Gender Politics and Divine Intervention
My mother grew up Catholic then decided she was an atheist. My father was a practicing Anglican. I had to attend an Anglican United church until I was thirteen. My dad, my sisters, and I attended church on Sundays, and my dad would often take a turn reading scripture as a member of the congregation. The stories we were told in Sunday school were confusing. They were abstract concepts that I could not grasp in my young mind. All I remember is Moses showing up on a mountain with wise words, Noah on a boat with all the animals, and Baby Jesus and the three wise man at Christmas time. Religion was a part of my upbringing but was not at the forefront of family life and conversations at home. For the most part, I grew up in a very liberal home with a loose version of Christian values mostly supported by my dad, with some leftover childhood Catholic guilt and an awareness of sin that I think my mom was probably unaware she was passing on to us.
My next experience with religion came about when I attended a Lutheran church and summer camp with a childhood friend at about eight or nine. This was when I was taught that warding off the devil was necessary for my salvation as a human being, but as any child would picture in their minds, the devil was red, had horns, and lived underground in a ball of fire where bad people would go when they died. Once I entered adolescence, my attendance in the church was no longer required. I could sleep in on Sundays and avoid the church lady gossips and goody-two-shoes choir girls. But overall, Christianity and religion were not a negative experience for me.
My next introduction to religion was through friends I met in college who attended fundamentalist Pentecostal churches with their families. They told stories of being chastised for their sins, forced to dance with snakes, and abandoned by their parents for piercing their noses. My innocent, almost mythical perception of religion and Christianity turned into a manipulative and sadistic cult for parents to impose their guilt and shame onto their children. My newfound realizations were further confirmed when I met a friend raised by his grandparents, who were “born again” Christians. Eventually, he became a drug addict and ended up homeless. Needless to say, this did not endear me to the fundamental values of Christianity or the universal significance of the Bible until I began to study the Bible myself.
I found biblical scripture fascinating yet, difficult to comprehend at times. I tried not to judge what I was reading and took it for what it was, a collection of stories about humanity and how we related to the world during the time in which it was written. It wasn’t until I met a friend who introduced me to Anthroposophy, the philosophy of Rudolf Steiner, that the Bible began to make sense to me on a universal level. He was the first person I had come across who could explain the stories of the Bible in modern-day laymen’s terms and communicate its content in a way that made sense to me and my lived experience. Although Rudolf Steiner died in 1924, his writings and lectures transcend the perceptual limitations of time. He illustrates his understanding of the Bible in a manner that can be applied to everything we have experienced in the last century up until now.
I recently came across a lecture in which Steiner speaks of the true meaning behind Adam and Eve’s encounter with the snake and the infamous apple. A story I thought was about the corruption of Adam and Eve by the devil in the Garden of Eden. But Steiner interprets this event as an awakening of our consciousness and awareness of self, our ego. Eve already being of the soul, guards this awareness and uses this wisdom as God intends to protect and guide humanity. Adam uses this newfound consciousness to create material forms via the intellect, creating things of the earth apart from the Godhead. According to Steiner, Adam was created in God’s image, a male-female asexual being not yet separated by gender. He also indicated that even distinctions in race were not yet actualized until further generations began to propagate.
Steiner’s interpretation of Abel and Cain’s story was also insightful in that he spoke of the splitting of genders, male and female. Yes, you read that right, the splitting of genders. According to Steiner, for human beings to live upon the earth, they had to separate into a male and a female, the male being of the earth on the physical plane, creating material forms via the intellect and the female being of soul life, guiding our will. He indicates that as we further understand the spiritual realm as male and female, we will ascend to a higher level of awareness and begin to merge back into one being, a balance of the masculine and feminine energies. Reading his lectures made me think of why our questions about gender have been placed at the forefront of our culture.
We live in an age where gender identity comes in many forms. We identify as “he” or “she”, but some individuals prefer non-binary pronouns such as “they” or even “xe” or “ey”. We identify as straight, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, queer, pansexual, among others. Some groups and individuals want gender politics to go away. It is seen as disturbing, biologically incorrect, or even considered by some as a sign of mental illness. Others see it as a manipulation by the Left or some communist plot to rid society of the nuclear family and its perceived values. These viewpoints are also rationalized by biological factors such as the sex you were born as or the nature of your genitals.
What if this cultural movement, an almost renaissance like awakening to merge as a non-binary being, is an inevitable part of our evolution? What if this is, in fact, a divine intervention on our journey to self-actualization and spiritual ascension?