The taboo that most bemuses the gods is the law against rear orificial activity, all thanks to misinterpretations of ancient texts. The only things specifically condemned in the story of Sodom are abusing visitors and rape. A number of gods could be condemned for that as well but using ancient gods or texts to justify anything hundreds of years later seems as desperate as Custer’s last stand – and doomed to failure. Our gods never issued divine instructions, at best a device to re-inforce the social views of a particular time. At least here there isn’t the pathetic American debate around creationist and evolutionary theories, despite the dominance of religious flat-earthers.
In Ancient Greece, there were some codes of conduct but by and large everything was a matter of personal choice. Here, in a society where even the word sex is taboo, it’s unsurprising that many parents feel uneasy about teaching their children the facts of life. As teachers have themselves had a limited education or are restricted in how they talk about the birds and the bees, schools do little to help. Zeus and the gods provided a wide menu of possible activities, and left it to humans to decide what was wise or otherwise. He’s very proud about our lack of dogma, especially when daemons are available to suggest the worth of reason and justice, not to mention wisdom and reflection.
However, the strongest taboo is talking rationally about religion in case it offends the odd sensibility. Mind you, one of the greatest miscarriages of justice was the death of Socrates for that very reason. And the Athenians soon regretted it. In Plato’s eyes, Socrates was a prophet, although others regarded him more as merely annoying, unsurprisingly when he questioned experts and those in high positons until he proved that all their beliefs were false – Socrates was the inspiration behind scientific method. He believed that man’s greatest quality is examining everything and always trying to grow and reach one’s full potential. Rather different to politicos’ main concern of attracting the maximum number of voters.
Despite scientific advances and discoveries, religious doctrine is treated as inerrant. What kind of brain failure can lead some to believe that ancient doctrines are immutable? When you also look at those teachers, mal-functionaries and officers of the law who look down on those of other communities and religions, it’ll be a while before prejudices die out and conceptions change.
As recent events have shown, the possibility of any local politico daring to suggest that gay partnerships should be legalised is as likely as pigs flying. Even Queen Elizabeth’s cousin is about to marry his boyfriend and more and more countries are accepting the idea – and don’t seem greatly damaged as a result. Really damaging in today’s world is the refusal to condemn and prosecute religious leaders who conduct the marriage of thirteen-year-old girls…
Despite the unexpected liberalism of Lilibet & Co, inter-racial marriage is more complicated. Many prefer to associate with those from similar backgrounds but it’s sad to see families exerting pressure on dissident children, not least when they resort to sequestering or killing them in the name of family honour. As for the wider aspects of caste and colour, change will take some time but one taboo area could be disposed of overnight, by legalising gandia. Given its popularity and its legalisation elsewhere, resistance to change will ultimately be futile. Except for lovers of backward states, a more liberal approach might be more useful than sticking heads in the sand – especially when they’ll be washed away by increasingly high tides.