The “Example of the Church”: Basil of Caesarea on Divorce – Cerbie’s Nightmare Gets Worse…

Here is what Basil of Caesarea said regarding domestic violence and whether a woman was allowed separate when faced with abuse from her husband:

“Yet custom ordains that men who commit adultery and are in fornication be retained by their wives. Consequently I do not know if the woman who lives with the man who has been dismissed can properly be called an adulteress; the charge in this case attaches to the woman who has put away her husband, and depends upon the cause for which she withdrew from wedlock. In the case of her being beaten, and refusing to submit, it would be better for her to endure than to be separated from her husband; in the case of her objecting to pecuniary loss, even here she would not have sufficient ground. If her reason is his living in fornication we do not find this in the custom of the church; but from an unbelieving husband a wife is commanded not to depart, but to remain, on account of the uncertainty of the issue” (Letter to Amphilochius, Concerning the Canons, Part IX)

So the lies of Cerbie and other secularized Christians have again been demolished.  Time to be honest and accept the facts, Christians.  Your religion provided no barrier for spousal abuse.  While it may not have directly encouraged such behavior from a husband, it also did not provide any way out for the abused woman.  Instead, it encouraged the woman to endure.  This is Christianity, which as I have said many times, is an utterly impractical religion. 




41 thoughts on “The “Example of the Church”: Basil of Caesarea on Divorce – Cerbie’s Nightmare Gets Worse…

    1. LOL, yes that’s what you idiots do when cornered. Earlier you were trying to use the fathers to support your views, but now, you want to throw them under the bus! Consistency and Christianity…polar opposites!

      In any case, your disagreement aside, Basil’s view shows that your secularist interpretations are pure hogwash. Christianity is not the egalitarian religion you make it out to be. Oh Cerbie, you pathetic loser. Bwhahahaha!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Paulus

    No. Unlike a muhammadan, it’s not all or nothing. A person can be correct about one thing, and in error on another. Your fallacy is duly recognised and disagreed like your camelnurone drinking prophet bwahahahah

    You really are obsessed with Christianity. Is this because you still haven’t provided any evidence to allow a woman the ability to divoirce her husband in Islam? Are you that embarrassed?


    1. Bwhahaha, what a moron you are! Getting desperate, eh Cerbie? You have not provided an iota of proof for your secularist interpretations. On the other hand, we have provided ample evidence from church authorities, whom you quote so enthusiastically when they suit your purpose, which shows that your pathetic religion was never very practical. Your inability to defend the impracticality of your religion is duly recognized. No wonder you need to keep deflecting to Islam! What else can a cornered dog do? Bwhahahaha…


      1. Paulus

        More lies britney? I provided a link from a recognised scholar and pastor whom details the topic deeply with biblical support.

        But hey, the more lies you tell the more people might convert. And then they will apostasise, just like Bilal bwhahahahaha


      2. Again with Paul? Dang Cerbie, you’re literally like a dog with a bone! Bwahahaha!

        LOL, you’ve been demolished on this issue like every other issue, but like the brainwashed zombie you are, you just cannot admit that your position is untenable. Your church was very clear and consistent (unlike you) for centuries. But along come some secularized Christians who want to make their religion look good to modern eyes, so they change any belief that might be seen as unjust. Pathetic bunch of losers!


    2. Paulus

      “From this case the scholars understood that if a woman cannot stay with her husband, then the judge should ask him to divorce her by khula’; indeed he should order him to do so.

      With regard to the way in which it is done, the husband should take his payment or they should agree upon it, then he should say to her “faaraqtuki” (I separate from you) or “khaala’tuki (I let you go), or other such words. “

      Read those carefully. Note what is says. The husband must still divorce his wife. He must accept the return of the dowry. And if he refuses the judge should force him.

      So contrary to your taqiyyah, no, the woman cannot divorce her husband. She needs him to agree. She needs him to actually divorce her.


      1. Stewjo004

        Quick question is a separation initiated if a judge forces it? Let’s say in secular law a man doesn’t want to divorce his wife and a judge says “No you’re all divorced” is the law saying the woman is forced to stay? The equivalent I can think of is like child support. You can’t argue English common law doesn’t allow the support of children just because a judge ordered the payment of child support. The man didn’t want to do something and the state stepped in and forced it. Same case here dude.

        You’re really arrogant. Pray that God removes it from your heart because this trait will end up leading you to Hell. This is literally like during Numbers and the virgins little girls being taken as slaves discussion. Every scholar, lexicon and commentary said they were little girls and you just kept arguing knowing you were wrong.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Paulus

        Go back and read the link I gave you. It will answer your question.

        Look, it’s simple. The husband must divorce the wife in Islam. He had to agree to her wishes.

        But the reverse is not true, is it? Answer the question and stop deflecting.

        Also, still wondering how you will make up for the sin you committed of posting entertaining music?


      3. Hahahaha, as I have already said, just because the husband can do certain things does not mean the wife can also. But the point is that both men and women can get a divorce in certain situations. Now be a good little secularist and explain why your irrational religion would force two people to live together, especially when one is being abused? Stop running and admit the truth about your pagan religion already. It will save us all a lot of time. 😉


      4. You see Cerbie, unlike you, we don’t have secularist masters to please. We will not sell our religion to gain some points from modernists. You, on the other hand, shamelessly and deceitfully try to pass off modernist interpretations as the rule rather than the exception.

        How’s the job search going? 🙂


  2. Stewjo004

    Yeah, the problem is this it’s not just one but pretty much over 7 now who say wife abuse or neglect is not a cause for divorce. And you cannot quote ONE Church Father who says otherwise.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Stewjo004

      Because your too lazy to simply click a link I will just repost here:

      “You clearly don’t understand how Islamic law works, instead of quoting Sheikh Munnajid on one particular issue (which even then he said: “If he cannot do that, then he must divorce her or agree to khula’, and not force the wife to resort to committing sin…” Let’s go down the line:

      Women can initiate divorce
      The case you quoted him is referring to a woman who has no reason she wants to divorce. Realistically, there’s usually a reason a woman wants to divorce her husband, examples include abuse, cheating etc. His view completely:

      And oh my would you look at that right in the first link one of the reasons a women can initiate a divorce:
      “If she dislikes his PHYSICAL APPEARANCE because of some deformity or ugliness, or because one of his faculties is missing, she has the right of khula’.”

      Next because I know desperation is going to kick in there are two types of marriage separation in Islam “Talaq” and “Khula” when you hear him saying women can’t do “talaq”(divorce) this is what is being referred to. The reason for the split in categories is depending on who initiated the divorce and why there s some more nuances but here it is to keep it simple.

      If the husband initiates with or without any reason the woman keeps the gift she was given when they got married. (Talaq)
      If the wife initiates divorce for a legit reason then she keeps this gift if there is no legit reason she returns it. (Khula)
      Of course, either side can forgo their right to the gift if they wish.

      And O.M.G!!! look at this we have a man who doesn’t want to divorce his wife like you said! Well, what’s the ruling? Is she forced to stay with him anyways? Let’s find out together :

      “Question: My wife refuses to have sexual relations for last 3 months, does not let me touch her, says I am fat and ugly, wants to separate and is forcing me to say that we should separate. I do not want to let her go, I love her very much, But I just don’t know what to do?

      “…If the wife does not want to stay with her husband and it is not possible for them to live together… then Islam gives her a way out and relief from this situation that is unbearable for her, as she cannot bear to live with him and she is unable to fulfil the rights he has over her. So Islam allows her to separate from him by means of khula.”

      (please remember when he uses the term divorce this is referring to talaq, not khula)

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Paulus

      Man your dumb. Is this the ninth or tenth time I need to say this- I never was talking about divorce!! Get that through the muhammadan indoctrination.

      I said she should remover herself from the situation. That she is under jo obligation to submit to her husbands sins.

      But like the good ol Islamist preacher you are you seem to simply ignore this every single time I tell you.


      1. Cerbie does not realize that his religion does not allow a woman to do anything. She cannot simply “remove herself”. None of the church fathers ruled that she could. Cerbie has to cast aside more than 1500 years of unanimous church tradition (the “example of the church” as he puts it) in order for the more favorable secularist interpretation. The little dog does not have a shred of honesty in his canine body.


  3. “In the case of her being beaten, and refusing to submit, it would be better for her to endure than to be separated from her husband;”

    yes, because it was yHWH who GLUED the two together , “marriage MADE in heaven”
    “let no one separate what god GLUED together”
    AND ONCE the woman is PREGNANT she is PERMANENTLY “made one” in flesh .

    crosstians will ALWAYS be sinners since they BREAK the rules, but THEY have been given NO exception to BREAK what yHWH himself did. if they break this, this would be like BREAKING away from y HWH himself, does joel no longer want to be considered yHWHS bride?



    1. when a crosstian is taking a disciplinary violent beat down, where does jesus tell them to defend their face, body or RETALIATE?

    2. when a crosstian is taking a BEAT down, where is the anything in the “new covenant” which OVERRIDE “turn the other cheek” ?

    quote :

    quote :
    “If people are fighting and hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurelye but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. 23But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, 24eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.

    26“An owner who hits a male or female slave in the eye and destroys it must let the slave go free to compensate for the eye. 27And an owner who knocks out the tooth of a male or female slave must let the slave go free to compensate for the tooth.


    But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.

    jesus is CLEARLY “OVERRIDING ” the instructions in EXODUS, “BUT i TELL yOU….”
    “YOU HAVE heard (LIST ALL WHAT THE OFFENDER DOES ) jesus says …..

    “do not RESIST AN EVIL person….” IF ONE were to RETALIATE, he would be resisting .
    where does jesus TELL crosstians to RETALIATE ?


  5. an athiest says the the inspiration to do the following video was because of evangelicals calling prophet “paedophile”

    he says that mary was a child who was too young to conceive. the ancients even called children virgin back then.
    what is interesting is that if the interpretation which is provided is correct, then luke has no virgin birth. the seed which entered mary had gods “holy spirit” in it.


  6. “I said she should remover herself from the situation. That she is under jo obligation to submit to her husbands sins.”

    REMOVE herself ?
    how is she going to be krist like then?
    where did jesus say one should “separate one flesh” ?
    jesus DID not tell crosstians to REMOVE themselves from abusers, but he told them to pray for them as they are getting ABUSED. “father forgive them….”
    how is she going to be krist like? jesus TRAINED you crosstians to be ABUSED by other people, thats how you PROVE your loyalty to the “new covenant”


    1. That she is under jo obligation to submit to her husbands sins.”

      HOW DARE you say she is noT under obligation, “wifes SUBMIT yourselves….”
      the husband is the HEAD , how dare you SEPARATE a husband from a woman who is being DISCIPLINED in violent way. how dare you ?


  7. “Also, still wondering how you will make up for the sin you committed of posting entertaining music?”

    r u one of those crosstians who dont fear god and think u r guaranteed heaven and for this reason u asked this question ?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. fear [feer] Spell Syllables Examples Word Origin noun 1. a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.

        god came down as “fully god and fully man/ one consciousness” and exceedingly feared god.


  8. mr.heathcliff

    jesus tells his followers to abandon women and you reckon those women were praying for tripple talaq?

    in a situation where a wife is ABANDONED by her husband, wouldn’t the hypocrites who bash tripple talaq want tripple talaq?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. mr.heathcliff

      And the fact that Zebedee keeps a boat does not mean that the contributions that he lost from his sons did not have any adverse effects on his family or household. Furthermore, note what Peter and Jesus state concerning discipleship in Mark 10:28-30:

      [28] Peter began to say to him, “Lo, we have left everything and followed you.”
      [29] Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel,
      [30] who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.

      Is Peter really just speaking metaphorically? Is it really just temporary? Is there no adverse economic effect on the brothers, sisters, or father, that Jesus mentions?

      A similar observation may be directed at the work of Halvor Moxnes. Yes, he speaks about the cost of discipleship, but mainly the cost to the disciples, and not to any families left behind. For Barton and Moxnes, any abandonment (and recall that Barton thinks it was not permanent) is a good thing, and not a bad thing.

      The sources suggested by Myles, therefore, do not differ from Burridge, Hoppe, Verhey, Osiek, Balch and others who either do not see the adverse economic effects of abandonment as significant enough to discuss from a moral standpoint or who don’t view abandonment as negative at all.

      And this despite the fact that the same scholars admit that the types of families that Jesus encouraged disciples to abandon were not always wealthy families, and needed the contributions of all key members.
      If Myles has specific discussions on specific pages in those books that I missed, I will be glad to address them.


      Instead of addressing directly the question of whether Jesus’ demands would have impoverished families, Myles faults the use of the term or concept of “breadwinners”. As he phrase it:
      It is intriguing that Avalos invokes a fairly antiquated gender stereotype regarding men as ‘breadwinners’ (#EverydaySexism) given his invitation to imagine this as a ‘modern scenario’ (and also ironic given his chapter on the ‘Misogynistic Jesus’ elsewhere!).

      This is to miss the forest for a tree, and it is wrong to imply that males cannot be seen as breadwinners, whose abandonment of a family can have dire economic consequences whether it be in modern countries or in ancient Galilee.

      Having been raised by a single mother and a single grandmother in both Mexico and in the United States, I personally know that women can be breadwinners. But I also see how much one income, instead of the income of two or more adults, greatly affected our family.

      Indeed, Myles does not give much consideration to the financial disadvantages that single or abandoned mothers experience in the modern world. And I don’t just need to rely on my personal experience because there are plenty of actual economic data.

      For example, a Pew Research Center Study of single mothers from 1960-2011 states that the status of single mothers is still not that great in modern societies, despite the increase in “breadwinner” moms. Note this statement:

      Even though single mothers as a whole have the lowest income among all families with children, never married single mothers are particularly disadvantaged economically. In 2011, the median family income for never married mothers was $17,400, only slightly over the poverty threshold of $15,504 for families with one adult and one child, but below $18,123, the threshold for families with one adult and two children.

      Myles focuses on the rise of female breadwinners in our culture, but he fails to see that there is still a great inequity in the pay that males receive compared to females.

      Despite more female breadwinners in modern times, single mothers are still quite disadvantaged, even in New Zealand, where Myles resides. Note this government study of New Zealand families:

      Although women have made great advances in the labour market, on average they continue to earn considerably less than men. Thus, the parent most likely to retain custody of children in the case of divorce faces a labour market that is still largely structured according to the male breadwinner/female homemaker model …

      Abandoned families in ancient Galilee would probably be at even greater risk for impoverishment because they lived at a subsistence level or near subsistence level, and health care and other benefits were not what they are today.


      The main presupposition in my discussion of abandoned families is that they have biological needs that transcend culture and historical time. In that regard, my presupposition is not that different from the one expressed by Myles: “Food, drink, and clothing, are, as with the provision of shelter, basic necessities of human existence” (The Homeless Jesus, p. 115).
      The fact that I am trying to address real biological needs that every human must have in order to survive (e.g., food) is entirely missed by the following objection from Myles:

      He then proceeds to label Jesus’ demands as ‘unethical’ because they potentially disrupt the smooth functioning of the existing social order – men will abandon their families and become ‘deadbeat dads’.

      But my labeling of the disciples as “deadbeat dads” is not “because they potentially disrupt the smooth functioning of the existing social order.”
      I argue that one could label the disciples as deadbeat dads because their abandonment adversely affects the welfare of a family that depends upon their contribution to obtain real bodily and biological needs that all human beings have REGARDLESS OF THE EXISTING SOCIAL ORDER.
      Implicit in Myles’ criticism, and also in his The Homeless Jesus, is that “disrupting” a social order is somehow praiseworthy in the case of the disciples.Note his comments:
      The attentive reader, however, should carefully consider the following question: if the socioeconomic cost is properly considered, is Jesus’ call to discipleship in Mk 1.16 and Mt. 8.18- actually unethical? One’s answer will largely depend upon one’s political orientation. Indeed, ethical judgments about economic matters are necessarily perspectival and, in this case, are explicitly tied to class interests. Put very crudely, for those on the political Right, for whom stability of existing social and economic structures is desirable, the answer is probably ‘yes’, the call is unethical. For those on the political Left, i.e. those who seek to radically alter and/or disrupt the existing social or economic system, the answer is probably ‘no’.

      Here, Myles uses labels (e.g., Left/Right) that are irrelevant to the question:

      Might the wives and children of the disciples’ families have less food to eat, or means to buy food, because of that abandonment?

      Will the answer to that question really vary because a scholar is on the Left or the Right? I don’t think so because we are speaking about objective entities such as food, which can be quantified by the calories needed to sustain a human body.
      If that abandonment results in less food and less means to obtain food for those women and children, then I call it unethical for the men to abandon their wives and children.
      To say otherwise is to place a greater value on “disrupting” a social order (which presumably and ironically might be to alleviate poverty) than on “disrupting” the actual biological needs of women and children who are adversely affected by that abandonment.
      Moreover, Myles is again deviating from my stated metrics, which measure Jesus against whatever standards NT ethicists use, regardless of whether those are from the Left or Right, whatever that means.
      If NT ethicists think that Jesus is alleviating poverty, then not giving any thought to how his demands impoverish families reflects a biased view of whose poverty deserves moral consideration.
      If NT ethicists believe it is ethical to alleviate poverty, but Jesus is actually creating poverty, then that is all I need to prove my point that Jesus is not a friend of the poor.

      The fact that males were seen as breadwinners by Jesus is clear from the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9, 11: Our Father who art in heaven…Give us this day our daily bread.” Jesus clearly saw a male figure, the heavenly father, as a bread giver. It is not just a modern stereotype.
      That abandoned women were particularly vulnerable is evidenced by the discussions of widows in the NT. Contrary to what may appear to be the case, the Greek word (chvra) for widow is not restricted to a woman whose husband has died.
      As noted by The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (9.440): “Hence, chvra, can mean not only a ‘widow’ but also a ‘woman living without a husband.’” This usage for a husband-less woman, even if the husband is alive, is suggested in the Septuagint as well (cf. 2 Samuel 20:3: “living as in widowhood”)
      Such a term, then, could encompass any wives abandoned by the disciples. In biblical texts, widows are almost universally described as living in an economically disadvantaged and perilous situation (see Exodus 22:21-24, Deuteronomy 12:18, Mark 12:41-44, 1 Timothy 5:3-16).
      Acts 6:1 indicates that widows were not normally seen as “breadwinners” but as economically dependent: “Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, the Hellenists murmured against the Hebrews because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution.”
      Jesus’ description of a widow’s legal peril is included in a diatribe against the scribes “who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation” (Mark 12:40).

      Therefore, the abandoned wives of subsistence farmers or fishermen are probably not looked upon as thriving “breadwinners,” but as women who depend on assistance from the community or the wider kinship system.
      In fact, Myles’ own book The Homeless Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew (Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2014) says that “[r]ecent social-scientific scholarship has also seriously challenged the belief that fishermen were financially secure” (p. 105).
      If that is the case, then what is wrong with my conclusion that abandoning the families of a financially insecure fishermen would economically harm the women and children of those fishermen?
      In his blog post, Myles says:
      For the peasant class in an ancient agrarian economy, familial welfare was localized at the level of the household (a social structure in some ways similar but in no way identical to the modern concept of family).

      If so, then what is wrong with my conclusion that losing a major contributor to a household would not be good for “familial welfare” of the women and children of that household?
      How would the economic disadvantage of abandonment be lessened if we called that unit a “household” or a “family”? As long as the economic inputs depended on a person in that unit, then the loss of that person could negatively affect the unit.

      According to Myles, my critique of modern New Testament ethics is flawed because I have neglected to embed Jesus within the Galilean socioeconomic context. As he phrases it:

      Because, as I mentioned above, a moral assessment in respect of economics is necessarily perspectival (i.e. being ‘uneconomic’ depends on one’s failure to fulfill a designated subject role in a particular economic system), for Avalos’ moral critique to work he has to embed Jesus within a particular socioeconomic context, whether explicitly or implicitly. For instance, is Jesus a bad peasant within the class system of an ancient agrarian economy?

      This criticism is flawed for two reasons:

      A. I did embed Jesus in a socio-economic context. If you look at the last two paragraphs of the extract in the Appendix, one will see my attempt to do so. In fact, my assessment that fishermen and peasants were living in a disadvantaged situation does not really differ from Myles’ assessment. I have plenty of discussion elsewhere on what we can or cannot say about Galilean economics.
      B. Myles shifts my focus on the negative economic RESULTS of abandonment by the disciples to the REASONS why the disciples may have abandoned their families. The reasons for why the disciples have abandoned the families, however, will not invalidate my conclusions that such abandonment would have negative results. So his criticism still does not address that issue.
      He says I should have consulted K. C. Hanson on the economics of Galilean fishing, but that is not a very effective criticism because I did consult another source (Victor Matthews) whose views really did not differ from those of Hanson on the precarious nature of fishing and peasant farming. Consider these statements:

      A. As Victor Matthews observes “The forming of fishing cooperatives allowed families to work together and share the risks and burdens of the sea” (The Bad Jesus, p. 203).

      B. Hanson: “Suffice it to say, the largest part of the population was composed of peasant farmers, and the family functioned as both a producing and consuming unit. This means that relatives normally worked together, and that kinship ties were fundamental for “guild” or trade relations. (K. C. Hanson, “The Galilean Fishing Economy and the Jesus Tradition” Biblical Theology Bulletin 27 [1997 99-111.

      C. Myles: “For the peasant class in an ancient agrarian economy, familial welfare was localized at the level of the household (a social structure in some ways similar but in no way identical to the modern concept of family).”

      I am not sure how using Hanson would have changed my conclusions based on Matthews, or how my assessment of the predicament of peasants and fishermen differ from those of Myles.
      To make his critique more effective, Myles would have to show that Hanson provided something Matthews lacked in the effort to answer the question of whether abandonment would have impoverished families of peasant farmers and/or fishermen.

      In reading both his review of The Bad Jesus, and his The Homeless Jesus, one feature is quite salient to me.
      Myles’ entire view of the disciples is based on a male viewpoint, and there is hardly any consideration for any women (or children) left behind. Although I can elaborate further if necessary, here are the main elements of my counterargument:

      A. Nowhere does Myles address directly the question of what happens to any children, sisters, or mothers left behind by the disciples. This despite the fact, that Jesus himself says: “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel” (Mark 10:29).
      B. Myles’ attention is focused almost solely on the MEN who left their families. It is about the poverty of and anxiety suffered by the MALES, including Jesus. Here is one typical example:

      A further noteworthy point is that by leaving their households and following Jesus, the disciples (whether fishermen or other characters move further into the margins of first-century Palestinian society. Given the context of an honour-and-shame-saturated culture, the male disciples’ displacement from the household means that their identities as householders and/or sons of the household are strained. For Jesus and the disciples to be without a house, in no-place, was therefore to be deprived of a role either as a householder, which given his age would have been his normal position, as a son in a household. Accordingly, their already precarious standing within the wider socio-symbolic order is threatened (The Homeless Jesus, p. 107; my underlined emphasis)

      Nowhere is there any reflection, moral, economic, or otherwise, on what anxieties or economic hardships the women and children of the abandoned families suffered.
      Myles assumes that “disrupting” some social order is enough to justify what the disciples did without any thought about how such a “disruption” affected real women and children.
      Although I will not elaborate here, Myles also seems to resists the notion that these disciples left voluntarily or for any other reason than that they were “forced” by the economic system to seek an alternative life. He sometimes offers no evidence from the texts themselves, and that is certainly not something one finds in Mark 1:16-20.
      And why can’t it be the case that there were some men in ancient Galilee, just as there are now, who don’t want familial responsibilities, and blame “the system” for not helping to support their wives and children?
      It seems both possibilities should be explored. Therefore, Myles’ whole approach can also reflect an upper privileged male view of family abandonment, where it is assumed that “the system” will take care of families that men abandoned.

      According to Myles’ view of the disciples in the Gospels:

      The text constructs Jesus and the disciples as radicals who do not live according to societal expectations. Similarly, ‘breadwinners’ who abandon exploitative social structures are disruptive to the smooth functioning of capitalist society.

      Myles again seems to believe that disrupting the “smooth functioning” of a capitalist system excuses family abandonment. It does not always excuse it because biological needs remain for the families abandoned. He focuses on disrupting “the system” but not on disrupting the lives of women and children. He calls them “radicals,” and so follows in the Christian apologetic tradition of seeing the disciples as heroes.
      In the case of ancient Galilee, the needs of abandoned wives and children might not be met as easily as in a modern nation where there are more social welfare options, even if they are not always adequate.
      Given that Jesus is promising future rewards for real labor given to him (as part of his mission of bringing about the Kingdom of God) by the disciples, then how is Jesus not more akin to a capitalist than some egalitarian or agrarian revolutionary?
      Note again Jesus’s promised gains, which are not different from the gains any modern capitalist might promise “investors” or those contributing labor to his enterprise:

      [29] Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel,
      [30] who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.

      In the case of Jesus and in the case of modern investing, there is an exchange. In both cases, the exchange involves promised rewards (e.g., houses, lands) in return for the expenditure of actual labor and or loss of material resources.
      Indeed, “eternal life” can be viewed as a commodity or profit that Jesus promises. He promises gains of “a hundredfold.” According to Jesus, disrupting any system is worthwhile because the disciples will receive MORE than they expended.
      Jesus promises a profit that disciples may never see or can never verify to exist in return for real labor they are expending. Meanwhile real mouths to feed are being neglected, and real sufferings are being experienced by their abandoned families.
      Talk about wage slavery! You get nothing for working for Jesus, and for abandoning real families for Jesus.

      Harold Camping
      Here is where Myles neglects another comparison I made with Harold Camping (1921-2013), who also believed future rewards were coming for those who followed his predictions of the end of the world on May 21, 2011. People lost loved ones, and some families became destitute (The Bad Jesus, p. 224). Indeed, the value of any disruption for Camping’s followers was only worth it if those future rewards came to pass.
      But I don’t hear Myles or most New Testament ethicists praising Camping and his followers for “disrupting” capitalist economics. He fails to see that religious systems are in themselves also economic systems that operate by extracting labor and financial expenditures and promising profits or commodities (e.g., eternal life) in return.
      But those willing to give up their current lives presumably really DID BELIEVE that the world was ending, and so it is THE BELIEF that may force their actions more than “the system.”
      Moreover, no biblical scholars I know in an American or New Zealand university can escape the charge of being heavily invested in a capitalist, neoliberal and colonialist system of which they often function as agents. Such universities are, to use Myles’ own words, part of “a tradition largely entangled with the development and implementation of capitalist economics.”

      Maori of New Zealand
      A university in New Zealand or in the United States is located on indigenous lands from which we, as professors, are deriving income and a livelihood at the expense of the displaced peoples. As agents of universities, we help perpetuate class distinctions by dividing people into “university educated” and those who are not.
      Both Myles and I participate in a profession in which our books are often priced at levels that the poor cannot afford. We sell them to other privileged professors or college educated consumers to advance our careers, which commodify writing. Universities create hierarchies, and facilitate the channeling of human labor to multinational corporations.
      To say that Dawkins and Hitchens represent some neoconservative, neoliberal, or capitalist ideology, and then forget that most universities function to reproduce the dominant socio-economic system, is to deflect attention from our own complicity in that system.
      Myles and I are part of the colonizing empires, and we are agents of that empire as long as we derive our income from it. In my case, I at least have indigenous roots in the Americas, but most professors of European heritage in the United States or New Zealand do not. So most of these professors are still agents of the colonizer’s institutions, and not inhabitants of some Marxist utopia.

      Karl Marx
      Instead of exploring whether New Atheists are part of some neoliberal or capitalist ideology, Myles (and all scholars) should explore the question of whether one can be Marxist and a privileged university professor.
      And most professors are privileged compared to the dispossessed indigenous people on whose lands most universities still sit in the Americas or in New Zealand.

      Other objections used by Myles depend on truisms that are not useful for answering the question at hand: Is it reasonable to conclude that abandonment would impoverish the families of the disciples? Let’s take a look at one of these truisms:

      Labels that affix negative stereotypes to social and economic outcasts–such as ‘deadbeat dads’–operate as situated discourses of class warfare that re-inscribe the assumptions of bourgeois culture.

      Perhaps so, but why would that not also apply to any negative labels he uses? For example, we can also say:

      Labels that affix negative stereotypes to social and economic outcasts –such as “New Atheists”–operate as situated discourses of class warfare that re-inscribe the assumptions of bourgeois culture.

      OR we could say:

      Speaking of the “assumptions of bourgeois culture” is also part of a situated discourse that labels groups and re-inscribes the assumptions of another ideological perspective.

      More importantly, such truisms have no value for answering the question of whether families abandoned by a main source of income were impoverished.
      Whether one calls certain social units families or households, they have a real existence in ancient Palestine insofar as they include people who have biological needs for food and sustenance. Their members contribute to those units, and the loss of members can have deleterious consequences for the acquisition of food. Caloric necessities will not change because of where my discourse is situated.


  9. Pingback: Genesis 6 and the “Sons of God” – The Quran and Bible Blog

  10. Pingback: Genesis 6 and the “Sons of God” – Blogging Theology

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