I. Step One in any rebellion
Religious tyranny covers a lot of ground, ha ha, so allow me to clarify. I propose that religion is the root of most, if not all of the problems that threaten our democracy, individual liberties, and planet. And since religion and its weaponization have proven immune to logic and reason for a couple thousand years, I consider that tyranny – of epic proportions.
I can think of no other strategy to end religious tyranny than Scientific Rebellion. For a little more background, you may want to check out this previous post, “Four Words to Start the Rebellion: Faith Is Not Fact.” While you’re at it, you may also want to read, “Morality from Religion? Nah.” I think you’ll get the gist.
So, what do I mean by saying nah to religion? I maintain that it is the first step in any worthwhile rebellion. Why? Because there is great power in saying nah! To begin with, it’s the first act of rebellion that every toddler discovers and learns to master by the age of two.
If that’s not enough, the Power of Nah also refers to Rosa Park’s refusal to move to the back of a bus when a white person demanded her seat. And it represents the spirit of rebellion in all those who stand up to oppression and say nah, no more, regardless of the personal consequences.
Rosa Park’s actions embodied the principle of non-violent direct action as the best way to achieve social transformation. It was a principle that was central to Dr. King’s vision and that Coretta Scott King expanded globally through the King Center. It’s exactly what we need right now.
Just say nah to religious tyranny.
II. Blame it on Eve
To end religious tyranny, we need to first understand how we got to this point. We need to back up about 10,000 years in Christian-time to creation itself.
There are a couple different versions of creation in the original Hebrew manuscript. In one version, the first man was created from dust and called Adam. The first woman was created from a rib of Adam and called Eve. It’s kind of fuzzy if there really was an Adam and Eve and whether God created man first or plants and animals, but since the Adam and Eve version was widely adopted by the Catholic church, we’ll run with that one.
It turns out the adoption of that version had some pretty consequential effects on human history, especially for women. As you may recall, it started when a serpent tempted Eve into eating an apple, which was the source of all knowledge of good and evil – the one fruit that God explicitly said they shouldn’t eat.
Compounding her poor decision making, Eve then tempted Adam into biting the apple, too. It was at this point that God lost it, which if you have kids, dogs, or cats, I’m sure you can relate. I mean the one thing we tell them not to do.
Apparently eating the fruit of all knowledge kind of put Adam and Eve on the same level as God, and let’s just say there was hell to pay. Say goodbye to immortality, being cool with nakedness, and the Garden of Eden. Oh, and your progeny will forever carry this original sin and life was going to be really hard. Really, really hard.
Thank you, Eve.
III. Debacle at the Garden
In the intervening 10,000 years or so, Adam and all his sons were left to deal with the aftermath of the Debacle at the Garden, as it became known. They realized it would fall on them to keep women on a short leash or face the fire-and-brimstone side of God, and no one wanted any part of that.
Life was going to be challenging enough, what with the fallout from original sin, but now men had the added burden of keeping women in line. Not to fear, with their combination of brains and brawn, men found that controlling women came kind of naturally, and was actually kind of fun.
In the meantime, God’s vision for man unfolded quite nicely. With men firmly in charge at every level of the church hierarchy, women could fully focus on their role as breeders – and most importantly, leave the decision making to men, lest a repeat of the Debacle at the Garden.
It wasn’t all church hymns and baptisms, though. Good Christian men continued to be tempted and tricked into sinful thoughts and deeds by women. Even public stoning and an occasional burning at the stake failed to keep women in line.
Despite being excluded from all decision-making roles and positions of power, women were still finding ways to make men look bad in the eyes of God. The early church was in a bit of a quandary. It couldn’t come down too hard, as Christ was born to a woman after all. Yet it obviously needed to firmly lay down the law.
The solution was as bold as it was immoral and can only be described as transformational. In a strategy still used in Christian schools and conservative think-tanks around the world, the church employed a next-generation gaslighting campaign that took hypocrisy to astonishing new heights: women were at once enshrined and commoditized. And it worked like a charm.
But how, you may ask, could the church possibly pull this off? Mary, mother of Christ, began to be formally honored by the church around the 3rd century, mostly in her depiction in various works of art. Her place of honor in the Catholic church increased over time, which incidentally was not very popular with those who eventually spun-out the protestant denominations.
The Book of Genesis clearly established the pecking order of humanity, given that Eve was made from a rib of Adam and of course didn’t help her case by disobeying the one command God gave them. The New Testament followed that up with many passages specifically requiring women to submit to their husbands, the God-ordained head of the family.
In a stroke of genius, the church realized that a more formal declaration of a man’s ownership of a woman and the terms of that ownership would send just the right message. Marriage, or Holy Matrimony, proved to be the answer.
IV. The institution of marriage, every woman’s dream?
Catholic matrimonial law had its origins in Roman law, which was initially just a way of establishing a contract between families, sealed by the arranged marriage and of course any off spring. Over time, the rules, or canons evolved into a complete system of law under the Catholic church. One that eventually elevated marriage to that of a Sacrament, though no one seems to know exactly when that happened.
In any event, marriage provided the ideal contract to establish women as the property of her husband. A life-long, unbreakable commitment, bound by the law of man and God.
Wonderful traditions sprang up, like the father of the bride handing her off to her soon-to-be husband. In what proved to be a valuable symbolic gesture as well as powerful photo-op, all could witness the father handing off the responsibilities of watching over his daughter, providing a continuous transfer of ownership from one man in her life to the next.
Just as symbolic, a child reveals a ring representing the eternal contract of obedience the woman is making to her husband and the lifelong ownership responsibilities of love and protection that the husband so graciously accepts. One man. One subservient woman. And a very public ceremonial signing of a legal document guaranteeing ownership and obedience of a woman to a man.
V. Is this what you want?
Remind me again how Christians justified treating women as objects, subservient to men, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually inferior to men, useful only as breeders, sexual servants, and domestic help – as property. And remind me how Christians extended that ideology to rationalize conquering, massacring, enslaving, and segregating Black, indigenous, and people of color. And how they now use the same arguments to dehumanize, vilify, and persecute the LGBTQ community.
Remind me again how these Christian rules evolved from an account of Adam and Eve, Roman law, and an ever-changing set of Catholic laws that are now enshrined in America’s judiciary, from the highest courts in our land on down. Laws that deny a woman’s right to bodily autonomy, define what constitutes life, decides who is worthy of human and civil rights, and who is worthy of existence.
These are the same Christians who blame porn and LGBTQ identities for sexual abuse of women and children while indoctrinating generation after generation of children with criminally misogynistic and toxic views of gender and sexuality.
These are the same Christians who falsely accuse their enemies of pedophilia and child abuse while covering up the most widespread, systemic, and egregious crimes of child sexual abuse and grooming the world has seen.
These are the same Christians who have us begging and pleading, “Please don’t kill our LGBTQ kids, it’s not a choice, they were born that way,” when we should be saying, “Nah, Christians don’t make the rules. I don’t care if a person is ‘born that way’ or just chooses a different gender, sexual orientation, or expression – that is their right.”
These are the same Christians who condemn trans and non-binary children in the name of “common sense” and traditional Christian values, rejecting science, data, and evidence in favor of baseless, unproven, unprovable supernatural beliefs.
These are the same Christians who are whitewashing history and eliminating LGBTQ and Black identities in public schools and businesses, while fighting to use public dollars to fund Christian schools.
These are the same Christians who sanctify insurrection and treason, subvert democracy, and defend any actions that will achieve their goal of establishing a white Christian American Kingdom.
Is this what you want?
Nah. Join the rebellion.
About the authors: Peter Tchoryk is an engineer and dad who decided he had enough of religious tyranny and Jessica Firkins is a born rebel. Together they are committed to turning the tide and ensuring every human has a chance to live authentically. To learn more, check in with us at ScientificRebels.com, listen to our Podcast, or contact the author directly.