- There were a few somewhat interesting articles in the Journal yesterday and today. I should warn you, I suppose, that the point of philosophical writings is not to say things that you like and with which you agree. If I did that, you wouldn't think, you would glaze over. I intent to point out things that I have not seen addressed concerning the issues of the day. Sometimes, I enjoy playing devil's advocate. So consider yourself warned.
A study, one of about 30 or so with similar results, recently came out demonstrating that circumcision cuts the risk of AIDS by about 70%. Personally, my sons are circumcised, though I am aware that there is a campaign now afoot to portray circumcision (and other religious customs) as "barbaric" or a "mutilating" of the human form. However, the health benefits of circumcision are well attested in scientific research. Not only does circumcision help prevent infections and penile cancer, it is clearly more hygenic and therefore less offensive to the nose and palate, if nothing else. My point, though, is that once again, God is right. Yes, you heard me. The manufacturer gave us an instruction book, and ignoring it causes your appliances to break down.
How many people suffer heart attacks every year? Tens of Thousands, of course. And when you have heart trouble, you go to your doctor and you get a diet sheet. Did you know that this diet sheet looks suspiciously like a Kosher diet? The manufacturer of people knew about cholesterol long before human scientists caught on. Did you know pork products contain fats and enzymes that are not only bad for your heart but practically guarantee you'll be overweight and have bad circulation? Shrimp and other shellfish are highly toxic - as scavengers, they are exposed to and consume heavy metals and other garbage, literally, at the bottom of the waterway. Eating cheese and red meats together, of course, is way more fat and cholesterol than anybody needs to have at one sitting... and the list goes on. God knew what He was doing. Why don't more people listen? Just as soon as you get finished reading this weblog, go immediately to www.amazon.com and order "The Maker's Diet." Or, visit http://www.makersdiet.com From there, you may even want to consider going to foods that are certified kosher.
And speaking of God, kudos to Amina Wadud, associate professor of Islamic Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. Dr. Wadud is in trouble with the Muslim fundamentalists for the terrible crime of having women and men pray together in the same room. Dr. Wadud's careful analysis of the actual words of the Qu'ran shows basically the same thing that a similar examination of the Tanakh shows: that God isn't nearly as uptight as male scholars claim God is. Women's rights existed in the Qu'ran long before western civilization adopted them, and the Tanakh clearly shows women such as Devorah and Hulda being judges, teachers, and prophets - and these positions inherently meant that they were instructing men in God's will. How Islamic Sharia and Orthodox Judaism came to conveniently ignore these facts is not a mystery - it's about power and control and sexism and a selfish view of God that God never wrote nor endorsed.
That being said, it also must be recognized that even democracies need a leader. A democracy of two is no different. If the two spouses absolutely cannot agree on how to handle an issue, yes, God did appoint the husband as the final arbiter. But this does not make women second class citizens. It is simply an acknowledgment that ultimately, somebody has to make a decision - things can't drag on in limbo forever because an agreement can't be reached. God allowed divorce in part to remedy the problem of men misusing that position for power-mongering. (So, of course, men have decided that they are the only ones who can initiate a divorce, which is not written in the Torah or the Qu'ran.) That concludes the feminist portion of this weblog.
Now for the anti-feminist part: You don't have to believe in God to know, as a scientific fact, that the child-bearing years for human females starts from age 15-20 and pretty much ends at age 30-35. This is biology 101. The modern feminist mantra that women must wait until they go to college and have a career before they get married and have children is destructive and frankly, idiotic - not to mention an impossible standard to maintain because of plain biological instinct. Women should have their children when nature intended. You only have a few years to have children, and your children are only young for a few years. By the time you are passing 30, your fertility is just about spent,and your kids are already in school themselves or will be shortly. That is the time to decide on a career, get an up-to-date college degree and plan the rest of your life, which will be longer than the part you've had so far. Telling someone they have to decide on a life-long career at age 18 is also fairly idiotic. At 37 I now couldn't care less about the things that were important and interesting to me when I was 18. Only with some life experience and a few years of maturity under their belts can women decide what kind of career they want to have. Far too many women find that they have wasted their thousands of dollars spent on their college degree because the career they thought they wanted when they were teenagers turns out to be incompatible with raising children, and outdated in the marketplace by the time their kids enter school (for those of us who decided not to sacrifice our children on the altar of our careers by letting them be raised by minimum wage workers in unsanitary institutional settings). Ask a kid who spent their life dumped in daycare if they think that is a good option. Everyone I know who was dumped in daycare while their 70's & 80's "me" generation mothers went out to "find themselves" and "break the glass ceiling" are now stay-at-home mothers. Guess why.
And last on this issue, it is no coincidence that in the past couple of decades, the diagnosis of ADHD, autism, retardation, and other mental and physical birth defects have skyrocketed. By playing the feminist game, women wait until their eggs and their partners sperm are becoming defective from age. Now, before anyone gets their shorts in a wad, I am not saying that these children are any less valuable than normal children. I am a card-carrying member of right to life. But no one starts out their marriage/co-habitation/quest-for-unwed-motherhood saying to themselves, "I want a disabled child." That's the truth and you know it. Genetic malfunctions increase markedly with age. That's also the truth. By waiting you stack the deck against yourself.
And if today's weeping and/or suicidal infertile women had not squandered their childbearing years, they would still have had 30-40 years, yes, years, to have a career. Retirement age is now 65 and will soon be 70ish. If you train or re-train for a career in your mid-to-late 30's, you still have plenty of time to play with the big boys. What you don't have is any more opportunity to have healthy children in a natural way that won't cost you thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars in artificial fertility treatments, if you can conceive at all.
And finally: Roger Thurow's article in the Journal called "The promise: married at 11, a Teen in Niger returns to school" from June 13th is a must-read. It chronicles the story of a poor Muslim girl, Anafghat Ayouba, whose father married her off at age 11, and who was seriously injured during her long labor with no competent medical assistance in the backwaters of Africa. By the time they sought real medical care (four days after labor started, if I recall correctly) the poor girl's insides were mangled and the baby was dead before it ever saw the light of day. Underage marriage is a common problem there, (as is lack of access to real health care - and by that I don't mean abortion clinics, either) because in that culture, it is seen as preferable to marry off very young girls rather than pay for their education, or run the "risk" of having the girl raped or "dishonored" in some other way. While there are laws on the books prohibiting marriages by girls younger than 16 or so in most countries of the world, those laws are routinely ignored in Islamic cultures.
I started to go on writing about "honor killings," but I think I will end this discussion at this point. I will leave you to ponder the above thoughts.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
What God said, and didn't say.
Entry for Wednesday 06 July, 2005