Curiosity Killed This Christian

28 04 2010

Marvelous new post on the Misogynistic Myth of Exalting Ignorance, in pretty much every culture’s Power of Story, see Dale McGowan’s latest:

And since the story includes three things powerfully reviled by most religious traditions (curiosity, disobedience, and women), it’s not surprising to find them conveniently bundled into a single high-speed cable running straight to our cultural hearts.

It was my seventh grade Latin class from the (seemingly ancient herself) Mrs. Hodges, that introduced me to Pandora as my first recognized Eve parallel, and prompted me to resent both as demeaning mythic crap I consciously, furiously refused to buy into.

I didn’t know it then but no church for true believers had much chance with me from that day on.

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13 responses

28 04 2010
Nance Confer

“That this cautionary tale is found in religions worldwide leads me once again to conclude that religion isn’t the source of human hatreds, fears, and prejudices—it’s the expression of those fundamental human hatreds, fears, and prejudices, the place we put them for safekeeping against the sniffing nose of inquiry.”

Yep.

Nance

28 04 2010
Audrey

I remember reading the Pandora story around the age of 11-12. I thought the fact that only Hope was left in the box meant to say that gods unleash sorrow into the world, but keep Hope for themselves. If I believed in the judeo-christian god, I’d say that interpretation still fits.

29 04 2010
Nance Confer

My memory of first hearing this tale was in either later elementary school or middle school. All the girls were ushered into the cafetorium for a film on our periods and this story was part of the lecture. We were supposed to get some message or other about everything being our fault or periods being the fault of the curious woman or some such trash.

Such was sex education at the time.

Nance

29 04 2010
JJ

OMG.
As bad as so many things were in southern schools when Nance and I were girls, at least my school’s sex education was clinical and in no way tied in with any culture’s misogynistic mythology!

29 04 2010
JJ

I can’t figure out what’s up with my avatar. The other day wordpress suddenly dropped the photo face and the monocled lilac face showed up. I tried everything I could think of at wordpress and at gravatar, to confirm the photo face. Now it’s here in the comments but still not in the homepage comment list. Ideas?

29 04 2010
Luke Holzmann

Interesting.

I’ve never read the Fall as an account of curiosity. Similarly, the story of Lot’s wife. Eve is tempted with the desire to be like God–the same thing that caused Lucifer’s demise–and to distrust His instruction/good will (among other things), not curiosity. Also, it wasn’t curiosity that drew Lot’s wife’s attention. Well, I guess her motivation isn’t really spelled out–hence why curiosity never played into the scene for me. Instead, it seemed to me to be about fully rejecting evil and walking away from it. Far more interesting to me, though, is if evil is to be rejected, why is there no judgement made as to Lot’s daughter’s actions just a few verses later? That’s far more important to the reading of this story, in my mind. Of course, I’m a Christian and male, so perhaps that’s my problem [smile]. A different perspective/interpretation is always so fascinating.

While I completely agree that many religious persons don’t like curiosity or inquiry, I think that’s much more central to human nature than to applied Christian thought. We like to believe that what we believe is true. We don’t like that being questioned. And we don’t like being wrong. The trouble is when that dislike of being wrong interferes with our ability to learn. And this, sadly, happens all too often.

…hmm… of course, these are just thoughts off the top of my head. I feel the wheels turning now. Interesting. Interesting…

~Luke

29 04 2010
NanceConfer

Exactly, Luke. The ideas/problems/weaknesses/strengths/etc. that we all have are not the product of Christianity but the product of being human. The job of a religion is to explain and control these things and each other.

And as far as curiosity and my little film story — the “teachers” giving this talk may not have been as scrupulous as you attempt to be in interpreting various mythological events. I think they were trying to tell us not to be interested in a whole host of things. You should pardon the expression. . . 🙂

Nance

29 04 2010
JJ

Luke, your honest introspection tends to startle and please me anew each time I see it. 🙂

Since we’re talking women and sex and god already, can you help me with something that’s always niggled at me, but not enough to get around to asking before?

If bringing forth children in pain was Eve’s curse visited on us all, and if the Easter story is about redeeming all sins and no more blanket punishment visited upon children for sins of the fathers (and mothers) — then what’s the accepted explanation for why children still are brought forth in womanly pain despite the redemption?

29 04 2010
JJ

Hey, suddenly my avatar is right again, hooray! (Nance, did you pull the right string behind the curtain or something?)

3 05 2010
Luke Holzmann

JJ, “… what’s the accepted explanation for why children still are brought forth in womanly pain despite the redemption?”

I’m not sure I know the “accepted explanation” but I’ll give it to you as I understand it [smile]. Actually, this is a similar problem with things like Christians who still sin (we’re free from it, after all, and the Bible clearly states that if we are in Christ and therefore a new creation we can’t go on sinning). The two dollar Bible college term is Inaugurated Eschatology: The Kingdom of God is here now and not yet. Basically, God’s redeeming work on earth is started, real, available today… but it isn’t fully active, realized, applied.

The Easter story is about God’s incredible love, His power and the redemption that brings. But redemption is still very much needed because the effects of the curse–and the Fall–continue to plague us. The story ain’t over, but it’s begun.

Clearer?

If not, or if you’ve got other questions, please let me know! It may take me a while to get back to you because I don’t often swing back to check on follow ups to comments. I try–especially when what I say could spark more conversation–but I get busy and stuff falls out of my head far too frequently [smile].

~Luke

3 05 2010
JJ

It just seems the Story makes more sense as a lesson and has much more Power if the kingdom is now at least inside the receiving Christian, so that childbirth pain, say, would no longer be visited on THAT woman even if it still were punishing the world generally for all who had not received the redemption. But thanks for taking a stab at it for me anyway, Luke.

3 05 2010
JJ

Of course, hmmm, I read Lewis’ Problem of Pain decades ago and thought a lot about it then. I know pain and death for the faithful is a very big sticking point. Famine and disease and such. But if it covered this particular question of pain, I don’t remember it (and if not all faithful women, at least Mary herself should have been spared pain in subsequent births? — after faithfully going through it herself unmedicated and outside like an animal, to make the whole Story possible for everyone else!)

3 05 2010
JJ

Shoot, my purple monocle face seems to be back, after I thought it was fixed and the flapper face working again . . .

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