The Apostle Paul was an asshole

The Apostle Paul was an asshole
What Raphael's painting would have looked like if the audience was almost all women.

Don’t you wish some Bible passages came with disclaimers and warnings?

“…And so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be sensible, chaste, domestic, kind, and submissive to their husbands, that the word of God may not be discredited.” Titus 2:4-5*

*WARNING: The misuse of this Bible passage could cause husbands to use this to make their wives silently withstand abuse for fear of sinning against God.

One thing I notice is that a lot of these quotes come from the Apostle Paul’s writings.

A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve.And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.” 1 Timothy 2: 11-15*

*WARNING: The misuse of this Bible passage could lead to women being told to be quiet, obey, and make a ton of babies in order to be “saved.” See: Quiverfull movement.

Paul was quite the charmer with women, wasn’t he? Maybe he was making up for something if you know what I mean? And notice how nice it was of him to point out that it was all the woman’s fault we’re all born with original sin. And how, to fix that, we need to keep popping out little ones. Aaaand two more fun ones:

Wives, be subject to your husbands as you are to the Lord.For the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church, the body of which he is the Savior. Just as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives ought to be, in everything, to their husbands. Ephesians 5:22-24.

Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly.Children, obey your parents in everything, for this is your acceptable duty in the Lord.  Fathers, do not provoke your children, or they may lose heart. Colossians 3:18-21

I haaaaaaaaate those two. Especially the last one. dad always seemed to skip the parts that involved him. You know, husbands and their wives, and fathers and their children. Well, anyway, he says he loves my mom, he buys a lot of stuff, but you know what really would have been love? Getting dialectical behavior therapy. And provoke the kids–dad would “joke” that we shouldn’t provoke him. If he “provoked” us, it was our fault, essentially. (Oh, I could go on and on about that Colossians quote from childhood, but I’d better save that for another post.)

And another one submitted by a reader on my Becoming Episcopalian FB page:

If there is anyone who curses his father or his mother, he shall surely be put to death; he has cursed his father or his mother, his bloodguiltiness is upon him. Leviticus 20:9*

*WARNING: This passage could be used to justify physically punishing kids for any perceived transgression against their parents.

Paul’s not the only asshole. Whoever wrote the Peter books was one, too.

In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses;but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear. 1 Peter 3:1-6*

*WARNING: This verse could perpetuate the false idea that we can change people just by being meek and mild and submissive.

Wow. Wowwww. Whatta clusterfuck. My mom was meek and mild and had “chaste and respectful behavior.” Especially after she read this one dangerous, so-called “Catholic” book that was actually written by a pseudoCatholic cult leader, called “How to Change Your Husband.” Did her attitude change fix anything? No. For one thing, it wasn’t much of a change. For another, it only served to perpetuate dad’s abuse because she was no longer standing up to him in tiny ways, and because she was no longer standing up for us kids. How the hell is that “Christian.” Or even “Catholic”? Have you even read that book? It’s ALL about that dangerous quote in Ephesians,  Here’s a quote from a testimony that was included in there. Page 88.

Even today, my mother never speaks ill of my father, who, before he died had smashed my mother’s head in with a hammer, nearly killing her. He died while running away from the scene. The police said he passed out at the wheel and hit a rock cut…. my mother was the best model of living her vows ‘for better or worse.’

Then the author goes on to say, “While this kind of violence cannot be condoned in any way…” to try to cover their legal butts, he says that the fact that the wife never left her abusive asshole of a husband was a good thing. She loved so blindly she exposed her kids to all the abuse including the hammer-bashing bits. And it was a good thing she did to show her kids what love is like. Love = submission according to this cult, to the Quiverfull/Patriarchy movements, and to Warren Jeffs, that weirdo FLDS guy who keeps sending his tracts to libraries in hopes that they will accession it.

All this abuse of women and children in the name of patriarchy and of God, because of a few quotes that seem to indicate that Paul (and the pseudographical Peter) had unresolved anger toward women.

But you know what? That’s the whole thing about proof-texting. You can take these verses out of context to prove whatever you want to prove. You can prove that God is providing excuses for men to abuse and control their wives and children. It’s so convenient, you can convince women to happily take all the abuse!

Or you can prove that the Apostle Paul was an asshole, as I did.

If you want to cite scriptures to prove/excuse/illustrate your points, do the responsible thing and look at the whole story. What was the situation like when they wrote those letters? What’s the meaning behind it? What’s the intent–and how does that relate to the way things are now? How should the meaning be interpreted? Context changes EVERYTHING.

If you want to cite any of these or other potentially abusive Scripture passages on Facebook, please do the responsible thing and provide a warning.*

*WARNING: Tongue in cheek


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