Reading Infidel and discussing the treatment of women by the three main monotheistic religions has brought about a flurry of activity in my brain. The subjugation of women is something I haven’t really concerned myself with too much, mainly because I had bigger issues with organized religion that I needed to deal with. As painful as it’s been to embrace Christianity as a homosexual male, I can’t imagine the state of my faith if I were female.
Judaism, Islam, and Christianity all treat women as less than men – some more so than others, but all are guilty. The more fundamental interpretations of Islam treat women as little more than property – something to be traded about for social or political gain. The Old Testament images of Judaism show much of the same kind of disdain for the female sex. Modern Christianity often prevents women from serving as ministers or deacons in church, while teaching that man in the head of the household and women should keep their mouths shut.
I mentioned in an earlier post about the dress codes that my mother and sister were (and still are) required to follow by their Pentecostal faith. The hem of their skirts often end somewhere between the lower calf and ankle, their hair has never been cut, and they can’t wear makeup or jewelry. While most of these codes stem from specific verses in the Bible, their male counterparts don’t bear the same reproach as they do when out among the public.
Since I refuse to believe that women are somehow inferior to men, all of this has led me to two possible reasons for this atrocious treatment of females – either God has something against women or all of these faiths have it wrong.
Does God Despise Women?
If we are to take the Bible literally, then this is a valid question. God made man because He was lonely. Apparently that wasn’t enough for Adam, because he also became lonely and God decided to make woman so he’d have some companionship. Maybe God didn’t like the fact that Adam preferred woman to Him or that the woman had more control over Adam than He did. Whatever the situation, God cursed them both and I think we can agree that Eve got the raw end of that deal.
While some believe that Eve brought punishment upon all of womankind because of her enticement of Adam, this is just another example of removing male responsibility and blaming the female for a choice that he made. It reminds me of the way the Muslim women in Infidel were held accountable for the sexual advances of men, as if men are mindless, blathering fools who can’t control their urges.
There are countless verses in the Bible that point to and endorse male dominance of women. All of the modern-day bias against women by Christianity can be explained with scripture, and I’m sure the same is true of Islam and Judaism. If all of this scripture was inspired by God, then the mind boggles.
I can’t come to terms with this line of thinking, because why would God despise something that He created? Also, for all the verses that one could point to that discriminate against women, there are abundant stories of strong-willed and illustrious females who did great things for God.
Does Christianity, Judaism, And Islam Have It Wrong?
Considering that all of these religions were started centuries ago when males had control of everything, it seems plausible that none of those men would have wanted to relinquish any power they levied over the opposite sex. Perhaps they saw the benefit of ingraining those selfish needs into scripture, sealing their dominance for generations to come.
This makes much more sense to me. It seems very plausible that bias towards women could have crept into scripture that was overwhelmingly written and translated by men. Then again, maybe it all boils down to nothing more than a misinterpretation of scripture.
Any explanation that involves protecting the virtue of the woman or honoring her is nothing more than cockamamie. It’s time that men were responsible for their own actions and stopped blaming women for their lack of self-control, and it’s time that women were given the respect that they deserve and be allowed to participate in the work of their Creator.
I’m also tired of Eve being made out as a villain. Perhaps she should be applauded for her bravery and quest for knowledge. After all, if you believe the biblical account of creation, none of us would exist if it hadn’t been for her curiosity.