Gender and Religion
As long as I can remember, men and women have always been treated differently. As a child I was extremely confused by this fact. Back in the days when I was in public elementary school for a short time I always wondered why the people with long hair were called girls and went to a different bathroom. Now I’m an adult and I still have trouble understanding why men and women are treated differently when there is no need. I can understand why it’s often better to have men like me who work at HyVee bring in the carts, based only on the physical strength advantage, but often they are separated in a way that makes no sense such as the fact that men are expected to know everything about cars or sports and women are expected to be silent,stupid,submissive,weak,skinny, and blonde.
At least in the United States of America, women are finally allowed to work jobs and vote. I hope that as time goes on, the social differences between men and women will erase completely. However, I believe the largest enemy which hinders this progress is religion.
Since I grew up a Christian, I’ve read a lot of the Bible. I will quote stuff from the Bible to show exactly the link between Christianity and the treatment of women. Other religions can be equally sexist but I’m speaking from my own knowledge and experience.
Unless otherwise stated, I’m quoting from the netbible.
First, it’s clearly stated in Genesis that men and women are both created in God’s image.
Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, after our likeness, so they may rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move on the earth.”
1:27 God created humankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them.
Second, it’s obvious that both the first man and woman are made of dirt. God formed the man out of dirt.
Genesis 2:7 The Lord God formed the man from the soil of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
Then he took part of the man’s side and made a woman. If the man was dirt then the woman was also dirt.
Genesis 2:21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep, and while he was asleep, he took part of the man’s side and closed up the place with flesh. 2:22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the part he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. 2:23 Then the man said, “This one at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one will be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”
Also, my favorite verse in the new testament shows that all Christians are equal no matter their gender,race, or whether they are a slave or free.
Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female – for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.
Just these few verses I’ve quoted can easily explain how I feel about the equality of men and women. I agree with them completely, but more importantly, if the Bible is “God’s word”, then it should explain how God feels about it.
But, unlike most Christians, I don’t believe that the WHOLE Bible is the word of God. It’s actually not even one book but a collection of 66 different books. The authors of some of these books isn’t even entirely known or stated within the books themselves. Since there were a variety of authors, they had different opinions on women than I do.
Below are the most commonly used verses used to keep women from doing anything.
1 Corinthians 14:34 the women should be silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak. Rather, let them be in submission, as in fact the law says. 14:35 If they want to find out about something, they should ask their husbands at home, because it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in church.
1 Timothy 2:9 Likewise the women are to dress in suitable apparel, with modesty and self-control. Their adornment must not be with braided hair and gold or pearls or expensive clothing, 2:10 but with good deeds, as is proper for women who profess reverence for God. 2:11 A woman must learn quietly with all submissiveness. 2:12 But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man. She must remain quiet. 2:13 For Adam was formed first and then Eve. 2:14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman, because she was fully deceived, fell into transgression. 2:15 But she will be delivered through childbearing, if she continues in faith and love and holiness with self-control.
Those verses are used by Christians today to control how women dress, make them submissive and quiet, and forbid women to teach men. I cannot accept these statements to be part of the written word of God. It was obviously written by a misogynistic man.
If my mother had been “quiet” and hadn’t taught me(she taught a man!) the Bible and about Jesus, I would indeed probably be an entirely opposite person of the one I am today. When I was 4 years old, I asked Jesus to come into my heart at night while everyone else was asleep. Back then I knew very little about the bad parts of the Bible, and I don’t remember even knowing about hell. Somehow, with some help from my mother, I had some general idea that Jesus died for us because he loved us and that I needed him in my heart.
Now, over 20 years later, I don’t really think that I understand more about Jesus than I did back then, but I can at least see that I’m different than other people. I don’t share the same sexism and racism that other people do. For now I can thank God for that. It’s the best evidence I have that there really is a difference in my heart.
I don’t see how someone can claim to love God while at the same time they can hate women,jews,blacks,gays,muslims, or any other group of people. If you find people who call themselves “Christians” who act like this, please don’t assume that I’m one of them. I try to love even my enemies as Jesus taught.
Matthew 5:43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor’ and ‘hate your enemy.’ 5:44 But I say to you, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you, 5:45 so that you may be like your Father in heaven, since he causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 5:46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Even the tax collectors do the same, don’t they? 5:47 And if you only greet your brothers, what more do you do? Even the Gentiles do the same, don’t they? 5:48 So then, be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.