Deepity of the Week: Kneel and take a load from God


A deepity is a term introduced by Daniel Dennett: “The term refers to a statement that is apparently profound but actually asserts a triviality on one level and something meaningless on another. Generally, a deepity has (at least) two meanings; one that is true but trivial, and another that sounds profound, but is essentially false or meaningless and would be “earth-shattering” if true.”

Time for a new Deepity, and this is the sort that I am used to when interacting with my family on social networks. If you have a Black American family, you may have experienced the same.

Surely, if you can kneel before this non-physical omnipotent creature, you can stand before anything else. Kneeling, the best sign of submission we know that doesn’t require chains, or fellatio, is here used as the best indicator of an internal strength. To the religious out there, it is our connection to god that lets us rise above conflicts like finding your car keys, or asking your boss for a raise. Now that you got down on your knees, you have everything you need to stand tall.

I take issue with quite a few parts of this, so I’ll try to contain myself. First off, I have trouble whenever Black people fall into the whole ‘kneel to god’ thing. I can only imagine a well-dressed slave master standing over them whenever they lay out this common trope. I know god doesn’t bring the whips and cuffs to the party, but I would hope we could be a little more cautious before submitting to bearded White guys. Of course, Black people are overwhelmingly religious in the US, to a degree others would find staggering. Also, overwhelmingly protestant.

When I asked about this in an African American history course, my teacher informed me that the Bible was the only real literature slaves interacted with, it was read to them, the ones that learned to read learned from the bible. After being freed, this trend continued. The stories of freed slaves gave them hope, Jesus would free those who behaved, there was a better life after this. That teacher’s mother kept the Bible she learned from with her at all times.

Knowing this, I would expect that history teacher to be atheist, knowing how religious was driven into his family, and that it was used to dominate them. He was devout.

The other thing, women and religion. I’m not a woman, so I stay away from undocumented ideas of what drives women. With that said, women are documented being more religious than men, and more active in their religious communities. Which should confuse everyone, considering how misogynistic, patriarchal, and generally ‘he-man-women-hating-club’ most religions are.

The best explanation I’ve been given is that religion gives women agency. It definitely gives social restraints on the behavior of men. It shames them for leaving their wives (which would leave many women earning lower wages or no wage), and lays out paths for women whose husbands die to gain new husbands. Of course this is balanced by rules on ostracizing them for their sexuality, silencing their opinions, killing them for indiscretions, and the occasional rules on when or when not to rape them. These rules get shifted around per religion, but this deepity is Christian so we will stick with that one for now.

So with all of this, I find it interesting that deepities like this are quick to call for women to kneel before a magical man, the ultimate patriarchal authority, who lays out the rules for their oppression. This, is then supposed to give them strength. I guess if you can take a shot on your knees from the almighty, most real humans can’t compete.

God is definitely big on the kneeling too, from men and women. Kneel here, kneel there, fall on your face here, fall on your face there. I wouldn’t blame god, if he were real. We’re a loud bunch, need to be controlled. We’re much quieter when plugged up, and kneeling definitely makes us just the right height.


3 thoughts on “Deepity of the Week: Kneel and take a load from God

  1. Pingback: I Can Explain That: Feminism | The Little Tower

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