When you consider how much weight the Bible carries with atheists, this is really what it boils down to when we hear Christians talk about why women can’t hold certain positions within the church:
Sure, some churches have female pastors, but not many that I’ve seen. (I’d love to know the exact percentage if someone could find it.) I wonder what rationale these churches use, because other churches are clearly ignoring or denying it.
I think if you ask most people (both Christians and non-Christians) whether women are given the same opportunities as men within the church, the answer would be no.
I sometimes wonder if that one verse, 1 Timothy 2: 12, wasn’t written: “I do not allow a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent,” how differently things would play out. Even though the bible was clearly written from a patriarchal point of view, and even though much of the pastoral epistles were written ad hoc, that one proof-text wouldn’t be at the disposal of those who also don’t allow women to teach or even speak in church, never mind have any kind of authority or leadership. And even though it is probable that Paul didn’t even write the pastoral epistles, this verse still carries so much canonical weight that has enormous consequences in the church.
I’m reminded of the Lutheran church in Wisconsin, where the women weren’t allowed to speak or vote on a major issue. It’s not typical of most Christian churches, but I think this is that same Bible verse taken to its extreme.