I’m not a big believer in Christianity. Like a lot of things, it has its strengths and weaknesses, but even better you don’t need to subscribe to learn from the wisdom it has to offer. Personally, I think most Christians are actually quite poor representatives of their creed – frequently doing their utmost to make their Bible-influenced outlook appear rooted in shame, guilt, outdated traditions and ridiculous superstition.
I suspect the same is true of most other belief systems, hence why I decided to cut to the source and read the major texts of each world faith. The Bible is my second text on this holy crusade, weighing in at a whopping 1,700 pages, and will take me a while yet to get through.
My reading to date has confirmed two things for me. First, if religious folk actually read the Bible we would have a lot more agnostics and atheists in the world (how many “Christians” do you know that constantly prioritize watching the latest stupid reality TV show over finding out what the creator of the universe had to tell them?). Second, after you filter out the wackiness, some things will never stop being good ideas.
As a modest writer myself, I can do nothing but tip my hat to the most popular author of bite-sized social commentary ever. Without further ado, God (from his blog archive “The New International Version”, categorized “Esther”, 2nd post, starting subheading 10):
10 On the seventh day, when King Xerxes was in high spirits from wine, he commanded the seven eunuchs who served him—Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar and Carcas-
11 to bring before him Queen Vashti, wearing her royal crown, in order to display her beauty to the people and nobles, for she was lovely to look at.
12 But when the attendants delivered the king’s command, Queen Vashti refused to come. Then the king became furious and burned with anger.
13 Since it was customary for the king to consult experts in matters of law and justice, he spoke with the wise men who understood the times
14 and were closest to the king-Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena and Memucan, the seven nobles of Persia and Media who had special access to the king and were highest in the kingdom.
15 “According to law, what must be done to Queen Vashti?” he asked. “She has not obeyed the command of King Xerxes that the eunuchs have taken to her.”
16 Then Memucan replied in the presence of the king and the nobles, “Queen Vashti has done wrong, not only against the king but also against all the nobles and the peoples of all the provinces of King Xerxes.
17 For the queen’s conduct will become known to all the women, and so they will despise their husbands and say, ‘King Xerxes commanded Queen Vashti to be brought before him, but she would not come.’
18 This very day the Persian and Median women of the nobility who have heard about the queen’s conduct will respond to all the king’s nobles in the same way. There will be no end of disrespect and discord.
19 “Therefore, if it pleases the king, let him issue a royal decree and let it be written in the laws of Persia and Media, which cannot be repealed, that Vashti is never again to enter the presence of King Xerxes. Also let the king give her royal position to someone else who is better than she.
20 Then when the king’s edict is proclaimed throughout all his vast realm, all the women will respect their husbands, from the least to the greatest.”
21 The king and his nobles were pleased with this advice, so the king did as Memucan proposed.
22 He sent dispatches to all parts of the kingdom, to each province in its own script and to each people in its own language, proclaiming in each people’s tongue that every man should be ruler over his own household.
Sound familiar? There’s nothing new about seeking advice from “the wise men who understood the times” or setting strong boundaries and not tolerating disrespect. It worked thousands of years ago and it works now. The medium may change but the message does not.
I highly recommend downloading a full translation of The Bible and reading it yourself if you haven’t (it’s not hard to find a free copy). At the very least it will give you fodder to tear apart the next poorly read “Christian” or “modern marriage”-advocating feminist you get stuck next to at a dinner party.