CTBHHM: In Which Debi Reveals Her Mandate

Created To Be His Help Meet, pp. 51-53 

Remember that Debi has just poisoned the well against trusting one’s feelings, listening to mainstream society, or giving a hearing to the arguments of Christian feminists. She continues with this:

Can we, ordinary housewives and mothers, jump into the arena and compete with these “scholars,” deciding which verses in the Bible should be believed and which ones should be dismissed for various reasons? That is not for me.

But I do have a solution. There is one verse that they have not yet contested: “The aged women … may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedience to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed” (Titus 2:3-5). It reads basically the same in all my English translations. And my husband says it reads the same in his four Greek Bibles as it does in the King James. According to the Word of God revealed to the apostle Paul (a man!), aged women are to teach the younger women to be obedient to their own husbands. It is clearly God’s plan.

Is it just my imagination or has Debi just revealed her mandate – the reason she believes she is qualified to write this book telling women to be perfectly obedient to their husbands? I should mention that this passage – Titus 2 – is a favorite among female leaders in conservative Christianity. This passage states that older women are allowed to teach, well, younger women, thus giving “mature” Christian women a ministry role to play in congregations that typically bar women from ever teaching men. (I once saw a woman have to go to her pastor to find out if she could teach a mixed group of teenagers, both girls and – gasp! – boys. The answer was yes, because as long as they were under 18 the guys counted as “children” rather than “men.”) So I’m not at all surprised that Debi would at some point invoke Titus 2, though perhaps slightly taken aback by the strength with which she claims it.

Debi next prints a letter from a woman who explains that, after reading the works of a certain Bible teacher, she has become convinced that “The women obeying and not teaching their husbands passages are wrongly translated and received.” Weirdly, Debi removes the name of the Bible teacher the writer is citing, replacing it with “H___.” Yes, really. It’s almost like she doesn’t want someone to go look up his books and read them for themselves! Debi’s response is all over the map, but I want to highlight a few points.

Dear Kristin,

If you were trying to convince me of the truth of your argument by telling me the “full gospel” crowd encourages women to take positions of leadership, you used the wrong argument. Check out their divorce rate, and you will understand my amazement in your choice of arguments. Statistics reveal that modern Christians have a higher divorce rate than does the general population.

…what? First of all, “full gospel” Christians are Pentecostals, and last I looked, Pentecostals are generally considered traditional Christians, not “modern Christians.” Second, if Debi is going to use the “Christians have higher divorce rates” argument, she has to realize that her own sect of Christianity, whatever exactly that is, is also included in this statistic. If she would rather break it down and look at the statistic for each type of Christians, well, she’ll have to do that for the full gospel people as well as for her own group. But she doesn’t do that. As a result, her argument makes no sense.

She goes on to argue that there is a “huge amount of scripture” supporting her view on women’s role, including “500 verses, found in twenty-five different books of the Bible.” (Of course, she doesn’t actually site a single verse.)

And then she says this:

I believe God has given and preserved his words so that the average woman can know what he means without having to go to a man who claims to be smarter to the words of God.

Given how much Debi emphasizes that women must submit to their husbands, I actually find her argument that the average woman can understand the Bible without having to go to a man rather odd. Growing up in a home where the Pearls were idolized and embraced, I was actually told that I should take my theological questions to my father and then accept what he said. I was taught that I would someday do the same with my husband. So this idea that suddenly women can figure out the Bible for themselves without any help from their husbands or any other man? Odd.

If God’s words are so misleading and difficult to translate that the fifteen English translations I have and the four Greek translation my husband has (all in agreement on these verses) are not able to speak the truth about women, then He is not the God I have worshiped these many years.

Given that Debi earlier came out as believing that the KJV was the only translation that accurately preserved the word of God, I find her sudden appeal to the Greek also, well, odd.

But the other part of her argument is something I’ve heard before many times. It’s fairly formulaic, actually: “If God _______, then He is not the God I have worshiped these many years.” If you think about it, it’s an appeal to personal experience. My experience of God is like this, therefore this must be so. But what of someone else whose experience is different? There are plenty of liberal Christians who believe that translating the Bible and discovering the actual original Greek words is a complicated and difficult process, but don’t see that as at all inconsistent with the God they have “worshiped these many years.” In other words, Debi’s assertion here is nothing more than an attempt to universalize her own personal experience.

Would you have me believe that only in these last decades, as the world shifted to a “women’s liberation” philosophy, that suddenly a few preachers who “studied Greek” in college for three years should discover that the world is right after all?

I grew up hearing this as well. But you’ll find that most Christians have made this same “discovery” with regards to slavery as well – in other words, Most Christians used to believe that slavery was totally okay according to the Bible, and today most Christians believe that the Bible condemns slavery. In other words, religion changes all the time. That a view is the oldest or the longest-held does not mean it is either “right” or universal or that it will continue unchanged in every cultural context. How do we figure out which view is correct and which is incorrect? Not by completely rejecting Biblical scholarship as flawed and refusing to examine the arguments on each side, surely. And surely not by simply declaring that your side is right!

You will have to go to a “pop” TV evangelist or conference speaker, who depends on monetary gifts from women, to get the modern view that you say is taught by men like H___.

I’m sorry, what? Seriously, two pages ago Debi was talking about “Bible scholars” who argue that the Bible endorses gender equality, and now she’s saying that only televangelists and conference speakers who depend on people’s money teach gender equality? I might think that this means that Debi thinks “Bible scholar” is synonymous with “TV evangelist” and “conference speaker who depends on monetary gifts,” but given her husband’s views on the deceptive nature Biblical scholarship coming out of seminaries, I know this isn’t the case. Debi’s contradicting herself here.

There is a reason why those people attempt to appeal to the modern woman. Nine out of ten gifts to these ministries, and nine out of ten purchases of books and tapes, are by women.

And now Debi is making up statistics.

Women who can’t be close to their husbands have a propensity to develop a self-absorbing, spiritual intimacy with spiritual leaders – be they men or women.

Look in the mirror, Debi. No, really. Even with all of the adoring letters receives, she never stops to consider that she might be one of the spiritual leaders she describes. She’s also making some pretty wild accusations here – that the only pastors or scholars preaching gender equality are those who are looking to take money from women’s purses and get in their spiritual pants. Also, what is this “spiritual intimacy” she describes, and why hasn’t she talked about developing it between husbands and wives? Perhaps that’s still coming.

My husband started studying Greek forty years ago. (He daily uses three different Greek Bibles in order to correct the teachers who attempt to correct the Bible with the Greek.) When my husband, who is a Bible scholar and, for many years, also a student of Greek, wants to know what God says, he always opens his KJV Bible first.

Again with the Greek. And using different Greek Bibles to correct teachers who attempt to use Greek to correct the Bible? What? I mean I think I know what Debi is trying to say, but honestly, she’s not saying it very clearly. And note that for all of her discussion of just how learned in Greek her husband is, she doesn’t use Greek when examining the passages she quotes in her book, nor does she discuss the reasons Biblical scholars have caveats regarding some of them. Instead, she sticks with the KJV and takes it at face value – just like her husband, who “always opens his KJV Bible first.” I honestly think she keeps mentioning how very learned her husband is in Greek just so that she can claim to know better than those Greek-quoting Bible scholars, and all without ever having to actually address the Greek in her book. I mean, really, how does her continual touting of the Greek here jibe with what she said about the average woman being able to understand the Bible by herself?

You are asking me to adopt a philosophy that is contrary to the Bible, has destroyed countless homes, has put thousands of woman on Prozac, and has driven men to pornography, in exchange for something that has worked perfectly for the past thirty-five years of my marriage.

Prozac? Really? In this section, Debi argues that the belief that men and women should be equal in the home and in the church has destroyed homes, put women on Prozac (again, really? really?), and resulted in men watching porn. I hate to break it to Debi, but there’s been lots written about the large number of women who were addicted to alcoholic “tonics” in the 1800s, and while the technology we have today may be different, pornography is not new. And finally, while families may have stayed together more often in the past that does not mean they were not broken.

I am supremely happy and content woman, in submission to my husband  but I am not altogether gullible.

While this statement may appear to some to be the epitome of irony, it’s actually a bit of a staple in Debi’s circles as women insist that their belief that women must submit to their husbands does not mean that they don’t have brains are are some sort of dupes. It’s almost like there is some huge psychological need bound up in this insistence, as though making sure others know that they’re not just gullible dupes soothes their need to assert their selfhood.

Also, when someone has to spend a great deal of time insisting that they really are “supremely” happy, well, that’s frequently a tip off that they’re not.

I suggest you believe God, and let the snake deceive some other dumb lady (just like he deceived Eve in the garden).

Did I mention that Debi’s really not very nice? Well, just in case you missed it, Debi’s really not very nice. I’m not sure if she thinks that calling women “dumb” makes her sound hip or something, but honestly, to me it just makes her sound like a misogynist.

So let me sum up. After explaining that the Bible says that older women are to teach younger women, and thus claiming a mandate for teaching, Debi sets out to do just that as she responds to a letter from a woman who believes that God is okay with women preaching and teaching. This would seem to be a contradiction except that the letter writer makes it clear that she’s talking about women’s ability to teach men, and Debi makes it clear that she’s only talking about older women’s ability to teach younger women. Regardless, Debi spends all of her time talking about (a) how there are “hundreds” of verses that teach that women are to be subservient to men, (b) how very well her husband knows Greek, (c) how those who preach that women can teach men are just out there to take women’s money, and (d) how a belief that men and women are equal has led to women taking prozac and men watching porn. And in all of this, Debi doesn’t even quote a single Bible verse, whether in English or in Greek. I suppose that now that she’s got her Biblical mandate to teach, that’s all she needs.

CTBHHM: What "Companionship" Means in Pearl World
CTBHHM: A Young Wife Should Be "Bored and Lonely"
CTBHHM: Playing Telephone with God
CTBHHM: Why Was Marian's Husband So Loving?
About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • Mary

    In the church I grew up in, a boy became a “man” upon baptism. Therefore if a baptized 8 year old was in your Sunday school class, you had to have a man help teach the class.

    • Aimee

      same here, though boys were less likely to be baptized that young so usually women could teach up to high school class, which had to then be taught by a man.

      • http://www.kisarita.blogspot.com ki sarita

        ha ha in the orthdox jewish community I grew up the submission and authority trope wasn’t really emphasized (they knew most of our no nonsense mothers would never put up with that) it was all supposedly about MODESTY. it was immodest for women to teach a class of men, they might have sexual thoughts. of course there were never any satisfactory explanations why it was not similarly immodest for a man to teach a class full of women…. Ovadia Yosef (one of the foremost living rabbis) is reported to have taken the “revolutionary” act of offering Bible professor Nehama Lebowitz to teach his students from behind a curtain… although this may be an urban legend

    • http://tellmewhytheworldisweird.blogspot.com/ perfectnumber628

      Wow, that’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.

  • Nea

    More of the cultlike behavior – only Debi has the answers, obey only Debi, or terrors (read: divorce) will fall upon you. She doesn’t have to cite sources, really – Michael said it, Debi believes it, that settles it!

    It’s almost like there is some huge psychological need bound up in this insistence, as though making sure others know that they’re not just gullible dupes soothes their need to assert their selfhood

    There’s no “almost” about it. And for the Pearls, the stakes are extremely high – if Debi can’t sell this worldview convincingly, she has nothing. No authority, no reflected authority for her hubby, and worst of all, no money rolling in.

  • Cathy W

    If you think about it, it’s an appeal to personal experience. My experience of God is like this, therefore this must be so. But what of someone else whose experience is different?

    I suspect if you were to ask Debi Pearl, the answer is that those people are wrong about what they experienced, somewhere on a spectrum from “they lack the true faith to interpret their experience properly” to “that wasn’t God, that was Satan”…

    • ako

      A lot of fundamentalists will accuse everyone who doesn’t fit their worldview of lying about their subjective experiences. Their response to an atheist who is all “No, I honestly don’t have any sense of God’s presence”, a gay person who says “I’m not haunted by a bad childhood or a past trauma”, or a woman who tells them “Actually, it isn’t more satisfying for me to submit to a man and stay home” is basically “No, you are wrong! What you really feel is what I say you feel!” (If they’re being nice, they might try for the “So you think you feel one way, but maybe you just didn’t notice that what you really feel is exactly what I’m describing?” angle.)

      So it wouldn’t surprise me terribly if they got all “You know in your heart that your experience matches mine, and it’s only sin that leads you to act like it might be different!” over people who had different personal experiences of God.

  • Christine

    Forget that “If God _______, then He is not the God I have worshiped these many years.” is an appeal to experience. It’s a bad argument even without that (i.e. on Debi’s terms). “If God sent his son to save the world, then He is not the God I have worshiped these many years.” follows that formula perfectly. Clearly that means that Christianity is wrong. (I’m talking in terms I’d expect Debi to see here). If we are only human, then it follows that people would worship the wrong God, or misunderstand Him, or etc. But apparently only people who aren’t Debi can do that.

  • http://eschaton2012.ca Eamon Knight

    And note that for all of her discussion of just how learned in Greek her husband is, she doesn’t use Greek when examining the passages she quotes in her book,

    Well, of course not: Greek is too hard for her poor little ladybrainz (and by implication, those of her readers). That’s her husband’s job. But of course, he checks the KJV *first* so he can know he’s interpreting the Greek correctly.[/snark]

    • Nea

      Somewhere on one of the Patheos blogs, there’s a quote from Michael complaining that he had to work too hard to understand the Bible and interpret it, and he really wanted a Bible he didn’t have to approach critically. He chose the KJV. So to be honest… for all his book learnin’ the Bible turned out to be a bit much for Michael’s manlybrainz too. What he wanted, he specifically said, was something he didn’t have to think about. And that’s really quite scary. He’s not thinking, he’s taught his wife not to think outside his box, and she’s trying to teach everyone else to be just as limited.

      • The_L

        I still don’t understand why one wouldn’t want to think about something as important as God and salvation and Doing It Right allegedly are to these people. The very concept is foreign to me. When I love and care about something, I want to understand more about it. I love my dog, so I enjoy watching dog- and pet-related documentaries, and hearing anecdotes about dogs, and generally learning more about dogs. I love tea, so it fascinates me to learn where it’s grown. When I was Christian, I decided that since I loved God, I wanted to learn more about him, so I read the Bible very carefully, looking at all the little footnotes and ruminating over each chapter.

        I didn’t make it from beginning to end of the Bible before coming to the realization that the Christian god really isn’t all that important to me.

      • HelenaTheGrey

        To The_L…that is a very logical question. And I don’t know that there is an easy answer to it. I am a natural researcher and learner. I love to know more and to question why things are done the way they are done. Regardless of how I came to be this way, it is now simply in my nature to find out whatever I can about whatever interests me. Some people are not this way…however they came to be that way. It infuriates me…I mean really, sometimes it sends my blood pressure through the roof when people are seemingly willfully ignorant. I grew up in the conservative Christian environment, so despite that, I still grew up wanting to know. And that has flowed into my desire to know what different translations of the Bible say, etc. But there was a time when I was more hesitant about researching what certain things in the Bible said. And I think a lot of that was based in fear. I was afraid of what I would find. I was afraid that if I put a crack in one part of my beliefs, then my entire world view would shatter and I couldn’t face that. So while it is aggravating, I do look at it with a bit of sympathy because it is not easy to challenge your entire way of thinking and believing and sometimes it seems easier to live on in ignorance than to face your mistakes. I mean, think about it. Let’s say that Mrs. Pearl were to come to a place where she believed, as many of us do, that her viewpoints were misogynistic and allowed for women and children to be abused. That it really made a marriage less happy, not more happy, and had real world harm. She would have to face the fact that for 35 (or however long it has been now) years, she has been doing things wrong. That she could have been happier, kinder, more loving and gracious, and helped women get out of abuse, rather than telling them to suck it up because hey, he doesn’t beat you that hard. She would have to look at her own judgmentalism and know that (assuming she still believed in a loving God) God was not pleased with her behavior. That is a lot of guilt and repenting. Easier to just keep your head down and go on believing as you do and hoping for the best.

      • Nea

        The_L: I wish I could find that link now. It was either here, NoLongerQuivering, or Slacktivist. Basically, the more Michael searched for a concrete set of rules to follow, the more he found that Bible interpretations contradicted each other, and the more thinking and interpreting he had to do. And that was making his brain melt. He wanted a set of rules to follow, by George, straight from the mouth of God, and the more he learned, the less he found that.

        So he picked the One True Version and bought into the idea that that version can be used to correct even the earlier versions, and stepped into the set of interpretations that just happened to put him on top and let him beat all the babies he wanted, and ta da! No more thinking, all the rules he can slug into other people, and he’s got lots and lots of lost, frightened souls handing him money to do their thinking for them.

      • http://Patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        It’s here.

      • AnyBeth

        Libby Anne, I don’t know how it managed to be like this, but your “here” that ought to be a link isn’t for me. It’s blue. When I hover over it, it becomes underlined and orange. But it reads as text (with a text sort of cursor) and isn’t clickable. Just thought you should know it isn’t being a way to get to another page.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        Fixed it!

      • Nea

        Thank you for the link, Libby Anne. It was making me crazy because I knew it was out there somewhere, but I couldn’t remember which post it was!

  • Chrissy

    Libby, thanks for this post! A few years ago (and not so many as I would like) I would have read this excerpt from CTBHH and been “duped” into believing it, hook line and sinker. Now, I read it and have a vague sense of unease and disbelief, but it’s not until you break it down phrase by phrase that I can clearly see the level of manipulation & hypocrisy that Debi preaches. It sickens me.

  • MM

    If the bible is so easy for the average person to understand, why does Michael need 15 different English translations, 4 Greek translations, and years of seminary education to speak with authority about it?

    If Debi had a shred of honesty, she’d say “there are conflicting interpretations of the bible based on our flawed human understanding of a book that is old and in multiple languages. It is my sincere belief that an accurate reading of the text backs up my assertions.” But instead we get “my husband is the smartest person in the world, how dare you contradict him!!”

  • wanderer

    So many things about this. But the thing that got me most was the part about prozac and the fact that her philosphy has worked for her perfectly for 35 years. She still doesn’t seem to understand that if she’s has truly (which is not even realistic) been perfectly and astromonomically happy for 35 years straight, that doesn’t mean that everyone is exactly like her. Not everyone can live with her level of cognitive dissonance and still maintain a veneer of happiness.

    It’s also offensive that she belittles people who take prozac like this.

    • The_L

      She probably doesn’t believe that depression is a real disease, only a sign of some form of “fallenness” and depravity.

  • http://sylvia-rachel.livejournal.com sylvia_rachel

    Wow. SO CONFUSING. Does anybody copy-edit or proofread these books before they’re printed? Because it seems like any halfway decent copy editor would at some point in this section have said, at a minimum, “Here you say X, but 2 paragraphs above you say not-X. This seems inconsistent. Please advise.” (Mind you, maybe the only people reading Debi’s writing prior to publication are her family members, and they don’t see the internal contradictions…)

    Among ultra-Orthodox (Charedi) Jews, this same idea that ladybrainz are incapable of fully understanding What God Wants is fairly widespread; what’s interesting is the completely different form it takes: in some Charedi communities, it’s become the norm for men to “learn” full-time — that is, go to kollel (yeshiva for married guys) and study all day every day instead of having a job — while their wives work to help support the family. (Of course, in other Charedi communities, most men work like regular people — however, many of their wives do, too.) Girls and women will often be taught Torah but not Talmud, because Talmud is more complicated and arcane (not to mention written in several ancient languages, not just one), and if they need to know if something is OK or not they can ask their husbands, or ask their rabbi. (Asking the rabbi if something is OK is extremely common among religious Jews, both male and female.) Not saying that the men-learn-and-women-work-for-money model is any less dysfunctional — I just find the contrast kind of hilarious.

    What I find really super-duper hilarious is the idea that the Bible is this perfectly clear and straightforward document that you just open it up and read it and it’s instantly clear What It All Means. Because Jews, who (collectively) have been wrestling with What It All Means for a lot longer than Christians have, don’t treat the Bible like that at all — entirely the opposite, in fact (hence the existence of the Mishnah, and the Gemara, and the Tosefta, and the Targumim, and … not to mention the whole Kabbalah deal, which from what I can gather is based on the idea that Everything Actually Means Something Else Entirely).

    • Lucreza Borgia

      I believe the Pearls self-publish.

      • http://sylvia-rachel.livejournal.com sylvia_rachel

        I’m pretty sure you’re right. But lots of people self-publish and still get a professional to edit their work …

      • Nea

        That would allow for an authority higher than Michael’s opinion.

    • http://www.kisarita.blogspot.com ki sarita

      right sylvia see my post about studying in an Orthodox jewish seminary

      My experience differs from libby in that I wasn’t really immersed in the submission meme until I got to seminary- in childhood I came accross it in readings but it wasn’t really pushed in the community at large. Not sure how your experience was.

      in fact the bible is so un-understandable, thats why we must give authority to rabbis to interpret it for us!
      What a revelation to me when I realized that I actually understood most portions of the bible pretty easily without even any rabbinic commentary! in fact the commentaries were far more convoluted than the bible itself!

      • http://sylvia-rachel.livejournal.com sylvia_rachel

        Thanks for the link! I appreciated (I was going to say “enjoyed” but…) your post.

        I was not raised frum myself — not even a little bit — but as an adult I have made a number of friends who were. All of them are women who have now either moved in a modern Orthodox direction or “gone off the derech” altogether (because of course I’m not hanging out in places where I would actually get to know Charedim, as opposed to just seeing them walking around the neighbourhood on Shabbos, or taking the bus to the local yeshiva or BY). Submission to husbands is not a big theme in their lives as far as I can tell, and many of them are career women; but there they still are in the ezrat nashim, behind the mechitzah, not participating on the same level as the men. I personally would not be okay with that … but by comparison with, say, women in Charedi communities in Israel being publicly blamed for causing this that or the other disaster by dressing immodestly, it does seem relatively innocuous.

        I’m working for a guy right now (I’m a freelance editor) who writes on the Qumran and rabbinic texts, and you are *so right* about the relative convolutedness. I really wonder where they get some of these interpretations (my client’s theory is, they made them up first to suit whatever goal they had in mind, and then went looking through the Tanakh looking for justifications, however tenuous).

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    Okay, so women should definitely defer to and by taught by men. But they should definitely NOT defer to men whose teachings are not in line with those of Debi Pearl’s, who is a woman. But Debi is fine, because she is only teaching other, younger women, not men, and she teaches is teaching them that they should defer to men. But also that they should listen to her about which men they should defer to. They should definitely not defer to men who do not defer to Debi.

    I just went cross-eyed.

    Also, LOL, yeah, all the mountains of porn we have from Ancient Rome, Medieval Japan, Victorian England etc. clearly indicate that these societies had waaay too much gender equality. (The Victorians definitely would not have been remotely tempted by prozac though, because why bother with that stuff when you can be high as a kit on laudanum?)

    • HelenaTheGrey

      To be fair, she tells women to always submit to their husband, even if their husband does not agree with her/Michael. It is only the unmarried gals whom she would warn against marrying a guy who doesn’t believe as they do. Because if you are married to a porn addicted, alcoholic, abuser, then God wanted you to be married to him and therefore you must submit in order to have a “heavenly” marriage.

  • http://www.mymusingcorner.wordpress.com/ Lana

    I can think of 3 large quiverfull families from my homeschool group growing up whose parents got divorced; one had 12 kids. I doubt its a higher percentage, but no groups are immune. All I know is that more laws aren’t going to take any of that away.

    • Nea

      What happens to the ex-wives in that case? Were they left with no support for all those children? Were they expected to marry someone else and keep producing kids?

  • smrnda

    When I hear about Michael Pearl with his five Greek versions and his KJV and all the ‘work’ he’s doing, I want to suggest that he should go out and get a real job, and then lecture people.

  • http://krwordgazer.blogspot.com krwordgazer

    I think the reason for this:
    While this statement may appear to some to be the epitome of irony, it’s actually a bit of a staple in Debi’s circles as women insist that their belief that women must submit to their husbands does not mean that they don’t have brains are are some sort of dupes. It’s almost like there is some huge psychological need bound up in this insistence, as though making sure others know that they’re not just gullible dupes soothes their need to assert their selfhood.
    is that women who believe this know that to most people looking in from outside, what it looks like is that they have been duped. Usually the reason something needs to be continually insisted upon is that it looks to many people like the opposite of what is being insisted.

  • Lucreza Borgia

    “I believe God has given and preserved his words”

    Err…can someone explain to me the reverence and fascination Christians have over the bible being transmitted to today? There are many old texts that are intact in one form or another, yet Christians don’t insist that god had a hand in them. It’s really not all that miraculous that the bible survived all those years. Especially when the bible that we all mostly know was formed right around the time and papyrus use was mostly discontinued.

    Or am I totally wrong here?

    • The_L

      Well, for starters, a lot of the other books we have from ancient times are incomplete. The Bible, by dint of being translated and disseminated as frequently and widely as it has been for 2000 straight years*, is a lot more complete and coherent by comparison with something that only exists in a few small fragments of the third scroll it was originally written on. Because Christians generally aren’t aware of the huge number of first-century texts that were considered biblical at the time but didn’t make it into what we now think of as the Bible, the impression one receives is that the Bible is completely whole and more or less unchanged, which seems impossible given its age and therefore must be a miracle.

      Because it IS impossible. A lot of books were lost, and of the 72 (counting the Catholic books) that survive today, we didn’t have any early copies of quite a few of them left until the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in the 1940′s.

      * Yes, yes, the Hebrew portions are even older. For this sort of Christian, that’s the point.

      • lucrezaborgia

        That ignores many Indian and East Asian works tho that are just as old as the bible when it was in its final form, if not older.

    • Pauline

      I don’t think this sort of comment is a sign of being impressed that God enabled the Bible to survive all those years–I think it’s a statement of faith, of believing that God kept the Bible intact. A common argument against the belief that the Bible is totally inerrant (not a word of error) is that it’s impossible to avoid a few copyist mistakes over 2,000 years. (At least without the benefit of computers!) The common response to it is a version of the statement you’re talking about–”Yes, copyists make mistakes, but God made sure that didn’t happen to the Bible.”

    • http://krwordgazer.blogspot.com krwordgazer

      The origin of Christianity’s focus on the Bible is that Jesus was a Torah-observant Jew who followed and quoted the scriptures. The books of the New Testament were also written by Jewish people with a reverence for scripture. Christianity inherited its focus on scripture from Judaism. The doctrine that God preserves the scriptures is part of that.

  • http://wayofcats.com WereBear

    I am a bit heartened that people like the Pearls have to work so hard, and lie so much, to keep this scam aloft. I have long held the opinion that it is not just women who are oppressed by such structures; men are too.

    It looks great from the outside for men. But they are all alone in their “headship” and so any screwups have to be covered over, denied, and blamed on others. That’s a lot of psychic fuel being burned to create this whole other world where they are not constantly feeling inadequate. No wonder the chances of that once-sweet guy turning into a petty tyrant are so high.

  • KarenH

    When any one can demonstrate to me that Adam’s argument against the “apple” amounted to anything stronger than, “yes, please, I’d like some, too, Eve.” then that person may preach to me about how the fall of man is entirely and appropriately placed on Eve.

    • Lucreza Borgia

      Especially when most of the patriarchal camps are all about personal responsibility!