One can also see how little effort it takes within the holy texts to generalize these recurrent motifs, and define as sacred the hypostatised cultural norm: 'Man.' This religious symbol of Man allows the male-defined community to create and worship itself, and justifies a collective effervescence that seems to always exclude women. Women may contribute to collective effervescence — but they cannot lead such rituals. Man becomes that sacred object which commands respect and obligation; woman, by contrast, are polluted, mundane. Thus woman, by her biological opposition to man, becomes of necessity the profane that defines the sacred, totemistic Man; because she is the 'profane' she can never be a part of the 'sacred.'

Oddly enough these attitudes on women are not universal throughout each of these religions. In each case there are many verses to be found that state the equality of the female and the male human in the 'gaze' of the various deities, or at the very least locate her as a necessary component of a holistic union between male and female, where cruelty or reprisal against any one part of this union leads inevitably to harm to the whole. Furthermore, there are those within each of these religions who attempt to fight the spread of fundamentalism, to speak out against religion in the service of political needs, and to prevent the rigidification of their holy texts and religious beliefs:

Ecclesiastical claims to possess infallibility in any formulated version of Scripture and creed or in the articulations of any council, synod, or hierarchical figure are to me manifestations of idolatry. Such claims do not serve the truth. They serve only the power and control needs of the ecclesiastical institution. The church must embrace the subjective and relative character of everything it says and does. If the church provides security, it cannot provide truth. … The alternative, I believe, is security and the creation of a doomed idolatry. (Spong 1993:137).

And yet this frighteningly long-lived non sequitur of the 'faithless'
and ultimately untrustworthy female remains, growing stronger in
oppositional objection whenever a society's women become increasingly aware of their own agency and self-worth. This meme seems to run as follows: despite the premise of the equality of woman and man before the deities in all these holy books, the inference of the supposedly gender-linked inability of women to govern themselves (due to their inherent, sometimes deity-mandated, lack of worth), continues to flourish.

Fundamentalism does indeed seem frequently to take holy texts out of context, applying and teaching only those verses that support their particular view or issue of the moment. They also routinely insist upon the incontrovertible and divinely infallible proof offered by these holy texts, and demand unquestioning faith from the religion's adherents, coupled with some call to a particular and often political action. As Lustick notes,

[I]nsofar as its adherents regard its tenets as uncompromisable and direct transcendental imperatives to political action oriented toward the rapid and comprehensive reconstruction of society [fundamentalism] is employed here not to refer to hyper-religiosity, not to evoke images of fanaticism or simplistic thinking, but to focus attention on a certain kind of politics (1994:141).

There are some small but troubling points to be made in these
observations concerning the potential linkage of repression of women
with the emergence of religious fundamentalism. Durkheim's definition of religion does not require a belief in supernatural beings. Brown points out that these fundamentalisms arise in societies in flux, frequently in post-colonial situations. Lustick allows for a theoretical disassociation of fundamentalism and religion.

Under these observations, it would seem clear these behaviors are not purely religiously mandated, but rather of a more political bent. If, therefore, fundamentalism is an expression of cultural needs rather than religious mandates, we should be able to discern non-religious cultural results of these stresses within other societies. Consider the article "State Fatherhood" by Heng & Devan. In it the authors note the:

…construction of an essential identity requires a reconfiguring of the past: the equation of 'Confucian Chineseness' with the interests of the state… Locating the ideological source of the modern East Asian state in an unchanging Confucian essence allows, moreover, the idealized recuperation of the entire history of Chinese culture as a seamless narrative of continuity and cohesion, suffering neither a fall (as into communism) nor a lack… (1998:351).

Confucianism is not a religion but a philosophy, but here we see it being taught in the stead of religious classes in schools, and the Confucian texts are being taken, frequently out of context, to justify societal hegemonic thought. More subtly, any demand by Singaporan women that the promises of equality made during the creation of the nation be fulfilled are viewed as a "threat from without, a cultural crisis of … disturbing magnitude… [the "contamination" of] 'Western' values, variously depicted as individualism, relativism, and hedonism at worst."

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