Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

My dad was a deadbeat dad. My mother, brothers and I moved in with mom's mom, my rather religious grandmother. The five of us subsisted on my grandmother's widow's benefits from granddad's retirement, supplemented by the annual Thanksgiving & Christmas groceries from the church. With few exceptions, that's the only help we received.

Every week I was forced by my mother & grandmother to go to church, where I had to recite "Our Father..." Thankfully, we didn't have to recite it at home, so I only endured cognitive dissonance once a week. "Give us this day our daily bread..." just as our natural father would? Or as my female role models did?

Today it seems the metaphor comes at me more & more. My church never used the phrase "Your heavenly father will never let you down," but it seems popular with others. So let's see what the heavenly father does.

  • Gives Adam & Eve a great place to live then kicks them out when they eat an apple he himself gave them.
  • Razes two towns because he doesn't like the behavior of some of the men. Presumably women & girls are merely acceptable collateral damage. Lot, the good father, after offering his daughters to a marauding horde, has sex with them and impregnates them after taking them to a remote area where they have no hope of meeting an acceptable husband.
  • Drowns the whole world because his kids were bad. Bad kids, bad. He gives one father a heads-up and tells him to take his kids & some animals and put them into a boat.
  • Allows his one good kid to be killed in place of his bad kids. Bad kids, bad. Then he changes his mind & lets the one good kid wake up and walk around for awhile.
  • Even though the "sacrifice" of the one good kid is supposed to give the bad kids a free pass, he figures out a way to punish them. Unfortunately it's not clear why some kids will be sent to hell & other sent to heaven. We have to rely on the priest, or "father," to help us avoid this fate.
The Bible was written in a patriarchal society, and it promotes a continuation of that. There's nothing in the book that commands fathers to be good to their daughters. In most cases, if children are mentioned at all the boys will be mentioned. The exceptions are usually in cases where marriage or child-bearing features in a story.

So... we're supposed to trust our heavenly father, because we trust our earthly fathers, but our earthly fathers aren't instructed how to be trustworthy. YAY! Happy Father's Day! Let's all tell our dads how great they are, even if they aren't.


Reverend Phillip Brown said...

Dear Lady Atheist,

I think your comments are misleading. The Bible does not necessarily say Fathers love you daughters but this does not meant the theme is absent and the implication is not drawn.

Ephesians says 'Fathers do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.' The instruction of the Lord is summed up in Jesus' words as Lord the Lord...etc and Love one another. Meaning loving wives and daughters is the very basic principle of Christian fatherhood.

Furthermore, while the Bible was written male dominated society, Jesus broke all the norms with how he related to women, including them, teaching them and declaring that they were made in the image of God. And if it was not for Christianity there would be no education for women as well.


Lvka said...

Lot, the good father, after offering his daughters to a marauding horde...

Ship-captains are also devishly-evil people who condemn dozens of males to death.

Anna said...

Funny post (thank you for the quick resume of the Bible, now I don't need to read it;-)

Anyway, aren't you saying that because your dad (a human, I presume) wasn't much of a provider, then God is not much of a provider either?

As it goes, God is supposed to be perfect and humans are supposed to be imperfect. However, humans are supposed to become better persons by imitating God/Jesus's attitude as outlined in the Bible. That is the whole point.

If your dad had done that, he would have been a better person, and therefore, your post is actually unintentionally Christian.

Anna said...

I meant to write 'a better provider'.

LadyAtheist said...

No, my point is that the "good father" metaphor doesn't make the sky daddy very appealing.

B.R. said...

@Reverend Philip Brown;

I call bullshit. If Christianity didn't exist, the Dark Ages would've been fairly brief, and the long-running opposition to all things new would've never happened. Saying that female education only exists thanks to your religion is like saying that symphonies only exist thanks to the Church; you have no way of proving that, and all evidence points to the contrary.