Women and Religion

Guest Blog by Martin S Pribble.

You may not be familiar with my blog www.martinspribble.com, but I have been working hard at it for about a year and a half now, with my topics aimed at simply trying to get my readers to think; think about religion, think about politics, think about culture. I am an avid atheist, but i feel that even more important than atheism in society is actually the application of secular values within our schools and governments. If you so wish, visit my blog or you can follow me on Twitter. Thanks Monica for allowing me to write this on your blog!

It strikes me as odd that of all the people in the world who are religious, as in following the word of this or that holy book, that women would want to have anything to do with it. I mean, what is it about religion that draws women to it in the first place?

I’m well aware that most people who are religious were born into that religion, and from all accounts it can be a very difficult mold to break free from, but I still wonder, how is it possible to be so blinded by a belief system or a book to see yourself as not only inferior to your God, but inferior to men also. I have never been religious. I was fortunate enough to be born into a family which treasured my ability to make my own decisions based on what I learnt and what I could work out, so the idea of being a believer is quite odd to me. But to be a believer of a system of misogyny when you are the one who it is biased against just seems ludicrous.

One doesn’t have to search too far to find the parts of either of the two major holy books to find the parts that basically tell women that they are inferior. The Bible does it in the first chapter, telling women they were created from man only as a companion for him. It then goes on to explain how a woman was responsible for EVERYTHING that has gone wrong in the world since then. From Genesis 3:

1Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

Women are also seen as inferior in The Koran, and this is just one example of this:

2:228 Women who are divorced shall wait, keeping themselves apart, three (monthly) courses. And it is not lawful for them that they should conceal that which Allah hath created in their wombs if they are believers in Allah and the Last Day.And their husbands would do better to take them back in that case if they desire a reconciliation. And they (women) have rights similar to those (of men) over them in kindness, and men are a degree above them. Allah is Mighty, Wise.

Remember however that the Koran was written by a man who had a penchant for pedophilia, marrying Aisha at six and consummating the marriage when she was only nine. There are obvious other examples of this misogyny in Islamic culture that may or may not be religious or cultural, but they stem from the same place; a man’s interpretation of the holy book he worships.

Is it any wonder, when looking at these books, that women are seen as second class citizens in the eyes of these religions? Think about the tendency of religion to work it’s way into culture and politics, the way that people cite God or Allah as their guide when making decisions of national importance, then think of the words that their god supposedly tells them. It is no wonder that we have ended up where we are.

Admittedly, in most western cultures which have developed under Christianity, things have moved forward, but underlying this is an inequity which stems from the words of these holy books. Call it a hangover from religion, but it still exists. From pay inequality, to the judgement of a woman as “loose” or “easy” by the clothes she wears, these judgments are deeply ingrained in our cultures.

If it’s the case that these rules of religious texts arose because men couldn’t control their sexual urges, then it’s time the men took a long hard look at themselves. If it’s the case that these rules came about because certain men wanted control over their women, then men need to look at our current world and change their attitudes to be not only more tolerant, but more humble as human beings.

The fact that women are faithful and believing in the two major organized religions astounds me. I know, especially in the third world that it is nigh on impossible to break out of, but in the western world? That strikes me as scary. It really is time we moved forward with our attitudes towards women, and not to pander to the wants of the patriarchal theocrats.

This blog has been crossposted at www.martinspribble.com.

6 thoughts on “Women and Religion

  1. Pingback: Women and Religion | Martin S Pribble

  2. Good piece, Marty. The Bible has been an oppressor of common sense ethics by the truckload, not least the equality of women. Religious scriptures of all faiths reflect the same bigotry and male dominated thinking of the times. It’s time to move on – and we are trying -but still some people cling to the old ways because they think it’s God’s plan. Very convenient for the misogynist fraternity.  

  3. Great writing on a single, basic topic.  Thank you.

    Nowhere else is it allowed in the U.S. to discriminate like this.  It would be great if someone could break the ice and file a lawsuit against one of the more egregious offenders (Islam, LDS) for discrimination or a hate crime. I suppose the women who wanted to be priests, etc were the start.  But I’d love to see more.

    All the best.

  4. It is always nice to find enlightened men. I was equal rights at six years old. Women had to cover their heads in church; when i asked why the answer was dumb even to a six year old. I said so; that didn’t go over well. Religion went down hill from there and my awareness of double standards was born which made no sense at all then and still doesn’t.

  5. I have often wondered this a lot myself, Marty. It’s very sadomasochistic behavior to willingly subject yourself to this kind of oppression, but then again, it plays right into Christianity’s hands with the whole “everyone has their cross to bear” hyperbole.

  6. Putting aside the fear of eternal damnation, some women are drawn to religion because it gives them a false sense of safety in a society that is predatory toward women.
    They overlook the fact that it’s a self-fulfilling cycle of misogyny, for what they see as immediate benefits. To leave religion would mean for them to get exposed to even more danger.

    Thank you for your guest-post, Marty.

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