The Devil Made Me Do It -December 17, 2015
There are good reasons to suppose that God is gender free and factually Judaism does present a gender free God. Given that God has neither male nor female attributes it might be surprising that Christianity and Islam have a God that is definitively male. That is until one examines the historical perspective, and the move of these forms of Judaism out of the domain of the Jews and into the domains of a peoples who have as a basis so-called pagan beliefs dominant 'Sky Gods' in their belief system, for example, Greek and Roman Gods which cultures influenced the whole of the Levant and Arabia.
There is enough evidence concerning the influence of the 'Aryans' on the Eurasian continent to suppose that the prevalent "Goddess" based belief systems in place in most of the world that the Aryan peoples from central Eurasia encountered in their long conquest of the known world from the far reaches of Western Europe all the way to China and ultimately down the Levant and East to India and replacing these Goddesses with their own male "Sky God" and establishing a gender biased deity.
The peoples concerned (Aryans) were and are a warlike people and did conquer a good deal of territory in this manner.
However there are several ways a culture, or a cultures religion can penetrate unknown territory. The first way is obvious and concerns military expansionism. But this is only one way and not the most effective because military expansion is costly indeed. Two other ways are cultural expansion and linguistic expansion. Cultural and linguistic expansions occur because the adoptions by other cultures are advantageous to them. One obvious advantage is the absence of military invasion. The others are not as obvious but often include under cultural expansion, the adoption of religious matters, the adoption of matters of law. Linguistic expansion opens the door to trade and the advancement of technological abilities and cultural expansion would include things such as lifestyle.
In any event the "sky god" of conquering Aryan forces displaced the dominance of Goddesses.
It is therefore curious that the Jewish peoples adopted a "Gender Free" god considering Abraham’s genesis in Babylon, an agricultural city, and his subsequent journey even deeper into Aryan territory.
This can be partly reflected in the adoption of herding, an Aryan habit, and the antipathy felt toward agriculturists, who fenced off potential grazing areas, and is explicitly reinforced in the story of Cain and Abel. The aspect of animal husbandry is also reinforced by a God who required animal sacrifices on a regular basis right up to the time of Jesus. It is interesting that agriculturist in general do not require animal sacrifices, but on occasion do sacrifice humans. Abraham being commanded to sacrifice his son Isaac is an example that seems typical of animal husbandry. Being bizarre to my mind it is not a bible story I care for and neither does it endear the God of Abraham to myself.
The Exodus of the descendant's of Abraham from Egypt (going into Egypt can also be interpreted as refining the spiritual component of a person) and the subsequent refining over generations in the desert of animal husbandry as a primary endeavour. The breeding of agricultural habit out of the former Egyptians can be seen as additional reinforcement of the sacrifice-demanding nature of the 'Sky God.' And that brings us all the way to the sacrifice of Jesus, his blood on the cross. The blood letting part of the sacrifice is the most important part and during sacrifices care was taken to not allow the blood to spill everywhere prior to incineration.
It is even more curious that the offshoots of Abraham's belief, Christianity, and Islam, chose to "genderize" their version of this Abraham's god. We must look again to the dominant 'Sky God' of the Aryan influenced nations.
Where does sin come into this discussion? Did the Aryan peoples 'Sky God' require sinless behaviour? It is most likely that disobedience of a Gods injunctions would be considered evil, and evil, or ignorance is the basis of what Judaism calls sin. However where sin comes from, how it is manifested varies considerably from one belief system to another. In some cases evil and good both emanate from the primary or singular deity and Judaism is no exception in this case. Christianity and Islam both postulate an evil demonic force that acts against humans desire to follow the rules and causes sin to occur. This was not a new concept and has existed in many other prototype religions prior to the advent of Judaism. In the act of creation by Brahma evil is an inevitable side effect, and even the Gods are subject to passions. This Godly passion is evident in the writing of the Bible and exemplified by God taking vengeance on humanities preponderance to disobey and commit evil acts (sin) and demonstrated by things such as the flood and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. These acts are pretty frightening and were, and are enough to keep people in line to a greater or lesser degree. Should the tables be turned then the God is also guilty of sin, or evil, and this is built in by creation itself and quite inescapable.
Buddhism takes a different view, and rejects the authority of the Vedas and other writing of Hinduism. Evil (sin) is a natural consequence of becoming and is the perpetuation of illusion by clinging to the chain of dependant origination, ignorance of the perception that the world is an illusion. Consequently one suffers from acts of evil in even simple everyday activities unless one increases knowledge about oneself and raises ones consciousness above the illusion. The desire to experience existence in a personal form. There are three fundamental defilements, greed, aversion, and ignorance. There is no stern pater to punish, there is only continued rebirth and continued suffering in the world of illusion which is each of our own perceptions.
Which brings us to the transferability of Evil (sin). It is quite clear and quite explicit in the Christian world that sin is transferable to innocent parties. A concept that flies in the face of modern jurisprudence. Simply put many consider the Bible/Qur’an to be inerrant even when the passage defies morality, or ethical considerations, And although I am not going into details, you can look them up yourselves, there are many that deem any deviation from Biblical/Qur’an authority is itself an Evil (sinful) act. Christianity is not alone in this regard, under Islam when it comes to women it appears that under the strictest imposition of Sharia law women can be penalized and even put to death as sinners for criminal acts committed against them. And even in our liberated and so called enlightened Western cultures women are still being demonized for crimes committed against them, shunned, repudiated and ignored. So how can Evil (sin) be adequately defined?
Well in this writers opinion it cannot. I believe that law that is free from religious overtones can also be free for the most part of it from Evil (sin) and that religious law is often phrased by religious tenets that are outdated, superstitious and downright wrong headed, making them Evil (sinful) in their own right. Too many wish to pound the pages of their religious books and declare that this is the word of God/Allah when we know that no God ever wrote a single word, that every word was written by a prophet or a person who claims divine inspiration. So Evil (sin) needs to be constantly re-examined to prevent us from falling into a trap made by our own ignorance, and ignorance is itself a sin that can be corrected by education and enlightenment.
Finally for those that believe in an outside force that causes them to be naughty I have this to say. There is no outside force beyond superstition. If you do the crime you do the time and no amount of posting blame to ethereal characters can excuse you. Evil resides in the hearts of men and women because it is a part of the act of creation and not because “The Devil Made Me Do It.”