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Third-Class Treatment for Women

August 22nd, 2009 Comments off

Bible and Women

Women and the Bible

 Under the most liberal interpretation, the treatment of women in the Bible is at best atrocious and if read word for word, the status of females crashes on the rocks of misogyny. Scattered throughout the Bible are references to treating one’s wife well, but the instances are so few as to be nothing more than afterthoughts.

 

 

In the Beginning

The Bible wastes no time putting women in their place. No special reading of the Bible is required to see that women in the Bible are little more than Hollywood extras with limited speaking roles. The first chapter of the Bible sets the tone for the treatment of women throughout the book. Woman is created only because Adam couldn’t find a suitable wife among the “animals” God paraded before him. Making the affront worse, women were created from a spare rib of a man, meaning that woman needed man in order to exist. Genesis 2:20-22

Genesis is literally the beginning of mistreatment of women in the Bible. As punishment for eating the forbidden fruit, God decreed that Eve suffer pain in childbirth and conception. Adam’s punishment was that his herbs would sprout thorns and he would get to rule over Eve. Obviously, the punishment doesn’t fit the crime when it comes to women. Genesis 3:16-17 Today, many men still use the decree to limit the role of women. Many of the offenses against women in the Bible are seen through its characters and their acts. For instance, God finds no fault with Abraham or Isaac for giving their wives to other men for sexual use. Genesis 12:11-16, Genesis 26:7-10 Lot and Ephremite received praise for offering their daughters to be raped, so their male guests could avoid such treatment. Genesis 19:1-8, Judges 19:22-24 Apparently, many Christian women missed the message of their worthlessness in those passages, but if they did, the Bible is just getting started in its mistreatment of the feminine gender.

The Ten Commandments portray women as the property of their husband. Exodus 20:17 says, “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house; thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s.”  In addition, once again women fall in with animals such as an “ox” or “ass.” Exodus 21:7-10, also covers the rules of selling a daughter, forcing her to marry and her role if her new husband wants more wives. The degradation of women doesn’t stop there, in Exodus 22:16-17, scripture states that if a man sleeps with an unwed virgin, he must marry her.  However, if her father refuses to give her to the man, then the man must pay the father. Another verse from Exodus caused the death of tens of thousands, if not millions, of women. “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” Exodus 22:18 Sadly, the carnage from that one verse still continues in 2009 as Africa where witch hunts continue. It doesn’t stop there, as the rules for selling a daughter into sexual slavery are listed in Exodus 21:7-11. All of this goes against women before leaving the second book of the Bible.

Leviticus informs readers about the treatment of female slaves and their masters. If a man rapes his female slave, the woman is punished and the man’s sins wiped clean. Leviticus 19:20-22 If a master and his female servant have sex, and the woman is engaged to another man, the master must pay a fine, but the woman is whipped. Leviticus 19:20-22 Even when it comes to monetary value, women are worth less than men.  Males 1 month old to five years old are worth five shekels of silver, while a female bring just three shekels. From age 20 to 60, males bring 50 shekels and females 30.  Leviticus 27:3-7

Numbers continues the anti-woman trend by laying the ground work for rape and murder. “Now kill all the boys and all the women who have slept with a man.  Only the young girls who are virgins may live; you may keep them for yourselves.” Numbers 31:7-18 Clearly, God approves of virgins as war booty. In the next book, the Bible reveals its depravity and utter contempt for women.

Deuteronomy is a rape manual that sets the tone for women as sex objects when God makes gives the command, “. . . kill every man in the town.  But you may keep for yourselves all the women, children, livestock, and other plunder.” Deuteronomy 20:10-14 That is just the beginning of the physical horrors rained upon women as God also lays out the rules for the rape and subjugation of female captives. Deuteronomy 21:10-14 A woman engaged to be married had no protection. If she was raped it was mandatory that she and her rapist be killed. Even in marriage a woman is not safe as a bride who cannot prove that she is a virgin on her wedding night must be killed. Deuteronomy 22:20-21 In an obvious piece of hypocrisy, Deuteronomy 22:22, declares that a wife found guilty of adultery was to be killed along with her lover, but no law prevented a married man from bedding other women, as long as they were unmarried. Deuteronomy 22:23-24 However, if a man rapes a virgin, he must marry her and also pay her father 50 shekels for humbling her. Deuteronomy 22:28-29 Other twisted sanctions include allowing a man to divorce a woman for uncleaness, but not offering the same rule for men.

In Judges, a woman is sacrificed to a rapist crowd to save a man, but even more mind numbing is that an entire town falls to murder and rape with God’s approval. Even then, it wasn’t enough as the rapist hid by the roadside to kidnap and rape even more.

Even the creator of the universe can’t stay out of the debauchery of women. In Isaiah 3:14-24 God says, “Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet: Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the Lord will discover their secret parts.”

Psalm 127: 3-5 reads, “Children are a heritage of the Lord, the fruit of the womb, a reward. As arrows in a soldier’s hand, so are the sons of the young. Blessed is the man who has filled his quiver with them,” making women little more than baby machines. Even today some denominations developed “full quiver theology” in support of this verse, making it a sin for a woman not to have children.

The New Testament

The demeanment of women doesn’t stop in the Old Testament but continues in the New Testament. Women remain below men in all things and  1 Corinthians 11:3-9 makes it clear that God is over Christ, Christ is over man, and man is over woman.  Women are not allowed to talk in church as it is considered shameful according to 1 Corinthians 14:34-35.  If a woman has questions, she is to remain quiet and only ask her husband once they are home.

In the Bible, women are inferior to men in all ways. Yet, they must treat their husbands as they treat God.  Ephesians 5:22-24 “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body.  Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”

1 Tim. 2:11-14, says, “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” This makes it clear that not only is a woman subservient to man, but she is also blamed for Adam’s sin.

The epistles of Paul present steep problems when it comes to women. The traditional themes regarding women as little more than property are continued, but it is his personal attitude toward women and sex that color his writing. So deep is his demeanment of women and sex that many scholars believe Paul was a homosexual in denial. Paul’s contributions to the Bible can’t be minimized as most scholars agree that he is responsible for the birth of Christianity.

Summary

Clearly, the Bible’s treatment of women is abominable. Women not only have submissive and inferior status to men, but they are considered property. Yet, majorities of female Christians seem unaware of the Bible’s treatment of females and are able to read past the obvious third-class citizenship, justify it or compartmentalize it as if it doesn’t exist.

That women rank lower than men is a clear and consistent theme throughout both the old and new testaments. With that in mind, it is difficult too comprehend how females living in the United States and aware of the history women’s rights could ever accept the Bible or its religion. Sadly, the themes presented in the Bible have been used by men to hold women in subjugation. The domination of men in the church hierarchy further reinforces the second-class nature of women and is fully supported by the Bible. Although female clergy exist in the United States, their service is tainted by religionists that refuse to recognize their legitimacy. In June of 2007, the Southern Baptist Convention voted that “the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by scripture.”

Society

The history of women’s struggle for equality is well documented and shows clearly that females from nearly every level of society and culture in the world have been denied equality and the problem persists largely because of religion. Despite their pleas to the contrary, in the United States the Christian church tried to block  the advancement of women, including the use of anesthesia in childbirth, the right to vote or run for office. Organized religion is still the biggest obstacles to women around the word achieving equal status with men.

The mistreatment of women under religious doctrine has not gone unnoticed. Recently, former President, Jimmy Carter spoke out against religion inspired mistreatment of women. In a widely disseminated statement denouncing the global mistreatment of women based on religious texts and doctrines, the former president said,

“This view that women are somehow inferior to men is not restricted to one religion or belief. It is widespread. Women are prevented from playing a full and equal role in many faiths. The male interpretation of religious texts and the way they interact with, and reinforce, traditional practices justify some of the most pervasive, persistent, flagrant and damaging examples of human rights abuses.”

The former president also broke with his church of 60 years because of his stance on women’s rights.

Conclusions

Any woman that takes Christianity with seriousness must become an expert at compartmentalization to accept the religion. By accepting the Bible as it is, women set themselves up for abuse and second-class citizenship that allows a man to rule over a woman as if she were a slave. The Bible encourages subservient behavior in woman that often leads to bitterness, divorce and even violence. Overall, religion has many women thinking it’s raining when someone is pissing in their face.

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