10 Things You’re Taught Growing Up as a Christian Woman

The girl reads the BibleWhen you’re a young woman growing up in conservative Christianity—or in a culture heavily influenced by conservative Christianity—you learn some things about your body, your sexuality, and yourself as a female, that you just accept. It’s not until you really take a moment to step back and question what you’ve been taught your whole life that you realize how damaging and just plain wrong these assertions actually are.

Being a woman myself, I can’t speak for the young men who grow up in the church so I will talk here only about the female side.

As you read the examples below of things you learn in conservative Christianity about godly womanhood, imagine that you are a young woman and these are the messages you are receiving from the people that you trust the most in your life. Some of these messages are taught directly and others are mostly just implied or demonstrated in the Bible.

(This varies a bit depending on which denomination you’re raised in and the particular beliefs of your parents and church leaders)

1. You were created from and for man. Man was created in God’s image, but you were created in man’s image to be his helper, companion and weaker vessel (Gen. 2:20-23, 1 Peter 3:7). Women were created for the specific purpose of helping and serving men and bearing children for them. Women are expected to embrace this and feel privileged to hold the position of a man’s help meet.

Truth: I was not created from or for man. I evolved alongside man and the only thing that separates me from a man is a single chromosome.

2. You are to be submissive to men, especially in church and in your marriage. Not only are you to be submissive, but you are to view it as a positive thing and suppress any leadership urges you may have because those urges are sinful. They go against God’s design for marriage and godly womanhood. The only place of leadership a woman should have is over children and other women.

That is actually quite watered down compared to what the Bible actually says about women being submissive. The Bible says that women should be silent in the church and that it is disgraceful for a woman to speak. Women may only ask questions and learn from their husbands at home (1 Cor. 14:34). Also, a woman is not permitted to have authority over a man, but must “be quiet” (1 Tim. 2:11-15). This passage so thoroughly describes a woman’s position that I just have to share the whole thing:

“A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing – if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.”

Truth: I do not have to submit to a man simply because he’s a man and supposedly has power over me. If I’m inclined to leadership, I am just as equipped for that role as any man. I can choose how to express myself based on my preferences, personality and skills.

3. Since you are a less sexual being than a man, you are responsible for making it easier for the men in your life to maintain pure thoughts. If you dress in such a way that highlights the attractiveness of your body or shows too much skin, you are responsible for any inappropriate actions or thoughts of the men around you. This includes rape or sexual harassment in many people’s minds (even if they only think it on a subconscious level, such as in the case of victim blaming). Deuteronomy 22:23-24 calls for the death of both the rapist and rape VICTIM if she didn’t cry out loud enough to be rescued. If you wonder why we live in a victim blaming culture, look no further than the holy books.

Truth: Women are just as sexual as men are. Our sexual drives can be quite strong and we are stimulated by all sorts of things, ranging from visual to physical to psychological. There is nothing weird about this. It’s simply biology.

On the point of victim blaming: If a man acts inappropriately toward a woman, he is responsible for his actions, not the woman. It doesn’t matter what she was wearing or how much she was wearing, a woman does not deserve to be treated disrespectfully, harassed or assaulted in ANY circumstance. I don’t care if she is walking around naked – a woman is NEVER asking to be raped. It’s a pity that I even have to point that out.

4. Your sexual purity is your worth. If you “give it up” before marriage then you have tainted yourself and are, therefore, worth less to your future husband. In Deuteronomy 22:21 the law demands that if a girl is found to not be a virgin on her wedding night then she should be taken to the doorstep of her father’s house and stoned to death. This is, obviously, not something that is practiced today (in most of the world), but the idea of virginity being a woman’s worth has lived on.

Truth: I’m worth a hell of a lot more than my virginity.

5. Each sexual partner you have before marriage takes a piece of your heart that you can never get back, and if you give away too much of your heart you will eventually have nothing left to give.

Truth: You cannot actually give your heart away. You can love someone deeply and choose to have sex with only them, but your heart and sexuality are still yours. In fact, it doesn’t matter how many sex partners over the course of your lifetime, your heart always belongs to you.

6. Within marriage, denying sex to your husband is sinful. You should always be willing even if you don’t feel like it or don’t get anything out of it, because he has needs that are your job to fulfill. Also, if you don’t fulfill your husband’s sexual needs, then it is essentially your fault if he has an affair. *This is what I was taught. It doesn’t necessarily represent what all Christian women are taught, though it is biblical.*

Truth: A woman should have complete control over the rights of her body. I definitely think that, especially in a monogamous relationship, it’s important to be considerate of each other’s desires and be available to each other, but it’s not right for a woman to feel like she can never say no. It is this way of thinking that has given many men the justification to force themselves on their wives. Yes, that is still rape. Also, if a man (or woman) has an affair behind their spouse’s back, that is on them and no one else.

7. It’s weird for women to masturbate. That is something that men struggle with, not women. If you do struggle with masturbation you are not only weird, but you are robbing your husband because masturbating will make you desire him less. It will also desensitize you to his touch. Vibrators will make it so that you are unable to achieve orgasm without it. Using a dildo will damage your husband’s self-esteem (which is your job to keep healthy) and if you want penetration it should be only your husband to do so. Anything else is just slutty and robs your husband of pleasure he could be getting.

Truth: Women very much enjoy masturbating and start at a very young age, just like boys. It’s not dirty or weird, it’s just our nature as human beings. In addition to being fun as hell and feeling amazing, there are many great benefits of masturbation for women such as stress relief, release of “happy hormones” (dopamine and oxytocin), familiarization with one’s body, experience of pleasure, sleep aid, etc. You can read more about the benefits of female masturbation here and here.

8. Women who seek out sex with multiple partners are sluts and probably have daddy issues. They are looking for love in all the wrong places and are damaging themselves on a psychological and spiritual level by acting out and seeking the approval of men. They don’t really enjoy the sex, they just want men to love them and boost their self-esteem.

Truth: The idea that women could only have sex in order to please men and seek approval is ignorant. See truth point #3. Women are sexual beings and can choose how they would prefer to express their sexuality. I’m sure there are some women (and men) who have sex to act out, in a way, but that is not the norm. If a person chooses to have multiple sex partners, that is their choice based on their sexual preference and orientation. As long as they are consenting adults and there is no deception involved, to each their own.

9. It is actually better if a man doesn’t marry a woman at all, but if he burns with lust then he’ll have to settle for marriage even though it’ll get in the way of him serving god to the best of his ability (1 Cor. 7:7-9).

Truth: This gives women the impression that they are more of a burden or hindrance than anything. Women have a lot to offer the world and are not simply an inconvenience that a man must suffer in order to get off from time to time.

10. If you really think about it, everything that is wrong with the world is because of women. If Eve hadn’t been deceived by the talking snake in the Garden of Eden then sin wouldn’t have entered the world and there would be no disease, pain, suffering, starving children, war or devastation of any kind. Women are weak vessels after all.

Truth: This is what it all boils down to. A woman caused the fall of mankind, therefore all women must be subservient to men and experience pain in childbirth as punishment for this fault. This is based on a mythical story told thousands of years ago that is completely based in fiction. Why is our culture still influenced by this ridiculous story in the 21st century?

These were the things I was taught growing up as a young woman and it greatly influenced the way I thought about myself, my body and my sexuality my whole life until I started questioning these concepts and my role as a woman in my mid-twenties. It all became much more clear when I became an atheist/humanist and embraced science, reason and rational thought over ancient ideology and cultural norms.

[Image Source: Adobe Stock]

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jenica_squareJenica Crail is a wife, mother, nursing and psychology student, and an atheist/humanist activist. She is also a passionate lover of learning, art, wine, dancing, conversation, relationships and deep thinking. She currently blogs at www.reallifebeyondfaith.com.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Aloha

    What a great list!

  • Jack Baynes

    Always amuses me that the “Fall of man” is us gaining morality. If God had his way, we would be blissfully amoral. In the Genesis story, our morals come not from God, but from Eve

    • vaiyt

      Look no further than Genesis for God’s real plan for us – with no more knowledge of good and evil than an animal, living an eternal infancy with a creepy dad watching over our naked frolicking.

    • Bri

      “Okay kiddies, who do you want to be your rolemodel, a woman who actually made her own decision, or an invisible god you will never see who wants good little robot dolls he can make do whatever he wants?”

      • Glandu

        Her : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corinne_Diacre

        Woman, and head coach of a successful professional male soccer team.

        She’s third of her league with virtually noone of quality in her defensive roster. The way she transformed the under-average striker Famara Diedhiou into a scoring machine is impressive. Everyone laughed at the club’s president 18 months ago when she got the manager’s cap from him. Noone does today.

        I’m now a fan of Clermont Foot. A team that plays a sport I don’t like in town I don’t know. But that plays a pleasant, offensive game, both on the field & against prejudice.

    • Leloi

      Darkmatter2525 has a video that explores what would happen if Eve hadn’t taken the fruit. http://youtu.be/A_a6RjR_AHY

      NSFW

  • Janelle

    Growing up I was indoctrinated with almost all of these points, and I believed it deeply all the way through my twenties. I have an endless list of the ways these 10 things influenced my life and the decisions I’ve made. It fills me with anger, sadness, and embarrassment now as I recognize the complete deficiency and immorality. I’m hopeful, though, as I raise my own daughters. They are strong, bright, determined girls who I’m sure will grow-up to have a truer perspective of who they are.

  • Glandu

    always interesting. I have to protect my daughter from her mom’s influence on that kind of topics. As a father, it’s not an easy topic to speak with your daughter, but she’s 8 and growing, and you give me a few ammunition. Thanks.

    • Leloi

      I was raised with the same 10 things. Both hubby and I were Catholic. Our children haven’t been raised religious. We recently gave the elder son the sex, drugs, rock and roll talk. In the sex section we stressed the importance of consent and using protection.

      *fixed autofill/autocorrect substitutions.

    • lady_black

      Why don’t you try teaching your wife how wonderful she is, and how much you value her as a person and not a servant/sex toy? You’re never too old to learn something new. She can divorce herself from childhood teachings, and if she loves her daughter and cares about her future, she will want to.

      • Glandu

        Because she is a fundagelical, and I know I have no chance of convincing her(she knows she has no chance convincing me either, which makes our relation possible). She seems to enjoy bed activities a lot, but she will NEVER admit it.

        • lady_black

          How sad for her.

        • Kris

          I recommend _The Purity Myth_. Your wife likely won’t read it, but if you do it might help you head damage off at the pass with your daughter.

  • Bri

    I remember the emphasis on chastity and being pure more than anything else (my parents weren’t completely backward on the women submissive to men thing). In middle school they signed me up for the chastity vow classes. Amazingly almost half the class was male, but they did trot out the “modest is hottest” ideal.

    I refuse to raise my child this way. Teaching your children about agency, consent, respect, and that you are responsible for your own actions seems a hellvua lot better way to teach a person how to function in the real world.

    • Annerdr

      My mother was stuck in a hard place. She didn’t want to teach submissiveness or purity, but didn’t know what to teach in its place. Consequently, my oldest sister’s sex talk consisted entirely of the phrase “Be clean.” My other sister and I learned from the oldest sister, who learned from our pediatrician and the street.

    • lady_black

      Amen. I’m thankful every day to have been raised in a home where the predominant message was that sex is not shameful, and is in fact, a wonderful expression to be shared with another human being. Questions were handled in a matter-of-fact way, and when Mom didn’t know the answers to all my questions, she bought me a book.
      I was also raised to know I didn’t have to put up with abuse from any man, and that probably saved my life when I did end up in an abusive marriage, because I was strong enough to leave it before things got any worse.

    • Kingros

      The ‘modest is hottest’ idea always cracks me up. Do they not understand how modesty works?

      • Ezzy666

        Modesty is hottest b/c of all the clothes you have to wear. Everything covered no matter how hot it is.

  • igotbanned999

    What about liberal Christianity?

    • Neil Carter

      Generally speaking, the less tied to the Bible a tradition becomes, the better it treats women. But that’s not the experience this author inhabited, so that’s not what she wrote about.

      • igotbanned999

        I’d have to ask my sister then

    • Erinys Trace

      I grew up in a fairly liberal version of christianity (well, at least compared to fundamentalists, lol). They were better and they try to downplay the worst of the misogynist attitudes. However, this shit IS all in the bible and there is only so much you can do to avoid it popping up. Especially when there are always men willing to bring it up in their longing for “the good old days”*.

      *defined, of course, as what was good for white men, ignore how bad they might have been for women, minorities, etc.

  • diogeneslamp0

    Well done, but you didn’t mention any weird scientific/medical ideas about sex and reproduction, birth control and abortion. A few claims that I’ve heard:

    1. Birth control makes women promiscuous (but not men, go figure)

    2. Birth control *turns their blood green.*

    3. Women who used birth control pills in the past have uteruses that are graveyards full of dead fetuses

    4. Abortion gives you cancer and makes you suicidal. (As opposed to giving birth, which is totally safe and never causes postpartum depression.)

    • Anat

      Re: your no.1: Obviously men are never responsible for their promiscuity, it is always the fault of some woman or other – whether their wives for not giving them enough sex or other women for being immodest, so the effect of birth control on men is a non-issue. /s

      • Jack Baynes

        It would be impossible for straight men to be promiscuous if not for promiscuous women.

        • Joshua DeLapp

          False. A promiscuous man could sleep with multiple women who all believe that they are in a monogamous relationship with him.

        • lady_black

          Come on, Jack. You’re smarter than this.

          • Jack Baynes

            Sorry, it was meant as a joke.

          • Annerdr

            And I caught that it was a joke. When you’re being that poe-ish, probably you should add /s to your joke.

        • Ezzy666
    • Leloi

      2. That’s because we’re Vulcans. ;)

      3. It’s like sepsis doesn’t exist in their world?

    • lady_black

      #3. There are no “graveyards” and no fetuses, either. A fetus only happens if pregnancy occurs. Otherwise, everything comes out in the wash, every month (or so) and you start with a fresh, clean uterus again.
      #2. ROFLMAO! I never heard this one, myself. That’s easily disproved by a blood draw. Do these people think others can’t hear them?

    • Kris

      Giving birth is perfectly safe! PPD/PPP are not real issues; they are signs of mental weakness in the woman, probably because she’s a slut who hates babies. And we all know that postpartum hemorrhage, uterine rupture, retained placenta, eclampsia, and postpartum infection/sepsis are only things that happened to godless heathens.

      I am going to go breathe into a paper bag.

    • Ezzy666

      Green? I thought it turned blue like in tampon commercials.

    • http://www.reallifebeyondfaith.com/ Jenica

      Thank you. I didn’t mention those things because I wasn’t taught those things. I realize that some people are, indeed, taught those things, but I will let them write about it on the blog.

  • alverant

    An excellent blog post. I’m looking forward to more.

  • Brian K

    “No True Christian” trolls in 3….2….1…..

  • Pop Junkie

    Paul had some pretty messed up views about women. He’s not the only author in the bible who does, but it’s a shame his works are so prevalent and so embraced by the church. Whether he was a frustratedly celibate, gay, or just an angry misogynist, his disrespect and devaluing of women comes out loud and clear.

  • advancedatheist

    Our allegedly unenlightened Christian forebears showed good insight into female sexuality when they shamed sluts, shunned bastards and made their daughters marry without sexual experience. Modern social science research has discovered that women’s premarital sexual adventures turn them into high divorce risks compared with the stable relationships enjoyed by women who marry as virgins.

    Source: http://s3.amazonaws.com/thf_media/2003/pdf/Bookofcharts.pdf

    • Dana W

      I think your fedora is on a bit too tight “bro”

      • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

        But he must be right! Look! He’s using a chart! That makes it science!

        Do you have a chart? No? See? Your point is invalid.

        • Annerdr

          Well, Heritage Foundation “science” (scare-quotes required), which isn’t quite the same thing, but does have the word “science”.

      • The Notorious R.G.I.

        That elicited a literal LOL. Nicely done.

        • Dana W

          Ingersoll! I’ve been collecting his books forever. The man is the reason I bought a Kindle. I have his lectures in the 1874 printing. I’m always glad to see his picture in modern context.

    • Haecceitic

      Paging Mr. Poe…

      • Annerdr

        No, no. He believes his BS. Advancedatheist is not quite as advanced as he’d like to think.

        Here’s a link to a statitician who tried to see where the numbers came from, but couldn’t find them in the data, almost as though The Heritage Foundation made them up to create that chart.
        http://talkinreckless.com/2010/08/24/the-girl-who-played-with-statistics/

        • Glandu

          I had great doubts, especially when I googled what the heritage fundation was. But I didn’t post because I was not sure. Thanks for finding this.

    • katiehippie

      Blasphemous kansan may not know you are here. So here ya go.
      http://m.memegen.com/nqhgvm.jpg

    • Leigha7

      Considering over 90% of people have sex before marriage, and that the majority of those who don’t probably avoid doing so for religious reasons, it’d be almost impossible to study that and account for other factors.

      Many religions also condemn divorce. If you’re religious enough to wait until marriage to have sex, there’s a very good chance you’re also religious enough to stay married even if you’re miserable.

      Divorce isn’t the best way to evaluate the effects of premarital sex, unless you believe that divorce is always bad and people should stay in unhappy marriages even if they hate each other and fight all the time. What should be looked at is how many are happily married (preferably in a more thorough way than just “are you happy?”).

      Even then, divorce isn’t always necessarily a bad thing. How many have amicable divorces? How many got divorced because their spouse cheated on them, abused them or their children, or did something illegal or unethical? You’d have to find some way to factor that in. You could argue that maybe promiscuous women are more likely to marry abusive or law-breaking men (though not without evidence…), but anyone can marry a seemingly stand-up guy and have things go horribly wrong later on, and divorce may very well be the best decision in those instances.

      In short, even assuming that data is correct, it’s completely meaningless unless you’re against divorce under all circumstances.

      And quite frankly, the sharp drop-off from 0 premarital partners (i.e. getting married as a virgin) to 1 premarital partner (which, in most cases, would mean having sex with your future spouse before getting married) makes the data very suspect. Why would someone who has never had sex with anyone else, but slept with their husband before they were married, be so much less likely to be in a stable marriage than the person who waited until they signed a piece of paper? It’s possible that could be the case, but it seems pretty damn unlikely. Also, where’s the chart for men’s premarital sexual partners? You can’t emphasize “women’s premarital sexual adventures” being harmful without evidence that the same isn’t true for men.

    • Ezzy666

      Where is the chart for men and their non-marital partners?

  • Will Work for Downvotes

    Well done, Jenica, thank you

  • trinielf

    Yup all of these were the standard fare and what was also standard were wives in abusive relationships being counselled to stay with their abusive husbands and just submit as well as female victims of molestation or rape being required to justify themselves to a religious judicial committee and the crime not being reported to the police. If the rapist or molester ‘repented’ the abuser was obligated to forgive them and pursue no further action against them. Divorce and broken homes were common, including my own parents.

    My experience within a biblically legalistic, misogynistic, Evangelical sect has made me convinced it is actually a haven for sadists, pedophiles and insecure and/or narcissistic males.

  • MNb

    “Your sexual purity is your worth.”
    “Since you are a less sexual being than a man”
    This is a recipe for bad sex. And as a man I always have wanted good sex.

    • Annerdr

      As a woman, I have always wanted good sex. :)

  • D A

    Reading this made me realize how much I still punish myself and feel guilty over the premarital loss of my virginity. At the time I felt I had “ruined” myself and, having willfully disobeyed god, was bound for hell. Consequently I became all the more promiscuous, figuring I’d better have all my fun now since my afterlife would be nothing but “wailing and gnashing of teeth”.

    Now that I identify as atheist, I thought I had turned my back on all the guilt trips and self-punishment, but when I read #4 and #5, I realized I still hold those attitudes about myself. Wow. Thanks for helping me dig out another deep root of this invasive weed, christianity.

    • Annerdr

      My friend told her daughter, who was being pressured into a purity ring and promise at age 11, that her virginity had no meaning and wasn’t something to be treasured, that she should have sex when she felt ready (and how to have safe sex!) and never have sex if she didn’t want to, and that it was wrong for middle aged men to be interested in her virginity status. I thought that was brilliant.

    • MNb

      From a biological view virginity is almost meaningless.
      From a practical point of view – how are you going to learn to have good sex without any practice?
      From a moral point of view – why is it something positive when a boy loses his virginity at a young age?

      “figuring I’d better have all my fun”
      As long as you make sure you do have fun.
      In my dictionary the words promiscue and slut have positive meanings.

    • Tailored

      It took me a long time to realize that I was still being influenced by the patriarchal society we live in. I still have to remind myself that I am not guilty of anything but living. It’s been a difficult road and I still sometimes struggle, but I am finally learning how to love myself. I am so much happier outside of christianity.

      • Robert Abooey

        “I am much happier outside of Christianity”

        Most people are, especially once you rid yourself of the brainwashing and realize that a lot of what you were taught to believe as a child were fairy tales or unverifiable nonsense that you were told you had to take on faith alone.

        I was raised in a Methodist household but basically rejected it once I was an adult. I now consider myself to be Agnostic and have no use for anything to do with the Christian religion.

  • Leloi

    Is it any wonder that after I left Catholicism I gravitated towards paganism? Paganism… Where I wasn’t a shameful vessel of sin and temptation who should feel guilty for the fall of grace. I was an empowered Goddess able to create! I had permission to pursue wisdom and knowledge. It was a nice “reset” to shed most of my earlier programming. There is still some residual Catholicism in me. I auto respond “and also with you” when someone says “peace be with you.” I don’t know if I’ll ever dance naked in the forest, but the idea doesn’t repulse me. I can say “I write erotica” without cowering in shame.

    • MNb

      “I don’t know if I’ll ever dance naked in the forest”
      I doesn’t repulse me either, but neither do I feel any urge.

    • Ann Kah

      I heartily recommend dancing naked in the forest, or at the very least skinny-dipping in the stream. It isn’t necessary to be a pagan to do that.

      • Eioljg

        I remember having sex with my husband outdoors a long ways from anybody. A plane flew over. Haven’t had the desire to do that since.

        • occamskiss

          Nobody saw — and even if they did, so what! There was nothing shameful.

  • Shadowbelle

    “7. It’s weird for women to masturbate.”

    There’s only only thing wrong with masturbation.

    It’s an ugly word. Does anyone know a better-sounding one from some other language?

    • Lillynyx

      I don’t know of any other word that would sound better, but rather than saying ‘masturbate’, what about saying ‘to pleasure one’s-self’?

      • Shadowbelle

        Men get amusing phrases like “spanking the monkey”. Can’t we have something like “tickle the raspberry”?

    • crden

      Well, there’s “she-bop”! :P Although I don’t know if it’s just supposed to be the “bop” part, come to think of it…(Edited to add: I’m pretty sure it’s just supposed to be the “bop” part.)

      • Shadowbelle

        I’ve never heard that one. Not bad.

        • crden

          I’m showing my age! Here are the lyrics to Cindy Lauper’s “She Bop”… http://www.metrolyrics.com/she-bop-lyrics-cyndi-lauper.html

          • Shadowbelle

            Well, don’t feel bad about your age! I just posted the lyrics to “Hair” on another thread. Creaky bones here.

            Now that I read those lyrics, I vaguely remember that song.

  • sezit

    When patriarchal men run into a problem that their narrow world view hasn’t prepared them for with a simplistic proscribed solution, they will always look too blame women or gays. Usually for taking ownership of and/or enjoying their own bodies too much.
    Just like politicians go after Planned Parenthood when they dont know how to solve the budget or immigration.

  • sirsaltalot

    this sucks.

  • Seth Strong

    Honestly, plenty guys don’t even want all that baggage the upbringing in the article refers to. It’s annoying to have to hear “traditional” values coming out of a male friend’s mouth. It’s weird to be over at dinner when you suddenly detect a dominance/submission dynamic in a relationship.

    Those values in the article violate what I learned from Tears for Fears long ago (and wish were true) everybody wants to rule the world. Or at least their world and their circumstances.

  • Brianna LaPoint

    I’m a Buddhist Pagan i cant ditch my beliefs for atheism because of experience. Christianity has done a lot of hurtful and damaging things. I grew up with Christian friends, the males were taught that women were good for sex and not to show their feelings. I may not be male but i can tell you what they are taught through christian indoctrination can be just as damaging. Some will beat their spouses and abuse their kids but that’s the price people pay for thinking Christianity is good

    • Brianna LaPoint

      I grew up christian

  • Wonder Warrior

    All of the points made are great. There are no straw men. Each teaching is popular among one fundamentalist strain or another.

    I’d add that a lot of the Bible’s teachings are not just present in fundamentalist communities. Even among my more secular friends, I’ll hear insulting jokes about women being “locks” and men being “keys”. Secular movies and TV shows like The Big Bang Theory derive a lot of their humor out of slut-shaming.

    I tried Christianity like I try a shirt inside out. I tried being a Christian as I was trying to become more liberal. It turns out, I found more literal interpretations of the Bible just aren’t acceptable, but even in my liberal nonbelief, I carried many misogynist beliefs unconsciously that I have only made myself aware of in recent years thanks to articles like yours.

  • crden

    Thank you. I’m raising sons, and I see people trying to foist items 3, 4, and 5, in particular upon them as teachings — and we’re not even Christian!

  • Maoh

    5 was the one that was mentioned the MOST at my Christian school. If you think about it, it’s actually the lynchpin of the whole thing, because it serves as a “justification” for the whole thing. It’s the one thing Christians can turn to when someone asks WHY God doesn’t want you to have lots of hot sex.

  • misteriousveiwerwoman

    Great article!
    I live it when they tell lies about science, yes, oxycontin creates connections in physical interactions and can cause upset if it doesn’t last, but that also applies in the case of friendship!

    • K-

      Oxytocin. Oxycontin is a narcotic.

      • misteriousveiwerwoman

        Whichever one

  • Eioljg

    Please change the title to the more accurate: “10 things I was taught in a church as a child/young adult woman.”

    I have attended Sunday School, Bible School, Church, with my parents, nearly every Sunday as a child, as well as Bible Camp, Confirmation Class, then later attended and graduated from a Christian College. Since then, I’ve been attending church almost every Sunday as an adult, as well as Bible Study every week since 1977, and we raised our children in the Church, with Sunday School, Confirmation, weddings done by pastors of their churches, and I was Sunday School Superintendent for 6 years. My children all attended Christian Colleges, different denominations, not my alma mater, and one is a Seminary graduate (different denomination), and now a pastor. NOT ONCE HAVE I HEARD ANY OF THESE MESSAGES IN ANY KIND OF CHURCH SETTING. None of my friends have ever mentioned hearing these things. I have heard of them, of course, from various blog posts, and they seem to come out of those off shoot church groups that don’t have a very long history in Christianity. My sister did mention learning in a religious organization she attended at a very large public university that couples weren’t even to hold hands before engagement and marriage.

    • Raging Bee

      She wasn’t talking about what she learned in church, she’s talking about what she learned OVERALL. Why does she have to change her title to reflect YOUR opinion?

    • Ezzy666

      Of the 100s if not 1000s different denominations of Christianity why do you assume that yours is the most common one? So far you are the only one whose version of Christianity does not reflect the title.

    • Annerdr

      Really? You weren’t told to wait until marriage for sex? You never learned that women take care of the children and home? Your church didn’t teach that Eve was formed from Adam’s rib to be his helpmeet?

  • Kingros

    I am a life-long atheist but I married a muslim. He would love me to become a muslim, and is genuinely curious about what is holding me back. I am like ‘where do I even start?’ Islamic ideas about women are sliiiiiiightly better than this, but the religion is still centred around men and built for men. How could I possibly be interested in a way of thinking that sees me as a second-class citizen? This religion is not calling to ME, it is not made for ME. It just sees me as a tool at best and a burden at worst.

  • FlyingPotatoCube

    I’ll admit right now – I’m a guy. However, nothing I’ve seen taught in my church or in my home points to any of the thought process in this article. So yes, maybe the larger church as a whole does – which is entirely wrong. However, perhaps that is not the fault of Christianity as a whole, but instead the twisted teachings and misunderstandings of those whole claim to know the truth?

    • Ezzy666

      Why is your version the correct one?

      • FlyingPotatoCube

        Using the scientific method, if a hypothesis turns out to be faulty, it isn’t thrown out altogether: instead, the thesis is usually a revised hypothesis.

        So, taking for example, #3. Obviously, women are not to simply “be silent”, so that interpretation must be rejected and we start searching elsewhere to determine the background of this verse.

        What first comes to mind is Paul’s use of “I” in this sentence. This is the only instance (to my current knowledge) of “I” being used in this. Paul, although an upright man, was still a man. This use in the letter to Timothy leads me to believe that it was simply his belief, albeit a wrong one – quite possibly still hanging around from his upbringing as a Pharisee.

  • Jerry

    Great article Jenica! :D

  • Robert Abooey

    I was raised (kind of) in the Methodist Church and was active in the YMCA growing up. I say kind of because even as a child and teen I never fully accepted what I was being told because it just didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.

    After I left my parents’ house to live in the dorms at college I pretty much stopped going to church altogether except for the occasional Xmas Eve service and when I was visiting my very religious grandmother I would occasionally go to her church with her because it made her happy.

    I became Agnostic in my 40’s and now almost totally reject the Chrisitian doctrine I grew up with. Christianity is based on a bunch of folklore and mythology and so much of it, like Adam and Eve, Noah’s Arc and the three wise men are outright fairy tales not to be believed except by the most gullible.

    Add to all this the archaic and repressive attitudes towards women as illustrated in this article and and it is a clear demonstration that Chrisitanity can be very harmful and repressive.

  • Albert Swanson

    I’m not sure what your exposure or experience with Christianity is but you are wrong on many of these. No where in the Bible does it teach that women cannot deny their husbands sex. In fact the Bible mentions multiple times that husbands should love their wives as Christ loves the Church (more than we can fathom). A loving husband does not force himself on his wife. Also Christianity does not call women who sleep with multiple partners sluts. Now certainly when you engage in sin which can include dangerous sexual activity their are natural consequences in life that we see in the form of increased chances of STDs/HIV, early pregnancy, and just generally being shown less respect by men who wrongly view you a certain way. That does not though mean that Christians cast out “sluts” though or shame them. We are all sinners after all. You are not doing your readers justice and they are not learning anything based in truth by reading this. Your bias clearly bleeds through your work and I recommend that all readers find out the truth about what Christianity and God’s word says how both women and men should live for themselves.

    • Albert Swanson

      Furthermore as a Christian and also a man that works with mostly female rape victims for a living I am constantly engaging and interacting with women and supporting them. I have never once thought that my very strong held Christian views have interfered with that support and in fact I am the loving and caring person that I am BECAUSE of God’s influence in my life.

    • Raging Bee

      She’s writing about what she was taught by Christians in a Christian community. Quoting the Bible does not mean her experiences didn’t happen.

  • occamskiss

    Not to hijack this thread (some great comments), but to add. I came of age in the fifties and sixties. I had great confusion trying to grasp why women (girls) wanted to be with boys, since the story was they didn’t have much sexual feeling.

  • Maegan

    I think yall are reading to much into this. Man is not above woman. It may look like it, but its not. I was raised a Christian as well and I have formed my own beliefs around what I was raised in. I think what is meant by the “man being over woman thing” is that the man and woman have 2 different jobs. Man’s job is to watch over all things and be the spiritual leader of his household. Woman’s job is to stand beside her husband and encourage him to do whats right. Plus, her job is to also increase the household. None of this means that the man is above the woman. They stand beside each other as one. Its a beautiful thing:)

  • http://www.PlannedParenthood.org ☽ Majorana Fermion ☾

    “…and the only thing that separates me from a man is a single chromosome.”

    Seems the book of Genesis got it backward as ironically, around 300 million years ago the Y chromosome developed from an X chromosome. I might add that the Y chromosome is in fact “weaker” and unable to self correct mistakes like the X can.