Can purity be an attribute of the human body? What does Jesus say?
But Jesus did you wash your hands?
The modern father has found a way to sell abstinence to his daughter by referring to the biblical concept of purity. The girl is too naive to recognize what a striking innovation this is. It's time to ask the important questions on her behalf. How is purity relevant to females within the Jewish tradition? When did purity become associated with female sexuality? What are the motivations and consequences of objectifying a girl's sexuality inside a "Purity Ring"? Is it the intent that the Purity Ring will be exchanged for a Wedding Ring in due course? From Father to Groom the Bride is pure. Is purity all she needs to create an adequate husband and provider? Do wedding bells turn the purity fetish off so that she can become a passionate lover? Does anyone care that purity is not functional sexually except to hand off financial culpability for pregnancy?
But that's the point isn't it; purity is good for the father's interests. He doesn't care that the girl is deprived of owning her own sexual power. He doesn't have to explain the power of sex as a trigger to male development. (If confused go to GodSaveWhores.com for gender roles) Perhaps he's never supported his wife or respected (paid) his whores, so a coherent explanation of sexual roles isn't available to him. He has no idea why men support women unless they own them, so he's selling a virgin. His failure to become a man means his daughter does not have an adequate model to go by. Virgins have no expectations. So he puts her on the purity ice until he can hand her off to an equally naive groom. As long as she's pure God will provide. But if she should fall, her guilt is on her. He washes his hands of any further responsibility either way. Purity protects the father from having to be truthful with his daughter. Is this the meaning of purity in the Bible?
To begin with the Torah, Daniel Boyarin in The Jewish Gospels; The Story of the Jewish Christ says on pages 113-116;
"One of the biggest obstacles to this understanding has been in the use of the English words "clean" and "unclean" to refer both to the laws of permitted and forbidden foods and to the laws of pollution or impurity and purity. These translate two entirely different sets of Hebrew words, muttar and tahor. It would be better to translate the first set by "permitted" and "forbidden" and use "clean" and "unclean," or "pure" and "impure," only for the latter set. ...Purity and impurity, or pollution (tuma'h vetaharah), is an entirely separate system of rules and regulations that apply to a different sphere of life, namely, the laws having to do with the touching of various objects, such as dead humans or humans who have touched dead humans and not washed properly, as well as with other causes of impurity such as skin diseases or fluxes from the body, including menstrual blood and semen (but not excreta), which render a person "impure" according to the Torah but carry no moral opprobrium. People may become impure without any deed on their parts at all. In fact, most Israelites were impure most of the time (and today we all are all the time), since it requires a trip to the Temple to be purified from some kinds of ubiquitous impurities.
...Thus, in order to understand what Jesus is talking about in the Gospel, we must have a clearer sense of what his terminology might have meant in his cultural world, not ours. In the Gospel, we are told that Pharisees have come from Jerusalem, apparently to proselytize for their understanding of the Torah and its rules, including these extensions of the purity regulations, such as the washing of the hands. Jesus protests, asserting that foods that go into the body don't make the body impure; only things that come out of the body have that power to contaminate. So really what the Gospel describes is a Jesus who rejects the pharisaic extension of these purity laws beyond their original specific biblical foundations. He is not rejecting the Torah's rules and practices but upholding them."
To summarize, again quoting Daniel Boyarin on page 117:
"As noted, according to the Torah [and defended and affirmed by Jesus], it is not what goes into the body that makes one impure but only things that come out of the body: fluxes of blood, semen, and gonorrhea."
So what does the Jewish concept of purity have to do with virginity? Nothing. Purity has nothing to do with the girl who may get what goes into the body, but she's not the one with the flux. Sex makes boys impure, not girls. (Why Boyarin anachronistically mentions the clap I don't know. It's obvious the ancient world had no concept of microbiology causing disease. Suffice it to say the cleanest sex is with harlots because there is no pretense of trust.) In any case, to be cleansed one simply goes to the Temple and washes up. Like the Pharisees, modern fathers have extended the scripture to especially apply purity to girls to suit their own selfish agenda.
Jesus objected then and he objects now. Read it again. Mark 7: 14-23:
14 And he called the people to him again, and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: 15 there is nothing outside a man which by going into him can defile him; but the things which come out of a man are what defile him. ...20 And he said, “What comes out of a man is what defiles a man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a man.”
If Jesus had required that the 5000 had washed their hands before eating the loaves and fishes, his disciples would have had to carry 5.2 tons of water on their heads to accommodate the purity of the multitude.
Fathers who expect their daughters to be pure rather than powerful expect their daughters to carry a ton of moral failures. Whose moral failures? Her father's. Jesus would never condone, approve or require that. Purity: after the fact, what happens to the girl who seeks sexual validation from boys who, like her father, believe non-virgins are damaged goods? She eats herself alive.
Themes for GodSaveWhores sites all linked for your convenience:
But first the difference between sympathy and empathy explained.
Everyone can enjoy a movie. All it takes is a character that one wants to identify with, and we're off to the races, or as they say, the plot is entertaining for us. As long as we want to we can imagine ourselves in the shoes of the sympathetic character. Their emotions are our emotions and we root for their cause. That's sympathy. It's unconscious and common. Sympathizing with those at or above us on the social scale is a natural human capacity.
Empathy on the other hand does not require identification. In fact if we identify with someone, we no longer have the ability to be objective enough for empathy. In sympathy, we may feel what they feel, or we may want what they want, but those reactions just put us on the same ground which may be wrong. So the sympathetic person will run from someone they can't identify with. There are legitimate reasons to not sympathize with mistaken people, sinful or ugly people, poor people, etc. We don't want to be those people, so we don't sympathize.
Empathy on the other hand is a choice. Abused children have two things in common. They don't believe in love. They don't respect authority. Love and authority have been betrayed but they don't know any better. The reactions of the child abuse survivor will seem bizarre, insolent and self destructive. No one wants to be them. And someone who tries to sympathize will often fabricate reasons to resent their own parents for normal failings. People who sympathize with abused children become a parody of the people they identify with. It's not helpful. It confuses flawed parents with destructive parents and there is a bright yellow line between flawed and destructive.
Empathy means being objective enough to know that you won't become them because you want to understand them. Empathy can be friends without taking on the identity of the other. Empathy does not say "I'm just like you and this could happen to anybody so maybe I can help". Empathy is the ability to want to help regardless of the difference in choices (identity). Identities are created by choices, good and bad. Only people who are in control of the own social boundaries will be mature enough to practice empathy. Empathy feels like sympathy but without the surrender of identity.
Empathy knows life is not a movie. Empathy is kind but with a sharp tongue. Like New York City, empathy can be exceedingly friendly because she's also, on a pivot, exceedingly rude. Her defenses remain intact.
Empathy can love people on their own terms. Empathy can get people to laugh at themselves. Empathy can lend strength to those who are decent but don't know it because the culture is upside down. Empathy tells it like it is, the sooner the better, then waits for change. Empathy follows the money, because money is the social blood that nourishes all of us. Loss of social blood can be fatal, but so can clotting when one refuses to let the money flow. Empathy uses money to determine the one thing that is needed apart from everything that is wanted.
Sympathy is your girlfriend, but Empathy is your whore. Not very many people practice empathy, and if you don't that's fine. Just don't call yourself a Christian, because Jesus and Empathy are fellow travelers.
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