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Sunday, October 18, 2015

Is God Disgusted By Girls Who Menstruate?

A friend forwarded me an article that appeared on NPR yesterday. The article is entitled "A Girl Gets Her Period And Is Banished To the Shed." You can view the article here: http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2015/10/17/449176709/horrible-things-happen-to-nepali-girls-when-they-menstruate-15girls The article was written by Jane Greenhalgh and Michaeleen Doucleff, and it's riveting.

The authors tell the stories of two beautiful young Nepali girls, Kamala (14) and Prakriti (15). Sadly, Kamala is forced by her family and friends to live in a shed when she is on her period. The authors report: "Kamala believes that if she enters the house while she's menstruating, the people and animals will get sick. The gods will be angry and she'll bring a curse onto the house. She's also been told her hands will curl up and become deformed." Likewise, Prakriti told the authors "When I'm having my period, I can't touch my grandmother, I can't eat while she's eating. I can't touch the table while she's eating. I can't touch my father, I can't touch my mother."

The initial reaction of most Westerners to these stories will probably be one of horror and outrage that young girls could be subjected to such treatment in this day and age. Many will make disparaging comments about the Hindu religion that inspired such treatment. Nevertheless, many of these same folks will gather in Christian churches today and proudly profess that every word in the Bible on their laps is from God. But how many of them have read what that book says about females who menstruate?

We read in the book of Leviticus: "Whenever a woman has her menstrual period, she will be ceremonially unclean for seven days. Anyone who touches her during that time will be unclean until evening. Anything on which the woman lies or sits during the time of her period will be unclean. If any of you touch her bed, you must wash your clothes and bathe yourself in water, and you will remain unclean until evening. This includes her bed or any other object she has sat on; you will be unclean until evening if you touch it." (Leviticus 15:19-23, NLT) By the way, these instructions follow others that pronounce a male who happens to have a wet dream unclean for a day. (verses 16-18)

Several questions come to mind: Is menstruation a natural biological process? Where did it come from? If God designed women's bodies to function in such a manner, how can "He" declare it/them to be unclean? Is the blood that flows through our veins dirty? Is semen a dirty and disgusting fluid? Where did these notions originate? Did they originate in the mind of God? Or are they the product of ignorant and primitive men and societies that did not understand human biology and bodily functions? What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. In her response to this post, one of my friends commented: " I think there are many, many ideas expressed in the Bible that are a reflection of an ignorant and primitive people who -- in addition to not understanding human biology and bodily functions -- also did not understand other scientific fields, such as astrophysics, astronomy, or evolution. They certainly didn’t understand human psychology or sexuality. And for those of us who believe that God created this amazing universe (not just this world), most of us have always viewed God as the first and ultimate scientist. How dare any of us be so arrogant as to declare that God couldn’t or wouldn’t use his scientific knowledge and techniques!" (reprinted here with her permission)