All religions need to improve their clarification in line with current understandings. For example, women’s rights and equality for all. Taking a verse from religious texts and applying to a modern setting without considering its original audience and culture is unintelligent. An example from the Bible.
1 Timothy 2:9 that is, in clothes that are not flamboyant and garish. A Christian woman should not be an “exhibitionist” in attracting undue attention to herself by wearing clothing that is provocative, suggestive, or outrageous.
1 Peter 3 Worldwide English (New Testament) (WE)3 Wives, respect and obey your husbands in the same way. Then the husbands who do not obey the word of God will want to know God. They will want to know God because their wives live good lives, even though they say nothing about God.
It’s obvious that since these verses were written two thousand years ago, a lot has changed how society treats a woman. (Fundamentalism will say more sin now when in reality human behaviour is just as unpredictable and uncontrollable then as now.) For example
‘There is substantial agreement among a wide variety of scholars that the Hebrew Bible is a predominantly patriarchal document from a patriarchal age. New Testament scholar Ben Witherington III says it “limited women’s roles and functions to the home, and severely restricted: (1) their rights of inheritance, (2) their choice of relationship, (3) their ability to pursue a religious education or fully participate in synagogue, and (4) limited their freedom of movement.” Textual scholar Phyllis Trible says “considerable evidence depicts the Bible as a document of male supremacy. “Theologian Eryl Davies writes: “From the opening chapters of the book of Genesis, where woman is created to serve as man’s ‘helper’ (Gen.2:20-24) to the pronouncements of Paul concerning the submission of wives to their husbands and the silencing of women in communal worship (1 Cor. 14:34; Col.3:18), the primary emphasis of the Bible is on women’s subordinate status. “Davies says the patriarchal ethos is reflected in texts ranging from legal texts to narratives, and from the prophetic sayings to the wisdom literature.’
I am using the Bible here to highlight the massive shift in modern cultures you can look to any of the other major religions of that time and see the same ideology about women’s role in society. Language has changed, working life and just about any aspect of society you can imagine.
So why are some religious people still putting so much emphasis on their scriptures in modern cultural shifts as a cure for immorality?
Often, they claim it’s the words of God or Buddha or whatever deity they follow. What’s fascinating is it was an oral society back them and all scriptures where remember and passed down the next generation “orally.” We all know the printing press was on invented till the fifteenth century and that help all the religions dramatically promote their beliefs worldwide. I cannot help but wonder the accuracy of these scriptures that some base their whole lives on. Then, through their own narrow interpretations, impose them on others. Then, grumble about societies lack respect. But forgetting their lack of cultural intelligence. We live in a sophisticated society with highly intellectual people. We have all the information we need at our fingertips and people still listen and follow mindlessly to ancient archaic rules that have no relevance. Especially one’s around meals, marriage, dress codes, education, political views and sexuality.
Using religion as a moral compass for all cultures isn’t correct either. Some moral laws are timeless like no killing. Even that is not understood well. For example, in Buddhism, it means all living things including insects. (The Five Precepts: 1. I undertake the precept to refrain from destroying living creatures.) Everything has to be explained properly. Often major religions use their ancient language that the people don’t understand… for example Catholics use Latin. The Buddhist use Pali and Muslims use Classical Arabic. The Jews use Hebrew etc… What worse they hold these ancient languages as holy and without error. I have studied ancient New Testament Greek years ago and realised quickly it was pointless hanging on every word in the Greek New Testament as ultimate truth. Not only is it a forgotten language, the translations in English are impossible at times. We lose many things in translation, yet fundamentalism claims its scriptures are infallible and holy.
The point I am making language and education is power. The best way any culture can improve is education. My advice to anyone in a religious milieu. Get as much education as you can and liberate yourself from fundamentalism and controlling religious ideology. The more education I have received the more I get a sense of freedom. Education is a key to understanding many things including ourselves. There is often an anti-intellectualism in religious circles especially with the fundamentalist. They will encourage studying their religion but warn against other disciplines.
We are all born free to enjoy our lives and learn what we want. Parents have had their chance now it’s yours. Do what you need to do and learn as much as you can about our wonderful world. Don’t fall into the “Pleasing others, or people pleasing” You are not born Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, etc… you are born human. You are responsible for your life and morality nobody else’s. Remember, you home is earth and you are a citizen of the world. Not limited to a key view from some religion.