Donna Louise here. I grew concerned about the rain we’ve been having, but more so after animals started to appear on my porch in pairs for the unclean animals and groups of seven for the clean ones. At first I didn’t know why so many of one kind showed up, but a quick read of Noah’s story (as in Noah & the Ark) in Genesis 7:1-3 explained why. I think my Sunday school teachers skipped the discussion of clean and unclean animals to simplify the story of childhood consumption. They did that with a lot of Bible stories so we would believe them.
It worried me as a child that Adam and his first wife separated because Adam demanded complete control of everything. They’d been created as equals, but Adam refused to share to power. He wanted to name everything except the really messy stuff which he left to Lilith. After she said, “I’ve had enough of your sexist crap,” she walked…out of The Garden apparently, although that’s not quite clear.
Adam moped. God put him to sleep and constructed Eve out of one of Adam’s rib so the new woman would always be subservient to her mate. That worked just fine. Eve went around The Garden keeping herself busy with bird watching and tall grass macramé. She didn’t have much of a brain because all she got of Adam was a rib, not brain cells and her brain wasn’t completely developed or fully functioning. That’s why she fell for the Serpent’s line about eating the apple and, thus, condemning all women to miserable lives unless we’re obedient, but not even that guarantees a stress-free life.
When I first heard the story, I asked questions: What happened to the first wife? If God knows everything, why didn’t He know that Eve would succumb to temptation and eat the apple? If He set her up for failure, why was He so mad at her? Why didn’t Adam get punished with something like a period and giving birth?
Needless to say, my questions upset Mrs. Gromski who referred me to the Sunday school Superintendent’s office for blasphemy. From my conversation with Mr. Bowerman, I faced the fact that questioning religious beliefs makes one a troublemaker. I didn’t make up the stories and if you’re going to teach them to me as “truth” then you damn well better be able to explain them to me.
That craziness still goes on. Some Creationists believe the world is only 10,000 years old. I guess they disregard carbon-dating as a left-wing, liberal, atheistic plot to destroy Christianity by destroying the “truth” of the creation story. Some of them have even gone so far as to say that Noah took dinosaurs on the ark with him which is why we have dinosaur bones that show up from time to time. Others say that secular scientists planted those bones to make it look like such creatures existed more than 10,000 years ago, but that can’t be true because the Bible says it isn’t.
With all this same-sex controversy going on around the world, religious extremists point out that God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. (Run from anyone who uses that outdated, homo-hating phrase.) But if God only created Adam and Eve then their children had to have sex with each other to populate the world and…well, that’s illegal in every state in the Union and many countries. Just sayin’.
The those same people bring up Sodom and Gomarrah which, according to biblically ignorant people, were destroyed because of the rampant homosexual population of Sodom (poor Gomorrah just got in the way apparently). I’m willing to let them have that story but they need to tell the whole thing.
After Lot’s wife, another nameless woman in the Old Testament, turned to a pillar of salt for her disobedience to God, Lot went into the mountains with his two daughters where he had knowledge of them (Bible-ese for “screwed them”). They gave birth to children so Lot’s line would continue. Once again, such behavior, even if it was aided by the over-consumption of alcohol is illegal in all states of the Union and many countries around the world.
I could never figure out why homosexuals “deserved” such punishment or why Lot’s wife was turned into a pillar of salt for looking at her hometown where her children had just been turned into piles of ash when Lot got to bonk his daughters and live happily ever after without any punishment at all. My Sunday school teachers could never explain that to me.
Mama finally pulled me from Sunday school because Mr. Bowerman told her he was not a babysitter for a blasphemer. In response, Mama expressed her concern that he couldn’t read the Bible he had on his desk. When he asked why, she said, “How can you see it with your head so far up your ass? Maybe you should put your Bible there too.”
We were turned out of the church as unwelcome.
“Mama, what did I do? I only asked some questions.”
“Honey, don’t let it bother you. Those people have never read the Bible from cover-to-cover or, if they have, they haven’t paid attention to the discrepancies. Don’t let it worry you.”
“But it’s the Truth. Mrs. Gromski said so. God told those guys what to write.”
She shook her head. “They must have had some serious hearing problems then.”
She put me on her lap. “Honey, religion is a bunch of stories people make up to explain the unexplainable. None of them are true.”
“Then why do those people believe the stories?”
“Because it brings them comfortable or makes them feel superior to people who don’t believe the stories or provides explanations for life and death.”
“But wouldn’t they want to know the truth?”
“That’s just it, honey. The truth is out there somewhere, but we’ll never know it. Walk away from anyone who tells you they know what it is, because they don’t and they’ll make your life miserable.”
I wish I had remembered that at several points in my life, but, you live, you learn.