Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Were Adam and Eve voted off the Island?

My self-directed anti-racism training brought me first to studying racism itself (a system, distinct from individual prejudices), to Indigenous studies, to worldviews, and then to religion. I have been struggling with my own relationship with religion since I left Christianity in my late teens.


The Abrahamic Origin Story

In Trans-Indigeneity, and a loss or lack of Indigeneity I referenced where/who I was from, and that the Indigenous worldviews of my peoples were long ago replaced by Abrahamic worldviews. In Is religious freedom camouflaging ongoing colonialism and empire building  I discuss how Abrahamic religions all share core worldviews, even if the various splinter groups disagree on specific details. (Christianity split from Judaism, Protestants split from Catholicism, Islam split from Christianity/Judaism, etc).

The book of Genesis writes down the Abrahamic origin story, and from this we can see the core Abrahamic worldviews.  Much of what people think of as western worldviews, including the notion that humans are separable from non-humans (animals, plants, land -- the environment, the planet, mother earth), the patriarchy, and related worldviews can be seen.

Many people globally are trying to do harm reduction in relation to these worldviews, whether that be issues relating to gender discrimination (cisnormativity, heteronormativity, patriarchy), climate change (and related environmental destruction by humans), or colonialism (and the inevitable genocide that colonialism leads to).

It has been my observation that most are uncomfortable discussing any of these issues in the context of religion, as specific interpretations of "freedom of thought, conscience and religion" suggest that questioning the impact of specific thoughts deemed religious is somehow a violation of religious rights.

While titled "The house modernity built", I believe that this is the house that Abrahamic worldviews built.


I grew up reading the Christian bible, and heard all the stories. As a quick introduction here is a short summary of the first few chapters 

  • In Genesis 1 the teaching is that humans were created in their god's image, binary male and female, and that they are to “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
  • In Genesis 2 the teaching is about the importance of Adam, and Eve as the first humans, and how their god planted a Garden of Eden for Adam, and created Eve to be his helper.
  • In Genesis 3 the teaching is about Adam and Eve being kicked out of the Garden of Eden because of what Eve (the woman) had done.  The pain of childbearing, and the idea that women should be treated by men as property are ongoing punishment for her wrongdoing.

Alternate origin stories

The author of the paper that inspired the blog article discussing my lack of Indigeneity was a guest lecturer last evening. His words offered more food to some thinking I've been having for some time.

What if Adam and Eve were just two people who didn't fit in because of their personal beliefs, and were "voted off the island" (banishment) and sent to live somewhere else?  Adam and Eve (well, most likely just Adam given their beliefs) then spun a story that became the origin story for the peoples of Judea. Those stories became the origin story for all the Abrahamic religions which continue to use conversion and colonialism to spread throughout the globe and replace other origin stories with their own.

In No Island is an Island, Vicente M Diaz included a figure describing the geographic reach of the outrigger canoe technology of his people, describing the distances that they could travel.



It is suggested that the Abrahamic teachings were first written into the Hebrew Bible in a period starting at about 1200 BCE, so within the 4 thousand years where there has been evidence of travel via the outrigger canoe.

For those people who don't love maps as much as I do, the top-left hand corner is where Judea would have been (now disputed territories between Abrahamic peoples), and the top-right hand corner is the left-foot and part of the tail of Turtle Island, the western part of an area currently called Mexico.

Columbus might have commanded one of the first ships to travel to Turtle Island carrying people with Abrahamic worldviews, and thus people disconnected from place and the peoples of that place. It is totally inconceivable to me that this voyage was the first time Indigenous peoples traveled between Eurasia and Turtle Island.

History of navigation

If seafaring navigation is of interest, as is often the case, wikipedia provides a good jumping-off point to read more. It's important to recognize that all humans have biases, and thus what is written on Wikipedia, as with all human writing, is not "objective".

Is it just me, or does that image make you think of a whale, much like Turtle Island looks like a turtle.

1 comment:

Russell McOrmond said...

Lifelong learning.

Since I wrote this I have also been learning about ethnoreligions, and the many differences between the Jewish people and the institutions/followers of Christianity and Islam (largely a disagreement on whether Jesus was the ultimate or penultimate prophet).

This includes very different interpretations of Genesis, and what “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” meant.