Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bible's Treatment of Women

It is stereotypically asserted that all religion usurps the rights of women and makes them second class citizens. Only a gross misinterpretation of Scripture can lend itself to supporting this idea with regards to Christianity.


When God created Adam and Eve and in the Garden of Eden, He vocalized that what He had created was good. Differences in attributes do not equate to differences in equality. Some schools of thought try to equate sameness to gender differences to promote equality. However it is not necessary to stifle diversity to create unity.

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34 comments:

Chase Warren said...

I find the creation of man very interesting. I think God chose the rib as a symbol...the woman was not above the man nor below but equal. Only after the fall did women have to submit to their husbands (submission isn't always negative). In the New Testament women actually have more respect.

Anonymous said...

Other religions have had much more liberating roles for women, all the way up to goddess. So, your assertion is clearly incorrect.

Even if it were, it's like saying that getting whipped with specific item A is the best thing to get whipped by. It's still not good to be the cream of the crop if the crop consists of completely rotten vegetables. And, to see women as somehow liberated by the Bible takes a special kind of blindness and willful ignorance. You see liberation because you wish to see it, just as Muslim women claim that the burqua is liberating.

Kevin DeGraaf said...

http://www.daylightatheism.org/2006/11/religions-harm-to-women.html

http://atheism.about.com/od/womenandreligion1/

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

"Only a gross misinterpretation of Scripture can lend itself to supporting this idea with regards to Christianity."

Actually, a plain reading is all that is required. Paul was a misogynist.

Karla said...

Mike, did you read my whole article? Paul was advocating for the eduction of women, not the contrary. I see no contemptuos treatment of women in the Pauline epistles or elsewhere. I can see how people can take a verse and misconstrue it or use it out of context with the whole flavor of the Gospel as one can do with any text. But as a whole the Bible puts male and female on the same equal level as far as worth and value. Sure we are different and have different strengths and weaknesses, but both are equally valueable to the Lord.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Really? Women are to be subservient to men, because men came from God, but women came from men. Women can't speak in church or teach men.

1 Corinthians 11:5-9

Sounds pretty equal to me. Not. They both have roles, yes, but the woman's is to be subservient to men.

Anonymous said...

"Mike, did you read my whole article? Paul was advocating for the eduction of women, not the contrary."

That's a modern apologetic that has only recently come about in order to explain away the obvious sexual bias against women in the Bible.

Karla said...

Mike, did you read the whole article? I address that fully in my article if you follow the link. In short, Husbands are to love their wives like Christ loves the church, giving themselves up for HER needs. Then in that conext of the Husband being the primary server of his wife, is the wife to submit to the Husband. I would say the Husband has the greater responsibility of service in that passage.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Karla, I used to make those same arguments, but really, if you read it plainly without trying to justify it, those arguments do not stand

You seem to be reading it as an ad lib, ie. "Women should remain silent in church __________Insert_rationalization_here_____."

Karla said...

So when Jesus said if your eye causes you to sin it would be better if you plucked it out -- you actually think he was telling people to pluck their eye out? There is a way to read things that has to be in context as well as in cultural context. When Jesus talked about the "eye of a needle" many think in terms of a sewing needle where in fact there was a structure in Jerusalem at that time called the eye of the needle that a person could walk through just barely but a donkey could not fit. We have to read text in their context and cannot think that our modern interpretation would have been what was meant so many thousands of years ago.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Telling people to pluck their eyes out is clearly symbolic, because it is an unrealistic request. Telling women not to speak or teach is quite different, yes you must read it in context both of the text it's self and the time and place it was written, but if he meant to qualify what he wrote he should have done so.

Why didn't a perfect god write his perfect book in such a way that it wasn't so easy to misread and misinterpret? That way we wouldn't have had 2000 years of women being oppressed.

Karla said...

There isn't any problem with the text, it's human to err. We have the ability to interpret things out of context. That's not a problem with the text, but a problem with out we understand it. If you want to modernize Paul's comment out of it's cultural context you have the ability to do that.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

"If you want to modernize Paul's comment out of it's cultural context you have the ability to do that."

Painting him as a liberator of women is doing exactly that.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

This is an interesting story that relates to this discussion: Female Pastors = Porn

Karla said...

I admit, Christians have different interpretations of Paul regarding women. I think examining the cultural context is imperative. Some never look beyond what they have always been taught and can't see it any other way.

rw said...

"women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission... for it is desgraceful for a woman to speak in the church." its like i'm reading a cryptic message in some dead language.

Karla said...

That was written by Paul in a certain historical context. Prior to Christianity women were not educated. In Christian circles they were being educated, but they had so many questions they were interrupting the meetings, so Paul in an attempt to keep everyone able to hear the speaker(s), asked that women keep silent during the meeting and learn at home the answers to their questions instead of asking them in the middle of the meeting. He was still validating their education, but wanted to do it in an orderly way.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

So instead of just saying that he told them to be silent. That's some pretty intense reading between the lines.

Karla said...

Mike, it's putting it in it's culture context. You know the passage about going through an eye of a needle? Did you know there was a gateway in Jerusalem called the eye of the needle that was a very narrow passage way that camels could not traverse?

When most read that passage we think of a camel going through the eye of a sewing needle! A literal reading doesn't mean literal in modern context, but in the cultural context in which it was written.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Yes, there are a lot of things that are clearly cultural references. The Paulian verse says nothing of what you said, however. He made no "eye of a needle" like reference in that passage.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Not to mention that the eye of a needle part doesn't change the meaning whether you know about the gateway or not. Either way, the camel isn't getting through.

Karla said...

Well, some do in fact see it as modern day literal. But I don't see that interpretation as well supported by the rest of Scripture. You don't have to accept my take on it.

ajv07 said...

"...but they had so many questions they were interrupting the meetings, so Paul in an attempt to keep everyone able to hear the speaker(s), asked that women keep silent during the meeting and learn at home the answers to their questions instead of asking them in the middle of the meeting."

wrong.

1st Timothy 2:11-14. "A womanshould learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. For Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner."

This clearly defines the view the women are inferior to men. It has nothing to do with being polite and letting people hear, but EVERYTHING to do with women being inherently more sinful, and therefore UNEQUAL to men.

Karla said...

Scripture interprets Scriptures:

Acts 2:18 “ Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.”

Philippians 4:3 “Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.”

Galatians 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

"Scripture interprets Scriptures" or in your example. Scripture contradicts scripture.

Karla said...

It's not a contradiction there aren't any in Scripture. We just have to look at it in light of the other verses to know that discrimination of women is not what is being communicated.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

"It's not a contradiction there aren't any in Scripture."

Karla, the words are right in this thread, contradicting each other.

Karla said...

What I am saying is that the I Timothy Scripture has to be interpreted in light of all of Scripture and there are many verses that show God doesn't see woman as less than man, different than man, but not less than man in value. Different roles does not equate different value. There aren't any contradictions in Scripture so if we see one we have to be the one in error and have to work that out to see what is being said in congruency with the whole of Scripture.

The truth sets people free -- so whatever the truth is about women is not something that binds us but something that is the most free for women.

This verse seems like something we would need to seek God about for revelation on how it all fits.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

So they contradict, but they don't contradict. Got it. This is the part I miss the least about being a Christian. Forcing myself into cognitive dissonance.

The Bible is far from perfect, of that I am 100% certain as would anyone be giving it an honest read.

Karla said...

That's not what I said. I said there are no contradictions in Scripture. Anything we think is we need to seek Him for understanding. Actually all knowledge needs to be filtered through relationship with Him. I wrote on this recently.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Yes, and as we have repeated ad nauseam "He" seems to have given hundreds, perhaps thousands of different interpretations. He needs to get his message straight.

Karla said...

It's not designed to be understood fully without relationship with Him. Many people can claim lots of things, but the important thing isn't getting doctrine exactly right, it's knowing the Truth Himself. People can argue doctrine all day long, but there is little point in it. Sometimes someone's mistaken interpretation can cause harm to others and that's when it becomes a matter that needs addressing, but usually pointing that person to Jesus Himself does far more for them than trying to intellectually reason with them to abandon an errant doctrine.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

"Many people can claim lots of things, but the important thing isn't getting doctrine exactly right, it's knowing the Truth Himself."

That in its self is doctrine.

Karla said...

The experiencing life with Him isn't doctrine, but the saying that's what it is all about -- I guess so. But once you know Him that way, there isn't much else to say.