Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Belief in the Afterlife is the Basis for the Hatred of Women

Props to Francois Tremblay for bringing this article to my attention.

Caron Cadle speaks my language. Although she is a Pagan (I used to be one for a short while too), she is definitely in the anti-afterlife camp. She makes a great argument for the afterlife being a realm of women-haters:

It all hangs together: an obsession with impossible purity, hatred and fear of real women, of the dirt and imperfection of real life, even of one's own physicality, one's own body. Mohammed Atta's last will and testament stipulates that no woman be allowed to mourn him, attend his funeral or even go near his grave. He disdained his own body so much that he stipulated that the man who was to wash his genitals after his death wear gloves, so his impure sexual parts would theoretically remain untouched. But let's not kid ourselves that this thought complex is the exclusive property of Islamic fundamentalists. Consider orthodox Judaism, which demands that women cleanse themselves of their menstrual pollution each month, and be banned from synagogue for twice as long after the birth of a female child as after the birth of a male. Any man who touches a menstruating woman has to ritually purify himself and still remains unclean until sunset that day; if he has sex with a menstruating woman, he is unclean for a week. As for Christianity, early "church father" Tertullian (ca. AD 200) makes it clear: "[W]oman [is] the obstacle to purity, the temptress, the enemy. . . her body is the gate of hell." The all-male Catholic church hierarchy couldn't stand the thought that Mary, mother of Jesus, might be a normal, fleshly woman. So the New Testament mentions of Jesus's younger siblings are explained away, to make sure no-one dares think she actually had sex with her husband Joseph, and by the mid-19th century, she was declared a perpetual virgin. Just like the houris. It's a given in male-monotheist religions: the immaculate super-woman, a figment of the imagination, is set up as an impossible standard that we "standard-issue" women can never meet. This fills women with despair and self-hatred, while men may cultivate exaggerated expectations, sure to be disappointed.


Emphasis hers. Be sure to click on the link and read her whole article.

Since both men and women are simply "human," isn't woman-hating just a projected form of self-hate? Look at it from a technical standpoint. For example, I have a sister. She was created by the same material and process that created me. My sister is closer to my "blood" than either my father or mother! In fact, I could have been a female had a different sperm fertilized the egg that I came from. Humanity cannot even survive without women, and vice-versa! What is humanity without both genders? Humanity doesn't even exist unless both "halves" of it are present! A humanity with only one gender is a soon-to-be-extinct humanity!

All this women-hating religious bullshit reminds me of kindergarten. Back in kindergarten, I was much less mature, mentally and emotionally. Me and all my kindergarten pals would play "cooties." Do any of you remember this game? The boys and girls would group together, and try to give each other "cooties" in a game similar to tag. I remember the disgust and grossness of being touched by a girl. If a girl gave me "cooties," then I would need to get a "cootie shot" post-haste. And "cootie shots" could only be administered to the "infected" person by another member of the same sex.

That is the mentality of this gender separation bullshit that is found in religion and afterlife-belief. It is immature, it is divisive, and it is no longer a relatively harmless game when adults with guns and power play it.

Most normal people, when they mature, no longer look at the opposite sex as having "cooties." Instead, most mature adults look at the opposite sex as something beautiful, something desirable, something to want to be close to, and something to want to be joined in emotional, mental, and physical unity with.

Unfortunately, this afterlife voodoo fucks it all up. I swear, it seems like these Abrahamic afterlife concepts were invented by 5-year-old kindergartners! Who else ever thinks that way naturally? Sexism is merely projected fear of the opposite sex, and fear of the opposite sex belongs in kindergarten playgrounds!

Fuck the afterlife, and love the opposite sex.

26 comments:

Ole Blue The Heretic said...

Religion: Just another form of insanity

franky said...

Hey Aaron,
Sorry, I couldn't find an email address, so feel free to delete this comment.

I'm collecting deconversion narratives for a Carnival of Deconversion or a one-time Tales of Deconversion (http://franksatheisticramblings.blogspot.com/2006/09/calling-all-atheistsagnotics.html). I was wondering if you'd be willing to submit a post as well. Many atheist/agnostic blogs usually already have one, but if you don't have one, don't feel obligated to write it.

I hope that by collecting and posting many of these that some common themes will emerge that will be informative. Thanks

Aaron Kinney said...

Hey Franky,

Thanks for the invitation to post a deconversion. I never did write my own deconversion story on this blog, that is true.

The reason for that is because my deconversion was rather anti-climatic and very gradual. It didnt involve any traumatic life experiences or anything like that. It was akin to the frog slowly being boiled on the hotplate, and doesnt make for much of an interesting story I suppose, especially compared to some of the other deconversions stories that Ive read.

But Ill definitely consider it. I guess it depends on whether or not I think I can write it in such a way as to at least make it intersting without embellishing the story beyond what actually happened.

BigHeathenMike said...

I wonder if after you have violated the houris or whatever in the afterlife, if she is unclean and will give you "Heaven Cooties" by touching you? I wonder if, because you're the only weirdo wack-job with, presumably, 72 of these ladies (raisens?), you can find another same-sex person/spirit do give you a "Heaven cootie injection"?

So many questions are raised.

Aaron Kinney said...

LOL Big Heathen Mike!

beepbeepitsme said...

RE: "It's a given in male-monotheist religions: the immaculate super-woman, a figment of the imagination, is set up as an impossible standard that we "standard-issue" women can never meet."

This reminds me of a book I read about the colonization of women in australia called "Damned Whores and God's Police."

It explains how the judeo-christian ethos that women are either figurately virginal saints for god or damned whores of the devil, was exported to australia during colonization.

http://www.annesummers.com.au/dwagp.htm

olly said...

Very interesting post Aaron, I'll have to go read the entire article. My wife's big turn off to Christianity started with just this problem (well, and the homophobia of Christians, which she never understood, and I think is very interconnected with the misogyny). She was told her whole life two contradictory statements: modern post-feminism society and her parents and whatnot were always impressing upon her that women were equal, that they had equal skills and abilities, etc; at the same time her religion constantly told her that her gender was the reason for the fall of man, and emphasized that men were somehow superior to women.

She grew up so fucked up in the head because of Christianity's misogynistic crap. She and I have talked about it, and she told me that she had a complex as a kid about her brother, that went something like: "if he's a male, then he's better than me, so do my parents love him more than me?"

This is the kind of damaging crap I hate.

-olly

Aaron Kinney said...

Ouch Olly!

Man that really gets my goat. Why are men so threatened by women? Why do men make up horrible lies just to control women and brutalize them?

I think women are beautiful, respectable, fascinating, intelligent, loving, and all around amazing people. They deserve to be treated as such.

Both genders are hopelessly depndent upon each-other. Why the fuck would someone want to subjugate women? Self-hate, insecurity, feelings of inadequacy, jealousy, etc...

Anonymous said...

This is ridiculous. Where have you shown, in this little diatribe of yours, the connection between belief in an afterlife and misogyny? Christianity is mentioned, but so what? Many who believe there to be an afterlife do not class themselves as being Christian (whatever that means anyway).
'Abrahamic afterlife concepts'?? The ancient Israelites didn't, so far as anyone knows, actually believe in an afterlife - heaven and hell do not appear until the New Testament, which is, of course, Christian.

say no to christ said...

While I dont think belief in the afterlife is the problem, but belief in the abrahamic religions have a LOT to do with the mistreatment of women.

There are lots and lots of passages in the bible that are direct insults to women and that demand the subjugation of women. In fact the womens sufferage movement was started by atheist and agnostic women i.e, Matilda Joshlyn Gage and Susan B. Anthony. The christians were their biggest hurdle. It wasnt untill the movement was in full swing before the quaker christians joined in.

The Abrahamic religions are completely responsible for the subjugation and mistreatment of women AND children.

Heres a link to some bible passages that are insulting and cruel to women.
http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/women/long.html

Anonymous said...

Yes, 'say no to christ', everything that you say above is true, but the title of the article is 'Belief in the Afterlife is the Basis for the Hatred of Women' - that's a claim that the writer has made, for which he has not presented any evidence for in the article in question. It is not a belief in an afterlife that turns a person into a misogynist, but their conviction that Judaism, Christianity or Islam is 'the one and only true religion' that does it.

say no to christ said...

The afterlife is a product of crazy belief systems that demands the abuse and subjugation of women. So I can see how one would tie the two together.

Aaron Kinney said...

Anonymous,

The title of the post was a bit generalized and informal specifically for the purposes of catching one's attention and making an inflammatory statement that would be offensive to any afterlife-believers. (Note the name of my blog itself is also offensive: Kill The Afterlife).

It seems that the effectiveness of my post title is only equalled by your inability to comprehend said titles purpose.

Now, to be more specific, why dont we insert the word "Abrahamic" into the title. Imagine the title said "Belief in the Abrahamic Afterlife is the Basis for the Hatred of Women"

Is that better?

And your request for evidence to support my assertion: Did you not read the lengthy quote that I posted from Caron Cadle? Especially the part that she did in bold? Did you click on the link to read her entire post?

But if you like more evidence, I am happy to provide more examples. Lets look at one of the Abrahamic rleigions, Islam. Islam decrees that a woman is worth less than a man both in monetary terms and in terms of truthfulness/credibility.

And what about the Bible? Besides that Skepticsannotatedbible link that was posted earlier, we can also look at things said in the old testament. For example, that women should not speak in Church, and should cover their heads. Thats not very nice.

And your claim that ancient Jews didnt believe in the afterlife is, quite frankly, stupid.

Heaven and Hell may not have been around until the New Testament, but the afterlife itself? Please. From ancient Jews funeral practices to their written histories and customs, it is quite clear that AFTERLIFE BELIEF was a cornerstone of ancient Judaism, as it ALWAYS has been for ALL ABRAHAMIC FAITHS.

Since you seem to believe that Abrahamic faiths champion equality of the sexes, would you like to provide some evidence to counter the evidence that I have provided?

And would you please take the time to read the stuff that I quoted from Carol, since it is apparent that you did not do so? And better yet, go read all of Carol's post. It is a very worthwhile read.

breakerslion said...

Religious misogyny predates Abraham. There have been many psychosexual and tribal explanations put forward for this bizarre habit, and maybe they're all true to some extent.

Anon: Have you ever noticed how asexual the ideal of the afterlife is? Even the supposed 72 concubines of the Islamic cult lack experience or dimension. They are recepticles, a one-dimensional masturbatory fantasy. What then, is this drive to make normal human relations and necessary procreative activity appear shameful or substandard? Could it be to embarrass us, or make us feel bad about ourselves? Guilt pays....

Anonymous said...

'The afterlife is a product of crazy belief systems that demand the abuse and subjugation of women.'

Not true. There is strong evidence to support the notion that even the Neanderthals of 50,000 years ago believed in an afterlife of some description, long before the current crop of crazy religious ideologies. The afterlife is no more a product of Judaism/Christianity/Islam than the teachings of the Buddha are.

'The title of the post was a bit generalised and informal specifically for the purposes of catching one's attention and making an inflammatory statement'

Sure. Right. Of course. In that case, how about sticking to the truth instead of just trying to goad people into responding? Pretty lame if you ask me.

'Inability to comprehend said title's purpose'

Inability to comprehend your motives maybe, but the statement seemed pretty straightforward to me.

'And your claim that the ancient Jews didn't believe in the afterlife is, quite frankly, stupid.'

Actually, not as stupid as you seem to think. There is, so far as I can recall, absolutely NO mention of any afterlife, of any description, in any of the books of the Old Testament. Of course, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, but it is highly suggestive of it. Other religious traditions, if they subscribe to the notion of an afterlife, mention it ad nauseum (ex. the Islamic Quran). The religion of the ancient Israelites was one based upon national salvation and redemption, not personal salvation (as is the case with Christianity). The central theme of the Old Testament is God's personal relationship with his 'chosen people'; notions of a personal afterlife do not even come into it. Finally, the Book of Ecclesiastes (for example) even goes so far as to state quite categorically that there is NO afterlife - 9:5 'For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward; but the memory of them is lost.'

'Since you seem to believe that Abrahamic faiths champion equality of the sexes, would you like to provide some evidence to counter the evidence that I have provided?'

I never said that the Abrahamic faiths champion equality - just the opposite in fact. What I did say was that the belief in an afterlife did not necessarily make one a misogynist. Crucial difference here.

Aaron Kinney said...

Anon,

Not true. There is strong evidence to support the notion that even the Neanderthals of 50,000 years ago believed in an afterlife of some description, long before the current crop of crazy religious ideologies. The afterlife is no more a product of Judaism/Christianity/Islam than the teachings of the Buddha are.

Irrelevant. My claim of Ambrahamic afterlife beliefs denigrating women is unaffected by this claim. And as Beakerslion pointed out, sexism in spitirual beliefs has predated Abrahamic religion.

Sure. Right. Of course. In that case, how about sticking to the truth instead of just trying to goad people into responding? Pretty lame if you ask me.

Blah blah blah. Obviously you arent too familiar with this blog. And it was the truth just the same. Look in my archive for past post titles and I think my claim about inflammatory titles will prove itself just fine.

Inability to comprehend your motives maybe, but the statement seemed pretty straightforward to me.

My Motives? My motives are to show the afterlife for what it truly is: a devaluing of this existence, and wishful thinking; a secret trap door to escape the reality of this existence and to avoid taking responsibility for oneself. Read the premise just below my blog title. How does "Kill The Afterlife" lead to ANY confusion about my motives?

The central theme of the Old Testament is God's personal relationship with his 'chosen people'; notions of a personal afterlife do not even come into it. Finally, the Book of Ecclesiastes (for example) even goes so far as to state quite categorically that there is NO afterlife - 9:5 'For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward; but the memory of them is lost.'

I am aware of the Ecclesiastes passage. But what of 1 Sam 28:11 where Saul asks the witch to bring up a dead spirit (Samuel)? And what of Deut 18:11 and Isa. 8:19 and Isa. 29:4? And Psalms 73:18-26 and Psalms 49:13-15? All of those passages allude to an afterlife where spirits are at rest but can be conjured up again, just like Saul did with Samuel.

I never said that the Abrahamic faiths champion equality - just the opposite in fact. What I did say was that the belief in an afterlife did not necessarily make one a misogynist. Crucial difference here.

Fair enough. I will agree that belief in an afterlife does not necessarily make one misogynistic. Indeed, there are many theists who are not misogynistic. However, the majority of afterlife worldviews, both past and present, contained sexual inequality that was built in to the framework of their afterlife idologies. And Abrahamic afterlife (which was all that was mentioned in this post) is most definitely misogynistic.

Will you concede that the ancient Hebrew theology in itself was misogynistic? Or do I need to produce a bunch of Leviticus and Deuteronomy passages?

breakerslion said...

"There is strong evidence to support the notion that even the Neanderthals of 50,000 years ago believed in an afterlife of some description, long before the current crop of crazy religious ideologies."

References?

I don't doubt it, but I would be interested in what evidence produced that conclusion.

Thanatos: the ages-old confusion between sleep and death. Since we cannot conceive of non-existence, every thought of death is tainted with thoughts of alive-dead. What would one expect of early civilizations? So now one must ask, what picture would any civilization paint of the afterlife that would not be a mirror of the world they knew? Which came first: the misogynistic culture or the misogynistic afterlife? The answer should be obvious, and thus reveal that particular conception of the afterlife for the made-up bullshit that it is.

If Webster had not made the dictionary, our language and spelling would still be evolving. If the Byebull was not static, our concepts of the afterlife would still be evolving. In some ways, it is anyway, since we reject some of the beliefs of our ancient and ignorant ancestors. If the young teen that dies in the back seat of mom's Subaru goes to heaven, will he/she be truly happy without a Gameboy?

say no to christ said...

"There is strong evidence to support the notion that even the Neanderthals of 50,000 years ago believed in an afterlife of some description, long before the current crop of crazy religious ideologies."

There is STRONG evidence that the Neanderthals lived much like the earliest Homosapiens(sp?brianfart)who were hunter gatherers and their is STRONG evidence that the early Native Americans(plains mostly)were still living like our prehistoric ancestors who did NOT believe in the afterlife as we know it today. They believed that life was a never ending recycling prossess. That is why they believed that trees were the spirits of their ancestors. Wich does make complete sense, since energy never dies it just changes.(laws of thermodynamics)When we die our decaying matter nurishes the earth to create new life.
The Egyptians were the very first people to believe in the afterlife after suffering many enviormental changes such as drought and famine. And there is well know documented evidence that the Hebrews and the Egyptians had a rich history together. As a matter of fact christianity originated in Egypt.

say no to christ said...

Also, I want to add that pryor to the afterlife thought of male bias belief systems, women were not oppressed. In fact there is much evidence from archaeology, mythology and studies of indigenous peoples that show our prehistoric ancestors were matriarchal where women held high status as well as relgious and political power.

Anonymous said...

Yes, that's true, there IS strong evidence that 'our prehistoric ancestors did not believe in the afterlife AS WE KNOW IT TODAY' (emphasis added)
But they still believed in one. Are you trying to say that our remote ancestors were like modern-day materialists and atheists? I hope not.
As for the American Indians, their version of the afterlife is very different from the Islamic and Christian one, but it remains a fact that it has been, and still is, an integral part of their culture. I'm not sure if they were familiar with the laws of thermodynamics, I'd have to check on that one. :)

say no to christ said...

"Are you trying to say that our remote ancestors were like modern-day materialists and atheists? I hope not."

No, I simply meant to point out that the early plains natives were still living in tune with nature and saw no reason to believe that there was life outside this world. The natives may not have known the laws of thermodynamics, but they understood how the natural world works and thermodynamics are the laws of nature.

Aaron Kinney said...

Say No to Christ:

Im down for a little woman-worship. They sure are hotter than Jesus!

Rye said...

I definitely believe that women and men are equal and should be treated as humans, not as "genders." Perhaps it is horribly inefficient to treat each person as an individual, but I've always been a bit on the anarchist side of things anyway. (I basically believe the welfare of the individual is more important than the welfare of the machinery.)

Anyway, I do think it's a bit of a non-sequitur to say that belief in an afterlife, Abrahamic or not, is the root of misogyny. You cited elements of Judaic law that imply misogyny, but these are independent of a belief in the afterlife.
Let it be noted that I do not believe that a belief in the afterlife is part and package of a belief in Yahweh or Judaic law. The Sadducees did not believe in an afterlife and they were based entirely on Judaic law. Solomon also seems to imply a disbelief in the afterlife in Ecclesiastes 9:5. ("For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even the memory of them is forgotten.")
David, of course, does seem to believe in some kind of afterlife. At the very least he seems to be aware of it, since he writes in Psalms about "Sheol." However, simply because the father believes something does not mean the son does.
Therefore it is not the belief in afterlife, Abrahamic or not, that is the integral part of misogyny. It is the belief in the misogynistic bits of Judaism themselves.

Also note Galatians 3:28:
"There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

This, in addition to all the passages about loving others as yourself and considering others better than yourself, seems to further to the conclusion that misogyny is not part and package of even Christianity. Perhaps it often associates with it, but it is not inherent.

As far as the misogynistic elements in the New Testament that the Skeptic's Bible cites are concerned, I submit that most (if not all) of them are either relics of the culture at that time, taken out of context, or otherwise misunderstood.

For example, in calling Lot righteous I doubt that Peter is saying Lot was righteous because of his impropriety. I think it is more likely that Lot was counted as righteous despite these things on account of his faith. He believed God, which seems to be the root of Abrahamic righteousness.

I admit that there are passages I'm still having trouble with, ones that I need to work through, but this does not prove that Christianity, or belief in an "Abrahamic afterlife", is misogynistic inherently or of necessity. More than anything it proves my ignorance.
Hell, I'm still seeking the truth, so all I can say is how it seems to me at this time. That's really all you can say too, methinks.

And it has probably been said before, but in response to say no to christ's assertation that Abrahamic religion is completely responsible for the subjugation of women and children:
I believe, at the very least, that a problem as complex and deeply rooted as the gender war cannot be blamed on a single cause.

TokbatinSenoi said...

Religions distort our priorities and make another world (afterlife) more meaningful than this one. After all, we are only alive once, but we are dead once and forever.

What is the "Afterlife"...Do we get to go (die) and come back (alive) to prove the religions claims and offers are authentic? Have any of us tried to venture the truth of the ‘afterlife’ and then we will find the proofs of the religions claims. This segment may therefore deal with the after death experiences/ fantasies and we will share the truth.

I have read a good deal about religion, the reformation, enlightenment, Those who believe in religion been "hardwired" or programmed and they are infidels indeed.

Caron Cadle said...

Hi Aaron, it's Caron Cadle. Had no idea this thread existed until I Googled myself for fun just now. Highly interesting!

I noted all the stuff (esp. from Anonymous) about afterlife beliefs among ancient pre-Abrahamic peoples. Sure. No-one likes the idea of dying and human beings are really good at rationalization. But I think the pre-patriarchal peoples may have been closer to the truth, that energy gets recycled. You die, your energy goes into othere life-forms. I believe they managed to deduce this without generating the truly irrational notion that individual egos/personalities survive death.
That's how I look at it. My energy will go back into the collective whole on Earth and into more life. Suits me fine (in my less selfish and scared moments).

Thanks for your positive words about my essay, and for giving it a longer life on the Net!

Yours sincerely,
Caron Cadle

Anonymous said...

So good topic really i like any post talking about Ancient Greece but i want to say thing to u Ancient Greece not that only ... you can see in Ancient Greece The Trial of Socrates (399 BC) and more , you shall search in Google and Wikipedia about that .... thanks a gain ,,,