves to get closer to G’d. But there have hardly ever been comparable movements of trans men, and transmasculine people.
marjaerwin: (Default)
First, there is no agreement on what Christianity is. Even the meanings of Iesus's teachings and the significance of his actions are sometimes in dispute.

I for one don't think any good could come of some people torturing another person to death. So the resurrection is my hope, never the crucifixion.

Second, there is no universal Christianity. Since the Atta Unsar compares God to a parent, it's not going to have the same meaning for someone with abusive parents that it can have for someone with loving parents.

Third, there is no way to reproduce religious experiences, certainly not to reproduce them and get the same results, pretty much by definition. So religion can't really be shared. Only stories about religion, which can be good, but which won't have the same significance to each person, or institutions which are supposed to have something to do with religion.

In response to this discussion here: http://bbs.boingboing.net/t/the-troll-talks-about-religion-and-jesus/52319
marjaerwin: (Default)
I often encounter a meta-narrative about western religious history, where the spread of Christianity is identified with the rise of patriarchy, with intensified religious conflict, and with witch-hunting and sado-spirituality. It's taken for obvious common knowledge. It's also dreadfully wrong.

First of all, most though not all known European societies were patriarchal. In early Rome, the legal principle of patria postestas is patriarchy. Most were also patrilineal, though some, such as the Picts and the Goths at opposite ends of 'barbarian' Europe were probably at least partially matrilineal. Male-centered religion had a much wider public role than female-centered religion. In Rome, female-centered religion was tolerated within certain limited bounds. The priestesses of Vesta were allowed, or required, to remain unmarried because the first priestesses of Vesta had been the wives of the kings, and too many influential men would lose out if another man became king. The priestesses of Cybele were permitted, but subjected to a Roman male high priest. In the barbaricum, female-centered spirituality could develop further. The Weilbark cemetery at Pruszcz Gdanski might possibly represent a female-centered community.

Secondly, for reasons that should be obvious, sado-spirituality is most associated with warrior religions. Woþins-worship in Germanic-speaking Europe is an extreme example. Christianity began in opposition to warrior religion, rejecting violence and loyalty oaths. After Constantine, Christianity began to twist itself into warrior religion, beginning with violence, oaths, and the language of warrior religion [hailags instead of weihs, etc.], and culminating in sado-spiritual horrors such as penal atonement, until there was no longer any difference between Jesus and the gods of war and madness. The wrongness, it burns:

scarcely any aspect of their religion so facilitated the conversion of the Germans to Christianity as the apparent similarity of their hanged god to the crucified Christ. [Neumann, quoted critically in Daly, 1978, p. 80]


Thirdly, the witch-hunts began in pagan Europe. Jordanes attributes them to Filimer, a pagan Gothic king, but Jordanes is untrustworthy in this period of his history. In Germanic paganism, some such conflict can be inferred from the emergence of Woþins [Odin] as a new major god in the Roman era, and from the general subjection of the *Wannos [Vanir] to the *Ansos [Aesir]. In Gothic Christianity, however, there exist martyrologies of Christians killed in religious persecutions. For example, the killing of Saba and three others, by wood and water, in two separate events in two separate sources.

I would suggest that:

1. The witch-hunting began with conflict between Woþins-worship and older pagan religions.

2. The witch-hunting was expanded to include conflicts between Woþins-worship and early anti-militarist Christianity, with Christians being killed as witches.

3. The witch-hunting was taken up by later militarist pseudoChristianity, as it took up the other sado-spiritual practices of warrior religion.
marjaerwin: (Default)
I usually avoid religious arguments here, because secular arguments can address everyone, while religious arguments can usually only address people drawing from the same religious tradition.

However, so many people are using Christianity as an excuse for misogyny, for transphobia, and for homophobia, that it's important to speak out. I'm more familiar with the arguments concerning transphobia, so I'll stick to these. But all these are places where they are using 'Christianity' to mean patriarchal traditionalism. They'd have been worshipping the emperor and cheering on the lions when that mean patriarchal traditionalism too. They'd have been making wooden frames to drown the impudent slaves in the name of the god of madness when that meant patriarchal traditionalism.

****

First of all, we are all children of God. Being born trans is not an abomination, and does not make us abominations. Bashing us is an abomination. I've been beaten unconscious for who I am. A friend of mine was brutally raped. Using religion as an excuse for bashing us is an added abomination.

Jesus singles out two passages of the religious law, and I think we should interpret all His teachings in light of these: "The first is, 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." [Mark 12:29-31] I think that focusing on the second is the best way to do the first. I think transphobia and homophobia tend to get in the way of loving one's neighbor.

Paul writes that "There is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female, for all are one in Christ Jesus."

Jesus says that "For there are eunuchs who were born eunuchs, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have become eunuchs for the sake of heaven." [Matthew 19:12, depending on the version]

Now some things to note. Matthew doesn't seem to know what to do with the saying, which suggests it's original with Jesus and not something invented by Matthew. Matthew puts it into a discussion of marriage, which seems out-of-place, although some versions completely change the meaning to make it fit.

Born eunuchs are, of course, intersex people. Children who are visibly intersex have often been abandoned. In some societies, trans communities have adopted these children. In other societies, including modern America, doctors have mutilated intersex children's bodies to conform to one or the other binary sex.

Made eunuchs are, of course, who we think of when people refer to eunuchs.

And those who have become eunuchs for the sake of heaven? Historically trans people have often set up religious communities. The best known would be the Hijras in India today, and the Gallae in the ancient mediterranean. Presumably Jesus would rather have trans people set up religious communities within Judaism, and by extension Christianity, instead of being forcibly excluded from Judaism.

The earliest Christians definitely included eunuchs into the community, and there's nothing to suggest they excluded intersex people or trans people. The first Gentile convert to Christianity was an Ethiopian eunuch. [in Acts 8:26-40, and the story refers to Isaiah 56:1-8]
marjaerwin: (Default)
I've had religious experiences.

And I've persistently doubted these experiences: it could be coincidence, I was recovering from an injury, I was recovering from a fever, it could be faulty memory.

If my senses and memory are faulty, my empirical reasoning is far more faulty here. I end up denying some of my own experiences to cling to an internalized world-view, and I'm pretty sure a lot of other people are doing the same.
marjaerwin: (Default)
http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2011/07/federovs-rapture.html

A lot to think about. Of course, earliest Christianity emphasised the presence of the divine in the human - complete and manifest in and through Jesus Christ, incomplete in the rest of us. I think that, without getting sidetracked by debates over theism, atheism, ignosticism, etc. - I think that concept leads pretty interesting places which can give us new perspectives on other matters.
marjaerwin: (Default)
I'm unfamiliar with the religious requirements, but to me, almost any workaround seems better than cutting children's genitalia:

http://www.bilerico.com/2011/06/the_anteater_vs_the_mushroom_debating_circumcision.php?utm_source=front_page&utm_medium=top_story&utm_campaign=Top_Story

Since the requirement only applies to sons, why not provisionally raise all children as daughters, until they are old enough to declare their sex and their willingness to undergo circumcision? Simple, really, and so much kinder.
marjaerwin: (Default)
Francois Trembley has again denounced Christian anarchism:

http://francoistremblay.wordpress.com/2011/04/11/why-i-reject-christian-anarchism/

My point here is not to defend Christianity, or anarchism, but merely to debunk Francois Tremblay's arguments that they are incompatible. I think this is the core of Tremblay's position:

Like all Christian arguments, it is based on a Special Pleading fallacy. Why should we obey God, and not any other person? Why slavishly follow the Bible, and not any other book? What is the substantial difference between a man who obeys God and a man who obeys the State? In both cases, what we see is a man on his knees, not a free man.


First, let's deal with the obvious:

Why slavishly follow the Bible, and not any other book?


We shouldn't. The Bible is not a rulebook. If it were, it would reflect badly on its supposed authors. As it is, the history/propaganda sections often reflect badly anyway.

What is the substantial difference between a man who obeys God and a man who obeys the State?


What is the substantial difference between a womon who obeys the authority of a cobbler and a womon who obeys the authority of a king? The one asserts her own reason, and her reasoned trust. The other surrenders her own reason.

In both cases, what we see is a man on his knees, not a free man.


Okay, so are there certain ways free men go down on each other, and certain ways they don't? I'm rather unfamiliar with men's sexuality.

[I think Francois Tremblay is straight. But the wording was so male-centric, the old joke came to mind. :p ]

Like all Christian arguments, it is based on a Special Pleading fallacy. Why should we obey God, and not any other person?


Well, all of these are going to depend on one's concept of G'd. I am a theist but it seems best to try to avoid too much judgment about specifics. There are two main lines of argument, often used together:

One argument focuses on G'd as a separate being or group of beings. This argument focuses on G'd's supposed omnibenevolence, omniscience, and omnipotence. This argument asserts that one can put unlimited trust in G'd's rational authority and benevolence.

Another argument focuses on G'd as a being present in all humanity. It strongly associates the Holy Spirit with one's conscience. This argument focuses on uniting the human with the divine, and tends to emphasize the distinction between autonomy and heteronomy.

But how does the Christian even have this breadcrumb of free will? If he is threatened by eternal damnation for making the “wrong choice,” then in no way can we say that there is the possibility of consent.


I don't think the idea of eternal damnation - if it is coherent enough to qualify as an idea at all - is compatible with a benevolent deity.
marjaerwin: (Default)
I am a Christian. I don't often write about that, because religion is full of unique individual experiences, while secular discourse admits only reproducible collective experiences. (It's far from the only thing that depends on unique individual experiences - ones that are real, and can't be proven on demand.)

Organized religion often turns into an appeal to traditional, prophetic, or other un-contestable authority, and this corrupts both the spiritual and secular discourses. But disorganized religion can still bring healing, understanding, and better action.

I also have a certain tension between my ties to Christianity and to what I believe is G'd* in humankind - and my need to more fully relate my femaleness to my spirituality. (I bought into the half-true myth of androgyny too long; that myth made me feel guilty for being a dyke, and for realizing that the female is not the same as the male, is not dependent on it, and is not complementary to it.)

Anyway, I thought I'd signal-boost this:

http://transgriot.blogspot.com/2010/12/lgbt-peeps-and-liberals-need-to-stop.html

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