Christian Pastor: Some Women Are Like Chinese Water Torture

Last night, I watched a sermon given by a fundamentalist Christian pastor talking about complementarianism, where only men can be the leaders in the church and home. I know some of you are sick of hearing about that because I’ve just giving them exposure, but in this case, we’re not talking about Pastor Steven Anderson and his church of a few dozen.

We’re talking about Pastor Mark Driscoll and his church of several thousands.

Coincidentally, he was talking about the same ideas Anderson presented the other day — the idea that wives should submit to their husbands. I’ll give Driscoll credit — he cloaks his misogyny in Bible verses much more discreetly than Anderson does, but the effect is the same. Just check out excerpts from the sermon starting at the 4:22 mark (transcribed here):

Read with me in Ephesians 5:22–33. We’re just going to read it and then talk about it. “Wives” — what’s the word, ladies? Boy, it didn’t take long, did it? One woman quietly said, “Submit.” So, not arousing, enthusiastic, joy-filled response. “Wives, submit.” “What does that mean in the Greek, Pastor Mark?” You can always tell a rebellious Evangelical. They do word studies. They try to go to the Greek and figure out if it perhaps means something else. I’ll just read, OK. “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the” — men, what’s it say? — “head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything” — seems like a lot — “to their husbands.

(We can all thank Driscoll for reading to us the words that were right in front of our eyes like we were toddlers.) He’s setting us up here. Look! The Bible says it so you have to believe everything I say! Not only that, but we’re going to tear down anyone who might offer a different interpretation!

Then we get to the meat of the sermon: What does it mean for women to submit to their husbands?

That’s the basic idea of complementarian theology. The man is the head of the home and the leader, and the wife is intelligent, she is gifted, she is capable and competent. And when Genesis 2:18, I think, says she’s the helper, that means that she is actually more intelligent and more competent in certain areas, that he’s not, so they work together so that together they’re better.

That’s impressive maneuvering. He sets the ball, then fakes the spike. He doesn’t say The man is the head and the woman is subservient to him. Instead, he says The man is the head and the woman… does other stuff well. He’ll let your own mind fill in the blank, so that he doesn’t have to be the bad guy. It’s like Louis CK‘s bit about people who say “the N-word” — they’re making you think it so they don’t get in trouble.

That’s where Driscoll really sets himself apart from Anderson. Whereas Anderson would have gladly filled in the blank for you, Driscoll just begins the sentence and gives you the chance to figure out where he meant to go. He’s too busy defending his men-rule theology against feminist-leaning Christian women to do it himself.

Then, we get to hear about women who “cut down” their men in public. Driscoll doesn’t take very kindly to such women (46:04):

You ladies don’t, perhaps, understand this, but when you disrespect, cut down your husband in front of others, he’s in a lose-lose scenario, because if he argues back, he’s being mean; if he doesn’t argue back, he’s being weak. He’s in a lose-lose. Men with men, it’s not like this. You disrespect me, we can talk about that, right? We can actually have a bit of a debate about that. But with your wife, I’m in a bad position. Either I respond and I’m a mean husband, I don’t respond and I’m a weak husband. The book of Proverbs talks about certain kinds of women. They’re quarrelsome. They’re a nag.

In the history of Mars Hill, I’ve emphasized men, and I’ve rebuked men. Well, in the name of equality, let me now do the same for the ladies, OK? Because we believe in equality. We believe that women should be offended equally as men, right? And some women — you’re a nag. You’re disrespectful. You’re quarrelsome. Being married to you is like a life sentence, and the guy’s just scratching on his wall every day, “One more day. Just one more day.” Proverbs talks about certain women — they’re like a dripping faucet. You ever tried to sleep with a dripping faucet? Plunk, plunk, plunk, plunk, plunk. It’s what we use to torture people who are prisoners of war. A wife is like that. She just — boom, boom, boom, boom.

Ah, yes, I remember the old Some-Women-Are-Like-Chinese-Water-Torture part of the Bible. It’s how they tried to kill Jesus before the crucifixion.

This is all a buildup for Driscoll’s main point: Men and women have set roles and women must be subservient to their husbands. There can be no good relationship in which a woman is the head. There can be no good relationship in which the man is not alpha-manly. (There is obviously no room here for gay or lesbian couples.) Everyone is equal, but some are more equal than others. Driscoll’s actual words are “you can be equal and under authority.”

In the hierarchy of the church, God rules above everyone and husbands rule over their wives. This image isn’t a joke:

What’s scary is that this view is not limited to crazy fringe Christians. It’s a popular view that treats women as second-class citizens while pretending to treat them as equals. Because of that pretending, it gets far more traction than it should.

The most ironic thing may be the title of Driscoll’s sermon: “I am loved.”

He should have added a subtitle: “… but not as much as my husband is.”

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • TiltedHorizon

    I wonder how many times a night Driscoll’s Wife talks herself down from taking pillow and smothering him while he sleeps?

    “thou shalt not kill”
    “thou shalt not kill”
    “thou shalt not kill”
    “thou shalt not kill”


    • Charles Honeycutt

      …why do those sheep leaping over me one by one look like Axe Murder…

  • Tainda

    Women (and men) who nag ARE like torture lol

    No one should be the “head” in a relationship. It’s a partnership not a dictatorship. Arguments happen but nagging is a whole other animal. When I’m in a relationship I would never think to demean him. He’s my lover/partner, not my child.

    And before anyone says anything, I would never demean my child either :P I just meant that as chastisement lol

  • Anonymous Atheist

    First thought upon seeing the headline: Listening to some pastors is like Chinese water torture.

  • BobaFuct

    “I believe in equality…I once told some men that they did some stuff wrong. Trust me, I rebuked the shit out of them, in private. But you women, let me tell ALL OF YOU, indiscriminately and publicly, how shitty you are. See, equality.”

  • Sue Blue

    Because, according to the Bible, women were created after men (like an afterthought), or made from Adam’s rib (therefore a part of his body under his control), women can never be fully-functional independent beings. Because these people believe that gender roles were fixed by God upon humans from the beginning, they cannot be changed, and attempting to do so is futile. When I was growing up in the Seventh-Day Adventist church, I heard “the leopard can’t change its spots” over and over again. It was to remind me that my femininity was clearly defined and my role was fixed, never to be changed by willpower or effort.
    Fundamentalists simply do not accept the idea that human beings can choose their own gender roles, or change them as they please, or define them any way they want to. That would shatter their whole world order as set by God from the foundations of the world.

    • Yoav

      That’s only according to bible 2.0 (genesis Ch2 that is). It’s amazing how all these people who claim every single word in the buybull is a literal description of actual historical events keep missing Genesis 1:27 and skipping to Genesis 2:7 then missing most of that chapter until Genesis 2:22 which is the only way you get popular version of the creation story which is a hybrid of the two contradictory ones in genesis 1 and genesis 2.

      • Sue Blue

        And none of them can ever seem to explain why God gave men nipples and women little penises. Since women are just receptacles and baby breeders/feeders according to the biblical view, why would God give men not only nipples but breast tissue, and give women the capacity to enjoy sex with a clitoris (penis). Genesis is such a simple-minded tale, I don’t know how anyone over the age of ten in the 21st century can believe it. I also don’t know why anyone with a functioning neuron would think we should take the ramblings of an unmarried misogynist (Paul) seriously.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

    Driscoll is the same guy who advocated “Christian MMA” and described Jesus as a prize-fighter, right?

    He is a creepy person.

    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisible_Pink_Unicorn Anna

      I am just waiting for the inevitable scandal.

      • Spuddie

        Probably involving either a dead farm animal or a live child.

        • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisible_Pink_Unicorn Anna

          Nah, I’m betting on male prostitute. Anyone as obsessed with masculinity as Mark Driscoll has some underlying issues.

  • jdm8

    That chart suggests that Jesus is a leaky umbrella.

  • A3Kr0n

    What’s scary is that this view has survival value because here we are.

  • http://www.travismamone.net/ Travis Mamone

    Mark Driscoll may be the most vocally misogynistic Christian pastor, but the rest of the conservative evangelical church isn’t doing any better. Sure, they say that God loves women, but then they say He (it’s always a He) deliberately gave men more privileges than women, therefore making women by default second class citizens in the Kingdom of God.

    • Gus Snarp

      Oh he’s not the most vocally misogynistic, he’s just the most popular vocally misogynistic Christian pastor.

    • Stev84

      This kind of ideology is hardly limited to Driscoll. How he expressed it is somewhat unique to him, but those ideas are mainstream in his circles and shared by all prominent fundamentalist preachers.

    • Stev84

      This kind of ideology is hardly limited to Driscoll. How he expressed it is somewhat unique to him, but those ideas are mainstream in his circles and shared by all prominent fundamentalist preachers.

      • Pseudonym

        But it would be fair to say that it’s limited to US-style evangelical/fundamentalist preachers, which is “crazy fringe” as far as the vast majority of the 2.2 billion Christians in the world are concerned.

        Yes, it enjoys majority status in the US bible belt, and that’s bad. It also says something about the US bible belt, and possibly about the US as a whole.

        • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisible_Pink_Unicorn Anna

          What do you mean by U.S. style? There are evangelicals and fundamentalists in other parts of the world, too. Do evangelical and fundamentalist preachers in Africa or Asia or Europe have a better track record when it comes to gender equality?

          • Stev84

            In practice not, but in other countries the inequality stems more from traditional beliefs and customs that are widespread in society regardless of people’s religion. It’s not justified the same way these preachers justify their beliefs.

            There is indeed a very, very distinct American style of Christianity. Something evangelicals have been busy exporting elsewhere.

            • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisible_Pink_Unicorn Anna

              Oh, definitely, and I agree that it’s something that evangelicals have been heavily promoting in other countries. They have some of the most dedicated missionaries, after all. The American evangelical scene is its own brand of insane, but I wonder if evangelical and fundamentalist churches in other parts of the world are any better when it comes to the theology. Evangelical Christianity, for example, seems to be taking over South Korea. What are those churches teaching about gender roles within the family? Are the pastors telling married couples that they must accept complementarianism?

        • Sue Blue

          This view is shared by the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, which qualifies as an evangelical, fundamentalist sect. It is most popular in Oregon, California, and Michigan (where its founder lived), but it has millions of members in every state and throughout the world and has rapidly-growing churches on every continent. They don’t go in for the “megachurch” flashy TV presence like some other evangelicals, nor do they go for speaking in tongues or snake-handling, but as far as creationism and misogyny are concerned, they’re right up there with the craziest Southern Baptists.

    • Carpinions

      It’s the “Some of my best friends are women!” version of anti-sexism.

    • r.holmgren

      More privileges? Have you not noticed that every single “punishment” listed in the Bible is directed toward men?

      • Earl G.

        Right, because women were never drowned in a big flood, turned into salt, cursed with childbirth, expelled from a paradise, specifically punished with subservience, etc.

        Try actually reading your bible.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

        Incorrect. The Bible says that women can be sold into slavery to cover their fathers’ debts; should be killed if they are suspected of being witches; are ritually unclean because of menstruation; should be punished more heavily than men for having unapproved sex; and many other misogynistic things. Here’s a list: http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/women/long.html

      • Martin Wagner

        I’m sure Lot’s wife would be surprised to hear that.

      • Valancy Jane

        You haven’t read the Bible much. But that isn’t surprising. In addiction to Michael W Busch’s fine summation, women were stoned to death if they didn’t yell loud enough during rape; if the rape was “legitimate” (ugh), they could be sold to their rapists. They were killed if they weren’t virgins upon their marriage. If a Jewish man suspected his pregnant wife of infidelity, Yahweh commanded him to feed her an abortifacient potion. Young girls were taken as sex slaves after at least one battle, and in other battles, Jews were commanded to slice pregnant women’s bellies open with swords. A woman who grabbed her husband’s opponents testicles in a fight was in big trouble too. Of course, Yahweh murdered almost everybody in the human race with the Flood–we can imagine there were women in that. And when he destroyed cities, women were in them too. In the NT, Sapphira was murdered by Yahweh for the supreme crime of not giving money to some traveling conjobs–er, priests.

        You’ve really drunk you some nice Kool-aid there, haven’t you?

      • Valancy Jane

        Oh! And I almost forgot: Billions upon billions of women have been condemned to death since the expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Remember that? “Childbirth will be hard for you from now on”? That was your god doing that. Even today, death is a significant risk for pregnant women, even moreso in countries that skew theocratic and primitive.

  • b33bl3br0x

    To be fair, some women are like water torture…so are some men.

    My boss in my first research position, for example, was characterized by several of his colleagues as “like water torture.” As a former employee I couldn’t agree more.

  • http://twitter.com/enuma enuma

    So… Jesus and Husbands are so shitty at their jobs that the Wives still need their own umbrellas?

    • Baby_Raptor

      They’re so shitty at their jobs that they need a second person as a slave so their lives and egos will function.

      Amazing, isn’t it?

    • Artor

      Well to be fair, you can’t expect Jesus’s hands to hold water, what with the big holes in them…

  • Gus Snarp

    It’s amazing how many people with completely different beliefs can nonetheless use the Bible to justify them. Why, it’s almost as if it were a mishmash of different myths and parables packed together and translated from a number of ancient languages by people with very different agendas.

  • busterggi

    We could give him the benefit of the doubt and think he enjoys golden showers.

    But…

  • Lee Miller

    People like Driscoll couldn’t continue to do what they do unless hundreds and thousands of people sat and passively listened to them and financially supported them. That’s the really scary scenario. Why don’t people stand up and yell at him when this is happening?

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty
    • Camorris

      Precisely! Without the cash rolling in, his ministry would fold (just like any other religious establishment). I wonder how Jesus financed his ministry?

  • Kirby_G

    “You can always tell a rebellious Evangelical. They do word studies. They try to go to the Greek and figure out if it perhaps means something else.”

    …and then they realize how badly mangled and confusing the english bible really is and they start to question if it’s true, and they conclude that it isn’t, and then they become happy, guilt-free, productive atheists.

    Or, at least that’s how I did it.

    Isn’t one of the first hallmarks of a cult that they ridicule and discourage all attempts to question or investigate the authority of the leader?

  • smrnda

    There are men who are mature and emotionally secure enough that their wives can disagree with them without their taking it as a personal affront, but someone like Driscoll who seems to be stuck in adolescence seems to be unable to handle anything other than subservience and getting his ego stoked. Luckily most men are probably not cases of arrested development like Driscoll and his fan boys.

    Authoritarians like this don’t seem to understand how equality works – it requires that people can disagree about things and talk them over as part of the decision making process. Only someone incredibly narcissistic has to be 100% the boss or else.

  • funkotron

    “Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.”

    Ok so wives should imagine a man who mostly commands them to do whatever they already wanted to do, but never actually see that man?

  • Fargofan

    I grew up in a conservative Christian home. My mom quoted her female Bible study leader who liked to say, “A marriage with two heads is a two-headed monster.” My response is, “Two heads are better than one.”

    • Artor

      Every D&D player knows a two-headed monster is much tougher to fight & harder to kill than a regular one. Funny, from my viewpoint, that would apply to marriages too. Ask your mom if she’d care to tackle a 2-headed giant?

      • Valancy Jane

        The XP is a lot better though.

        Once I met an egalitarian, feminist man, I realized I could never go back to the old style of doing it. There aren’t “two heads” in my marriage. There are two ADULTS, each working together to make the whole better.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisible_Pink_Unicorn Anna

    What’s scary is that not only are there so many of these people out there, they’re promoting this viewpoint in 2013. And they all look so normal, too. I don’t think most Americans who grow up in mainstream society ever encounter anything like this, or are even aware it still exists. It’s like something out of another century to me.

  • Lori F MN

    Enough with the Self-Inflicted Christian Pastor Torture

  • Baby_Raptor

    I wish this Fuck would come out of the closet already. He’d be a lot happier, and he’d get forcibly shut up by his church for the “sin” involved so the rest of us would be a lot happier as well.

  • Pseudonym

    I find the implication that Mark Driscoll isn’t a “crazy fringe” Christian a bit weird.

  • Carpinions

    This isn’t even masked, to my mind. If any pastor at all starts flapping gums about passages in the Bible that talk about the husband’s power over the wife, forget it. That person is a party to spreading sexism and misogyny. If they don’t like that fact, they can take their crap elsewhere, or man the F up, stop being a cave beast, and join the 21st century. The pastor and priests are probably the worst offenders of this in our culture. Where else are women openly told to shut up and sit down, without a scene being made over it?

    Again: Religion is the problem. It apologizes for, gives a pass to, aid and comfort for, and flat out endorses this kind of thinking under pain of evidence-free supernatural legal recourse.

  • DavidMHart

    Driscoll’s actual words are “you can be equal and under authority.”

    So, if a woman can be under a man’s authority and yet still be ‘equal’ to him, does that mean that a man, despite being under a god’s authority, is still equal to that god?

  • baal

    The image rings two bells in my head. First, it’s so much the same as the ‘white’s only’ drinking fountains. The message is clear, you suck and are not in charge. Second, the implied analogy makes me wonder about their anti-homosexuality views. Husband is to wife as Jesus is to Husband. Screwed by their lord?

  • r.holmgren

    Dear Hemant, you are so clueless on all things theological. Just a very short note:
    1. Submission does not equal subservience
    2. The term help-mate used of women in Genesis is the same term God uses of Himself in His relationship with us – hardly a one-down position
    3. “Submit to one another” is a command with men being told more often to submit to their wives than wives are told to submit to their husbands.
    4.Men are called the spiritual leaders in the home. That means that we as Husbands are to MODEL for the family, through OUR behaviours:

    Submission
    Forgiveness
    Patience
    Love
    Mercy
    Grace etc.

    Now, if Driscoll failed to point that out, he’s made a serious error. But that is not the fault of Jesus. On the other hand, if Driscoll didt point that out and you simply ignored ALL of what he said, well . . .

    The point being, don’t reject Jesus because of my / our failings. Judge what He teaches based upon a knowledge, not an ignorance of what Jesus taught.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

      [opens dictionary]
      “submission. 1. noun. “the acknowledgement of the legitimacy of the power of one’s superior or superiors.”
      “subservience. 1. adj. useful in an inferior capacity: subordinate.”
      “subordinate. 2. adj. submissive to or controlled by an authority.”

      Notice the circular definitions. All three words have the model of a relationship where one person is in charge and one person is obeying. _This is not a good model for familial relationships_. And it is not a good model for _any_ relationship if the only reason the person in charge is because we would use masculine pronouns to refer to him.

      With regards to the rest of what you said: the Bible is an ambiguous text. Driscoll uses it to support one set of ideas. You may use it to support an entirely opposite set of ideas. Neither of you has justification within the Bible itself for saying that the other is “doing Christianity wrong”. You are applying outside evidence that forgiveness, patience, love, etc. are good and important things. And since you’re doing that, why bring the Bible into discussions of ethics at all?

      • r.holmgren

        This is not a good model for family relationships.’

        No it isn’t, and that this why Jesus says, “To be a leader, you must be the servant.” “I did not come to be served but to serve and to give my life as a ransom for many.” And then He said, “Follow Me, be like Me, behave in your relationships how I behaved in Mine.”

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

          No, that is not what “Jesus says”. It is what the texts included in the Bible say that Jesus said. Not the same thing. Whatever historical Jesus there might have been, he is two thousand years dead and we do not know what words he may actually have said.

          And the Bible also says a bunch of things that contradict what you have quoted – all the material Driscoll likes to quote, for example.

          • r.holmgren

            “It is what the texts included in the Bible say that Jesus said”

            So do you disagree with what the ‘texts” say about servant leadership? Do you disagree that that husband should model for the family mercy, grace, submission, forgiveness, patience, sacrificial love and so on? Does that seem like a bad idea to you?

            • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

              “Do you disagree that that husband should model for the family mercy,
              grace, submission, forgiveness, patience, sacrificial love and so on?”

              No. But why are you limiting those things to one subset of people? Why do you think there has to be a leader of any kind in a family?

              • r.holmgren

                First of all because I trust Jesus and what He taught. He took the lead and showed by example how a husband is to behave, by taking a one-down position, by being willing to sacrifice his life for his family. I can’t imagine ANY woman complaining about that. My own wife rates our marriage as 9/10. Ya, I screw up from time to time.

                The second reason I think a leader is required is because someone has to take the lead, set the tone, show the children how to do life. As the saying goes, “Kids are great imitaters, so give them something great to imitate.” And as the country song goes, “I want to be like Jesus, because my kids want to be like me.”

                According to Jesus, who I trust, I don’t think I have the right to make my wife take the lead. Far too many men abdicate that responsibility and push the hardest job in the world onto their wives. Or, they take this so called leadership mandate (as near as I can tell it is ONLY in the spiritual role that we are called to be leaders) and use it in a fantastically abusive form which makes women (like most who post comments here) so justifiably furious and outraged that they completely reject Jesus.

                Beyond the spiritual leadership role, husbands and wives are co equals, commanded to submit to one another. For what it’s worth, I’m a retired marriage and family counsellor, married for 40 years. In my experience the best marriages are those where there are two people who try to outdo each other in treating each other with the behaviours of love.
                It’s not just “Christians” who are able to do this. I’ve worked with thousands of secular couples, married and not married who can see the wisdom of putting their innate selfishness on the shelf and sacrificing for each other.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

      Also: you wrote ” I know you can’t help it, but you seem so clueless on things theological”.

      That statement is wrong both in Hemant’s case (have you seen his books?) and in the general case. It happens that in the US, atheists are in general the _most_ knowledgeable about the teachings of different religions. This is because most of us were raised religious, investigated that particular religion and other religions in some detail, and decided that it was all nonsense.

      You are wrong to say that Hemant is “clueless” about theology, and also wrong that people who aren’t religious “can’t help” not knowing about theology. All it takes to know about any particular theology is to listen to or read the words of someone who advocates it.

      • r.holmgren

        If you were as theologically astute as you claim to be and as you claim Hemant to be, then you would both know Jesus’ teaching on submission, servant-hood and leadership. You seem to fail on each term. Why is that?

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

          I know enough of theology to say that there _many_ different Christian theologies that all say _different_ things for “Jesus’ teaching on submission, servant-hood, and leadership”.

          You say one thing, Driscoll says another, the Catholics say a third thing, the Unitarians a fourth thing, and on and on.

          This gets back to my earlier point: you and Driscoll get two different conclusions from the same starting material. This is because the Bible is a self-contradicting ambiguous collection of texts.

          • r.holmgren

            I didn’t ask about interpretation. I asked, do YOU know what Jesus (texts) said about submission and servant leadership?

            Ambiguous? Tell me which of the following is difficult to understand and I’ll help you. Also, which of these do you think would make a marriage, a family or even the world a worse place in which to live?

            . You’ve heard it said that you shouldn’t murder but I’m telling you to not even be angry.
            . Treat women with respect instead of just sexual objects
            . You have heard it said and eye for an eye, but I tell you, don’t resist an evil person.
            . Turn the other cheek
            . Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
            . Forgive others as you have been forgiven by your Heavenly Father
            . Don’t judge others in a hypocritical manner
            . Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
            . So that we may not offend [the rulers] go and pay our taxes
            . Don’t forgive the person who sins against you only seven times, but every time.
            . Love your neighbour as you already love yourself
            . Whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant and whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as I did not come to be served but to serve and to give my life as a ransom for many.
            . I will welcome everyone with open arms, no matter how evil they have been or what wrongs they have committed if they will only turn from their sins and follow me.
            . Why are you harassing this woman [a prostitute]? I will forgive her sins.
            . On the night before He was killed, Jesus washed the feet of all His disciples, even the one who He knew was about to betray Him and have Him killed and even though He knew that all of them would desert Him before the night was over.
            . Filled with compassion Jesus healed the man with leprosy.
            . Jesus had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd
            . Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honour your father and mother.
            . Father forgive those who are killing me for they don’t know what they are doing.
            . Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even pagans love those who love them back. And if you do good to those who are good to you what credit is that to you? Even pagans do that. Be merciful just as your Father is merciful.
            . Do not judge. Do not condemn.
            . Do to others the kind of things you would like others to do to you.
            . When they hurled their insults at Him He [Jesus] did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats.
            . I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
            . Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
            . “Put your sword away [Peter]. Shall I not go through the very thing for which I came to the world to do?” Jesus allowed no one to fight for Him.

            These are just a few of the things that Jesus taught regarding peace. But what of His closest followers? We’ve already seen that Peter was ready to violently defend Jesus. If Jesus preached violence and hatred, one could expect that message to be found in the letters / propaganda that was later published by these followers.

            These are an example of Peter’s writings, one of Jesus’ closest followers

            . Don’t conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.
            . Rid yourselves of all malice and slander of every kind.
            . Live such good lives among the pagans that though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God.
            . Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men.
            . It is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.
            . Do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil.
            . Show proper respect for everyone.
            . Husbands, be considerate as you live with your wives and treat them with respect.
            . Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult but with blessing because to this you were called.
            . Whoever would love life must seek peace and pursue it.
            . It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
            . Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
            Hmm. Looks like being with Jesus caused quite a transformation in Peter’s life.

            Well, how about John, the one that used to be called the ‘‘Son of Thunder.’’

            . Love one another
            . If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him.
            . Let us not love with words but with actions.

            . Whoever does not love does not know God because God is love.
            . Whoever loves God must also love others.
            . [Jesus'] command is that you walk in love.

            How about James, one of Jesus’ brothers and former sceptic?

            . God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble
            . The wisdom that comes from Jesus is peace-loving, considerate, full of mercy.
            . Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.
            . Do not slander one another
            . Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.
            . Love your neighbour as you already love yourself.
            . Do not show favouritism.
            . Mercy triumphs over judgement. If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.
            . Everyone should be slow to become angry for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.

            How about the writer of Hebrews?

            . Do not forget to do good and to share with others
            . Make every effort to live in peace with all people.

            And of course, how could this close without quotes from the most diligent follower of Jesus, a former sceptic, a man who, before Jesus came into his life was a violent torturer and killer of Christians, the great apostle Paul.. Warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.

            . Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.
            . Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
            . You know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God.
            . We were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children
            . Do not lie to each other
            . In Christ everyone is equal, none better than another.
            . Therefore as God’s chosen people, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
            . Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
            . Fathers, do not embitter your children or they will become discouraged.
            . Let your conversation be always full of grace.
            . For then in Christ, be overflowing with thankfulness.
            . Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And if you do this, the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is praiseworthy, think about such things and if you do this, the God of peace will be with you.
            . This is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless.
            . We preach the gospel of peace
            . Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
            . Each one of you must love his wife
            . Fathers do not exasperate your children
            . In your anger do not sin for anger gives the devil a foothold.
            . Be completely humble and gentle; bearing with one another in love.
            . Love your neighbour as yourself. If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
            . The outcome of living by the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
            . Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
            . Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrong. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
            . A husband must not divorce his wife.
            . The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?
            . You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we all stand before God’s judgement seat.
            . Do not repay anyone evil for evil.
            . If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
            . Do not take revenge, my friends.
            . If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him
            something to drink

            . Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

            So, again, do these instructions (even if they don’t have any special authority) seem like they would make marriages, families and communities a worse place to live. And if not, why do you reject them simply because they come from Jesus the Christ, the founder of Christianity?

            • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

              I reject the Bible as a source for ethics because it is an arbitrary compilation of 1800+ year-old texts that have no special authority (and no, what you quoted does not “come from Jesus the Christ” – it was all written by people many decades later, and a large number of those are known forgeries). The Bible contains some good advice, but also a lot of bad advice, and it makes a very large number of provably false claims. I have already linked the Skeptic’s Annotated on this matter. Go read it.

              You may take good ethics from it. Good for you. Driscoll takes bad ethics from it. Bad for him. But by claiming that the Bible is somehow a source of unambiguous ethics, you are not helping.

              • r.holmgren

                Okay, well, good luck on your journey.

    • Valancy Jane

      Submission does equal subservience. That’s what it flat-out means. And speaking as a woman who came out of that sick mindset, I can tell you that when an entire gender is considered the “leader,” that make the other gender powerless and disenfranchised. I wasn’t fooled a single bit by that sanctimonious posturing you just did, and I wouldn’t have been then, either. Those who have the boot on their necks don’t miss that there’s a boot there. Don’t try to weasel word your way out of it by claiming that men have it soooooooo harrrrrrrrrrd being the leaders, being dominant, being the top of the food chain, having all the privilege in the world. Not fooled. They are not servants. They are masters. And that makes women slaves.

      The entire idea of patriarchal superiority is rife with potential for abuse. It is no secret at all that Christian-heavy states are the worst for domestic violence–after all, when your god is male, men become gods. When women have no power in their own homes and don’t even own their own bodies, there is nothing stopping men from abusing them. And that is what we see, over and over again, in these supposedly godly households: women who are repressed, oppressed, clearly abused, clearly suffering, and children who come out of these families with horrific tales of abuse and predation.

      And btw, I think it is perfectly, 100% fair as well to judge Christianity by its followers. You are the visible face of Christianity to the world–especially since your god is so shockingly silent and invisible in every other way. You say you have a god infilling you, inspiring you, and directing your behavior, but you lot certainly do not show it. The worst part about your ignorant post here is that we DO know exactly what this kind of preaching leads to, but you clearly do not.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        “The entire idea of patriarchal superiority is rife with potential for abuse.”

        Worse. It’s set up to facilitate abuse right out the gates.

      • r.holmgren

        Well, I disagree. Yes, your worldly concept of submission and subservience are the same. On atheism, might is right. From Jesus’ point of view, submission is a choice. And again, I find 7 commands for wives to submit to husbands, 8 commands for husbands to submit to wives and one to submit to one another. What does that mean to you?

        Are you aware of how Jesus describes the attributes or characteristics of leadership? What does that mean to you?

        “over and over again, in these supposedly godly households:”

        Can you not see that if those things you describe are happening and they happen frequently, then it is NOT a Godly household. Jesus said, “If you have seen Me, you have seen God.” What you are describing is acknowledging that Jesus’ teaching is correct. We are evil to the core. We are so evil that even religion cannot change us. But Jesus can and does. As the saying goes, “Where there is no Holiness, there is no Holy Spirit. I’m not trying to justify or excuse the abuse that takes place in the name of Jesus. I’m saying, in contradiction of Hitchens, it’s not religion that poisons everything. It’s humans that poison religion.

        If I said don’t judge Christianity based upon my behaviours, I erred. Of course that would be a natural response. What I mean to say is to study Jesus and what He taught. Study His life. If you still want to reject His teaching, then go for it. Just like you wouldn’t want me judging you based on the worst of atheists, reject Jesus if you want, but do so based upon what He taught and how He lived.

        Finally, I reiterate, based upon the teaching of Jesus,
        1. Submission does not equal subservience
        2. The term help-mate used of women in Genesis is the same term God uses of Himself in His relationship with us – hardly a one-down position
        3. “Submit to one another” is a command with men being told more often to submit to their wives than wives are told to submit to their husbands.
        4.Men are called the spiritual leaders in the home. That means that we as Husbands are to MODEL for the family, through OUR behaviours:

        Submission
        Forgiveness
        Patience
        Love
        Mercy
        Grace etc.

        This is how I try to live and I have to tell you, my family appreciates it. Do I fail? Absolutely, but I don’t try to justify those failings because there is no justification. I’m sorry that you grew up in a crappy hypocritical home. All I can do is the best I can do.

  • http://twitter.com/Don_Gwinn Don_Gwinn

    This might be an atheist thing, but if my wife says something I think is disrespectful or unfair in public, I sometimes do tell her what I think about it in public. Other times I choose to wait for a private moment (well, OK, usually.) I don’t think it has a lot to do with people thinking I’m mean, I just learned a long time ago to praise in public and complain in private. I understand the “no-win situation” he’s talking about, but it’s not the inescapable trap he says it is. Therefore, it’s not the excuse to tell someone to sit down and shut up that he says it is, either.

    The other problem here is that he doesn’t define or give examples of what “cutting your man down” in public would be. According to Debi Pearl, for instance (by way of the excellent “Love, Joy, Feminism” blog in the bar on the right) if a man is making a mistake and his wife points it out or suggests a better way, she has disrespected him and tried to dominate him; he has been emasculated. I guess what I’m saying is that you don’t get to make people be quiet because “she was disrespectful” if your idea of respect is CRAZY.

  • A Friendly Christian

    I believe in a biblical marriage…I do not agree with everything Mark says. I agree…he definitely struggles with misogynistic tendencies when it comes to the roles of husbands and wives. This is a BIG issue in the church and it seriously gets me fired up.
    The umbrella analogy is completely wrong. It is not a good picture for how the Bible paints marriage at all! My husband and I are Jesus followers all the way and that is NOT what our marriage looks like. I make more money than him…that is fine. I work more hours than him..that is fine. He probably cleans more than I do, he is better at it…. that is fine! We both have jobs we love and are partnering to provide for our family….and we like it that way. Some women like to be home with the kids…that should be fine. Some dads like to be home with the kids…that should be fine too. I like to cook, he helps me every night…that is fine. I like to take part in yard work…that is fine! He is with our daughter more…that is fine! Don’t get me wrong, I miss her like crazy and wish I had more time with her, but we don’t, by any means, think there is anything wrong otherwise. I am sorry that your understanding of Biblical marriage has come from people that have it wrong. We’re all human. We all get it wrong sometimes…I probably do more than my fair share. Just offering a different perspective.

    • Thin-ice

      In other words, in order for a marriage to work, pretty much you ignore what the Bible (including Jesus and Paul) says. And I commend you for that. The bible is full of impractical and stupid personal advice.

  • Child of God and Happy Wife

    I am a wife. Due to infertility (at first) and our choice (now) I have no children. Guess I don’t have a real job in the home – according to that rather narrow-minded umbrella illustration. Oh wait, there is still a HUGE load of things to do here for my husband and myself. Good thing we’ve chosen to SHARE those responsibilities together. There is SO MUCH MORE to being a wife than procreating and nannying a pack of kids.


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