The Garden of Eden, Feminism and the Abortion Debate

The abortion debate in Jamaica is once again on in earnest.

The debate essentially pits the Church against human rights and women rights activists. Alternatively, the battle could be described as a contest between Christian and secular beliefs.

The Church’s fundamental position is that life begins at conception (i.e. fertilisation of the female ovum by the male sperm) and any abortion (termination) of life is sinful and equivalent to murder.

Some Church leaders , however, are prepared to make exceptions to the general prohibition against abortion in cases of rape or incest.

Human rights activists propose legalisation of abortion to provide “women with access to safe, legal and affordable services to terminate pregnancies” thereby preventing them from “accessing unsafe services from individuals who are not adequately trained to perform abortions”.

Women rights activists agree with human rights activists and contend a woman should have complete control over her body and she alone should decide if she aborts a pregnancy or carry the child to term.

I propose to examine the issue from a different perspective.

Let us go to chapter 3 of the book of Genesis where the Fall is recorded. In verse 16, God told Eve “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labour you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

I venture to suggest that throughout history the last part of the verse, “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you”, coupled with the account that it was Eve who was deceived by the serpent, has been used as justification by men to dominate women and treat them as second class citizens.

I submit that the culture of treating women as inferior to men can be directly traced to chapter 3 of the book of Genesis and the greater responsibility attributed to Eve for the Fall.

For most of recorded history right up to the 20th century, women were denied basic rights afforded to men. For example, the right to an education and the right to vote. This denial of equal treatment still continues in many parts of our world.

In the 18th and 19th century, women began organising themselves to agitate for equal treatment to men and achieved a number of successes, perhaps most notably, the right to vote and access to education without restrictions.

In common with most oppressed groups, once the shackles were removed, women began to excel beyond their wildest imagination.

Women have excelled to the point where they now outnumber men in some institutions of learning to which they were once denied access.

Women are making tremendous strides in every facet of life, even in fields once dominated by men.

Feminists are no longer prepared to be dictated to by men. Women are taking their destiny into their own hands. Some women, even professing Christians, no longer accept the Bible’s account of Eve’s role in the Fall.

Some are not shy to suggest that rather than being a spirit, God is indeed a woman and this ‘fact’ has been concealed by men to perpetuate male dominance.

Women today are more empowered than they have ever been.

I submit that the demand a woman should have the right to decide what she does with her body, including the right to an abortion if she so chooses, is just an extension of the assertion of women’s rights and rebellion against male domination.

Extremists in the feminist movement are changing the narrative from equality of the sexes to one of female superiority.

The extremists will not listen to the Church as they see the Church as the foundation upon which male domination of women was built.

I posit that to extreme feminists the abortion debate is not so much about when life begins, empathy for victims of rape or incest or prevention of botched abortions.

To them the debate is a continuation of the quest for women’s rights and freedom from male domination.

The call for abortion on demand is just the latest example of how a laudable movement can be hijacked by extremists.

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Lessons from the Bible

I have learnt a number of lessons about God and Christianity from reading the Bible and listening to sermons from God’s servants.

The most important lesson I have learnt is it is impossible to live the life of a Christian without yielding to the power of the Holy Spirit.

 The teachings of Jesus Christ and His disciples are in many ways counter-intuitive to normal human behavior.  For example, we are naturally inclined to hate our enemies and retaliate against persecution but in St. Matthew 5:44, Jesus requires us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.  This can only be done when a life is yielded to the control of the Holy Spirit.

The requirement to forgive is another attribute that does not come naturally. We are naturally predisposed to avenging perceived wrongs, so again, this can generally, only be accomplished through yielding control to the Holy Spirit.

Living the life of a Christian is impossible without the help of the Holy Spirit.

Another lesson I learnt is no man or woman can thwart God’s plans. This lesson was learnt from the life of Joseph recorded in the book of Genesis.  When Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery they thought they put paid to any possibility of bowing to him, little did they know they were advancing fulfillment of Joseph’s dreams.

When Joseph was imprisoned after Potiphar’s wife’s false accusation, he may have cursed his luck as his circumstances seemed to be moving from bad to worse. At that time, he may not have seen that his imprisonment was advancing the fulfillment of God’s plan and purpose for his life.

God is sovereign and His Will shall be done.

It is not man but God who determines who lives and who dies. This I learnt from the showdown between David and Goliath recorded in 1 Samuel: 17.  From the tale of the tape, Goliath should have won the contest hands down but it was not David’s day to die!  No man or woman can take my life unless it is God’s Will for me to die.

There is no guarantee gratitude will be shown for acts of kindness.  This was seen in the Gospel of Luke 17:11-19, where Jesus healed ten lepers but only one returned to thank Him.

You never know what you will do in a given situation until you are actually in the situation. This I learnt from Peter’s denial of the Christ recorded in all four Gospels. The strength of your faith in Jesus will most likely be revealed when your life is in danger.

Some Christians will not be happy when a backslider returns to the fold. This I learnt from the Parable of the Prodigal Son.  In the parable, I see the younger son as a backslider, the father as God and the big brother as the Church. While the father was overjoyed at the younger son’s return, the older brother was resentful of the welcome shown to his brother.

Insincere acts of piety and devotion to the cause may impress men but will not fool God. This was learnt from the account of Ananias and Sapphira as
recorded in the Acts of the Apostles chapter 5.

Those are some of the lessons learnt. Stay tuned as there might just be a part two. Shalom!

Thoughts About God

I believe in the God of the Christian religion. I believe God is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. I believe God is just, loving, merciful and full of grace.

I believe God demonstrated His justice, love, mercy and grace by sending Jesus Christ, His Son, to die in our stead, suffer the penalty for our sins and provide the way of reconciliation to God.

I concede the possibility I believe these attributes of God because I was taught them in church and at Sunday school.  I concede that I have not had in depth exposure to any other religion. I concede the possibility I would ascribe the same attributes to Allah and Muhammad if I was born and raised in a predominantly Muslim nation.

After conceding all those possibilities, I still believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

I confess, however, that many times I question my belief in God in the face of what appears to be God’s indifference or inaction to the plight of the poor, the weakest and most defenceless among us.

I often wonder why God does not intervene to protect children from paedophiles; to protect women and children from rapists; to protect women and girls from being trafficked as sex slaves; to prevent babies and children dying from hunger, starvation and disease; to protect the poor from exploitation by the rich and powerful.

Why are the countries least able to cope economically and socially with natural disasters the ones most frequently impacted by natural disasters?

Why are rich and powerful countries allowed to exploit the resources of poorer countries and drive them further into poverty?

Why didn’t God intervene in a recent incident in India where it was reported that an adult male sexually assault an infant child?

We know the atrocities are a direct consequence of the fall of man as recorded in the book of Genesis but doesn’t God have a special love for children, the poor, the weak and the defenceless?

I just seem to me that a just, loving and merciful God should intervene on the side of the poor, weak and vulnerable.

I don’t understand and I won’t pretend I do.   I can only pray and asked God to strengthen my faith that He is still in control and all things are unfolding according to His sovereign plan.

One day, if it is His Will, everything will be made clear and every wrong shall be made right.

Homosexuality and Christianity

A Jamaican lawyer who describes himself as a ‘homosexual Christian’ has mounted a constitutional challenge against the country’s buggery law.

I am no theologian but I venture to suggest that the concept of being simultaneously a practising homosexual and a Christian is incompatible with the Christianity of Jesus Christ and His apostles.

You can be a former homosexual who is now a Christian. You can even be a Christian struggling with homosexual desires but definitely NOT a homosexual Christian.

I hasten to state that here, the use of the noun Christian refers to a ‘born again Christian’ and Christianity means the teachings of Jesus, the Christ and His apostles as outlined in the New Testament of God’s infallible Word in the Holy Bible.

Why am I so convinced the term ‘homosexual Christian’ is an oxymoron?

My confidence is based on God’s Word in the apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Rome, recorded in Romans 1:18-32.  In this passage of God’s Word, it says in verse 18 “the wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness…….

Verse 19 to 25 elaborate on why God’s wrath is being revealed and why God gave men (and women) over to the “sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another”.

Verse 26 to 28 detail the “sinful desires” and listed among the “sinful desires” in verse 26 and 27 is “even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error”.

If being “born again” means turning one’s back on a life of sin, accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and being born to new life through the work of the Holy Spirit, the question to answer is, will a “born again’ Christian continue indulging in sinful, homosexual practices?

The answer has to be a resounding NO, as if one is truly “born again’’, the transforming power of the Holy Spirit will remove or bring into subjection all desires for things of a homosexual nature.

Additionally, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 reads “or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

The practice of homosexuality is clearly listed among sins which will prevent us inheriting the kingdom of God.

The apostle Paul continues in verse 11 with “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God”

Verse 11 clearly states that members of the church in Corinth stopped engaging in the practices outlined in verse 9 and 10 once they “were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God”

To further bolster my argument, I cite the encounter of Jesus, the Christ and the woman caught in adultery as recorded in John 8:1-11.  It is instructive to note that the Christ did not condemn the woman but neither did He condone her sin!

In verse 11 He tells her, among other things, “go and sin no more’’. I propose that this response of the Christ is applicable to all repentant sinners, inclusive of homosexuals, desirous of turning their backs on a life of sin to follow the Christ.

There is no record in God’s Word of converts continuing their sinful practices while claiming to be followers of the Christ.

When Christians sin, the Holy Spirit will convict them and lead them to repent of the sin and receive God’s forgiveness.  Indeed, continuing in sin is reason to call into question a person’s claim to being “born again”.

If you still have doubts about whether a “born again” Christian will continue in a life of sin, I invite you to examine the life of pre-conversion Saul and post-conversion Paul.

Incidentally, proponents of the homosexual lifestyle are the only sinners espousing the view they can continue in their sinful ways while claiming to be followers of Christ.

I rest my case.

Sex, Gender and LGBTQ+

I must confess I am an old-fashioned type of guy, so when I think of a person’s sex I am thinking if the person is male or female, man or woman.   I give no thought to gender!

I am comfortable with the male and female designation. I am also aware that, sometimes as a result of complications in the development of the foetus, some babies are born with both male and female sex organs. These persons used to be referred to as hermaphrodites. 

Now I understand hermaphrodite is no longer considered a politically correct term and intersex is the preferred terminology. I am cool with that!

I am also familiar with homosexuals (both male and female variety) and cross-dressers (a term typically used to refer to men who occasionally wear clothes, makeup, and accessories culturally associated with women).

So what is gender and how is it different from one’s sex?  I went searching on Google for answers.

According to MedicalNewsToday
(https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/232363.php)

The differences between male and female sexes are anatomical and physiological.”Sex” tends to relate to biological differences.   For instance, male and female genitalia, both internal and external are different. Similarly, the levels and types of hormones present in male and female bodies are different.”

Gender on the other hand “tends to denote the social and cultural role of each sex within a given society. Rather than being purely assigned by genetics, as sex differences generally are, people often develop their gender roles in response to their environment, including family interactions, the media, peers, and education”.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says : Gender refers to the socially constructed characteristics of women and men – such as norms, roles and relationships of and between groups of women and men. It varies from society to society and can be changed. While most people are born either male or female, they are taught appropriate norms and behaviours – including how they should interact with others of the same or opposite sex within households, communities and work places. 

I was comfortable with the definitions and was about to drop the matter when I came across a site supported by the LGBTQ+ community (https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/gender-identity-terms) that appears to have a radically different definition of gender.

In an article titled 53 Gender Identity Terms Every Ally Should Know, the author says , among other things,  Ideally, we’d live in a world where everyone could exist as whatever gender they are without constantly having to explain or defend themselves. In a world like that, we might not have to put a name to a gender. But that’s not where we’re at right now. Instead, we live in a world where gender defaults to man or woman, and society at large rarely talks about genders that exist outside of that binary (and there are many)”.

It appears that to the LGBTQ+ community, gender and sex, as define above, is one and the same thing.

To further complicate matters and confuse my simple mind, the article went on to list 53 different gender terms complete with the disclaimer “this is not an exhaustive list”.  How thoughtful of them!

The LGBTQ+ community defines Sex as “The classification of a person as male or female”.

Great we are on the same page!!!

Unfortunately, they did not think it necessary to offer a definiton for gender. They instead offered a definition for ‘gender identity’.

Gender Identity is defined as “A person’s internal, deeply held sense of their gender. For transgender people, their own internal gender identity does not match the sex they were assigned at birth. Most people have a gender identity of man or woman (or boy or girl). For some people, their gender identity does not fit neatly into one of those two choices. Unlike gender expression, gender identity is not visible to others”.

Now we are reading from different books!!!

The gender terms include:

Transgender People whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth)
 Transsexual People who have permanently changed — or seek to change — their bodies through medical interventions, including but not limited to hormones and/or surgeries)
Transitioning Altering one’s birth sex is not a one-step procedure; it is a complex process that occurs over a long period of time);
Gender non-conformingA term used to describe some people whose gender expression is different from conventional expectations of masculinity and femininity
 Non-Binary Meaning you are somewhere outside of the categories of male and female
Agender One who does not identify with any gender
AndrogyneA person who doesn’t identify with or present as either a man or a woman, and generally has both masculine and feminine qualities
Bigender Someone who identifies with two distinct genders, such as man/woman or woman/androgyne

It is said that variety is the spice of life but this variety is just a little too spicy for me!

Whatever happened to just being man or woman, Adam or Eve?  What is Agender? If you are neither man nor woman, male or female who or what are you?

When did things become so complicated? God created Adam and Eve, male and female and things were simple. Typically, man has found a way to complicate God’s design.

I am reminded of Romans 1:21-22  “For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking and darkened in their foolish hearts. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools”.

“Ball of confusion, that’s what the world is today”

Oh how I long for the good old days of just male or female, man or woman!!

Maybe I am just old, backward and nostalgic.

Democracy: More Questions Than Answers

The United States of America and western European countries champion democracy as the ideal system of government but just as countries and peoples have different cultures, I am beginning to wonder if any one system of government is suitable for all countries.

Should countries be allowed to implement the form of government to which the population is most responsive?

Does it follow that if democracy works in country A and satisfies the population’s aspirations it will deliver the same outcomes in country B?

Should a country’s population general level of discipline, political maturity, social and economic equality play a role in selecting the system of government?

Are modern democracies a deception with citizens appearing to have the power to hold governments accountable but in reality the government is only accountable to its financial backers?

How representative of citizens’ views is a government that does not regularly seek citizens’ views on matters of government?

Should a country continue with a system of one man/woman, one vote in effectively a two-party system, when it is clear party supporters are only interested in how they may benefit from their party forming the government and not in the development of the country for the benefit of all citizens?

Would you prefer to live in a country with limited democracy but low levels of crime, high economic growth, near equitable distribution of wealth, universal health care and an economic safety net for those fallen on hard times or one with full democracy and quality of life indicators in the negative?

Do political parties find it advantageous to keep a segment of the voting population poor, undereducated and dependent on government, thereby ensuring a solid base of easily manipulated voters?

Are politicians only concerned about the very rich and the very poor in society? After all, the very rich fund political campaigns and the very poor are the ones most likely to vote.  The middle class is neither rich enough nor sufficiently dependent on politicians to warrant much attention.

Why is there a worldwide decline in citizens’ participation in elections?

Could it be citizens are realising that democracy as practised in our modern world is not democratic?

#MeToo Movement

In 2017 and 2018, the #MeToo movement gained prominence with some of the most powerful men in entertainment, politics and even a nominee to the Supreme Court of the USA, facing allegations of sexual harassment or sexual assault.  The accusers included both males and females.

Sexual harassment, sexual assault and seduction by men occupying powerful positions is nothing new.  It has been going on from time immemorial.

It runs the gamut from King David and Bathsheba to former president of the USA Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky.

I totally abhor rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment.  Indeed, I think rape (especially where the victims are children) is the most heinous act one human being can commit against another. 

Personally, I would much prefer to be charged with murder than to be accused of even one count of rape.

The thing I find most fascinating when a powerful or famous man is accused of sexual assault of a woman is the response of some women.

I am always amazed how some women, without missing a beat, are willing to vouch for the man’s innocence and imply ulterior motive on the woman’s part suggesting she is seeking to get money from the man or some other material gain!

Of course, the fact they only ‘know’ the celebrity male from television (Bill Cosby for example) and movies does not dent their confidence in his innocence.

As far as I am concerned, if a woman says she was sexually assaulted I am treating her accusation as true and the onus is on the accused to prove otherwise.

I am not naïve and I am aware that some women can be devious and are not above pulling a stunt similar to that of Potiphar’s wife, however, I still think women should receive the benefit of any doubt.

It seems to me a number of men exploit their positions and fame to extract sexual favours from women as they are aware of the prevailing attitudes towards alleged victims.

This attitude prevents many victims from reporting sexually assault for fear of being ridiculed and made to look like a liar at best and promiscuous at worse.

The situation is worse when the victim is not as well-known as the alleged perpetrator.

In my mind, there is no mystery as to why a flood of victims normally come forward after one or two brave women throw caution to the wind and go public with their experience.

As I see it, it is simply a case of victims realizing they are not alone and their reports are now more likely to be treated seriously.  Indeed, there is strength in numbers.

It is a known fact, that some men think all women should find them irresistible as a consequence of their power, wealth and fame. They therefore find it hard to believe that any woman could say ‘no’, to their advances.

Therein lies the genesis of many a case of sexual assault.

I am not willing to vouch for any person’s innocence unless I was a witness to what transpired as you never know what a person will do until they do it!

I am willing to follow where the evidence leads. In cases of false accusation, I am confident the evidence will lead to an acquittal as truth, like oil pour on water, always rises to the surface.