…Today those of us who do not recognize the authority of the Bible may wish to examine our own Western values for a moral code based on individual and collective reason rather than reports of supernatural revelation imported from the Middle East. In order to do that, we must first learn to recognize what parts of our values and moral code have come from Biblical sources. Where should we begin if we would like to embrace and further a Western heritage free of the Judeo-Christian influence?
On the surface, that seems almost an oxymoron. A Western heritage free of Judeo-Christian influence? Regardless of what you think of it, Western civilization has been greatly influenced by the spread of Christianity, and it has entered into our value system. But where do we begin if we want to create a new Western “heritage?” Do we make it up or do we reach back before the influence of Christianity reached Europe?
According to Frederick Hodges, I gather we reach back to the past. The West had it together before the wicked Christians came along, stripping children of their rights and reducing them to the chattel of their parents.
OK, so maybe we scrap the past and rewrite it. Looking back to Greek history I have but one image in my mind. A little too graphic to relate here, but it was a sign my parents saw in Greece showing the way to a brothel which featured naked boys. Are these the rights the Christians so brutally took from young children?
Roman society was not much better. It was based on a curious patriarchy. The paterfamilia (father of the family) had the power of father over all his children, regardless of age. What rights did children have? None, really. Even all their property rightfully belonged to the paterfamilia. They, along with the wives of the paterfamilia could be sold into slavery or even killed. Infanticide was practiced. An educated woman was considered to lack femininity. I mention this because those awful Jews did educate their girls until the age of thirteen or so. And marriages were arranged.
All this was before Christ was even born. It also leads me to wonder where certain “biblical” ideas of the patriarchy really come from.
For some time, we have worked at unloosing the ties our culture has to Christianity. I have never really understood it. It seems to me that we would be able to appreciate the contributions that have been made, much as we appreciate the contributions Greek and Roman civilizations had to Western civilization despite their shortcomings. Whether you like it or not, it is part of our heritage.