Bible Study w/ Valerie Tarico

Posted on April 23, 2020


Bible Study With Valerie: Gender Ethics

There is NO place

the Bible says

or implies

that a woman’s consent

is needed or desired

prior to sexual intercourse.

Not the Old Testament.

Not the New Testament.

Non-consensual sex

is endorsed

by the social codes

of behavior in place

at the time.

God blesses non-consensual sex

with boy babies

who become

The Patriarchs.

Faced with infertility,

Rachel, Leah, and Sarah

send in their servants…

When Sarah sends Hagar,

it is never suggested that Hagar has a say.

The Bible ethic

governing male-female relationships

is not a “Rights” ethic.

It is a “Property” ethic.

A female is property.

Her role is to produce offspring

of known origin.

If she gets raped,

the rapist can buy her

by paying her father

fifty shekels.

Then he is obligated

to keep her.

If, on the other hand,

a woman ruins

her economic value

by voluntarily

losing her virginity,

causing questionable pregnancy status,

she can be killed for it.

Women, in the Bible,

are in the same category

as slaves,

as children,

as livestock.


I say that

as an example

of why

the Bible can’t be

The word of god.

When people engage

in Biblioatry:

making an idol

out of the Biblical text,

putting it on a pedestal,

treating it as if it were not

the struggling of our ancestors–

it binds them

to Iron Age understandings

about what it means

to be male,

to be female,

to be human.

The found poem above is from Valerie Tarico’s talk on January 24, 2013 at the Common Good Cafe at University Temple United Methodist Church in Seattle, WA.

Tarico, like me, is an #Exvangelical Christian. I was reminded of her when she made a recent appearance on Freedom From Religion Foundation’s Youtube channel, speaking about her book, Trusting Doubt. Her bio blurb:

Valerie Tarico is a former evangelical who was raised in a staunch fundamentalist family and attended the ardently Christian Wheaton College. She has a Ph.D. in counseling psychology and writes about issues such as Christian fundamentalism, the role of women in society, and reproductive rights and health. Her books include Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks At Old Beliefs In A New Light.

Seeing her segment w/ FFRF, I wanted to hear more. Fortunately, she has a fantastic, 8 part Youtube series, Christianity Through the Lens of Cognitive Science: a deep dive into the ways that human biology and psychology function in the formation of religious beliefs.

God Through Cognitive Science

      1. Believe and Be Saved?
      2. Sadly, I can’t locate #2!
      3. Can We Know Anything?
      4. The Born Again Experience
      5. How Viral Ideas Hook Us
      6. How Beliefs Resist Change
      7. How Beliefs Change
      8. Why the god hypothesis is Obsolete

Tarico writes compellingly about why humans believe in magic in this blog series, “Miracles Are Magic By Another Name.”

She provides interesting and reasonable answers to the question that vexes many a reader, “Why Is the Bible So Badly Written?” at Alternet.

On the other hand, I can appreciate the way she values certain aspects of her former Christian faith in “Why I’m Grateful to be a Former Christian.”

When the library re-opens, I’ll be putting in requests for her books.

I quite enjoy a bit of Bible study with Valerie.

lisa eddy is a writer, researcher, educator, advocate,  musician, and gardener.

On Twitter: @lisa_eddy

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