Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Breakdown of the Family Analogy

Earlier, I pondered the deletion of the masculine from traditional Christmas carols, then I read about the proportion of "fatherless" children in our nation (possibly around 31% according to census reports), and more recently the story of in-vitro fertilization taken to the extreme in the case of the unmarried woman with first six and now 14 children. I no longer wonder about the diminution of "God the Father." After all, what is a "Father" these days? If the analogy of God the Father were to be described as a father in the modern sense, then 31% of the time He would, at the worst, be a distant, irresponsible creator, fertilizing willy-nilly, a creator whose lustful self-centered-ness would present us with a very difficult God to argue in favor of in the face of rising secularism.

I, being a dinosaur, understand "God the Father." The Bible is fairly clear on this topic. Do not forget that the term "Abba" is the form used by Jesus and also by Paul in
Mark 14:36, Romans 8:15, and Galatians 4:6.

In Mark 14:36,
"And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt."

In Galatians 4:6,
"And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father."

And in Romans 8:15,
"For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father."

But today, in American culture, the presence of fatherhood is diminishing. To whom will the children of God cry, and how did we get here?

Mary Daly's 1971 "After The Death of God the Father" did not foresee the death of the two parent household as an unintended consequence of the liberation of women, the sexual revolution, and the Great Society, but she did predict the downfall of the Holy Trinity when she wrote,
"An effect of the liberation of women will very likely be the loss of plausibility of Christological formulas which come close to reflecting a kind of idolatry in regard to the person of Jesus. As it becomes better understood that God is transcendent and unobjectifiable-or else not at all it will become less plausible to speak of Jesus as the Second Person of the Trinity who 'assumed" a human nature. Indeed, the prevalent emphasis upon the total uniqueness and supereminence of Jesus will, I think, become less meaningful. To say this is not at all to deny his extraordinary character and mission."

(Arianism Alert: Arianism: "A heresy which arose in the fourth century, and denied the Divinity of Jesus Christ." (Catholic Encyclopedia).)

I can't forget that one of the goals of radical feminism was to eliminate the "patriarchal" references in Christology. It is clear that what they consider patristic includes the Holy Trinity. Would such a theology be workable? Would it be Christian? Has Mary Daly's anti-Trinitarian new age Arianism appeared in a pulpit near you?

So who has been critical of the recent multiple birth single mom? The MSM for one. I watched the mother's interview dissected by a female Psychiatrist on the Today show the other day. The conclusion was that there was some serious pathology evidenced in the mother's interview. I am sure that the Psychiatrist would come to the same conclusion about me if she were to read this blog.

Earlier this week the mother said that there is but one sperm donor for all 14 children, and that he indicated that he would help in some way. What a guy, and what a great father figure.

Recently I sat in slack jawed disbelief as a man openly bragged how he was now "rid of" his 4th wife. He made this comment in front of his teenage nephew. This was not an appropriate occasion to say anything to the man, but I would have appreciated an opportunity to understand the young nephew's impression and discuss a traditional lifestyle option. I still recall my grandfather teaching me that birds and humans were the only creatures that mate for life. That was quite some time ago mind you, but that kind of grandfatherly instruction can no longer be given. In fact, there may be a shortage of grandfathers in the future due to the increase in fatherless children. To update my grandfather, humans have the potential to mate for life, and I believe this is the model that the Bible teaches us. When we fall short of our potential, we are called not to boast, but to beg forgiveness, repent, and sin no more.

Alas, Zoology lecturer Dr Raoul Mulder, of Melbourne University has reported: "Swans, it seems, like humans, fall a bit short of that idea of lifelong fidelity."

So is there still a place for the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost in a world where people don't believe in ghosts, have never met their fathers, and children are raised to live in the mixed up world of boyfriends, step-dads, and the soon to be blessed gender blendered confusion? Is God the Father dying or being killed?

I could not resist posting this last Mary Daly quotation from the 2007 "Feminist Hullaballoo,"

“We are in the presence of multiple, swirling presences. I sense them here. They are our foresisters. We are creating the archaic future through biophilic connectedness…

The red of nemesis is here. We can’t stop now. We have overcome.

And we do not need any penile injections to be effective!”

Willy Nilly's on the juice again!


  1. Meaty stuff here. I've got to work, but I will return for a longer comment.


  2. Radical Feminism's goal, as you correctly point out, is to eliminate all vestiges of the patriarchy. Of course, feminists view this solely as a power dynamic, a zero sum game, where power is exerted at the expense of those upon whom the power is exercised. This expresses itself culturally in the nuclear family, which is why the family has to go.

    This has been the goal for a long, long time, and although it has been called "women's liberation" in truth, the truly liberated are men, who have been relieved of virtually all their responsibilities, i.e. love, loyalty, protection of mate and children, etc.

    Of course, it is that experience of dealing with a strong, yet loving father as we are growing up which helps to to understand the First Person of the Trinity. It is not difficult to imagine how a child who rarely interacts with his/her own father, but merely with an endless parade of male companions for his/mother would have a hard time understanding a righteous, just God who loved us enough to assume human form to save us from our own folly.

    In a sense, it reminds me of Orwell's warnings regarding language in 1984. That is, take away words, the symbols of thoughts, and then the ability to formulate the thoughts disappears because they cannot be reduced or communicated via symbols.

    Ditto "God the Father."


  3. I am thinking that the desire for a real father is present in the hearts of the fatherless children of our time.

    Also, it is my understanding the there was something like "no fault" divorce in Jesus' time and it was called "any cause". If this is true, there may have been a lot of children of divorce in Jesus' time.

  4. P., you must be recalling today's lesson from Mark 10:1-16 where some new rules are spelled out,

    "He left that place and went to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan. And crowds again gathered around him; and, as was his custom, he again taught them.
    Some Pharisees came, and to test him they asked, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?’ He answered them, ‘What did Moses command you?’ They said, ‘Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her.’ But Jesus said to them, 'Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you. But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.'"

  5. Randall, you are spot on as usual.

  6. Hi Underground Pewster,

    Yes, and the parallel to that is Matthew 19:1-9. And there the phrasing is: "is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause?"

    I googled it and found the source of my memory. The Rev. Dr. Instone-Brewer, a Senior Research Fellow in Rabbinics and the New Testament at Tyndale House, Cambridge, has done a lot of scholarly work to show that this "any cause" refers to a type of divorce permitted at the time.