Aggie Conservatives on Islam…

Reader Mark received this pamphlet on the campus of Texas A&M — it was from the Aggie Conservatives and it references Islam’s treatment of women

Slightly better (but modified) versions of those images can be found here and here.

I think they’re actually right in one respect — Islam is too often anti-woman. I can’t understand why any woman, given the choice, would want to remain in a faith that treats her as an inferior.

But…

Is Islam the only faith in which women are not treated as equals?

Nope. Christianity’s guilty of poor treatment of women, too:

“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” (I Corinthians 11:3)

“Also thou shalt not approach unto a woman to uncover her nakedness, as long as she is put apart for her uncleanness. (Leviticus 18:19) [Translation: Stay away from menstruating women!]

“Solomon … had seven hundred wives … and three hundred concubines.” (1 Kings 11:2-3)

“If a man be found lying with a woman married to a husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her… Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not…” (Deuteronomy 22:24)

Are there any other anti-women passages you’d like to suggest? Mark would love to know:

I can pass along [readers'] Bible suggestions to the Aggie Conservatives. It would just be dishonest to ignore heinous quotes from the Bible while highlighting ones from the Koran, so I think we both can rest easily tonight knowing that Texas A&M will soon become aware of a vile religious book whose practitioners vastly outnumber Muslims here in Texas…

Let’s help him out!

  • BlueRidgeLady

    Islam’s recorded treatment of women is appalling (unfortunately much of that poster is true. The honor killings and beatings DO happen, women ARE still stoned to death for supposed adultery). I do not know about the reported numbers, though.

    However I think it’s just as insidious that Christianity is so pervasive in our culture (I am speaking as an American woman) and they get their “values” from texts that are just as misogynistic in idea, whether or not they are in practice>. The Bible very clearly does not value women or children. (I find it hard to understand why anti-choice people are religious because the god of the Bible is vicious and cruel to women and children.)

    I feel Christianity is just as dangerous because (as with this poster) there is a very strong “US vs. THEM” mentality and it’s taking the stance that it’s a kinder, gentler religion. The Christian church has been anything but kind and gentle to women. You could bring up the point that true, we are not stoning women anymore for adultery, what about the Christian Right’s influence on killing homosexuals in Uganda? How is that not as barbaric?

    Why do we scoff as a hajib but we don’t question when we see a family of Pentecostal women/girls out shopping and all have skirts and long hair? How is that any less oppressive? (One would also inquire as to if the bible mentions anything about these skirts having to be made of denim because that seems to be all that they wear).

    It’s disheartening and depressing to see that we aren’t past the ideas of female subjugation and ownership. Religion is like an awful, fucked up time machine keeping us from progressing.

  • http://people.tamu.edu/~kbean1988 Keri

    Ah yes, the conservative group on campus. FYI, they were in the Republican group on campus but formed their own group because the Republican group was too liberal! About the only good thing they do on campus is distribute American flags to plant on the grass around our WTC memorial on 9/11. I personally wouldn’t even bother messing with them. They deserve a pat on the head and told they can go play on the playground now.

    Tell Mark he should’ve joined in our Pastafarian protest yesterday at the academic plaza! :) I led a group of pirates to distribute spaghetti noodles and hold up posters and preach from the FSM Gospel. We had a surprisingly positive response, although there were the occasional mean glares or people trying to witness to us and say they’re deeply offended.

    Totally off topic, but hey, what’s the incoming president of the agnostic/atheist group at Texas A&M to do when I see my school mentioned? ;)

  • Bowser The Cat

    I certainly agree with the comments on the treatment of women in Islam and other other religions. I would also comment that, as a grad student at A&M myself, this sort of material is all over the place. For a large public university it’s a very conservative, religious place.

  • Kyle Marquis

    I always feel torn with stuff like this. On the one hand, Middle Eastern Islam seems markedly uglier than all but the most fundamentalist brands of American Christianity, with its honor killings and niqabs and screaming, gibbering, Azathoth’s-pipers-are-asking-you-to-please-speak-more-clearly brand of antisemitism. On the other hand, religion is religion and crazy is crazy, and the Quran doesn’t seem to have a higher percentage of ridiculously evil statements than the Bible.

    I have the same problem with Scientology. Yes, it’s a stupid, evil cult, but any religion can turn into a stupid, evil cult faster than you can blink.

  • noen

    Strawman.

    Quoting right wing racists who misrepresent and smear other religions as a valid argument kind of makes you a racist too.

    The ads above are examples of racist bigotry and religious intolerance. Using such hate speech in your argument makes you a racist just like they are. This fact is not changed when you add your own anti-Christian hate speech.

    This entire article is a despicable example of anti religious hate propaganda that makes use of smears and lies taken from extremist sources to which you’ve added your own hate propaganda.

    Quoting the Bible out of context is just as indefensible as quoting the Qu’ran out of context. Anti-Islamic hate does not become tolerance when you add your own hate to it.

  • http://kpharri.wordpress.com/ Keith Harrison

    Here are some more scriptures regarding women:

    “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” 1 Timothy 2:11-12.

    “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” Ephesians 5:22-24.

  • noen

    BlueRidgeLady Says:
    “unfortunately much of that poster is true”

    No, it is not true. There are over one billion Muslims in the world. The tribal practices of wahabists in Saudi Arabia says exactly nothing about Islam. That you believe this racist propaganda does tell us something about you however.

    “Why do we scoff as a hajib but we don’t question when we see a family of Pentecostal women/girls out shopping and all have skirts and long hair?”

    Well, I don’t scoff at people who dress differently than I do but then I’m not a bigot. I am not prejudiced against people who act and dress differently or eat different food or even pray to strange gods.

    But that’s because I’m not a bigot or a racist and I don’t cloak my bigotry in atheism.

  • http://people.tamu.edu/~kbean1988 Keri

    Oh, and I just found this article, published today in one of A&M’s newspapers.

    http://maroonweekly.com/meet-and-greet-aggie-atheists-and-agnostics

  • noen

    Keith Harrison Says:
    “Here are some more scriptures regarding women:”

    Quote mining is a form of propaganda.

  • rob

    Noen says we shouldn’t quote the Bible out of context. In that spirit, I feel I should add the rest of the 1 Timothy 2 passage Keith Harrison quoted, to be completely fair:

    [9]I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, [10]but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.

    [11]A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. [12]I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. [13]For Adam was formed first, then Eve. [14]And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. [15]But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.

    There, see; all better now.

    Rob

  • BlueRidgeLady

    Neon-

    I’d like to clarify, because I feel my intent wasn’t interpreted correctly. I meant we as a nation with Christian influence shoved down our throats. Not particularly you or me. I was talking about how the poster showed Islamic women covered up but didn’t mention other religions enforcing a similar code/idea behind that code. I was also joking about the denim.

    Are you saying that honor killings, and stonings in Iran have nothing to do with Islam at all? Also, Islam is not a race.
    I am absolutely intolerant of women being treated as garbage, and I am critical of religion on an atheist blog. I am critical of all religious degradation of humans and animals. That doesn’t make me a bigot.

  • noen

    rob Says:
    “There, see; all better now.”

    No, not all better. You are still just pulling random quotes and thinking like a fundamentalist. The Bible, like all religious texts, is a living document subject to interpretation.

    Only atheists and fundamentalists believe in the literal truth of the Bible.

  • Dave P.

    @neon

    Quoting the bible is anti-christian hate speech?

  • Silent Service

    noen,

    Why do you get so upset by biblical scripture? None of the verses that have been presented have been presented in any way that changes their meaning from the KJV bible. In context, each of the presented verses tell women to submit to man’s authority or give directions on punishment of women for biblically disapproved behavior.

    Nothing was taken out of context. That’s the shame of it.

  • science101

    There’s much more but here’s a few:

    “And the daughter of any priest, if she profane herself by playing the whore, she profaneth her father: she shall be burnt with fire.” (Leviticus 21:9)

    “For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.” (I Corinthians 11:8-9)

    “Behold, here is my daughter a maiden, and his concubine; them I will bring out now, and humble ye them, and do with them what seemeth good unto you: but unto this man do not so vile a thing. But the men would not hearken to him: so the man took his concubine, and brought her forth unto them; and they knew her, and abused her all the night until the morning: and when the day began to spring, they let her go.” (Judges 19:24-25)

  • Aj

    OUT OF CONTEXT!

    Noen is an ignorant piece of shit troll.

  • Steve

    “I can’t understand why any woman, given the choice, would want to remain in a faith that treats her as an inferior.”

    In most Muslim countries religion, society and culture is so deeply intertwined that it’s completely impossible to leave. You can’t separate your faith and your life.

  • noen

    BlueRidgeLady Says:
    “I was talking about how the poster showed Islamic women covered up but didn’t mention other religions enforcing a similar code/idea behind that code.”

    The poster is a lie, it’s propaganda. It is no different than Nazi posters claiming that the Jews were guilty of lusting after good German women. I’m sure it was true! Good propaganda uses truth distorted into lies as it’s weapon.

    “Are you saying that honor killings, and stonings in Iran have nothing to do with Islam at all?”

    Yes, it is a fallacy to blame all of Islam, or any religion, for the practices of a minority.

    “Also, Islam is not a race.”

    Anti-muslim hate and bigotry in the US has a clear racial component. Jews were once considered a race. So were Italians. So were the Irish.

    “I am absolutely intolerant of women being treated as garbage”

    Do you have some kind of proof that your moral sense about how women ought to be treated is objectively superior to theirs? They believe that wearing the Hijab is a profound statement of their religious faith.

    What gives you the right to tell other people how to live their lives?

  • Steve

    Honor killings may not be representative of Islam in general, but they are hardly confined to Saudia Arabia and other repressive societies in the Middle East. That’s a lie.

    There are plenty of documented cases in the heart of Europe. Especially with teenagers who grew up in those western countries and adopted their values completely, while their parents refused or were unable to integrate and kept the culture of their home countries. Then they see their children basically rebelling against them and they completely freak out. Usually, they also enlist the help of their male children to keep the daughters in line.

    It’s also quite common in Anatolia, Turkey – a region that isn’t as secularized as the rest of the country.

  • Capt’n John

    The Skeptics Bible may prove to be a profitable source for the information Mark is seeking.

  • Stephen P

    These should keep Mark going for a while:

    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/women/long.html

    (They need to be looked at critically, because SAB is sometimes a little trigger-happy, but most of them will withstand scrutiny.)

  • noen

    Aj Says:
    “Noen is an ignorant piece of shit troll.”

    Thank you. I take your inchoate rage as a sign that my arguments are correct because if you had an effective counter argument you’d provide it.

  • http://www.correntewire.com chicago dyke

    it’s a damn tough line to walk, these days. i understand people like noen’s arguments; a lot of anti-islamic discourse really is racist and propagandic, in this country today. on the other hand, i despise the monotheisms most for their sexism, and Islam is pretty bad in this way. on the other hand, i can understand why for some women, conforming to ‘islamic’ tradition like the hajib is a deliberate political act of defiance in the face of majority culture racism. on the other hand, i can’t understand why women would tolerate the kind of enshrined abuse that i read about in some muslim circles. mutilation in particular is an evil no woman i respect would ever tolerate. on the other hand, right now the so-called “superior” western christian nations are busy destroying themselves in an orgy of corruption, intolerance and hypocrisy, and the main actors in all that are christian. on the other hand, i’m sure there are just as many imam pedophiles as there are catholic priestly ones. on the other hand, i think people (most especially women) should be able to pray and dress as they choose; it doesn’t hurt or affect me. on the other hand, i’m sick and tired of the idea that men are so weak and the female body is so overwhelmingly powerful they can’t control themselves if we’re not totally covered…etc.

    like i said, it’s a damn hard line for me to walk right now, at least.

  • Steve

    It’s not like any counter argument would have an effect on you. So his response is as good as any.

  • reeniebean

    Here is a source that spells it out completely:

    http://www.ffrf.org/shop/books/Woe-to-the-Women/

    The book is Woe to the Women: The Bible, Female Sexuality and the Law by Annie Laurie Gaylor from the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

  • noen

    Steve says:
    “Honor killings may not be representative of Islam in general, but they are hardly confined to Saudia Arabia and other repressive societies in the Middle East.”

    What objective measure did you use to determine that the practices of Saudi wahabists at home or in Europe are inferior to ours?

  • http://www.nutzak.org/ hnutzak

    @noen: If the quoted passages are indeed “random” and “taken out of context”, please provide the proper context that shows the intent of the passages is not the subjugation of women.

  • Vas

    Thank you. I take your inchoate rage as a sign that my arguments are correct because if you had an effective counter argument you’d provide it.

    Sounds like troll speak to me. If you don’t take the bait i wins. Nice troll trick, so take your trophy and go away, who cares.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff P

    The Bible, like all religious texts, is a living document subject to interpretation.

    This is not an unreasonable thing to say. The exact wording of some of the popular versions (like the King James version) are preserved for historical purposes. Any meaning we get out of the bible nowadays is totally dependent on the mores of today. It is only of academic interest what the actual authors of the bible believed. By today’s standards, many of them were quite possibly prejudice bigots and misogynists like the worst of today’s fundamentalists. But people of today are also free to derive other more positive meanings form the biblical text. We apply our own sense of justice and morality on how we choose to interpret (or whether we choose to interpret) those passages. It is, of course, ridiculous to say that our moral standard is enshrined in the bible or that morality comes from the bible. It is just a collection of stories. We do with it what we want. The main difference between the Christians and the Muslims is that the fundamentalist movement is much stronger with the Muslims. Hopefully as time goes on, that fundamentalist movement will die down.

  • noen

    hnutzak Says:
    “@noen: If the quoted passages are indeed “random” and “taken out of context”, please provide the proper context that shows the intent of the passages is not the subjugation of women.”

    The proper context in which one should understand the Bible, or any other religious text, is they are not to be read as a literal instruction manual.

    I am agnostic now but I was raised in a liberal Lutheran church. Even at a very young age I was taught that I was not to read the Bible literally. We were to read for the spirit, or the intent of the law and not to read for the letter of the law. There is in fact evidence in the New Testament for this where Jesus criticizes the Pharisees for their strict adherence to the letter of the Law.

    Are you a Pharisee? Seems like you are to me.

    You have the same idea in politics. Right wing conservatives want to read the law and the Constitution literally. We liberals view the Constitution as a living document and so we feel we can add to it and do not need to interpret it literally.

    This is why to me today’s atheists look like right wing fundamentalists or Pharisees. Because, well, you are just a secularized version of them.

  • Stephen P

    Noen:

    You are still just pulling random quotes and thinking like a fundamentalist. The Bible, like all religious texts, is a living document subject to interpretation.

    What utter poppycock. A good scientific or medical textbook, for example, is a living document: new editions come out regularly in which mistakes are corrected, unclear passages are improved and new research is incorporated. The Bible on the other hand has been a dead document for well over a millennium (apart from the Apocrypha being kicked out in the protestant version).

    If you don’t like us reading the misogynist, immoral and outright incorrect passages in the Bible, then produce a new edition in which they are corrected. But of course you will never be able to do that, because no two groups of Christians can ever agree on what the Bible means, on which passages are to be taken literally and which are metaphorical.

    And don’t get me started on taking things out of context. Christians are far worse than atheists at that, and they start right in the Bible itself. Look at Matthew 1:22-23 for example, where he claims that Isaiah 7:14-15 is a prophecy of the birth of Jesus. Go back and read the Isaiah passage in context and it turns out to be nothing of the sort. It’s all about the Assyrians. Or look at Matthew 2:15, where he pulls a few words of Hosea completely out of context.

    Christians complaining about atheists taking things out of context is not so much the pot calling the kettle black: it’s the pot calling the bone china black.

  • http://www.nutzak.org/ hnutzak

    Then what is “the spirit or intent” of those passages? You’re avoiding the question. If these passages were not meant to be interpreted literally, what is their purpose? Why are they there? Where is the positive meaning in these passages, or similar ones about stoning disobedient children to death in the public square? Please help a Pharisee to understand.

  • http://www.correntewire.com chicago dyke

    The proper context in which one should understand the Bible, or any other religious text, is they are not to be read as a literal instruction manual.

    well, that’s what *you* think. i know plenty of Christians who completely disagree with you.

  • Smash Machine

    Check out No beliefs.com under the Dark Bible section. There is too many woman hating scriptures to list here.

  • Jenny Bliss

    i think the problem is how does 1 know whether or not the bible should be taken litterly or not in whole or in parts? dont mean that in a bad way but see it as a fair question i mean when it was written they didnt exactly put a disclamer in the front (unless theres a page missing.. ahh red dwarf.. :D )

  • Peterson C

    neon

    You have the same idea in politics. Right wing conservatives want to read the law and the Constitution literally. We liberals view the Constitution as a living document and so we feel we can add to it and do not need to interpret it literally.

    The main difference from the Constitution and the Bible is that when the Supreme Court interprets the Constitution, we get a law and a definitive statement concerning how it should be understood. Not everyone always agrees with these ruling, obviously, but until a particular law or amendment is overturned everyone abides by the ruling.

    There is no group of Priests, Rabi, or Imams that interprets the relevant holy text for every member of the religion. There is no amendment tacked on to the Bible or the Qur’an that says, “Women are not to be treated as second to men.” This results in many people being unclear on exactly how they are meant to understand what’s been written. And even if they rely on their particular holy leader for guidance, it’s still one man’s judgment amidst a sea of interpretations.

    The overall “spirit” of both the Bible and the Qur’an seems to me to be that men are superior to women. The degree to which this idea is carried out will of course vary, but it’s still there.

  • noen

    hnutzak Says:
    “Then what is “the spirit or intent” of those passages?”

    A liberal Christian would say that we ignore them for the same reasons we ignore the dietary laws of the Old Testament. They don’t apply to us today. How do we know? A liberal Christian would say that the holy spirit moved them to know.

    Liberal denominations feel that fundamentalists commit the sin of idolatry. They worship the Bible as the literal word of God. A liberal Christian would say that the Bible is the inspired word of God. That it is not God literally speaking IN the text but that rather God speaks THROUGH the text. That the task of theologian is to understand the true meaning BEHIND what the text literally says.

    “Where is the positive meaning in these passages, or similar ones about stoning disobedient children to death in the public square?”

    That these are the unfortunate practices of members of a primitive tribe 2500 years ago who had an impoverished understanding of what God expected from them.

  • Wyatt

    @Keith Harrison
    While the section from Ephesians you quoted is accurate to the point you stopped, it’s one of my particular pet peeves. People like to complain about nitpicking sections of texts and taking things out of context, but the following portions of that section of Ephesians are notorious for being left out

    Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30for we are members of his body. 31″For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[c] 32This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

  • noen

    chicago dyke Says:
    “well, that’s what *you* think. i know plenty of Christians who completely disagree with you.”

    No, I don’t. I’m agnostic. I feel a bit like Voltaire defending the Catholic Church. Besides, I can point to evidence for my interpretation.

    The whole point, or at least one of the main points of Jesus’ message was that the Pharisees, by obeying the letter of the law had violated it’s spirit. This is a deep philosophical insight. Life isn’t about mindlessly following rules, it’s about following a higher purpose.

    If you believe that you are a follower of Jesus.

  • http://www.nutzak.org/ hnutzak

    @noen: That’s a good answer. I can accept that. But I have to agree with the awesomely named Jenny Bliss that to the laity it is not at all clear what should be taken literally and what should be dismissed as an incorrect interpretation of god’s word or simply outdated dogma.

    I remember when I was young hearing over and over again how god/Jesus “speaks” to people, or how they “heard the voice of god”. Sometimes I would ask whether they meant that literally… was it like us talking right now? And the answer I usually got was “Yes. I hear his voice.” I never bought it. Why would god speak to them but not to an innocent child who desperately wanted to hear his voice? I reasoned that these people were either liars or were fooling themselves… The clouds parted and a ray of sunshine hit them at the exact moment they were praying for an answer, and they interpreted it as “the voice of god” or something. Either that, or god was a cruel bastard who didn’t deserve my belief.

  • noen

    Stephen P Says:
    “A good scientific or medical textbook, for example, is a living document”

    The Bible is not a scientific textbook.

    “Christians are far worse than atheists at that”

    You sound like a child.

    “Look at Matthew 1:22-23 for example, where he claims that Isaiah 7:14-15 is a prophecy of the birth of Jesus.”

    Which only supports my point. A liberal Christian would reply that yes, Matthew does make a mistake and that is why we should not take everything literally.

    “Christians complaining about atheists taking things out of context is not so much the pot calling the kettle black: it’s the pot calling the bone china black.”

    I’m not a Christian. I just don’t make the same fundamentalist assumptions about the text that you do.

  • Peterson C

    One more thing before I depart for work.

    I know there are many Christians who are liberal in their interpretation of the Bible. Hemant just wrote an article concerning Christians who are against discrimination against homosexuals. I just picked up Dawkins’ “The Greatest Show On Earth” and it opens with the fact that their are many Bishops and priests who believe in evolution. Kudos to these people.

    But here’s the thing, in the same book he quotes a Gallup poll that shows over 40% of Americans believe that life as we know it was created 10,000 years ago in the exact state it is in now (biologically speaking). This information is backed up by a second poll by the Pew Forum.

    Now, if over 40% of Americans are willing to believe such a thing despite the overwhelming amount of biological and geological evidence to the contrary, how many are willing to believe that their relevant holy text should be taken verbatim?

  • Aj

    Context is about understanding the expression. When morons like noen talk about being “out of context” they mean that you’re not interpreting the text the way they’d like you to, it has nothing to do with understanding the author. For them to claim we’re the ones “quote mining” is not only utterly false, it’s extremely hypocritical, they’re the ones quote mining. I find it hard to believe that they honestly think that we should understand that when they say “context” they mean something entirely different to what’s usually meant by that, but the obscurantist fucks don’t give a shit, dishonesty is a way of life for them. It’s illustrated quite well in the video I linked to.

  • BlueRidgeLady

    ChicagoDyke-

    You hit the nail on the head with your input on female “modesty”.

    Give a little credit to men that they can control themselves as intelligent adults! And for goodness’ sake, stop telling women how to avoid getting assaulted and start telling men to NOT BE RAPISTS.

    I know it was only a small part of your post, but this irks me to no end. It’s sexist against MEN to assume they aren’t responsible for their actions, and it’s sexist against women to dictate to them that they should cover up, lest something “happen” to them.

  • http://www.meaningwithoutgodproject.blogspot.com Jeffrey A. Myers

    @ Noen

    I don’t think anyone here is saying that there are not elements of the Bible that have value, or that it is completely worthless. Indeed, many aspects of the moral code it lays out are things I agree with and wholeheartedly support. It also contains a bunch of magic, superstitious nonsense as well as a healthy dollop of nativist bigotry, misogyny, homophobia and other incredibly destructive garbage.

    The problem is that the Bible states and many hundreds of millions if not billions of its adherents believe that it is LITERALLY true. This is manifestly not so and the fact such people actively push an agenda that is hostile to women, minorities, homosexuals and is fundamentally backwards with respect to science, rationality and understanding on the basis of these books alleged LITERAL truth must be countered.

    Given their belief that the book is literally true, it is both fair and important to use the text. Indeed, given their presuppositions, textual references are the only evidence that they will even accept. The fact that so many object to the use of the text merely illustrates the deep flaws therein.

  • Silent Service

    noen,

    So what is god trying to say in all the text about women being subservient to men? We just skip those parts? Okay, then the sections about lying with a man being an abomination? Or getting paid 50 shekels for the raping of your daughter?

    Oh, that’s Old Testament? Yeah, Paul the Apostle was so much more progressive in the New Testament.

  • John Small Berries

    Deuteronomy 22:28-9: If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay the girl’s father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the girl, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives. (NIV)

    That’s right. Force a raped virgin to marry her rapist.

  • http://theehtheist.blogspot.com The “Eh”theist

    So @noen is a postmodernist. The original intent of the author has no part to play in understanding the meaning of the text?

    You didn’t learn that in a lutheran church.

    Likewise, @noen, the catholic church agrees with the literal meaning of paul’s admonition to women. The only teaching during the “gathering” of mass is the homily, which canon law restricts to priests and deacons. Canon law also restricts the priesthood and the diaconate to men, so women must keep silent and not teach during the gathering.

    @noen, what objective measure did you use to determine that the pauline interpretation put forth by roman catholicism is inferior to yours?

    enjoy your weekend :)

  • jcm

    You forgot 1 Timothy 2:11-12 (NIV):

    11 A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.

  • p.s.

    noen,
    how about we just ignore the whole goddamned book and get on with our lives? The mental gymnastics you’re going through to justify truly vile passages are painful to watch. if it’s sunny where you are, you should go outside and look at some clouds.

  • Silent Service

    Give a little credit to men that they can control themselves as intelligent adults! And for goodness’ sake, stop telling women how to avoid getting assaulted and start telling men to NOT BE RAPISTS.

    We should do both. Even if we teach all men to behave and not be abusive, it does not follow that all men will behave and not be abusive. Those men that cross the line can be punished after they get caught, but that does not help the women that they hurt.

    Women are not to blame for anything that is done to them against their will. Blaming the victim is a huge part of the problem and why too many rapists and abusers get away with it. But when you dress in a way that will attract predators, make sure you can defend yourself against them if you have too. I always advocate that women take self defense classes if possible. If fact, I find women that can kick ass to be more interesting. They’re not afraid or meek, they’re usually more outgoing, and they’re always more confident. The added bonus is they scare the crap out of the misogynistic assholes that think women should be subservient.

  • Alexis

    In proper context means that you must include the full quote – That is from Genesis 1:1 through Revelations 22:21. :-)

  • BlueRidgeLady

    Silent Service-

    Yeah, I agree that everyone should be taught to be “street smart”. My anger comes with the lack of responsibility attackers cling to, and the rape victim’s sexual history and clothing is scrutinized, and they are traumatized all over again, IF the case even makes it to court. I don’t care if you are a prostitute or a nun, no one has the right to your body except you.

  • http://thesnideatheist.blogspot.com the snide atheist

    Woman should always be treated with the utmost respect and dignity…as long as they’re doing thier job in the kitchen and bedroom.

  • http://unreasonablydangerousonionrings.blogspot.com Angus

    I dredged through the SAB and pulled a few gems. Here you are.

    Genesis 19:8 – Job offers his own daughters to be raped by the men of the village.

    Judges 19:22-29 – A concubine is offered by her host to an angry man-raping mob, abused all night, manages to crawl back to the doorstep of the house she was a guest in, dies, and is promptly chopped to pieces.

    2 Samuel 13:11-14 – Ammon rapes his sister.

    Esther 2:8-9 – The king holds a sex contest to determine his next bride.

    Esther 2:12 – Women must be purified before they can become royalty.

    Proverbs 7:5-27 – Women who seduce men are evil; men are victims.

    Exodus 21:7-11 – How to sell your daughters, and how to react if her new owner is displeased.

    Exodus 21:10 – Rules for polygamy.

    Leviticus 21:14 – A priest can only marry an Israelite virgin.

    Numbers 30:3-16 – Women can’t make vows without male permission.

    Deuteronomy 22:13-21 – If a man marries and then decides that he hates his wife, he can claim she wasn’t a virgin when they were married. If her father can’t produce the “tokens of her virginity” (bloody sheets), then the woman is to be stoned to death at her father’s doorstep.

    Deuteronomy 21:16 – Women inherit nothing.

    Deuteronomy 22:24 – If a woman is raped in the city and doesn’t cry out loud enough, the
    men of the city must stone her to death.

    Deuteronomy 22:28-29 – If a man rapes an unbetrothed virgin, he must pay her father 50 shekels of silver and then marry her.

    Also, polygamy is rampant. Dozens of mentions.

  • altar ego

    @ the snide atheist: you mean fixing the sink and installing light fixtures, right? Because this brand of sexism helps hurt women as much as those easily found bible quotes that people use to subjugate us.

    And I think you mean “women,” not “woman,” and “their,” not “thier.” (You nearly made my poor little lady brain explode right there.)

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com Anna

    While the section from Ephesians you quoted is accurate to the point you stopped, it’s one of my particular pet peeves. People like to complain about nitpicking sections of texts and taking things out of context, but the following portions of that section of Ephesians are notorious for being left out

    Wyatt, so what? How does the following passage make the preceding section any more acceptable?

    Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30for we are members of his body. 31?For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[c] 32This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

    Am I supposed to be impressed by this? It just tells men to love their inferior wives and treat them nicely. It still reinforces the idea that men are superior and in charge. Men are supposed to love their wives, but wives are not equal to their husbands, and the final sentence expresses that inequality yet again: “the wife must respect her husband.” The entire passage is patriarchal and demeaning.

  • altar ego

    And I think it is a good point to make that sexism against women is bad for women and for men. Anytime women are told to cover up or you’ll “get yourself raped,” it’s also telling men that they can’t control themselves sexually and relieves them of their responsibility to do just that.

    There is a passage in the King James bible from I Samuel 21:4 “…there would be hallowed bread, if the young men had kept themselves at least from women.” It is as though anything terrible they did still wouldn’t be as bad as consorting with women.

    And what Anna said. :)

  • http://thesnideatheist.blogspot.com the snide atheist

    @ altar ego: Can’t drive and now no sense of humor either. Well, at least you’ve got the meaningless typo nitpicks down.

  • http://eternalbookshelf.wordpress.com Sharmin

    The beginning of the second part reads, “Unlike many of the religions you are familiar with, Islam is a political and military system. It is not just a religion.”

    This just sounds ridiculous and hypocritical, considering that so many religious groups and people have tried to gain political power and advocated violence against others based on the idea of who God does not approve of.

    Perhaps it should read, “Like many of the religions you are familiar with, Islam is a political and military system. It is not just a religion.”

    Others have already mentioned so many of the verses I was thinking of as well.

    One of the less obvious ones I noticed when reading the Bible was in Genesis 29, the story of how Jacob marries two women. The marriage is arranged and the girls’ opinion is never asked. Also, the idea of Jacob working for them implies that he’s paying for them or exchanging his work for them, as if the father is treating his daughters like property to make money for himself.

  • J. J. Ramsey

    Angus, one catch about some of your examples is that they aren’t meant as examples of positive behavior. For example, in 2 Samuel 13:11-14, Amnon is clearly portrayed as a bad guy. The book of Judges is basically about Israel being screwed up in the days before it had a king, and even the protagonists in the stories are not necessarily supposed to be the most upstanding of people.

    As for Proverbs 7:5-27, it portrays an adulteress attempting to seduce a man, not making the general statement, “Women who seduce men are evil; men are victims.” A married woman who attempts to seduce a man without her spouse knowing is generally frowned upon among atheists as well as the religious, unless one’s talking about an open marriage.

    Also, given the defenses of polyamory on this blog, you ought to be more careful about writing as if polygamy were obviously wrong.

    There are definitely real examples where misogyny is portrayed positively in the Bible, but not all the verses you’ve cited are good examples. But then, you were working from the SAB, which, as was pointed out above, isn’t that reliable.

  • Jim

    I do enjoy the irony of seeing one group of reactionaries (fundamentalist Christians) attacking an even more extreme group of Islamic fascists. They have so much in common, you’d think they’d be able to get along nicely…

    The really embarrassing thing is watching those on the multicultural left rush to the defense of Islam. I guess since most Muslims are poor and have brown skin that’s enough for some leftists to adopt the Muslim cause as their own. I have to wonder what sort of cognitive dissonance these postmodernists must put themselves through in order to uphold progressive values in their own country, while simultaneously defending the murderers of homosexuals and the oppressors of women in the Muslim world.

  • Kayla

    “Nope. Christianity’s guilty of poor treatment of women, too:”

    While you are entitled to your opinion, I do not understand how the passages you quoted show poor treatment of women.

    Not saying that Christians haven’t used the Bible to justify sexism, but I just don’t interpret the texts you quoted as examples of poor treatment of females.

  • Robert W.

    Anna,

    I am at a loss as to how you can interpret the verses from Ephesians as sexist and demeaning to women. It is directly telling husbands that they need to love their wives as much as Christ loved the church. Love them enough to give their own life for them. The passage is a direct call to love their wives with selfless, sacrificial love as the two leave their families and become one.

    And what is wrong with respect? The passage doesn’t say respect your husband regardless of how he treats you.

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com Anna

    Robert, I said the entire passage was sexist and demeaning to women.

    Please read the first part again:

    “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” Ephesians 5:22-24.

    Wyatt quoted the relatively inoffensive second part, and implied that it put the first part of the passage in context. I was simply pointing out that the latter portion does not make up for the heinousness of the first. And that even in the “nice” part, women are exhorted to respect their husbands, but men are not told to respect their wives. The whole section is an example of patriarchal sexism. The second part doesn’t cancel out the first or even make it more palatable.

  • Flail

    i’m sick and tired of the idea that men are so weak and the female body is so overwhelmingly powerful they can’t control themselves if we’re not totally covered…etc.

    Ugh… Thank you! As a man I am sickened by the idea that we are so mentally feeble that the sight of female flesh is enough to make us lose our minds. It makes me so angry that so many people consider it a legitimate statement that a man “just couldn’t control himself”.

  • Robert W.

    Anna,

    In a true Christian marriage the husband assumes the role of the spiritual leader in the household. It is an awesome responsibility if taken seriously as it is intended. The wife is to submit to the spiritual leadership just as she would submit to Christ’s leadership of the church.

    Does that mean that the wife is anything less then the husband? Of course not. Because the other calling to the husband is that he is to love his wife with a totally sacrificial and selfless love. So the husband must lead his wife with complete love and devotion. That is not how you would treat a lesser. It is how you would lead someone very precious and who would give your life for.

    I’m not saying it is always followed that way and clearly men sometimes fail and use this verse in a sexist manner. However, taken as a whole it leads to a beautiful relationship.

  • Flail

    Robert,

    Your explanation is complete and utter bullshit. It is essentially a “no true Scotsman” statement followed by some mental backflips that you seem to use to justify 2000 year old misogyny.

    Even if what you said were completely true, it still contains the assumption that the woman is inferior. It should not be a given that a man leads a woman, or that a woman leads a man. Marriage should be an equal partnership. If one partner wishes to follow the lead of the other, that is a choice that can be made, but it isn’t because a man should be the de facto leader.

  • muggle

    “So the husband must lead his wife with complete love and devotion.” Rather like a dog on a leash, huh?

    Robert, you seem to think that a woman is supposed to be thrilled to be loved and adored and set upon a pedestal. Pedestals suck.

    I am neither delicate china to be looked at and admired and cherished nor a pet to be rewarded with pats and doggie treats for proper behavior and come adoringly wagging my tail to the door when the “master” comes home. I am a person.

    Real grownups want another real grownup to relate to on an equal basis. To love, laugh, live and lean on one another together. Real adults want give and take, not king of the castle and his porcelain doll.

    Somehow I think you still won’t understand how that passage is chauvinistic as all fucking hell but there it is for what it’s worth.

    As for the either the Koran or the Bible, I don’t give a shit what’s in either one. It only matters because of how they affect society. If they weren’t political, we could just ignore them.

  • Peterson C

    Robert:

    In a true Christian marriage the husband assumes the role of the spiritual leader in the household. It is an awesome responsibility if taken seriously as it is intended. The wife is to submit to the spiritual leadership just as she would submit to Christ’s leadership of the church.

    Similar arguments were used during the fight for equal rights. The idea was that the man was the provider and head of the household, a huge responsibility, and that his wife’s duty was to stay at home, take care of his house, and support him. The man was supposed to love and cherish and take care of his wife, too, but it was the man who was in charge. And that’s the problem with this argument as well as yours.

    The man is always the leader, the woman is always the follower.

    It doesn’t matter how much love and respect a leader has for his or her followers, the follower is always at least one step down. This becomes exacerbated when it’s declared that one group in society will always be the leaders and another group will always be the followers.

    Married couples should be on equal footing, with no notion of a leader/follower relationship.

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com Anna

    Robert, well, I find that attitude absolutely disgusting. You and your wife are consenting adults, so you’re obviously free to live your lives any way you want. If the two of you want to believe that you are superior and your wife is inferior, that’s your business. I can’t believe there are still people who think that way in the 21st century, especially in modern developed countries, but I can’t make you change your minds. Indoctrination is a powerful thing. However, I’m going to call out that type of sexism whenever I see it. I think it’s repulsive and terribly harmful both to individuals and to society.

  • Robert W.

    Anna,

    Where in that passage or in what I wrote does it say that the wife is inferior in anyway to the husband? It doesn’t and I didn’t. On the contrary. You are reading that into the passage from your own bias.
    What you view as sexism is actually just the opposite. Jesus’ treatment of women was far from treating them as inferior. In fact they had a very prominent place in his teachings.

    Muggle:

    Do you not think that a husband can love his wife with completely sacrificial love and not still treat her as an equal or without turning himself into puppy dog? If you don’t then I feel for you. Actually, a husband who views his role and his wife in this way is extremely mature and truly acting like an adult. Why would you think otherwise? He is giving up his selfish nature for the good of his wife and his family. Does that mean they are not equal partners? Of course not.

    And the responsibility of the husband to be the spiritual leader of the household extends beyond his wife. That responsibility also extends to their children.

    Frankly in my opinion alot of our problems in society today are caused by the failing of men and husbands to fulfill this role and instead they worry only about their selfish needs. They run off, they avoid responsibility, they fail to support their families, they get women pregnant out of wedlock and then avoid their responsibilities. It is really very sad. Husbands following the traditional role of husbands in a Christian marriage would correct alot of those problems.

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com Anna

    Where in that passage or in what I wrote does it say that the wife is inferior in anyway to the husband? It doesn’t and I didn’t. On the contrary. You are reading that into the passage from your own bias. What you view as sexism is actually just the opposite.

    Why do I suddenly feel like a character in Animal Farm? “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.”

    This isn’t even up for debate. If you believe that women should “submit to their husbands” and men are “the head of” their wives, that is inequality, and women are relegated to the inferior role. Yes, if men are superior, then that means women are inferior. Denying that fact makes no sense, and dressing it up in fancy language doesn’t make it any more palatable. Again, that sort of attitude is absolutely disgusting.

  • Peterson C

    @Robert

    A few questions.

    Can the wife be the spiritual leader of the household?

    If yes, why does the Bible need to dictate that that role is reserved for the husband?

    If no, what is it that keeps the wife from being able to fulfill that role?

    And lastly, do you agree with the following quote?

    “I’m an old-fashioned woman. Men should take care of women, and if men were taking care of women today, we wouldn’t have to vote.” -Kay O’Connor

  • Eliza

    22Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

    25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30for we are members of his body. 31″For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[c] 32This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

    Beats me why we’d take the advice of a self-loathing single man on marriage & other adult relationships. Paul writes here, “after all, no one ever hated his own body,” when elsewhere in his writings he himself expresses loathing of his own body and of bodily functions.

    Be that as it may. Here, Paul says that WIVES should (1) submit to their husbands, (2) submit to their husbands in everything, (3) respect her husband. End of story for wives. Submit, submit, respect – all passive. There’s no room for her own voice in these instructions.

    Husbands are “head of wife, [in the same way] as Christ is Savior and head of church…[for which he] gave himself up…to make her holy, cleansing her…to present her to himself as…radiant…without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” Suggesting his view that in the absence of this husbandly leadership, wives (women?) are stained, wrinkled, blemished, blameful, not holy, not radiant. That’s Paul for ya.

    Husbands are to love their wives as above, to make them acceptable. They ought to love their wives in the same way they love their own bodies (feeding & caring for them), even though Paul expressed loathing for his own body and bodily flesh/functions in his writings, and Jesus himself said that one should not worry about these things.

    A husband leaves his parents and is united with his wife, but Paul is clear in pointing out he is ACTUALLY talking about Christ leaving His father and mother and becoming one flesh with the church and loving it as a husband would…an odd image which probably feeds fantasies for some Christians. (I’m not saying this is true for you. But one imagines it probably is, for some.)

  • Robert W

    Anna,

    Galatians 3:28- There is neither Jew not Gentile, slave nor free, male nor female, for all are one in Christ Jesus

    Wives are simply not inferior in this view of marriage, nor matter how you want to slice it.

    Peterson C,

    If the husband fails to fulfill his role then the wife must. And no I don’t agree with that statement.

    Eliza, you have a very distorted view of Paul and his teachings. Have you done an actual study of those teachings or are you talking as an atheist who has never studied the Bible?

  • BlueRidgeLady

    Anna,

    I feel your frustration.
    Maybe we should consider women to be 3/5 “as equal” as men!

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com Anna

    Wives are simply not inferior in this view of marriage, nor matter how you want to slice it.

    Well, two can play at that game, LOL. “Wives are simply not equal in this view of marriage, no matter how you want to slice it.”

    Again, if you and your wife want to act out 19th century gender roles, be my guest. You’re adults, and you have the right to live your lives how you want. But don’t expect the rest of us to pretend that this is anything other than sexism.

    I feel your frustration. Maybe we should consider women to be 3/5 “as equal” as men!

    Works for me! ;-)

  • Peterson, C.

    Robert:

    If the husband fails to fulfill his role then the wife must.

    That didn’t really answer the question I posed. You just presented a situation in which a women might find herself as spiritual leader of a household, without actually addressing her capability in that role. Perhaps that was because of how I worded it, so I’ll rephrase the question.

    Is a women just as capable as a man in the role of household spiritual leader? If so, why dictate that this task is reserved for the husband? If not, what is it about women that makes them inadequate to be a spiritual leader?

  • Robert W.

    Of course women are just as capable. I don’t believe they are inadequate in anyway. I just understand from the Bible that this is a responsibility that is given to the husband.

    Anna, If you read the verse directly before the one we have been discussing, it says that both should submit to each other. So there is no reason to get hung up on the word submission as if it implies inferiority.

    And you can be assured that I don’t view my wife as anyway inferior to me, quite the contrary.

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com Anna

    Anna, If you read the verse directly before the one we have been discussing, it says that both should submit to each other. So there is no reason to get hung up on the word submission as if it implies inferiority.

    Really? I’m sure that would come as a huge surprise to the millions of fundamentalist and evangelical Christians who follow biblical patriarchy. They believe that husbands lead and wives follow. Men make the decisions. Men have the final say. Men do not have to submit to their wives. It’s just dishonest to pretend that people do not use these verses to promote marriages that are unequal. Good grief, look at the very definition of the word you’re using:

    Definition of SUBMIT
    transitive verb
    1a : to yield to governance or authority b : to subject to a condition, treatment, or operation
    2: to present or propose to another for review, consideration, or decision; also : to deliver formally
    3: to put forward as an opinion or contention
    intransitive verb
    1a : to yield oneself to the authority or will of another : surrender b : to permit oneself to be subjected to something
    2: to defer to or consent to abide by the opinion or authority of another

    There’s nothing equal about any of that. Women are not children. They are not pets. They should not have to submit to their “leaders.” Heck, I wouldn’t even treat children or pets that way. I cannot believe that this is the year 2010, and people are still advocating this type of belief system. It truly boggles my mind, but I guess that’s what fundamentalism does to people. It warps their perception. Thank goodness I was never exposed to anything like this growing up.

  • Peterson, C.

    Of course women are just as capable. I don’t believe they are inadequate in anyway. I just understand from the Bible that this is a responsibility that is given to the husband.

    If both parties are capable of doing the job, but the task is given exclusively to husbands for no other reason than the fact that they are the husband, that’s sexual discrimination. It’s one of the most clear cut examples of sexual discrimination you could ever possibly come up with too.

    These same types of role arguments were used against women when they were fighting for equality. The role of the man is to go and work and provide for his family, and the role of the woman is to tend to the home and children. You may not see the connection, or think it’s an apples and oranges comparison, but consider for a moment the distinct lack of female priests. It stems from the notion that the role of spiritual leader is reserved for men.

    Returning to home life, the passages in question pretty much give the husband overriding authority on spiritual matters. If the wife doesn’t agree with how her husband is teaching, or she believes that certain parts of the Bible should be interpreted differently, well too bad, the husband has final say. I’m not saying this is how it works with your family, or every family, but I guarantee it is and has been used in that fashion.

    And this returns us to the arguments at the beginning of this thread. No matter what the context, no matter how liberal your personal interpretation is, so long as sexist passages like this exist in books that are considered sacred, and so long as there’s no overriding authority to put things into a modern perspective, there will be people who use them to control others.

    For that reason, I believe we have a right to point out such passages as potentially damaging to the rights of various individuals. And if the stories and rules laid down in the Bible are accepted as the works of men, and were written to provide guidance, doesn’t it seem reasonable to go ahead and rewrite these texts to remove certain distasteful elements and bring them more in line with modern sensibilities?

    I’d like to see someone try and sell that idea to the “it’s taken out of context” crowd. You’d get laughed right out of the church.

  • Eliza

    Goodness, Robert W. My views on Paul come from study of Paul’s writings (and the role these seem to play in some different denominations), including through adult religious education in a well-established local church. Funny thing: from the point of view of someone who doesn’t a priori accept Paul’s writings as the word of god, it seems quite clear that Paul’s teachings differ significantly from Jesus’ teachings.

    You didn’t question my views on Jesus vis a vis Paul. Regarding husbands feeding & caring for their wives as they do for themselves, please see Matthew 6:25-34 (though of course feeding/caring may not only be literal but also spiritual). This follows Matthew 6:5-13, instructions directly from Jesus on how to pray, which Paul does not reference (and seems to contradict, with his emphasis on gathering together in churches).

    Paul writes that church members should cast out and refuse to associate with purported Christians who act in immoral ways, not even share a meal with them (1 Corinthians 5:9-13). Contrast this to Jesus, who spent time with the outcasts in society, including sharing meals.

    Re marriage, see 1 Corinthians 7, in which Paul recommends against getting married, and in verse 29 he recommends (because he believes time is short) that “From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none”.

    1 Corinthians 14:33-35
    33 …As in all the congregations of the saints, 34 women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. 35 If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.

    And then there’s the misogynistic screed that is 1 Timothy 5, my all-time favorite. (Plus, it ends with advice in verse 23 that Christians seem to ignore: “Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.)

    [sarcasm] Oh, yeah. Paul. What a great resource for gender equality and for marital advice in modern times. [/sarcasm]

  • Robert W.

    Anna, Peterson C.,

    These verses in Ephesians clearly do not support the view of sexual discrimination. If you want to claim that God giving certain responsibilities to husbands sexist then you can, but to claim that this is discrimination against women in a derogatory sense is missing and ignoring the rest of the responsibilities and callings of the husband.

    And no I don’t agree that we should rewrite the Bible simply to appeal to our modern culture.

    Eliza,

    I am glad that you have studied Paul’s writings but I truly don’t know where you would reach the conclusion that his teachings were different then Jesus’. Quite the contrary.

    Your example from Matthew- Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount is telling people not to worry in the sense that God will take care of the wordly things. He is not saying that husbands don’t have the duty to take care of his family.

    Prayer- Jesus didn’t say that all prayer should be in private. Indeed he said that when two or three of you are together in my name I will be there. Matthew 18:20. Thus Jesus taught not only the need for private prayer but prayer with a group of believers.

    Paul’s lesson to the Corinthians was not in contrast to Jesus’s teaching on reaching out to all men. In fact, Paul had been called specifically to spread the Gospel to the Gentiles, which according to Jewish culture were untouchables. In fact Paul taught that no men were greater then the other. (Phil. 2:3, Ro: 3:23) This lesson was directed to church discipline, not on who they may reach out to as Jesus was doing.

    I Corth 14:33-35 is in a portion speaking about talking in tongues.

    I Tim:5 is Paul’s advice to Timothy on how to handle the church helping widows. Don’t forget, this was written at time when widows would have no means to support themselves. Paul was answering concerns from Timothy on how to handle this situation. Widows should first be taken care of by their families and younger widows were encouraged to remarry. Older widows were to be taken care of by the church. I don’t see where this is derogatory.

    Finally, the advice about the wine was apparently because Timothy abstained and had a medical condition. It was not intended to be advice for all Christians to stop drinking water. You are smarter then that.

  • Peterson, C.

    These verses in Ephesians clearly do not support the view of sexual discrimination. If you want to claim that God giving certain responsibilities to husbands sexist then you can, but to claim that this is discrimination against women in a derogatory sense is missing and ignoring the rest of the responsibilities and callings of the husband.

    If you delegate a particular set of responsibilities based solely on gender rather than ability, it’s sexual discrimination. It doesn’t matter if the husband is loving, or nurturing, or caring, or anything else. That’s completely irrelevant. All that matters is that one role is reserved for men, and one role is reserved for women.

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com Anna

    These verses in Ephesians clearly do not support the view of sexual discrimination. If you want to claim that God giving certain responsibilities to husbands sexist then you can, but to claim that this is discrimination against women in a derogatory sense is missing and ignoring the rest of the responsibilities and callings of the husband.

    Of course, I forgot. If you believe your god commands something, then it’s automatically right. Your god can commit genocide and you won’t hold it morally accountable, so why should I expect you to take your deity to task for something as relatively insignificant as sexism? That actually clears up a lot of things for me. No wonder you’re so invested in denying that those verses are sexist. If you believe they’re written by your god, then that makes them infallible. There’s no reasoning with that position. You won’t ever admit that treating men as leaders and women as followers is sexist, because you can’t admit that anything supposedly commanded by your deity is wrong or misguided. We’ll just go round and round in circles forever.

  • Eliza

    I’m not surprised to hear that you don’t see anything wrong with the attitude expressed toward widows in 1 Timothy 5:1-20. I can only hope that some day you will be able to see how sexist and judgmental this is:

    1Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, 2older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity. 3Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. 4But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. 5The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help. 6But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. 7Give the people these instructions, too, so that no one may be open to blame. 8If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

    9No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over sixty, has been faithful to her husband, 10and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the saints, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.

    11As for younger widows, do not put them on such a list. For when their sensual desires overcome their dedication to Christ, they want to marry. 12Thus they bring judgment on themselves, because they have broken their first pledge. 13Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to. 14So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander. 15Some have in fact already turned away to follow Satan.

    16If any woman who is a believer has widows in her family, she should help them and not let the church be burdened with them, so that the church can help those widows who are really in need.

    17The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. 18For the Scripture says, “Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.” 19Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses.

    Elders (men) are revered, treated with kid gloves. Widows, on the other hand, are objects of suspicion. Most of them aren’t “really in need”, and those who claim to be must be scrutinized. The church must be very careful which of them it’s going to support. Of COURSE, if they’re under 60, they’re going to be thinking of sex and should be married off, oh and they’re idle and busybodies and gossips. If they’re over 60 but have been anything less than absolute and complete paragons, then the church can also get out of supporting them. Whereas the elders are, without any other qualification, worthy of double honor.

  • Eliza

    I Corth 14:33-35 is in a portion speaking about talking in tongues.

    Including more of 1 Corinthians (14:26-35) to put verses 34 & 35 in context. Paul had been addressing speaking in tongues before this, but here he broadens the topic:

    26What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church. 27If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God.

    29Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. 30And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. 31For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. 32The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. 33For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.
    As in all the congregations of the saints, 34women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. 35If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.

    Note here that “everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation” to offer, oh except that “everyone” naturally means only the people with penises.

    God forbid (so to speak) that the Holy Spirit should be trying to speak through a person with a vagina, or that a person with a vagina should be the one who is able to interpret a prophesy or something spoken in tongues.

  • name

    Song of Solomon 8:8-10 – We have a little sister, and she hath no breasts: what shall we do for our sister in the day when she shall be spoken for? If she be a wall, we will build upon her a palace of silver: and if she be a door, we will inclose her with boards of cedar. I am a wall, and my breasts …like towers: then was I in his eyes as one that found favour.

    Numbers 31:17-18 – Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.

  • cocoloco

    Really? How many of you even know a muslim, much less have read the Quran? How many of you are even familiar with anything other than your own back yard? Do you realize that most of these practices which are mentioned here as being limited to Muslims in the Middle East is also being practiced by Christians in the Middle East? Good God! As a matter of fact upper Egypt’s Copts (Christians) have a long history of honor killings till this very day. How can you honestly believe that this is just a matter or result of some damn book? These practices existed before the Bible and the Quran, these books just make it easier to justify the practice.

  • A woman

    This article summarizes fairly well the treatment of women by many religions. Personally, I cannot imagine why a god would create two sexes to make one the “slave” of the other. Rather, it is far more easily imaginable that men with small parts would try to overcompensate by bringing women down and writing stuff like that (see it happening every day in today’s society). Thus, as a woman who has self respect, I chose to be an atheist.

  • Umar

    Brothers ISLAM is the first Religion which is Gives Equal Rights to WOMAN….It is the one and only truth religion…..without seeing ful content Don’t blam ISLAM….ISLAM is the Fastest Growing Religion in the World and Best for Ever……


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