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Denial of the Body

 (The following is excerpted from Dr. Husfelt’s forthcoming book The Greatest Lie Ever Told - a Manifesto for a Religious Revolution and a New Consciousness) 

The Hawaiians loved their bodies and felt no shame. On the other hand, the invading missionaries denied the flesh of the body and viewed it as a temptation to sin. But of course, the greatest temptation was not the male body but the female one. Ah, Eve, the first temptress!

It seems that the Abrahamic religions have all inherited the virus of the ‘evil tempting female body.’ Of course, there are different strains of this virus such as the ‘tempting male body’ of the Catholic faith. But then again, denial of the sacredness and the beauty of the human body can only lead to rampant abuse and in the case of females, a debased and rigidly controlled second-class citizenship within these organized religions:

…. if girls’ schools began P.E., Saudi girls would have to change into workout gear – and good girls should not disrobe outside their homes. Changing in a locker room might cause them to lose the shyness that is the hallmark of good morals….

 

The Muslim woman should realize that she is a target for corruption….

 

There is no faster way to corrupt nations than the emancipation of women – that is getting her out on the street to entice men and ruin their morals….[i]

 

As with all things, there are degrees of this belittlement and control of the female. A few Protestant branches of Christianity actually allow female ministers or priests while the Catholic Church does not. And there are the women of the polygamist sect the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints where women wear “ankle-length dresses, makeup-less faces, hauntingly uniform hair. The dresses are meant to show modesty and conformity: They go down to the ankles and wrists, and are often worn over garments or pants, making sure every possible provocative inch of skin is covered.”[ii] Islamic dress codes for females may vary according to the sect and country from a minimal dress code to a very extreme one where the female body is totally covered except for the eyes.

What does the covering of the female body reveal to us about the male mind and the type of consciousness that makes and enforces these dress codes? Pure and simply, arrogant egomaniac power underpinned by the fear of women is the ruling consciousness of the majority of these religious men. For example, “Australia’s most prominent Islamic cleric vowed Thursday to stand strong against widespread outrage over his description of women who don’t wear head scarves as “uncovered meat” who invite rape.”[iii]

Separate out the women, cover them up and keep them subservient; these seem to be the guiding principles of the Abrahamic religions:

Should we discern the logical consequences of hatred for intelligence in hatred for women common to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam? According to the holy books, original sin, error, the desire for knowledge, all stem from the decision of one woman, Eve. Adam was an innocent fool, content to obey and submit. When the serpent speaks…. He addresses the woman and starts a dialogue with her…. Seducing serpent leads to seduced woman leads to woman the eternal temptress. It is an easy progression.

 

Hatred of women is like a variation on the theme of hatred of intelligence. To which might be added hatred of everything women represent for men: desire, pleasure, life. Curiosity as well—many dictionaries confirm that inquisitive women are widely dismissed as “daughters of Eve.” They generate desire; they also generate life. Original sin is perpetuated through women—that sin, which, as Saint Augustine assures us, is transmitted from the moment of conception, in the mother’s womb, via the father’s sperm. The sexualization of sin![iv]

As far as original sin, abortion, and ensoulment are concerned, Judaism has totally opposite views from Christianity: 

In Jewish law, although the human soul exists before birth, human life begins at birth, that is, at the time when the child is more than halfway emerged from the mother's body.

 

Judaism completely rejects the notion of original sin. According to Judaism, a child is born pure, completely free from sin. We pray daily "Oh G-d, the soul which you gave me is pure. You created it, you fashioned it, you breathed it into me."

 

Jewish law not only permits, but in some circumstances requires abortion. Where the mother's life is in jeopardy because of the unborn child, abortion is mandatory.

 

An unborn child has the status of "potential human life" until the majority of the body has emerged from the mother. Potential human life is valuable, and may not be terminated casually, but it does not have as much value as a life in existence. The Talmud makes no bones about this: it says quite bluntly that if the fetus threatens the life of the mother, you cut it up within her body and remove it limb by limb if necessary, because its life is not as valuable as hers. But once the greater part of the body has emerged, you cannot take its life to save the mother's, because you cannot choose between one human life and another.[v]

 

Islam seems to be more in your face on their treatment of women as second-class citizens than the other religions. I don’t agree with them but honor that they are more forthright than the Catholics who basically control the female’s body by making birth control a sin. Add to this Christianity’s sin of abortion and you have achieved complete power and control over the female and her body.

Probably one of the most devious methods of control that has ever been conceived is the Catholic Church’s communion and it’s rite of confirmation. Communion involves eating the ‘wafer’ symbolic of the body of Jesus and drinking the wine, which is the blood of Jesus. During confirmation little girls, all dressed in white, are ‘brides of Jesus’ and then, ‘confirming their bodies, minds and spirits to the Church,’ they each eat the body and drink the blood of their groom.

Symbolic or real, it stills affects the consciousness and sub-consciousness of the blind participants. You are still, even if it is symbolically and not for real, eating the body and drinking the blood and, in the case of confirmation, marrying young supposed virgins to a dead person hanging on a cross.

Add to these corrupt practices, the teachings of the Church that produce guilt and shame within their believers. This leads many of them to feel guilty about very natural sexual desires. If they yield to these urges of the body/mind, then shame is added to the guilt. Sex for procreation only is sexual blackmail and the purest form of power and control over a woman’s body. Along with confirmation, procreation sex is a great way to always replenish the ‘stock’ of ones sheepish followers.

In addition to guilt and shame, add denial of the body and the seemly religious males need to have control over the female’s body and you open up the floodgates to sexual dysfunction such as the Catholic Church’s pedophilic sexually abuse practice of many priests. 

This control of religion over the female’s body is deplorable and needs to be stopped. Sad as it may be, organized religions, especially Christianity and Islam, will never change their assault, sometimes blatant and many times subtle, on the female body and sex. Why no change? Well, there is a very Orwellian purpose behind all of this body denial. 

To a certain extent, when we deny our bodies, we sever our mind-body link, and even more importantly, we erode the connection between our heart and mind. This leaves us at the mercy of discursive thinking, which under most circumstances blinds us to the truth.

Taking this one step further, Divine Humanity believes that spiritual/religious awakening is affected not only in the mind but also in the body. If the body is viewed as impure then spiritual awakening is unachievable.

If our sacred temple (our body), which contains our divine spark, is viewed as a prison for our spirit and/or as the haven of Satan (of course the tempting female body) then the body is relegated to a spiritual dung-heap of unimportance and impurity.

In the usually case of ‘pick and choose’ veneration of cultural icons, we hold up the ancient Greeks as the originators, and Greece as the birthplace, of certain cornerstones of Western Civilization such as democracy, philosophy and the arts—theatre and music. Greece as well is the birthplace of the Olympic Games. And weren’t the athletic contests of the ancient Greeks conducted in the nude. They were proud and comfortable with the human body. The Church had not arrived in the scene yet, so they were not ashamed and in denial of their bodies. And in line with Divine Humanity’s philosophy, the ancient Greeks felt that their bodies were sacred:

The classic Greeks had a magnificent materiality, saneness and clarity of mind. The love of this life and of the physical body is Greek to the core…. In Sparta where athletic contests were encouraged by the state for girls and young married women as well as for men, the custom of female nudity was easily adopted also. Organized athletics as a way of worship given to God, the body perfectly trained as a noble thing dedicated to the Father, is a new and startling concept in the history of man. But it was entirely consistent with Greek humanism….

 

The Greeks approached each evidence of the creative mana of Zeus with holy awe. It was direct reverence for the genital power that had peopled the earth, provided the abundance and variety of living creatures, and created the gods…. man should not be ashamed of what God had not been ashamed to create…. It is difficult for us, after centuries of Christian body hating and dismay at the material world, to recapture the simplicity and directness of their attitude, in which there was no suggestion of prurient salaciousness but only thankful delight.[vi]

It’s truly a tragedy that the Greek philosophy of the sacredness of the human body did not survive the ravages of time. However, we must not point all of our fingers at Christianity as it is not the only culprit in an assault on the human body. In the present day, Capitalism has had as much of an influence as religion, sometimes more, on females as well as on male bodies. Capitalism endorses and markets appearance as a way to affluence and power. It promotes an unrealistic image of the body, especially the female body, to market to the consumer various beauty, youth and heath products.

To the Capitalist, the body is not sacred; it is a source of revenue to further the greed of the bottom-line. The sine qua non for these Patriarchal Industrial Elitists’ is that the human body is viewed as one thing and one thing only—their ‘cash-cow.’ 



[i] Seattle Times, May 20, 2006, p. A8

[ii] The Seattle Times, Wednesday, April 23, 2008, p. E8

[iii] Rohan Sullivan, Rape comment by Islamic cleric stirs up a storm, The Seattle Times, Friday, October 27, 2006, p. A15

[iv] Michel Onfray, Atheist Manifesto, The Case Against Christianity, Judaism and Islam, pp. 101 – 102

[v] http://www.jewfaq.org/divorce.htm

[vi] Weston La Barre, The Ghost Dance, pp. 451 – 452

 


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