Tuesday, April 13, 2010

ladies DO engage in despicable acts; I've seen it on the internet

As the traffic at the M4/M5 junction has been so bad the last couple of days I've found myself sitting in a static or nearly static queue of traffic at 9am as the Today programme segued (via the news) into the next programme in the schedule. Yesterday this was a fascinating edition of Andrew Marr's Start The Week featuring (among others) playwright David Hare and kooky multimedia experimentalist Laurie Anderson; today it was an edition of Between Ourselves featuring a couple of gay Anglican priests, one male and one female.

Listening to the two of them chew over their experiences over the years provided a fascinating insight into the corrosively harmful effect religious indoctrination and belief has on the critical faculties and the ability to think in a straight (no pun intended) line. Presenter Olivia O'Leary commendably made the obvious point about the fairly specific prohibitions relating to male homosexuality in Leviticus, and the absurdity of picking and choosing which bits of the Bible to take literally and which to shrug off as either "metaphor" or "only relevant to the time they were written"; she referred to this as "à la carte Christianity" which I thought was quite apt. Others attempt to get round these issues with some hilariously fatuous weaselling known as "Biblical hermeneutics" (see also "Christian apologetics").

Neither guest made a particularly convincing reply to this, because, essentially, there isn't one - as soon as you claim to know better than the Bible on moral issues then you instantly torpedo any notion of the Bible (and hence God) being the source of all wisdom regarding morality. If you were intellectually honest you would then have to go on to investigate why you think you know better, how you would know if you were wrong, and stuff like that, but of course one of the ways the meme of religion perpetuates itself is by shutting all that off: thinking is dangerous, leave it to us, we'll do it for you.

Another illustration was provided when the lady priest revealed that she had undergone psychiatric therapy in the past to try and "cure" herself of her lesbianism - the notion that, if your perfectly natural sexual preferences conflict with your belief that there is some bloke watching over us who created the world, us, free will, all that stuff, solely so that he could then take a prurient interest in what we do with our genitals and arbitrarily declare some permutations unacceptable for ill-defined reasons, then it's the sexuality bit that needs to go is indicative of Something Very Wrong somewhere.

Incidentally I'm pretty sure Leviticus only specifically proscribes male homosexual activity; possibly for similar reasons British law only ever did the same - Queen Victoria apparently refusing to accept that lady homosexuals existed:
"Ladies would never engage in such despicable acts."
So it may actually be that hot girl-on-girl action is all totally A-OK with the big man upstairs after all, and that there's nothing to worry about. Although it could also be argued that assuming anything not explicitly prohibited in the Old Testament is therefore acceptable is a quick route to a) prison b) hell or c) both.

[Footnote: actually this was yesterday. So for "today" read "yesterday", and for "yesterday" read "the day before yesterday". Except for the "yesterday"s you got by converting "today" to "yesterday" just a few seconds ago; leave them as they are. Hope that sorts it all out for you.]

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