RELIGION, VIOLENCE and the NETWORK OF SPIRITUAL PROGRESSIVES (NSP)
RELIGION, VIOLENCE and the NETWORK OF SPIRITUAL PROGRESSIVES. (NSP):
A dialogue with Rabbi Michael Lerner on the
REFUSAL to ACKNOWLEDGE THE ROLE OF RELIGION IN CULTURES OF VIOLENCE.
The following exchanges between Dr, Prescott and Rabbi Lerner illustrates why the NSP cannot achieve its goals by refusing to address the role that RELIGION has in shaping violent cultures and the violence against Women and Children; and to affirm the GENDER EQUALITY OF WOMEN with MEN that is denied by the Abrahamic religions.
INSTITUTE OF HUMANISTIC SCIENCE
1140-23 Savannah Road
Lewes, DE 19958
5 December 2013
Rabbi Michael Lerner
Editor, Tikkun and co-chair, NSP; and The Network of Spiritual Progressives (NSP)
2342 Shattuck Ave, S 1200
Berkeley, CA 94704
Dear Rabbi Lerner,
Thank you for your reply to some of the issues raised in my email concerning basic problems not addressed by the Network of Spiritual Progressives (NSP). You state:
While I fully reject violence in the name of God, I think your reading of the texts is only one of a variety of possible readings—Violence in the name of God.
Tragically, there is only one interpretation possible to: Genesis 612-14.):
“Now God saw that the whole world was corrupt and full of violence. In his sight the world had become corrupted, for all men had lived corrupt lives on earth. God said to Noah, 'The loathsomeness of all mankind has become plain to me, for through them the earth is full of violence. I intend to destroy them, and the earth with them” and
God, in his temper of rage, decided to destroy the innocent with the guilty and Planet Earth in the process—Mother Gaia --His Creations.
So God created man in his own image; in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27-29);
In these two passages, God created the World a Violent World and Created Man “in his own image”, male and female He created them; and created Gender Inequality between Man and Woman where Woman was subordinated to Man and declared morally inferior to Man. "Woman is the origin of sin, and it is through her that we all die." (Ecclesiasticus 25:24)
The Abrahamic God set the stage for eternal warfare between Man and Woman; between Body and Spirit.
RELIGION AND CULTURE
Religion Defines Culture
The ancient Greek Cultures and Israelite Jewish Cultures with different languages, customs and religious beliefs of polytheism is an example of how different the Greek Culture was from the Jewish Cultures, yet held to the same beliefs concerning Woman, Culture and Morality that the monotheistic Judaic Cultures held.
Simone de Beauvoir (1949/ 20010). In The Second Sex. Alfred A. Knopf. dedicated her book to Pythagoras which established Greek hostility to the feminine, a religious value shared by the monotheistic Abrahamic religions: There is a good principle that created order, light and man; and a bad principle that created chaos, darkness and woman." Pythagoras (circa 582-507 B.C.)
http://www.violence.de/BOOKS_OF_THE_CENTURY.html Yet, you state:
In any event, the Network of Spiritual Progressives is NOT a religious organization, and it does not take stands on religious questions (though Tikkun magazine, based in Judaism, though now also interfaith, does).
This abandonment of Religion in defining Cultures of Violence v Cultures of Peace is beyond my comprehension but enables you and NSP to avoid answering the difficult questions raised in our dialogue.
There are many dimensions to Culture which impact upon whether the Culture is Violent or Peaceful; and Religious values are the most significant dimension in defining Violence or Peace. The political structures of a society reflects its moral religious values despite the different labels employed to characterize these differences. Mass killings are no exception, as illustrated in Numbers 31: 17-18; Judges 19 and 20, which tells the story of genocide of the Benjamite tribe (Men, Women and Children) for the rape and killing of a concubine of a travelling Levite; and for the sexual acts between the Israelites and the Medianites in their worship of Baalam. The Medianites were a fertility cult.
The words of Lucretius in The Nature of Things: ...”Iphigenia, killed by her father King Agamemnon as a sacrificial victim so that the Greeks might obtain a fair wind for their voyage to Troy is as relevant to religious violence, as it is to the Israelite story told in Numbers 31 and Judges 19 & 20. He sums this up in a line as famous as any in the entire poem: So potent was Religion in persuading to do wrong (I: 101).
I urge you and you and the Network of Spiritual Progressives (NSP) to support GENDER EQUALITY OF HUMAN RIGHTS and REPRESENTATION IN THE U.S. CONSTITUTION and throughout the World; recognize the central driving force of Religion in Culture; and distribute this email to the membership of the Network of Spiritual Progressives.
HUMAN RIGHTS BEFORE RELIGIOUS AND CIVIL RIGHTS.
I would be pleased to read your book and respond to it.
James W. Prescott, Ph.D.
Institute of Humanistic Science
P.S. A letter exchange between Rabbi Nathan A. Barack and James W. Prescott, Ph.D. on the subject of Prescott's article "Body Pleasure and the Origins of Violence". Published in "The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists", March 1976, pp. 81-82. http://www.violence.de/prescott/bulletin/barack.html
Violence Against Women: Philosophical and Religious Foundations of Gender Morality. New Perspectives, 3/4 1995 (pp. 16-18) http://www.violence.de/prescott/women/article.html
E-mail response from, Rabbbi Michael Lerner:
While I fully reject violence in the name of God, I think your reading of the texts is only one of a variety of possible readings. I urge you to read my book Jewish Renewal:A Path to Healing and Transformation, and then to write for Tikkun's Daily Blog a response to the interpretation I develop there. But that response should also acknowledge that in the past one hundred years various secular forces, including nationalism, imperialism, fascism, and communism, all providing secular substitutes for religion and God, have killed more human beings than have been killed in the name of God in the entirety of human history including the murder of women as witches, the murder of Jews by Christians, etc.
(The continuing warfare among and within the Abrahamic religions attest to the dominant influence of RELIGION upon CULTURE-jwp)
In any event, the Network of Spiritual Progressives is NOT a religious organization, and it does not take stands on religious questions (though Tikkun magazine, based in Judaism, though now also interfaith, does). (The murder of witches was a Christian affair, jwp).
29 November 2013
Cc: Tikkun Staff <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Shari Eshet <email@example.com>, Michael Mendizza firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Rabbi Michael Leaner and The Network of Spiritual Progressives (NSP)
On this extraordinary day where Hannuka and Thanksgiving occur together, i strongly recommend that you and the NSP take a more direct action to replace the false Spirituality of the Abrahamic Religions with a true Spirituality that recognizes and affirms GENDER EQUALITY that the Abrahamic religions reject with the consequence of VIOLENCE against women and her children, which has and continues to have disastrous consequences for HUMANITY; and to include Gender Equality, as part of the Global Marshal Plan you are proposing.
I refer you and the NSP to my BLOG, VIOLENCE IN THE NAME OF GOD
http://ttfuture.org/bonding/articles that reviews the fatal flaws in the Abrahamic creation story that has led to the epidemics of human violence over the millennia. The violence of the Father toward his Son and Daughter are well described in the biblical texts but is not confined to the Abrahamic religions, as Lucretius so accurately told in his essay The Nature of Things where he told the story of King Agememmnon slaying his daughter to incur favor from the gods for favorable winds for their voyage to Troy. Lucretius stated: "So potent was Religion in persuading to do wrong?"
This story is told in the BLOG.
So little respect for human life in these traditions.
I urge you to use your considerable resources to correct this great moral flaw and declare Gender Equality Worldwide.