Sunday, November 27, 2005

Why the bible hates women.

So I struggle a lot with some parts of the bible. Particularly the parts that have to do with the “proper” place for women. So often I feel like the bible just out right hates women, that it marginalizes the role women are supposed to play. It plays into this patriarchal ideology that men need to be in charge. I hate it; I hate this idea that women are supposed to be this week, timid, or submissive, a tool for a man to use. Yet somehow it has become the religious thing to do. It’s so sick that some religions pressure women to return to abusive hurtful relationships rather than divorce the bastard, that taking the abuse is the “right thing” or “god’s will”. Why? Why have we decided that a woman is anything less than an equal, but different face of god? I am not going to say that men and women are the same, because they are not, but to devalue one over the other is crazy. Yet it seems to be a reoccurring theme throughout the bible. I guess some of my favorites are 2tim chap 2, where it says that a woman’s salvation/redemption lies in her having kids. Something that I have noticed recently in my generation is this idea that a man must “lead” the relationship, I guess that it can come out of Colossians, “wives submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the LORD” Ya that sounds nice. OR The first letter to Corinth is full of goodies and pearls of such wisdom. I guess that I feel like it’s a cheap cop out, men want to “lead” so they want to be in charge, make the choices. Or the woman does not want to take on a part of the responsibility that comes with being in a relationship. The way I see it, if you’re in a relationship, there are two people, perhaps a dog, cat or guinea pig, but at least two people. To shuffle off making choices and hide behind the idea that your “not the leader” is crap, it’s cowardly. Two people, one relationship, why would not it be a thing of sharing, sharing responsibility, sharing choice, and sharing the relationship?

I had the chance to talk Friday night with a bunch of friends, and this topic came up, we talked and talked and talked, there were a wide variety of opinions in the room, some supporting the idea that women should not have “authority” over men, not be teachers, others having done a great deal of study felt like there was context missing, and that in the context of the letter it made sense. I feel like we were just trying to justify the bible, that it was something that most of us disagreed with, but we profess faith in this thing of Christ, so how do we look at christ, his teaching, his love for people and bounce that against other parts of the bible that seem to just flat out place women in a lower category of life form? I find it repulsive, its hard for me to accept, well, actually I just don’t accept it, I feel in the very core of who I am that the way that this sounds is not right, that women are not just baby factories, that they are absolutely nothing less than a partner. I have been in relationships where the girl played this card, and hid behind it, it made me sick, and needless to say that relationship did not work out that well. I guess that for me, this ideal woman would have to be a partner, someone to share life with.

“ You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” Dr. Seuss


The Fly said...

The thing that you have to keep in mind is that everything in the Bible has a cultural connotation to it, and it's by understanding the history and background information that we begin to truly understand what's going on.

A great example is slavery. The Law has very specific instructions about slavery, and the New Testament continues with very specific guidelines. Never does the Bible encourage slavery, but it places limitations on slavery. Now, throughout history, people have taken the Bible out of that historical context, which involved the captured prsioners from legitimate war, and used it to say that there was a Biblical justification for slavery; there's no such thing.

The same thing applies to the passages about women. The Bible never says "reduce women to a lower class", it merely gives guidelines specific to the cultures of the time. People like to ignore the fact that the letters that Paul sent to the various churches (Rome, Ephesus, Corinth, Thessalonica; hence the name of those epistles) were often addressing specific questions or issues that had cropped up in those areas due to the early implementation of what amounted to an extra-Jewish cult, based strongly on Jewish traditions, being implanted into completely different cultures. It would be like the Commissioner of Major League Baseball sending a letter to a stadium in Kabul, Afghanistan to correct their improper implementation of the sport.

Rev. Lovejoy: Get a divorce.
Mrs. Lovejoy: Mmm hm.
Marge: But isn't that a sin?
Rev. Lovejoy: Marge, everything is a sin. You ever sat down and read this thing? [holds up a bible] Technically, we're not allowed to go to the bathroom.

Emergingjourney said...

It just feels weak to try and "justify" why the bible says stuff. Know what I mean? It opens the door to that whole twisting and bending thing. Am I just twisting the bible and diging to find context because I dont like what this part of the book says? Its a very sticky situation.

The Fly said...

I don't think it's as sticky as you're making it out to be. I absolutely see where you're coming from on it. There's a context to what's in the Bible. It's a pretty simple concept. I don't like empty Biblical justifications either; all I'm saying is that a lot of these things are less sticky when you know the reasoning behind it.

Patty said...

Sorry sooo long.

First off, good quote.

Secondly, I agree with everything Fly has written.

My opinions: I don't think it's right to stay in an abusive relationship just to avoid divorce. Although, I don't like divorce because it causes people to be hurt, etc. Counseling might help, not always. My parents have been married somewhere around 27 years. They waited about 5 years before having me. Anyway, I see my dad as the leader, the head of our house. Both my parents work, but my mom would never be able to support our family by herself with the part time job at the hospital she has. My dad has always supported us, almost everything we all own, comes from the money he's earned, so I think that gives him a right to decide what to do with some things. Both my parents decide things together, not everything, but they're a team. They wouldn't have been married this long if my dad made all the decisions without my mom's input, opinions, etc., or without compromising.

On the above post about God loving differently:

No, God loves everyone equally, always. God may be pleased more so with someone than another person, but that doesn't mean that He loves anyone less or more than another person.

I will give an example. I stopped going to church many years ago. I read somewhere that if you believe in your heart that you are sinning, then, to you, it is sinning. I DO believe that not going to church is wrong for whatever reason. I know He loves me always, but I do believe God is not pleased with me about this. There is no reason good enough for me not to be going, but I will just say that I stopped going because: I am lazy, I didn't like the reasons some people would go to church. I went to a "Christian" school for a year, it was just as bad, almost, as the public school. The teachers there, who went to my church, showed a LOT of partiality towards the cheerleaders, popular people, etc. It seemed as if they were always looking for my faults & disregarding others' wrongdoings(cheating, rule-breaking...). Anyway, I do support private Christian schools, because there will always be bad people & hypocritical people, but I know they're usually a better environment than a public school.

Another example is a Christian family who was so against their daughters wearing jeans. JEANS? Our family laughed about that. We couldn't see anything wrong with wearing jeans, but they did. It's very silly. They also wouldn't allow their kids to watch Finding Nemo again because Nemo said, "I hate you dad" in the movie. My mom & I talked a good deal about that. Aren't there worse things in the Bible that they are allowed to read?

One more personal example: I had a really good friend, she was, but after a while of asking me to go to church & me saying, "no" or "mabey, next week" she started ignoring me, stopped calling. She eventually wrote a letter, apologizing, but I never contacted her again. I should have, but I was hurt. I'm not mad at her though, we had been good friends, had really good times together.

A combination of things, people that irritated me & years later I just haven't been back to church. I've been thinking as of late, that I might go back sometime in the next year. The rest of my family goes to chuch all the time. They are dissapointed in me, but they don't talk about it much. They have been very patient and hopeful that I'll go back. I feel it's the right thing to do, no matter if I don't like certain people there, if I don't like singing, etc. I don't like praying out loud, because I pray in my mind, my heart. I don't speak, I think. For me, I like an inward relationship with God/Jesus. It's personal, not public. Well, I'm sure, by the way I wrote before, that you figured I went to church. I hope I didn't sound so high & mighty, because I'm most ceratinly not.

Patty said...

Hmmm...something messed up when I published that last comment. It added it here, but not to the main page. It should have said 4 comments, instead it said 3. Now, because of this comment, it will probably say 4 comments, when really there are 5. That's weird.

Patty said...

Okay, nevermind, it went back to normal. And now there's 6 comments & I feel like an idiot.

Anna said...

You bring up a topic that I have done (am doing) a whole lot of thinking on, seeing as I have a dear and vested interest ;) Fly made a good point about the importance of context, and I agree that we consider it not to make excuses but to see the bigger picture. (And you're right - we must beware developing a pick-and-choose attitude towards the Bible.) Paul is aggravatingly short and ambiguous (even Peter found him confusing), and relationships are complex. In a way I am glad that we can't get it all down pat in one session, as that wouldn't do justice to the truth. Not to mention that I, at least, have no small amount of baggage and it can get in the way of my thinking. A good topic to talk about in a slow and deliberate manner, as it runs next to the nerves and the heart.

Anonymous said...

I may have to disagree with part of what the fly has to say. Even today in our "dog-eat-dog" world, men are superior. But it's worse in other countries where the women don't even have the chance like they do here.

God knew what he was doing when he told men to be the leader. Women have way more emotion than men and this emotion generally get in the way of decisive decisions. Men are created to think sequentially and can therefore perform huge tasks without being distracted.

However I also agree that this is a very touchy subject.

There is more to this world than money, fame, and success. There is love, family, and beauty and the women seem to be very good at that. Women are not 'reduced to a lower class' but rather operate in a non- competitive environment. The Bible is simply warning women that they may have a harder time succeeding in the world if they try to compete with men.

Anonymous said...

Some Nutter said:

"God knew what he was doing when he told men to be the leader. Women have way more emotion than men and this emotion generally get in the way of decisive decisions. Men are created to think sequentially and can therefore perform huge tasks without being distracted. "

Wake up dude. Men are JUST as emotional if not more so than women, They're emotions cloud their judgement and decision making as much as anyone elses. The bible is not the word of ANY god but soley that of primitive man.

If women were to be the cookie bakers, home makers and sex toys of the world, the why aren't they content to be so? Both of my grandmothers & great grandmothers (when they lived) envied the freedom & opportunities my mother & I have had. They told us both how lucky we were to be able to make our own way in the world without depending on men. They each stated what their dreams were if they could have had the opportunity to pursue them. Kind of sad really. I guess they just didn't realize their place and how that god sure knew what he was doing when he made women emotional twits.

Apparently, god didn't know squat. Otherwise women would gleefully WANT to be inferior and happily give up their dreams for other people (men) and squeeze out children until they die. Hey, that's what good ol' god made women for, right??? We're to glorify man and get a pat on the head in return! WOO HOO! Hold me back from my joyous rapture.

I'll leave you with this. Take any scripture written about women and replace it with "black people" or "mexicans" or better yet "white males" and just perhaps it will put it in better prospective for all the superiors out there.

Anonymous said...

The bottom line of the bible is: Love Christ and love others.

Husbands must treat their wives as the most precious thing in this entire world. Their wives must be loved the most and protected to the ends of a lifetime.

If you ask me, women have a secret desire to be loved and protected no matter how feminist and proactive they are. It's a God given quality. All women need to be loved, more so than men. Thats their greatest desire. I think we can all see this if we pay attention enough to how people feel in different situations.

And this derivation is directly from a verse that says that God will save his church from annihilation which is inevitable from the growing number of Christian haters we clearly see today, even in elementary schools now. We are now becoming a minory. But God won't let the people who try to love him fall to the hands of this world. So looking at the church as his bride, he will come down and rescue us. In this way, God relates that kind of relationship he has for his church to the kind of relationship husbands should have for their wives. Guys need to be their rescue.

But when the bible tells the wives to submit to their husbands, it does not mean tolerate animal-like abuse. the wives and the church must work to pray and reprimand the husband. but the husband should lead the house because we all know that a household with two people competing for power won't last. one has to submit. theres a reason why countries always have a single leader who has generally more power than the rest; its the best way we are able to function. and as long as the husbands love their wives and treat them so preciously, the wives will not complain. This is because when you get down to the very bottom of it, all that women needs is love.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous above says "Women need to be loved more than men"??? HA ha ha! You've got that completely backwards! Then why is it that men quickly remarry after widowed or divorced but women would rather go it alone than ever remarry? For instance: 2 or so months ago in response to some article, my local radio station asked people to call in and state whether they would pick the same person to be married to or pick someone else if they had to do it over again. The results were pretty amazing. They took between 15 and 20 calls and then posted a poll on the radio website (I've looked for it but can't find the poll so I've emailed the webmaster to see if they will provide me the link). Men called in and roughly 60% said that they would marry the same person versus 20% women with the same answer. 40% of men stated they would marry someone else and only 10% of women said the same. The leftover 70% of women said that they would NEVER MARRY if they had to do it all over again, which wasn't even an option to begin with. So when the website posted it's final results (after adding the "never marry" option) It was something like 68% of all women polled would never marry - EVER - if they had to do it all over again vs. approx 24% or so for men. Interesting. Sounds like men need the love more.

And no, women don't have a "god given quality" to need to be protected. I think everyone wants to be protected from harm whether male or female. Most women I know (whether Christian or other)today wouldn't appreciate being placed in a gilded cage and dubbed schmoopsy-poo by some man. Neither do most of us want to be placed on a pedestal -from which can often be a long way to fall.

People who believe in a higher power and subscribe to a religous sect can do so all they want to -just keep it away from me. Don't force your ideals down someone elses throat. It's funny how you here christians talk about their persecution and not being able to wear jesus t-shirts or whatever but I'll tell you what, they'll be the first group to pitch a fit if a theistic satanist wore a "Praise Beelzebub" t-shirt.

There is a basic understanding of what is right and wrong throughout humanity: don't kill, don't cheat, don't steal, treat others how they would like to be treated. Other than that, people need to stay out of women's business and let women decide what's best for themselves. Men think they're the authority on law and order but as you can see, men have a long and documented history of raping, pillaging, plundering, the subjugation of races into slavery, imperialism, mass murder and the majority of the wrong doing in this world. With that kind of track record, men shouldn't be the "head" of anything. Men themselves deemed their headship as might has always made right. Not some non-existent god.

p said...

I would like to add that it also bothers me when people take things out of context. for example in the original post by emerging journey. She has no problem quoting Colossians 3:18 "wives, submit to your husbands , as it is fitting to the Lord." however why did she leave out the very next verse? Colossians 3:19 "Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them." This does not seem like a tool for a man to use to make excuses to beat his wife or treat them like less of a human than anyone else. I think you should read Provervs 31 Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character. This talks about all of the things that make a good wife, I see decision making, (financial) not just about the home. It doesn't say she stays at home and does not work away from it. Look at verse 29 it says" Her children arise and call her blessed: Her husband also, and he praises her," again this does not say your wife less valuable than you, and in no way does it give the woman the right to shuffle off making choices and hide because you are not the leader. I would agree that that is cowardly. as to being in a partner ship let me add that the Bible says in the very beginning in Gen.2:24 "A man will leave his mother and father and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh." This tells me that we should treat our mate as ourselves. My husband and I are one, He does not treat me as less and I am a submissive wife. Yes the bible can be taken out of context and often is, usually in favor of the man. I don't agree with these people. God gave us different roles not unequal. One more thing. It seems that you have been hurt by a man and I am truly sorry for that. I have been there it is a hard thing to come back from.

Anonymous said...

Well "p", I've never been hurt by a man - only by religion. I've been happily married to another atheist for 11 years and we have 2 beautiful children so that blows your hurting man hating feminist idea out of the water.

julie said...

being told to submit is like telling them to be someone else's slave. That's what the bible says-women should be slaves to their husbands. Freedom is only for men, I guess-according to the bible. How sad.