Friday, September 22, 2006

Gender and Creation Myths

OK, since a lot of you seem to be interested in gender and Genesis and all that, let's continue our discussion with a new post. There seem to be several questions that people are interested in answering, which I will summarize as follows:

  • Are there biologically-determined traits that occur more frequently in either sex? And if there are, can we distinguish them from other traits? And if we can, what should we do with this information?

  • Are there socially benefical roles for the sexes? That is, does a society gain significant benefits from encouraging women to behave a certain way and men a different way? And if so, are there also significant harms?

  • Are there divinely ordained roles for the sexes? That is, are there ways that God says women should be, and other ways that God says men should be? And if so, what are they, and how did we find out about them?

  • What should we expect to learn from the creation stories in Genesis?

OK, so the fourth one we haven't talked about much, and it really kind of folds into the third one, but hey, this is my post, so I can be as sloppy as I want!

My opinion:

When we read the creation stories in Genesis, we should not expect them to be literally true. Instead, we should expect them to provide a broad metaphor that will help us understand ourselves.


crystal said...

Good questions :-)

I used to think there was no intrinsic difference between men and women (aside from the obvious one) but since then I guess scientists have found their brains to be different?

About social roles ... I'd say let people do what they want to do, but how much of what they want to do is biologically determined and how much is taught?

I don't think there are divinely ordered roles for men and women. I don't think of Genesis/Adam and Eve as a historically accurate story but more of a metaphor.

homo escapeons said...

All vertebrates are created female and later tweaked...that being said female humans are deveopmentally quicker to socialise and nurture relationships..until the tween years when they unexpectedly turn and gang up on each other with vicious innuendo and peer much for that advantage..
Divinely inspired roles for the sexes have a lot more to do with the mysogynistic inventions of nomadic warrior tribalism than anything else...something which still lingers in that part of the world.
We learn from the Genesis myth that the Babylonians had a great Flood story that the Hebrews borrowed while they were a 'captive' audience..
The creation myth in and of itself is blatantly sexist and more than anything else was developed to secure the dominance of the male high priests...

Matthew said...

homo escapeons said...
"All vertebrates are created female and later tweaked..."

As useful as that would be for the feminist argument, I don't think it's actually true. If nothing else, the sex of the fetus is determined by its chromosomes at conception.

"Divinely inspired roles for the sexes have a lot more to do with the mysogynistic inventions of nomadic warrior tribalism than anything else..."

Man, I thought I was going to get to spring that one.

Yes, I think you're correct. Although reading Genesis 2-3, it may be more like agrarian patriarchy than warrior tribalism.

connor said...

First question: I think someone may have mentioned this on your previous post but just because something is natural doesn't necessarily make it right or the ideal. There seems to be alot of screwed up stuff about us humans that looks natural.

Thanks for your post on the GKB blog. I wanted to but I'm scared of catching the crazy disease that exists over there.

Matthew said...

So do you mean the disease is disturbing, or that it's actually "Crazy Disease"?

Either way, I think I've contracted a mild case. I hope I'll be better soon.

Send me candy.

Connor said...

How about a class update. I give you permission to trash Shane all you want.

Matthew said...

Like I need permission! =)