Christianity has undoubtedly done a good job of mistreating certain groups of individuals in the not so distant past. Oddly today most people from these groups appear to be genuinely ignorant of the treatment they’ve received or simply blinded by some serious cognitive dissonance.
The mistreatment or discrimination that certain groups endured (or continue to endure) was, to an extent, the cause of the believer and not as much his source material – the man rather than the bible under his arm – One could argue successfully that this was almost always the case, except for when it came to women.
Even in today’s modern society where we’ve moved beyond looking at women as second class citizens and where we strive for gender equality wherever possible, Christianity’s opinion remains captured in black and white throughout the inerrant word of God.
In the very first book of the bible, apart from being kicked from paradise and losing immortality, Eve’s individual punishment already has a very misogynist tone to it, “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee” - Genesis 3:16. Almost sounds like the author concocted divinely permitted misogyny, well, either that or God is a misogynist.
From that point on, women become not only second class citizens in the eyes of the lord, but possessions, and evil possessions at that. - “All wickedness is but little to the wickedness of a woman…” Ecclesiasticus 25: 19
a Fine example of being treated as second class citizens can be found in Ephesians 5: 22 - 24. The word ‘submit’ is defined as “Accept or yield to a superior force or to the authority or will of another person” or “Consent to undergo a certain treatment” – The bible instructs females to do the following: “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do 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.
Various bible believers, critics and scholars often feel that even though the three great monotheistic religions are known as the Abrahamic religions, Moses should rather be seen as the most important Christian & Jewish prophet. The following quote is claimed to be the words of Moses to his tribe “Now therefor kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. 18. But all the woman children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.” Numbers 31: 17 – 18. In this instance, Moses gives his tribe permission to keep, for themselves, the younger virgin girls as sex slaves.
While on the topic of virginity, Deuteronomy 22: 13 – 20 basically says that after a man and woman get married and have sex, if the man were to dislike his bride and spread a story about her not having been a virgin when they got married, they will appear before the town counsel and her parents will be forced to provide evidence that she was a virgin prior to her marriage. If no evidence is found, she will be stoned to death. If the evidence is presented and the husband is found to be lying, he’ll be fined an amount which would be payable to the woman’s father. - Now other than the obvious double standards and the primitive barbaric over-the-top punishment, I find the guilty until proven innocent approach quite disturbing. It seems that this is very much a case of the man’s word being deemed more valuable than that of his female counterpart.
If it isn’t bad enough that a rumor from an unsatisfied husband was enough to potentially get a woman lawfully killed, women were also strangely expected to marry their rapists “If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, 29 he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives” - Deuteronomy 22: 28 – 29
The following tale is captured in Judges 19. “22
While they were enjoying themselves, some of the wicked men of the city surrounded the house. Pounding on the door, they shouted to the old man who owned the house, “Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have sex with him.”
23 The owner of the house went outside and said to them, “No, my friends, don’t be so vile. Since this man is my guest, don’t do this outrageous thing. 24 Look, here is my virgin daughter, and his concubine. I will bring them out to you now, and you can use them and do to them whatever you wish. But as for this man, don’t do such an outrageous thing.”
25 But the men would not listen to him. So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go. 26 At daybreak the woman went back to the house where her master was staying, fell down at the door and lay there until daylight.
27 When her master got up in the morning and opened the door of the house and stepped out to continue on his way, there lay his concubine, fallen in the doorway of the house, with her hands on the threshold. 28 He said to her, “Get up; let’s go.” But there was no answer. Then the man put her on his donkey and set out for home.
29 When he reached home, he took a knife and cut up his concubine, limb by limb, into twelve parts and sent them into all the areas of Israel.”– Judges 19:22 – 29
- Having sex with the man’s male guest was deemed outrageous, while having his daughter and the man’s concubine endure the same terror was somehow more acceptable
- we find an almost identical tale in Genesis 19, two angels visit a righteous man named Lot, the city’s people want to have sex with his supernatural guests, so he offers his two virgin daughters to be raped instead, the tale in Genesis has a different ending though, god and the angels destroy the city and save Lot and his family. – Now while one could perhaps justify how angels rank higher than women (without getting too much attention from feminists), you would have to admit that the general idea of handing over your daughters to be raped remains equally disturbing. (Especially now that we know they would probably have been forced to marry those rapists.)
At this point I expect many a believer to point out that most of the misogyny was limited to the Old Testament, and even though I regard this kind of response to be somewhat of a cop-out, I will present some verses that suggest the misogynist tone doesn’t really die out in the New Testament.
“ Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law 35. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home, for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” - 1 Corinthians 14: 34 – 35
“For man is not of the women; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but woman for the man.” – 1 Corinthians 11:8-9
“And any woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head – it is just as though her head was shaved” - 1 Corinthians 11:5 – I find this verse particularly interesting, Christians seem to (rightly) judge the other Abrahamic religion that forces their female subscribers to cover their hair, although one could argue that the bible supports this practice.
“And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence” - 1 Timothy 2:12 – If this is the inerrant word of god, I do suspect that god is not too amused with our schooling system, where female teachers seem to outnumber male teachers these days.
“2 And I heard a voice from heaven, like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder. And I heard the sound of harpists playing their harps. 3 They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth. 4 These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb. 5 And in their mouth was found no deceit, for they are without fault before the throne of God. - Revelation 14:2-5 - I know that most Christians do not believe the text surrounding the 144 000 inhabitants of heaven literally or in any other way, if this passage was at the heart of the dogma of any religion, one would assume that that religion would attract very little followers. I am however more interested in the misogynist message it preaches, the fact that sex (with a woman) is said to ‘defile’ (which can be substituted for ‘spoil’, ‘pollute’ or ‘make dirty’) a person, sums up Christianity’s unhealthy attitude toward both sex and women. One can also logically conclude that if these 144000 people were expected not to have sex with women, that they could not have been women themselves.
There exist a few arguments that try to justify the misogyny in the bible. I will just mention one of the more common arguments and refute it, which will probably save us the trouble of seeing it continuously pop-up in the comments section.
The most common argument says that the bible was written for the people of that time, those people were primitive and god wouldn’t have been able to get his message through to them if he didn’t echo their primitive ways.
This argument has some obvious flaws or issues, it mainly undermines the omnipotence of god, if god is omnipotent, it would definitely make no sense to suggest god was forced to compromise his morality and ‘his word’ in order to appease primitive man.
Then it also admits that misogyny is immoral and that the ‘inerrant’ word of god is wrong, it further suggests that human understanding of morality trumps bible morality.
If we were to cherry pick our way around the misogyny in the bible because our human understanding of morality tells us that misogyny is immoral, the bible as moral compass can be discarded completely.
The Bible is a book written by men for men
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