There is a definite payoff to being an eclectic. I think all great minds are actually. Not that I am comparing myself to being a great mind. I am all too aware of my limitations to do that, but at least my nose is pointed in the right direction.
Which all goes to say nothing more than that my interests are myriad and lets just say, broad, broad, broad. I read a lot of stuff in any given day or week. And I’m convinced that because of that, I draw a parallel sometimes or should I more perfectly say, an idea seems to form, informed by all that flotsam free-floating around just waiting and looking for a hook to grab and attach itself.
Utterly confused? Yeah, I know, I get so in love with the flowery shimmer of words kissing that I end up just babbling. I would compare myself with Sarah Palin, but unfortunately she never manages to ever reach an idea ever, just snippets of phrases strung together in some effort to look Wall Street Journalish.
Back to business.
So my friend Tim is going to the Chicago Theological Union working on a Masters in Divinity and he sent me his book list for the semester, and I’m reading one of those (figuring out that textbooks required from that place are certainly useful for my scholarly endeavors). It’s a dry subject to most but fascinating to me–biblical exegesis–methodology to be exact. It’s called Method Matters: Essays on the Interpretation of the Hebrew Bible.
And given the political landscape, I’m reading a lot of crap about Ted Cruz, that lunatic genius from Texas who has designs on America the Beautiful that should they comes to realization would make you cry.
And I just finished reading another tome about creationism and the crazy people who believe in it, which I hated for a variety of reasons that we don’t have to go into here, but nonetheless offered real nuggets of truth too.
And can you believe that those three things all swirled around in me old head for a few days, and is now busting out in urgent spews of words and phrases all because something important is to be learned in all this? And since you haven’t (unless the universe is way more crazy than I think) been reading these same things, I just got to let you know all about it.
So let’s start at the bottom and work up. About these creationist believers. You know the one’s I mean, the silly folks who are just sure that Genesis (chapter 1, 2 or together) describe in REaLitY just exactly how the earth and everything around it were created? Them? The cognitive dissonance folks? The compartmentalized fools? Them.
They like their bible their way, as has been pointed out innumerable times. God said it, I believe it, ‘nuf said. God actually said it in the pages of the King James Bible, the only one worth reading from their point of view. And he said it, dictated it, so that the average, only sorta educated person could easily understand it. Why do they know that? Because they understand it, just fine.
No amount of showing them that they don’t understand it will be allowed. Mostly that is true, because they way they understand it suits them just fine. It allows them to hate whom they naturally hate, and condemn whom they naturally wanna condemn, and look down upon those they think should be looked down upon.
Now to suggest to them that they are wrong in their understanding is well, easily dealt with. That’s where the red guy comes in.
Satan is also the most devious trickster ever invented (and God did that, but a good fundamentalist doesn’t dwell on why too much–it was no doubt for our own good). Satan gets in people’s heads and messes them up.
Fundamentalists are pretty sure that any time somebody–anybody–says something that they don’t like, Satan is behind it.
Are you getting the drift?
So, if somebody tries to present actual facts that the bible is not as they say–that’s SATAN working again. They actually call you that to your face if you aren’t careful. Or words to that effect. I was once asked, “Sherry, why do you hate Jesus so much?” all in response to my trying to explain why evolution was actually true and believing in God and believing in EVOLUshun was really okay.
Which all led to this remark by a geologist (a real one) speaking at a creationist convention:
“. . .I am a young-age creationist because that is my understanding of the Scripture. As I shared with my professors years ago when I was in college, if all the evidence in the universe turned against creationism, I would be the first to admit it, but I would still be a creationist because that is what the Word of God seems to indicate. Here I must stand.” (Amongst the Creationists, pg 213)
That pretty much tells you that these people are not to be trifled with.
Now, Ted Cruz is a fundamentalist of the first order. His daddy is a preacher who talks about Ted being a royal priesthood, a king, and Obama of course being a Kenyan devil. These folks are serious about their fundie ways. Ted is also a dominionist among other things. A dominionist is defined as:
The theocratic idea that regardless of theological view or eschatological timetable, heterosexual Christian men are called by God to exercise dominion over secular society by taking control of political and cultural institutions. Competes in Christianity with the idea of Stewardship, which suggests custodial care rather than absolute power. Used here in the broader sense, some analysts use the word only to refer to forms and offshoots of Reconstructionism.
Basically these folks believe to one degree or another than they should impose a Christian government over the US, based on biblical law as they understand it, and go on to do so across the world. People who are not Christian or don’t adhere to proper beliefs are to be eliminated (How that is to be done depends on how hard-core you really are.)
Where do they get this notion? Why they get it from Genesis 1:28 where in God gave Adam “dominion” over all the earth.
So they feel very righteousy in all their planning to destroy the Constitution as it is, in favor of what it really always was, but somehow got perverted by the LIBERALS, those heathen God-haters, also known as the N word of all words SECULARISTS, which is really an S word, but no matter.
And they mean business and no bigger proof of that is grifter girl Annie Coulter, who probably could care less, unless she can see a way to make a dime off it, but anyway, she in seriousness or jest said this:
And well, we don’t know how close to Mr. Cruz this is or isn’t, but for some, this is what they really believe, and if you try to explain to them that they are probably pretty wrong in this, well, as I said, you get Satanized.
So what is the truth about all this dominion stuff?
Well, I was reading my Method Matters and I was reading about the methodology called Comparative Methodology which to make a long story very very short, means comparing biblical texts with other textual material from other areas and groups such as Egyptian or Mesopotamian, Babylonian, and so forth. Do we find similar stories say to the flood story? And of course we do. And that helps us understand the Hebrew flood story in some context. Get it?
So when we look at the “man made in the image of God” we wonder what that means. And it suggests that in Mesopotamia, the king made images of himself for the temple (to be worshipped) and in territories taken in war. So if God made an image of himself (in man) is this similar to showing off one’s victory–humans are the capstone of God’s creation. Except that in Mesopotamia, the images are cast to revel in war victories or hunting victories, the latter reflecting on the former. They reflect violent acts by the King.
Is this the same in the bible or different. The author of that essay, argues different. Why? Because when we read Genesis 2:16, we see that the “dominion” previously alluded to, is tempered in the second Genesis story using the Hebrew words šmr (serving) and ‘bd (preserving). We can see that the Hebrew writer who joined the two creation stories changed the royal rhetoric of violence which we see in Mesopotamian texts to a non-violent image of caring and nurturing of the earth by this image of God–humanity. (*please note I am not suggesting that the Genesis redactor was aware of the Mesopotamian textual or iconographic rhetoric)
The lesson is quite different. And rational people thus informed and having a better idea of what dominion means in the Hebrew bible, no longer can or should use it as a basis for a forceful control over others.
But of course we run into that old demon Satan once again.
I might be telling you the truth, and honestly I am, but then again, my mind might be so warped by my companion Beelzebub that I only THINK that I’m telling you the truth, and I’m really doing Satan’s handiwork. Or as they say in Star Trek: Everything I say is a lie–I’m lying.
You have now entered a circular argument and will never be released–or a black hole–or the inside of true-blue fundamentalist.
- Rafael Cruz is an avowed creationist (dailykos.com)
- Ted Cruz’s Father is a Dangerous Religious Fanatic (politicususa.com)
- Creationist Ken Ham: Vote for godly candidates, not for policies that benefit you (rawstory.com)