All my life I've been confused about two different aspects of God that are described in the Bible. These two aspects march side-by-side from cover-to-cover, sharing the same name throughout. One of them is God-as-misogynistic-Nazi; the other is God-as-love – what might be described as Christ and Antichrist. Lately I've been reading a book by Leslie Feinberg called "Transgender Warriors," and the reason for this is starting to come into focus.
Good book. I highly recommend it. S/he tracks back history, and, in Part II (Chapters 5 – 8), starts talking about where bigotry comes from. Of course, the Bible being such a big part of history, he has to relate things from it, like Deuteronomy and Leviticus, where lots of laws forbid cross-gender expression. Interesting stuff. It puts those laws in the perspective of the times. And from it, those two aspects of God begin to emerge as distinct through the fog of "infallibility," "divine inspiration," and "perfection."
One aspect – the misogynistic Nazi, or Antichrist – was created by male priests (or someone) to establish laws and customs that would break down the ancient order of gender equality, and establish a patriarchal system that enabled an elite to emerge, holding both wealth and power over subject classes. The Bible start relating this aspect in Genesis 2:4, the Adam and Eve creation myth. This was part of the Agricultural Revolution, when "civilization" began and it became possible to hoard and amass wealth, especially in the male realm. Prior to this, people nearly everywhere lived in matrilineal groups or cultures, and cross-gender expression was common – thus the laws in Deuteronomy and Leviticus forbidding cross-dressing and drawing very distinct fashions appropriate for men and women. The contest was fierce for many years, pitting worshippers of Yahweh against worshippers of goddesses such as Baal. In this context, it was essential for the patriarchy that was overturning the natural (matrilineal) way humans had lived for the entire period of human evolution to discredit the old goddesses and the old systems; and it was a bloodbath. Merlin Stone spoke of this struggle in her book, "When God Was a Woman." This rise in Patriarchy came in tandem with a new system that allowed, for the first time, wealth to amass in the male social sphere; and it was an effect of men establishing an order to hoard that wealth to themselves, not to the matriarchs and matrilineal clans that society manifested to that time.
The other aspect – God as Love – comes through this political indoctrination again and again. The Bible starts with Her in Genesis 1:1 – 2:3, and she is mixed in with the Antichrist God in Revelations. This is the God of Jesus, who preached, "Love your enemies," and "Judge not, lest ye be judged," and "lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven;" and who taught women with the men, praising Mary for choosing to abandon the assigned role of woman to sit at his feet while Martha toiled alone. This aspect is also seen strongly in the Old Testament, in passages such as Ecclesiasties 3, where the Preacher says of mankind "that they might see that they themselves are beasts" – no better or worse than the other animals, implying as well that women are equal with men.
Now consider how radical Jesus' mission was! His tender care for the oppressed (the poor, women, lepers, etc.), coupled with the powerful miracles he did again and again, threatened the entire patriarchal order – which was still relatively new at that time, and much less entrenched than it is now. It was not the Jews who crucified him, per se – it was the Patriarchy, represented by the Pharisaical priests.
This conflict has continued for two thousand years, and it goes on today. Constantine pre-empted the budding following of Jesus, transforming Christianity into service of the Patriarchy in 313 CE by making it a state religion. The Catholic church crushed opposition from pagan peasants for years, up to and after Joan of Arc. Mary Baker Eddy chipped at the Patriarchy when she started Christian Science.
And then came WWII, and women first re-entered the modern mainstream economy. Gandhi revolutionized revolt with ahimsa, and defeated the British Empire without firing a shot. That was followed by the Cultural Revolution of the '60's. Women rejoined the workforce and began to accumulate wealth, obtained contraceptives, and started the Feminist movement. Minorities took to the streets and challenged the established order. Everywhere the oppressed masses were rising in revolt. Trans woman Sylvia Rivera kicked off the Stonewall Riots, and the Gay Liberation was begun.
This is not a digression. This relates directly to what is going on now, as the the wealthy elite that continues to hold sway over all our economic lives harnesses modern Christians to continue to divide the people, using the Antichrist aspect of God as their figurehead to justify the oppression of women and sexual minorities.
I have no doubt that that statement will offend many Christians. It is not intended to. I say it because I believe it, because it makes the most sense based on my study of religious texts, history, economics, politics, quantum physics, and anthropology, and my own experience and reasoning, over the course of almost half a century of life, and the 28 years of my quest for Truth, from the time I was "born again" in 1981 to the present. I intend it to start a dialogue. I ask, therefore, that before casting judgment you read the books mentioned above; study economic history and the history and anthropology of the Biblical era, preferably from primary sources; and, perhaps most of all, compare those passages in the Bible that seem to condemn people with the words and actions of Jesus and the political and social context of the times.
Take your time. Thinking deeply on it, with an open but skeptical mind.
If my argument stands up to your reason, it will inform your faith; if it does not, your faith will be stronger. And who knows? Maybe you'll blast holes in my argument, and I'll change my mind.