When the body precedes the soul

 

shittywomen_bodysoul2

There are 1,328 words beyond this point. This blog will take the average adult reader about 5 minutes to read. 

So long as the body precedes the soul, equality cannot exist.

So long as we see people primarily as the bodies they inhabit, rather than the souls that they are, there will never be equality of any kind.

This specific thought, “So long as the body precedes the soul, equality cannot exist.” came about in my head after spending some time over the last few years thinking about how the porn industry feeds misogyny. Porn reduces the actors of it to their bodies—and nothing more. Porn consumers’ actions say to the actors, “Your personhood—your soul—you—do not matter to me, because you are nothing more than a body.”

We’re at this weird fucking time in history where outwardly, men and women alike have never been so pro-woman—but in the shadows of our private lives, we’ve never been so anti-woman. Women have never had the voice we do now—and we have never had the freedom and respect we do now (even though it is still lacking). And women have never been so commoditized as we are now. We have never been so objectified as we are now. Porn makes up 12% of the entire fucking internet—it is a $13 billion dollar industry domestically—so not including internationally made porn. I often wonder when I see strangers tweet their anti-misogyny sentiments, how many of them have consumed the blatant disregard for human dignity, value, and equality, that porn is in the last day—week—month.

An “honesty” aside: I wish I could tell you I’ve never been complicit in this—but that’s not true. It’s been years—and the very notion of porn makes me sick to my stomach at this point in my life—but if I’m honest with myself and with you—I’ve been down that road. (And found nothing but hopelessness and destruction.) 

The thought began with the inequality and misogyny that the porn industry creates and perpetuates rapidly began to take root in my mind and soul in reference to other forms of inequality I see surrounding me. I began to realize that by and large, inequality is rooted deeply in our physical, biological, bodies.

Two clarification:

  • When I talk about “equality” I’m talking about equality of value and worth, not equality of form and function. 
  • I’m encompassing the brain and physical chemistry which often effects emotions—which I do not believe are purely physical, but can be physically influenced—in the definition of “physical bodies” and “biology”.) 

Reproductive system. Skin color. Physical ability. Mental ability. Emotional ability. Body size/shape.

If we think critically, and I believe honestly, any sort of biological equality is wholly unattainable. If we’re reduced to our biology, the notion of equality is a fucking joke—because it becomes evolutionary—and equality and evolution are at odds—”survival of the fittest” is antithetical to equality. If we’re merely the bodies we live in—merely our biology—equality is a myth.

There has to be something more.

 

If you’re new to reading Shitty Woman, I want you to know that I’m coming from a Christian—that has struggled with my own beliefs and their implications, and who has almost walked away from Christianity on a number of occasions, only to wind up more deeply convinced of, and in need of, the Gospel of Grace every time. What I’m about to say is not a life of regurgitated Churchianity, but convictions that I’ve struggled through with a great deal of turmoil and tears over the years. I want to be honest with you that I still struggle to live out my convictions because the implications in regards to how I treat people are vast—and there are still many ways in which I fuck up regularly. 

Let’s talk about diamonds.

Why do we value diamonds so much? Is it because they’re actually valuable simply by physically existing? No. We—from a non-diamond, and of superior intellect perspective—have assigned them value. Without humans assigning them value, they would have no value whatsoever—without humans, they sit in the ground, worthless.

I view human value similarly.

Why do we (hopefully, hypothetically) value humans? Is it because we’re actually valuable simply by physically, biologically existing? No.

(I’m going to circle back around to that “No.”)

The full story of the Gospel—from creation to the fall through salvation—I believe, obliterates inequality.

Enter Imago Dei. The image of God.

I believe that humans are created in the image of God—share spiritual traits with our creator. From the womb, each human being is assigned value, by the Creator, through Imago Dei.

So—to circle back around to that “No.”—I believe every human that biologically exists is equally valuable—but I do not believe the causation of value is existence, but instead the belief that humanity, and each human, are created in the image of God. Without something outside of humanity (God) assigning worth, we are reduced to biology—which is inherently unequal.

Every person being created equally in the image of God obliterates inequality at the biological level. To go back to the diamond analogy, it removes the physical classification, removes the “this diamond has a higher value because of physical characteristics”, and simply says, “because this is a diamond, it has value” and “all diamonds are of equal value”. Imago Dei levels the biological playing field and declares unquestioned, wholly equal worth and value, over every single human being.

Enter sin and death. The doctrine of sin and death does two thing for equality:

  1. It makes us unilaterally and equally shitty from a spiritual perspective. It levels the holier-than-thou playing field. It allows us to strip others of their value while we seek more for ourselves because we’re now seriously fucked up.
  2. It obliterates physical/biological equality by introducing ailments, disease, physical degradation, and death.

Sin welcomes inequality—and simultaneously makes us equally undeserving of the mercy and grace of God.

Enter Jesus. Enter salvation. Enter grace. Enter mercy.

Enter universal declaration of love—where God sends his son to redeem mankind. Enter the divine statement that says, “Because you are of infinite value and worth to me, I will sacrifice myself for you.” It removes the shame and stigma from the physical inequality that death brings with it.

I would love if you took a minute to listen to this Beautiful Eulogy piece “Blessed are the merciful“. (And if you can’t listen, here are the lyrics.) It says some of the things I’m trying to here—but so much more eloquently.)

It levels the unworthy, unloved, unvalued playing field. It says, “Even when people refuse to acknowledge the value I have because of Imago Dei, I am still loved by my Creator, who endured death on a cross to save me from my sins and permanently unite me with Christ.”

So long as we see people as the bodies they inhabit before we see them as the divine-image-bearing, and equally loved by Christ, there will be no equality.

So long as women are seen as women before they are seen as divine image bearers, we will continue to see misogyny and the blatant abuse inherent in the porn and sex trafficking industry. So long as black people are seen as black people before they are seen as divine image bearers, we will continue to see racial injustice. This list could go on—but those two manifestations of inequality are near to my own heart.

I am grieved by the gross declarations of devaluation that I see other people endure. I am deeply injured by the ones I’ve endured.

Inequality will persist as long as we persistently reduce people to their bodies—and fail to recognize their divine worth. We will never see an end to all of the isms that declare one person of higher value than another until we see people through that divine lens of Imago Dei.

So long as the body precedes the soul, equality cannot exist.

 

5 thoughts on “When the body precedes the soul

  1. Sometimes I think that’s half the problem of complementarianism, it does a gender check first: “You’re a guy – okay, all doors are open to you. Sky’s the limit.” “Hold on there little Missie, you’re a woman! You can serve in the kitchen or nursery, but you can’t lead anything unless you’re talking to a roomful of skirts and you’re submitted to your husband’s headship. Forget about being a deaconess, elder, or pastor. Don’t forget to wear modest clothing so that you don’t make the menfolk stumble.”
    How on earth can women really be respected in Christianity when by the virtue of being born female there’s so much they can’t do? I see it this way – if Eve’s femininity comes from God in that she bears the feminine side of God’s image, then how can women find their place in the church when God’s own femininity is buried under the father/son priority – and thus male being God’s most important attribute?

    Liked by 1 person

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