Saturday, November 26, 2011

Adam and Eve: The First Dysfunctional Family?

I grew up Catholic and attended Catholic school through high school. So naturally I had to attend religion classes where the Bible was the central textbook authority. I can remember being taught about the Creation and the story of Adam and Eve, just like every other Christian, Muslim or Jew has been taught. We were taught that God created Adam from the dust of the earth and then created Eve from a rib taken from Adam. The Bible also teaches us that Adam and Eve had two sons, Cain and Abel. That was it. No questions asked, just believe it.

Now that I am older and have completed my formal education and am still being educated in life, I have developed lots of questions. I actually think about these questions quite frequently. In biology I learned that in order for the population to increase and be healthy, men and women must reproduce, as in the union of egg and sperm. I also learned that in order for humankind to flourish there must be diversity in the gene pool. This means that the offspring of closely related parents can and will be genetically defective.

I have also learned through history and civics classes that it is illegal to marry first cousins or siblings, even though this may be common in some parts of Appalachia or some third world countries. Marrying close family members is called incest and is considered immoral by all religions and societies, regardless of whether or not it is part of a country's laws.

This is where problems with the story of all humankind descending from Adam and Eve arise.  Okay according to the bible Adam and Eve had two sons. So who did they have their children with? Eve? Some religious scholars say that the Adam and Eve had as many as many as 56 children (poor Eve). So did the rest of humanity come to be as a result of all 56 of these children fornicating with each other?  Many hard core fundamentalists argue that somewhere in the Bible it mentions that Cain had a wife and could not have had an incestuous relationship with his mother, but where did he find his wife? Did he share her with Abel, his brother? And did they have children? Strict fundamentalists, wearing blinders, insist that the Bible is correct in saying Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel were the first family, and refuse to entertain any other ideas to the contrary.

The stories of Creation and Adam and Eve are very confusing, unless you accept them blindly like many people do. I accepted the stories of the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus until I became old enough to question them and see the faults in these myths. I think that instead of believing that
Adam and Eve were incestuous and the Bible was promoting such a relationship, I will believe that the story is just another myth, which was used by the authors of the Bible to teach an illiterate and uneducated populace lessons of religion.

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