(I have learned that HugPages does not allow us to share parts of the Bible in large portions. I wanted to be as honest as possible to the passage and wanted to share without editing it down, but due to the limitations put on by HubPages I was forced to edit it down. Please do read the section in its entirety for the most honest understanding. For now, I've shared the most important portions as honestly as possible. I have added notes in parentheses to add context).
I pick up the Bible at random and will read a random portion from time to time. I don’t dig into the Bible because I’m especially religious, but because religion has such impact on our world and is important to reference when looking at history. However, every time I dive into the Bible, I seem to leave with questions and with a level of disgust. The book of Deuteronomy did nothing to change this perception.
13 If a man takes a wife and, after sleeping with her, dislikes her...saying, “I married this woman, but when I approached her, I did not find proof of her virginity."
(And if later the parents prove that the women is in fact a virgin)...18the elders shall take the man and punish him. 19 They shall fine him a hundred shekels[b] ...She shall continue to be his wife; he must not divorce her as long as he lives.
(If the woman and her family cannot provide any proof she is a virgin...) 21 she shall be brought to the door of her father’s house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death.
Why not let the wife choose the outcome? After being so viciously slandered, should she not be given the option to extend the dysfunctional marriage or choose to end it? Why punish her? And why does the man get off with a simple fine, whereas the woman gets stoned to death in front of her family? Seems a little lopsided, no?
I’ve been trying to read the Bible more lately and I’ve been failing miserably. I have however been able to check out the words of Peter a bit. I was not surprised to find that I didn’t like what I was reading. I will share a couple of verses I take issue with below.
1 Peter Chapter 2 Verses 13-14 (NIV):
“13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority,14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.”
I want to preface the rest of this blog by saying that I am trying my best not to take anything out of context. I have read the chapters in their entirety so if you believe that something doesn’t sound right, please read the other verses and correct me. Also, if I am missing some sort of historical context, please enlighten me.
Perhaps I don’t like verses 13 and 14 because I am a skeptic. I don’t think everything should be taken at face value. Perhaps my rebellious nature also has something to do with. I find it much more rewarding when I challenge a proposed idea, learn about it, and test it myself. In the end, if the proposed idea is still standing after my tests, I will gladly adopt it. Simply by looking at history, we know that authority figures have not always been right. Yet Peter tells us that we should submit to these leaders and that Yahweh has sent them to punish wrong. Did Yahweh send Hitler to murder all those people? If so, Yahweh is no leader I want to follow. Imagine minorities submitting to every establishment. Imagine how far behind our societies would be if we had no one challenging the norms. The Earth would still be flat and the sun would still revolve around us.
1Peter Chapter 2 Verse 18 (NIV):
“Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.”
What would America and the world be like if we told this to African-American slaves and they all accepted it? We certainly wouldn’t have had a Rosa Parks, a Martin Luther King Jr., or a Barack Obama.
1 Peter Chapter 3 Verse 1 (NIV):
“Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives.”
The level of misogyny in the Bible is something I immensely detest. The world back when Peter was around was primarily a man’s world. Women having a voice in our world is sadly a very recent occurrence. Although we have come a long way, I would still argue we live in a world that is created by men. I feel like the world would be very different, and in my opinion better, if the world and history were shaped by women. Therefore, I very much disagree with Peter when he tells women to submit to their husbands.
Oh, but wait!
1 Peter Chapter 3 Verse 7 (NIV):
“Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives…”
Verse 7 might completely negate my criticism and justify verse 1. However, if we continue reading:
“…and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.”
We learn that Peter does in fact look at the female counterpart as “weaker”. He almost had something nice to say.
Again, at face value, the words of Peter sound nice. Be nice to your king, your president, your god, your leader. Respect your husband and respect your wife. However, when you dig deeper and really think about the words of Peter, you begin to see how dangerous blindly accepting his ideals are. We begin to understand that these ideas would derail the progression of living creatures.
“What is love? Baby don't hurt me. Don't hurt me. No more” *
What a great question it is that Haddaway (Alexander Nestor Haddaway) inquires. In Haddaway’s scenario, although he is not sure what love is, he knows it can hurt and later informs that it is not fair. I am most likely safe assuming we all have a definition of love, even if it is not a perfect definition. Here are the first three definitions given on Dictioanry.com:
1. a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
2. a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.
3. sexual passion or desire.
Certainly working definitions, but I’m not sure there is an all encompassing definition of “love”. I should also note that when I talk about the use of the word “love”, I am talking from an American point of view and the way we use to word in English. I feel this is a note worthy because I know Koreans do not use the word “love” the same way we do. Because of this knowledge, I must use caution and assume that other languages might also not use the word as loosely as we do in English. Koreans do not make claims such as, “I love that book!” or “I love pizza!” where we in America throw around the word “love” at every opportunity. This also proves that the three definitions from Dictionary.com do not apply to all situations. The definitions have no mention of, for example, the love for nature, or the love for knowledge. In this case does “love” stand in place for the word “passion”? Of course we understand that both the words might have overlapping qualities, but this is the tricky thing about language. Languages are only as good as the consistencies we give them. For example, an individual might break every rule of grammar in a statement, but we might still be able to understand them. This does not give license to ignore grammar, as grammar is the hope that we do remain consistent with our language, but language certainly is above the laws of grammar. Intrinsically the word “love” is only a syllable of sounds or the contrast between scribbles on its medium. It is the consistencies we give these sounds and scribbles that partially gives the word its value. I say “partially” because I believe “love” gets its other half from the feeling of empathy. “Love” has many characteristics. Passion was mentioned above, and often we hear that love can be unconditional. I have a difficult time making a distinction between the general, store brand, form of love, and the unconditional, Louis Vuitton, version of love because I think love should be unconditional as is.
Of all the characteristics, empathy might be the most important of them all. Empathy gives us the capacity to understand, or feel, another individual even with the limitations of language. There has been a time in most lives where we wished that there were some sort of invention that would allow another person to dive into our minds or the deepest parts of our heart to show them clearly the way we feel. Empathy is that mechanism. I think it can be argued that we can have empathy without love, but I find that it might be difficult to have love without empathy. I cannot say for certain whether women are inherently more empathetic than men, or if the social gender roles have allowed women to grow into a more empathetic role, but I believe a point can be made that women are generally more empathetic than men. At this point in the history of human beings, the phrase “the history of man” applies better than, “the history of human beings.” The world we live in is certainly a world created by men. It is bewildering that women were (are?) treated as inferiors for much of our history. Although conditions are not perfect yet, we have made vast improvements. I believe had it been “the history of woman” the world would be a much different place, and might have been a better place provided that women are inherently more empathetic, and not just empathetic as a reaction to the gender roles that were created by man.
Lately, I have been contemplating a lot about the meaning of love and this constant search for it. I am beginning to learn that the important thing is not to let “love” consume you. Like with many things in life, you have to take it as it comes and in the portions nature rations. I have a love for many things. I have a love for people, a love for knowledge, lately I have discovered my love for nature and the cosmos, I have a love for my family and friends, I have a love for animals, I have a love for art, and I was lucky enough to experience a love for a woman once. There is plenty of love out there to be discovered, to be shared, and to be given. Our responsibility is to keep “love” in motion.