Every father has a natural desire to pass on his values and beliefs, just as he passes on his genes. This desire can be easily gratified in those persons who are satisfied to let a church, synagogue, or mosque define and convey those values and beliefs.
In this interview with Frederick Hodges, we dig at the roots of Western philosophical thought, and try to establish whether we can find some basic values on which to build a moral system free of the influence of religious zealotry.
|FatherMag asks...||Hodges answers...|
|The doctrines expressed in the Bible had already spawned the Jews, then came the Christians, and finally the Moslems. From the Middle East, these groups spread their value system westward into the Mediterranean countries, Africa and Europe. Today those of us who do not recognize the authority of the Bible may wish to examine our own Western values for a moral code based on individual and collective reason rather than reports of supernatural revelation imported from the Middle East. In order to do that, we must first learn to recognize what parts of our values and moral code have come from Biblical sources. Where should we begin if we would like to embrace and further a Western heritage free of the Judeo-Christian influence?|
One must first distinguish between those aspects of our culture which are truly our own, and those which come from the Middle-Eastern cultures. Second, one must recognize that the authoritarian forces that imposed the dogma of desert religions on Westerners did so by suppressing native Western values and attitudes towards children, and what they could not suppress they absorbed and claimed as their own innovation. For example, prior to the imposition of Christianity on the West, our society accorded children their human rights. Christian administrations rewrote Roman law. They stripped children of all their legal rights and made them the chattel of their parents or of those who had bought the children from the parents. After the French Revolution and the declaration of the Universal Rights of Man, the West is slowly returning to the idea that all humans regardless of age have human rights by virtue of their humanity. Many ethical organizations have sprung up to lobby for greater protections of children's rights. The anti-circumcision movement in the United States is one example of such movements. Now, Christian organizations are appropriating the fruits of the labors of these secular Western groups and claiming that Christianity is in favor of children's rights and that the human rights progress that has occurred in recent years is a Christian program. The Christian hierarchy has evidently learned after 2,000 years that it can no longer attempt to suppress our native values in this respect, and so they appropriate what they cannot suppress and thereby attempt to maintain control.
|FatherMag: Can you give any examples of the anti-child attitudes of desert-based religions?||HODGES: One need look no further than the Jewish Torah, the old Testament of
the Christians. This document embraces an anti-human concept of the world
that has empowered religious and secular tyrants to enslave and terrorize
families and individuals for millennia. The authors of Deuteronomy in
chapter 21:18 assert that Moses claimed that Jehovah authorizes parents to
stone to death any son who is disobedient. This same Jehovah commanded
Abraham to slaughter his own son. The organizers of Judaism and Christianity
do not question the father's willingness to kill his own child. They
apparently find absolute obedience to a disembodied voice to be of greater
importance than any value that a human life might possess.
The commandment to sexually mutilate the child is another example of the anti-human, anti-child attitude of this desert-based religion. This is found in Genesis and again in the laws of Moses. It is never assumed that the child has a human right not to be killed or not to be sexually mutilated. He is not considered fully human. The parents are also denied any human rights in the sense that they are not allowed to consider their children as possessing of human rights. Parents are under the control of the human agents of the deity. Under the Judeo-Christian system, humans have no rights; humans only have duties towards their supernatural rulers.
In Deuteronomy 28:20, the authors assert that Moses claimed that Jehovah commanded parents to stone to death their daughters who enjoy sexual relations before marriage. In Deuteronomy 28:53 the authors assert that Moses claimed that Jehovah threatened the Hebrews that if they did not obey all his laws, he would force them to eat their own children. Notice that the punishment for not killing or sexually mutilating your child is to eat your child. The child is victimized either way.
|FatherMag: How can a father today, the product of the Judeo-Christian yoke, free himself of this in order to raise his children in a manner more consistent with classical Western thought?||HODGES: The modern Western father must remind himself that his children are
humans and thus entitled to full human rights guarantees. He must remind
himself that he has no rights over his child. He only has obligations to his
child. The Judeo-Christian tradition implies that one person's rights exists
at the expense of another person's. This is nonsense. All people have equal
rights. A child of one year has as many rights as an adult of 100 years.
The father has no right to mutilate or kill his child to suit his own
'needs.' He has an obligation to nurture and protect his child until which
time the child is developmentally capable of nurturing and protecting
|FatherMag: I have heard about classical fathering, and that this differs from the Judeo-Christian model. What do you think the primary difference is?||HODGES: The main difference is sovereignty. Under the Greek and Roman traditions of the West children are legally independent and have full rights and guarantees, while according the Judeo-Christian yoke children have no rights and are chattel to their parents.|
|FatherMag: Yes, but not all of us are descendants of the classical Greeks. What about those of us from a Germanic or Celtic heritage. What was fathering like for these peoples and what can we learn from them?||HODGES: Our records of these peoples are scanty. Christians worked
especially hard to destroy these peoples because these people resisted
Christianity the most. The best source of information on fathering
philosophies is derived from Tacitus' book "Germania." Tacitus implies that
the child-rearing techniques of the Germans and Celts differed little from
that of the classical Greeks. Parents extensively trained their boys and
girls in life sustaining and life enhancing skills and arts. There is no
mention of parents killing or mutilating their children to meet the
superstitious needs of the parents or religious leaders. Since the Greeks
originally came to the Balkans from central Europe, it is safe to assume that
classical Greek attitudes towards fathering are similar to those of the
peoples they left behind in central Europe. I highly recommend that people
read the excellent work "Paidaiea" by Werner Jaeger. There they will find
much documentary exposition for Greek fathering.
The Greeks themselves held in highest regard the fathering techniques of the Spartans, the last Greek tribe to arrive in the Peleponese. The Spartans viewed education as the primary activity of childhood. Interestingly, fathering and education were put in the hands of trusted professionals. Boys were placed in the care of noble and worthy men who could transmit to them the noble and aristocratic virtues held by the Spartans to be necessary for all citizens. It was a father's duty to ensure that the boy's mentor had the noble qualities he felt obligated to procure for his son. The father did not feel that he had rights over the son or that his son was less than human. The father felt that the son had the right to receive the best that the father had to offer.
images copyright © 1996 PhotoDisc, Inc.