Friday, January 2, 2015

Monthly curse

One thing I don't miss from my days of belief is the strange explanations that are sometimes given for the existence of things. One of those explanations was for the existence of the menstrual period that visits the human female every month.

The teaching that was handed down was that it was part of the curse God put on Eve for eating from the three of knowledge of good and evil. And this is the same explanation I've also heard other Christians give. But Genesis 3:16 says this:
To the woman he said, "I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you."
The verse mentions painful childbirth, but where does menstruation come into the picture? Well' we have to remember that Christianity is based on Judaism. And the Midrashim (Avot De Rabbi Nathan) offers these ten curses of Eve that includes:
Ten decrees were passed with regard to Eve.
The first is menstruation, when she is driven from her house and banned from her husband.
The second is that she gives birth after nine months...
Pirkei De Rabbi Eliezer's list also includes menstruation:
He gave the woman nine curses and death:
[1] the afflictions arising from menstruation...
And the Babylonian Talmud features this excerpt:
“Unto the women He said, ‘and I will greatly multiply,’” which refers to the two drops of blood,
[1] one being that of menstruation
[2] and the other that of virginity,
...
The Jewish view of the female period being part of the curse of Eve actually makes some sense of Leviticus 15:19-24 in the Bible:
When a woman has her regular flow of blood, the impurity of her monthly period will last seven days, and anyone who touches her will be unclean till evening. Anything she lies on during her period will be unclean, and anything she sits on will be unclean. Anyone who touches her bed will be unclean; they must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening. Anyone who touches anything she sits on will be unclean; they must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening. Whether it is the bed or anything she was sitting on, when anyone touches it, they will be unclean till evening. If a man has sexual relations with her and her monthly flow touches him, he will be unclean for seven days; any bed he lies on will be unclean.

Obviously, this verse shows that God has a serious problem with period blood. So bad that a menstruating woman is considered unclean, has to go away while she is on her period and is supposedly more contagious and unclean than a bad cold since literally everything she touches is considered unclean. But why is that?
On the eighth day she must take two doves or two young pigeons and bring them to the priest at the entrance to the tent of meeting. The priest is to sacrifice one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering. In this way he will make atonement for her before the LORD for the uncleanness of her discharge.

-Leviticus 15:29-30
So menstruation is a sin? How can something that a woman has no control over and occurs naturally be a sin? It doesn't make sense unless it is part of the curse of Eve and is an expression of her defying God.

So considering menstruation was a curse handed to Eve, are we to assume that Eve (Biblically) didn't menstruate at first? Did she lay eggs, or did she go into 'heat' instead? If so, what happened to 'Be fruitful and multiply'? (Genesis 1:28) After all, if this was the case, this apparent previous reproductive cycle would result in a decrease in the potential of 'multiplying' potential if she went into heat instead.

Then there is the fact that human females are not the only mammals that menstruate. Many mammals do so differently, as they reabsorb rather than expel their monthly blood. But the vast majority of animals that menstruate like humans are primates. And considering how closely we are related to primates, it's really no surprise.

You see, the fact is that human female menstruation is not proof of the curse of Eve as some old-school believers think it is. Rather, it is yet another example of religions forming poor explanations, as well as another sure sign of our evolutionary relationships within the animal kingdom.


-Brain Hulk

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