It would be an understatement to say that Western culture — European Culture (and all its subsidiaries — including us) — owes a little ‘something’ to Abrahamic faith.
Christianity seems to have thoroughly embraced lots of pre-Abraham OT (I guess the text gets a little too ‘Jew-y’ for them after that until Totally Jewish Jesus appears) including Noah’s Ark (boy, do they LOVE Noah), Isaac’s near sacrifice (Jew-y’s okay if we’re also talking child sacrifice) , the Tower of Babel and — of course — The Garden of Eden…
An awful lot of Christian theology wants to point to Eden — to Eve in particular — and her female weakness in succumbing to the OBVIOUSLY evil serpent…
It is Eve’s fault — and Eve’s fault alone — that ‘man’ fell from grace. The text makes Eve’s punishment clear —
“To the woman he said, ‘I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you’.”
Keep in mind: A GUY WROTE THAT. Literally. A MAN — a literal man — with ‘this idea’ in his head. He sat down and put that idea to parchment.
And then he ‘sold it’ to someone else — this ‘notion’ of a ‘Garden of Eden’ where one man and one woman magically appeared — ‘imagined’ into being by a deity the Man Doing The Writing named Yahweh.
Remember — there are and have been lots and lots and lots of OTHER religions — who all asked and answered these very same questions in their own ways. Abrahamic Faith (despite what IT believes) has no lock on Absolute Truth.
Perhaps they’ll appreciate the irony here — In a very real sense, the Judeo-Christian version of events — of how we got here — IS JUST A THEORY. An untested theory.
But that theory gained traction. There are strong Elemental Truths in the evolving message of this faith — but it comes wrapped in so much extraneous mental gymnastics. But that’s not surprising. The MEN who wrote Judeo-Christianity’s foundational texts were profoundly ignorant of how the World actually works. They did not have microscopes or telescopes at their disposal.
They did not know that other continents existed — peopled by other tribes who looked nothing at all like them.
They did not know that the earth revolved around the sun and that the sun was a star in a vast galaxy among an unknown number of galaxies.
They did n ot know that gravity was ‘a thing’.
They did not know that the reason most of them died young was because of pathogens and a total lack of hygiene.
As my grandmother used to say — ‘They knew from NOTHING’.
And that’s how they wrote — Including their invented story about an invented female character named Eve, her invented mate Adam and the fantastical INVENTED place they lived in (where a Magical Talking Snake lived) — Eden.
And that bit of FICTION — F I C T I O N — became fixed in the minds of a growing number of (not very well-informed) people AS TRUTH.
There’s very real research that says The Holocaust actually CHANGED THE DNA of its survivors. Emotional trauma changed human DNA — which was then (I presume) passed on to succeeding generations — that altered DNA. If that is the case then our DNA is remarkably malleable.
Emotional trauma can trigger CHANGE. What else can trigger change to our DNA, I wonder. In the case of our Culture — clearly the MADE UP story of Eve has become downright elemental to how we understand the world. You only have to say the name ‘Eve’ and her whole story — and all her guilt — occur to us.
We know it without being told… like it was BUILT IN TO OUR DNA.
I don’t know if that impulse is PHYSICALLY built-in — but it has been a concrete fixture built into the foundation of our Culture.
One man’s opinion? We should get the biggest goddamned sledgehammer we can find — and wail away at that thing. Starting yesterday.