Archive for June, 2011
The account listed below is found in the book of Genesis, it perfectly depicts the status of women as property. The first story takes place in the infamous city of Sodom where the nephew of Abraham, Lot is residing. He is entertaining two “messengers” in his home; the men of the city begin to bang on his door demanding that he send out the “messengers”, so that they can sodomize them. Lot pleads with them not to harm to the “messengers” that are abiding under his roof, so he offers instead for these wild men to take his two daughters and do with them as they see right. If you have not already fallen off your seat, I don’t understand why not. Can any human with a conscience imagine offering ones own daughters to wild men to be raped in lieu of giving them the men they asked for? And to make matters worse, Lot was not reprimanded for his egregious actions. But, we already know the reason for that…women were considered no more than a mans property, whereas the value of a man was not property, but honor.
Gen.19:4-8 But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may know them. And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.
I consider the following account of abuse to be the most horrendous in the entire Bible, and if it doesn’t make you scream at the top of your lungs MALE BIAS, I fear there is no hope anything will.
The story begins with a man who has taken a male guest into his house. Shortly after a group of men bang on his door demanding the householder send out this male guest so that they may sodomize him. The householder pleads with the men to not abuse his male guest, but instead to take either his daughter or concubine and rape them instead. Where this case differs from the previous one in Sodom is that the master of the house actually does give his concubine over to the men who repeatedly rape and abuse the woman all night long till morning when they let her go. This poor woman barely has enough strength to crawl up to the door of her master’s house where she dies on his steps. Her master then proceeds to cut his concubine into twelve pieces and sends her body parts to all the coasts of Israel.
Judges 19:22-29 Now as they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, certain sons of Belial, beset the house round about, and beat at the door, and spake to the master of the house, the old man, saying, Bring forth the man that came into thine house, that we may know him. And the man, the master of the house, went out unto them, and said unto them, Nay, my brethren, nay, I pray you, do not so wickedly; seeing that this man is come into mine house, do not this folly. Behold, here is my daughter a maiden, and his concubine; them I will bring out now, and humble ye them, and do with them what seemeth good unto you: but unto this man do not so vile a thing. But the men would not hearken to him: so the man took his concubine, and brought her forth unto them; and they knew her, and abused her all the night until the morning: and when the day began to spring, they let her go. Then came the woman in the dawning of the day, and fell down at the door of the man’s house where her lord was, till it was light. And her lord rose up in the morning, and opened the doors of the house, and went out to go his way: and, behold, the woman his concubine was fallen down at the door of the house, and her hands were upon the threshold. And he said unto her, Up, and let us be going. But none answered. Then the man took her up upon an ass, and the man rose up, and gat him unto his place. And when he was come into his house, he took a knife, and laid hold on his concubine, and divided her, together with her bones, into twelve pieces, and sent her into all the coasts of Israel.
This story is so despicable, horrendous, and revolting it should make anyone who reads it want to puke, but, do we hear one word of rebuke for the actions of the householder? NO! And why not? Because women were considered property and a man could do with them as he wished…and this idea is in keeping with the laws given by the biblical god Yahweh. According to the god presented in the Bible, a man’s worth was of a much greater value then that of a woman. That is why we see in the two cases of men who had the choice of either giving over their male guests to be sodomized or giving over their women, the choice is always to give the woman, because handing over the man would have been dishonorable.
Many more examples of male bias could be shown, but I think the idea has been presented with crystal clarity. The Bible is a book written from the minds of men, who were part of a society that was structured on the Dominator model. It was part of their culture to view women as inferior, thus the image of “God” they created would be a superior masculine god, whose rules would be structured on the system of male dominance and female inferiority. The hierarchal order that the Bible displays is exactly what one would expect if the assumption is made from the onset that it was written by men. It is only when one assumes that that the Bible was written from men who received inspiration from the one true god that a multitude of conflicting problems arise.
The creator god of the Bible is portrayed as the omnipotent designer of the whole cosmos, which was quite different from the pantheistic belief that was prevalent at the time of the biblical narrative. This concept of one god being the creator of all and having no beginning was a novel idea for the people of that time. The norm was that of a pantheon of gods who were always vying for power, warring with each other, and creating new gods, or parts of the cosmos from a defeated god. When the archetypal idea of one god arose in the minds of the early Hebrews they needed a system to base this concept on. Of course, the first thing is to draw from those customs and beliefs they came out of, and since there was only one god its gender needed to be male, whereas in the pantheon of gods there was male gods and female goddesses. This male god would then order his creation the way a male perceives the proper system to be structured, thus we have the male hierarchal order of the Bible. Consequently, only men received direct instructions from “God” on what the composition of his laws were to be…so, it is no wondered they are skewed towards male dominance.
With all these examples of male bias given the verdict is clear and precise…from its conception the Bible was formed and created from the minds of ancient man, depicting a god whom they created in their male image and after their likeness. My whole premise is grounded on facts that the Bible reveals in a very lucid way. There is no need for speculation or presumptions; the biblical authors are not trying to hide their intent, but rather they promote this inequality as being the true hierarchical order of the cosmos. This of course does not mean that the Bible does not contain wisdom, and truth…which I most certainly think it does, rather it declares the Bible to be amazing work of ancient literature, thus freeing the mind to explore its ideas…instead of trapping the unsuspecting soul in a prison that stifles the imagination.
The fundamental doctrine of the New Testament is the hierarchical order of: God the father, over Jesus the husband, over the Church as the bride. Its sub-category is the make-up of the Church, which includes the headship of the male/husband, and the subordination of the woman/wife.
Eph 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
Col 3:18 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.
This is in keeping with all the Dominator societies existing since ancient times where male ruler-ship was based solely on the fact of the aggression of the man…NOT because a woman needed to have a ruler over her. So, to say that this hierarchal order is ordained by the creator god, is saying that by the way “God” naturally ordered life; a female needs to be ruled over by a male, yet if this is the case why do we not see this structure in the animal kingdom?
When one blows away all the fundamentalist noise of the Bible being the revelation of the one true god, we can see what’s left is an ordered structure built solely from the Dominator system of rule, created from the mind of the aggressively natured male. The fact of the matter is that a woman does not need a man to rule over her any more than a man would need a woman to rule over him. Both sexes are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves…the only time a problem arises is when human males turn on the females of their species in aggression. That is where men should protect the woman from other men, NOT turn on the woman and try to dominate her…they got it backwards. The man and woman are supposed to work together in partnership for the betterment of the whole; no good comes from domination.
So, exactly how is this biblical hierarchal system of order where the male is put in the position of ruling over the women supposed to benefit the woman? The typical results that one sees in these Dominator systems is where the man keeps the woman from fulfilling her full potential, like:
1. Not allowing woman to be educated.
2. Not allowing women to hold positions of leadership.
3. Not allowing a woman to speak in Church.
All we find are restrictions of what a woman cannot do, that a man is allowed to do; whereas men are allowed to do many things that a woman is not allowed to do merely because she is female.
The Apostle Peter seems to share the same understanding of a woman’s place being under the authority of a man, as Paul. Even though both men supposedly were following the teachings of Jesus – who never spoke of a man’s headship over a woman – they chose to incorporate the customs of their male Dominator society into the teachings of Jesus.
Peter clearly states that a woman is to be in subjection to her husband; bringing up the account of Sarah’s subservience to Abraham, calling him lord. One of Peter’s reasons is that through a woman’s fearful conduct and behavior in submission she will win her husband over, but is that really the best way to influence others? Isn’t that just reinforcing the idea of men ruling over women? If both sexes are truly equal as Jesus taught, why does the male need to rule over the female based solely on the fact of gender? Men and women can each fulfill the roles they have the expertise for, or are best suited for without one party ruling over the other. It is ridiculous to compare the equality of men and women with parents ruling over children! Children need to be taught and guided to grow into maturity, but that is not the case with mature men and women who are both equal in intellect, capability to care for oneself, and raise children. If a woman can raise a child to maturity, why would she need a man to be in headship over her? The obvious answer: she doesn’t!
1Peter 3:1-7 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation (conduct, behavior) coupled with fear (phobos: fear, terror, dread). Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement. Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge (intelligence), giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker (asthenes: weak, sick, feeble, impotent) vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
Peter goes on to say that men should dwell with their wives through intelligence…reasoning that because they are weaker it is needful that men have the position of rulership over them. What is so grievous about this idea of a hierarchical order based on strength is that it reinforces a flawed concept of authority. Instead of a man using his strength and more aggression nature to protect his family from enemies, it is turned against the one who supposedly needs the protecting, thus the man turns from a protector into a dominator. This very idea is reinforced over, and over again throughout the Bible, starting in Genesis when man is given flat-out rulership over the woman and ending in the New Testament.
When we compare the Partnership model with the Dominator model, we can see where the Partnership model wins hands-down…drawing on the strengths of both sexes to benefit the whole, thus instead of one gender ruling over the other, both work together to achieve a common goal, which is quite the opposite of the arbitrary reason for male headship that the Bible promotes.
The book of Numbers gives another good example of the status of women as “property” in the eyes of the Hebrew culture, which was in keeping with the customs of their surrounding pagan neighbors.
The verses below highlight the fact that the Israelites under “Gods” command, were doing exactly what their pagan neighbors did. When a battle was fought and war “booty” was taken, the virgin women were counted as “booty” to be divided up amongst the men along with the livestock.
Numbers 31:30-31 & 35 And of the children of Israel’s half, thou shalt take one portion of fifty, of the persons, of the cattle, of the asses, and of the flocks, of all manner of beasts, and give them unto the Levites, which keep the charge of the tabernacle of the LORD. And Moses and Eleazar the priest did as the LORD commanded Moses…..And thirty and two thousand persons in all, of women that had not known man by lying with him.
Does anyone not see the picture these verses are painting? The supposed hierarchical order given to the Hebrews by their warrior god, Yahweh is no different from any of the other Dominator societies – perhaps worse. So, what makes a Christian believe that this “God” of the Bible who bases his hierarchical order solely on gender is real, and not the mythical imaginings of ancient minds?
Of course the bias continues big time in the New Testament, despite the fact that the teachings of Jesus are for the most part extremely egalitarian. The Apostle Paul is the culprit for most of the bias against women, but the Apostle Peter also plays a significant part even though only two book are attributed to him verses 14 for Paul.
According to Paul a woman is nothing without the man, for she is his glory, and came from the man and was created for the man. With teachings like that is it any wonder that christian women have had to struggle so hard to get an equal standing with men.
1Cor.11:3-10 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God…..But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.
But, only the tip of the proverbial iceberg has been touched. The egregious bias continues in 1Timothy where Paul sets forth the standard for proper conduct of the woman that is solely based on gender…no such standard is set forth for men. A woman who is widowed can only be taken in by the Church IF she has been the wife of one man, and IF she has lodged strangers, and washed the feet of the saints, IF she has relieved the afflicted and diligently followed every good work. Then Paul goes into a tirade against young widows, refusing them support from the Church, commanding that marry and bear children, otherwise they will become idle, wandering from house to house, tattlers, busybodies, and ultimately turning to Satan. Wow, what a load of male chauvinism…funny thing is the same standard does not apply to men.
1Tim.5:9- Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man, Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work. But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry; Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith. And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not. I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. For some are already turned aside after Satan.
It is very apparent that the teachings of Paul concerning women directly paralleled many of the traditions practiced by the surrounding cultures, once again pointing to the fact that the words of Paul were not “God-given”, but rather a direct reflection of the customs and traditions of the time.
According to the Apostle Paul in his letter to Timothy, the reason the woman is put under the authority of the man, is because Eve was deceived by “the Snake”. For that reason, and that reason alone all women from “The Garden” till now bear that curse in their femininity. Meaning, that woman are placed in subjugation under the man solely because of gender…not because of lack of intellect, not because of lack of ability, not for any reason other than the fact of being female! Now that’s pretty bad!
1 Tim. 2:11-14 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. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.
Would any person ever dream of punishing every male or female on the planet, because an individual man or woman committed a crime? Of course not! But, that is exactly what the God of the Bible is portrayed as doing. The ONLY reason ever given throughout the entire Bible for the hierarchical order of male headship is the one I just cited (Eve’s transgression), and that is the lame excuse Christian men have used for centuries to keep women from sharing equal rights with them. It truly is a shameful thing.
In the Law of Moses, given by the God of the Bible a man may give his wife a bill of divorce if he is dissatisfied with her, but the same is NOT true if a wife finds dissatisfaction with her husband. There was no voice given to the woman who suffers abuse at the hands of her husband, because she had no say over her own life. This typifies the treatment of women in most dominator societies and the authors of the Bible were no different.
Deut. 24:1-2 When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife.
Once again I have pointed out the double standard that is prevalent throughout the entire Bible (mostly in the Old Testament) with issues pertaining to women.
- Men could choose their wives/ women were sold to men for wives
- Men could have multiple wives and concubines/ women could have one husband
- Men could divorce their wives at will/ women were divorced by men
- Men could marry virgins they raped/ women were sold to their abuser
In the Bible women were considered property, which gave the man the right to buy and sell them at will. This once again confirms the fact that the “God-given” hierarchical order of the Bible is one of inequality, creating a system that favors one gender over the other, thus establishing an imbalance found nowhere else in the animal-kingdom. The only place in all of the animal-kingdom that male suppression of the female is found is in the human species where the male dominates and oppresses the female keeping her from realizing her full potential. The Bible actually establishes this domination of women as a “God-given” rule of the hierarchical order of the Hebrew society, proving the innate inequality and imbalance of that system.
The verses below once again exemplify the strong male bias of the Bible against women, giving overwhelming evidence that the God of the Bible was created in the minds of men.
In this section of the Law of Moses found in Deuteronomy, both the ownership and gender-bias is exposed. Under the Law of Moses, given by the God of the Bible, we read of a case pertaining to a man finding a virgin woman who is not engaged, and raping her (The Hebrew word used is “taphas”, which means “to take hold of, or seize”). The punishment for this crime of rape is that the accused man is required to pay the woman’s father “50 Shekels” and marry her because he has “humbled” her (anah: to afflict, browbeat, or oppress)…also; he is never allowed to divorce her!
The poor woman in not only forced to marry her rapist, but she must also be bound to him for life! The father profits by getting recompensed for his damaged goods (his humbled daughter) and the rapist profits by gaining a life-long sex-slave.
Deut.22:28-29 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold (taphas) on her, and lie with her, and they be found; Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her (anah), he may not put her away all his days.
Of course this is just another prime example of the mindset of male dominated societies…and the authors of the Bible were no different then any other peoples of their time period, which is expressed very clearly in their writings. Women were considered the property of the male; first of the father and then of the husband. This was the norm for most cultures of the world at that time and is exactly how the authors of the Bible created their “God” to view women and incorporate it into the law. As I have said: “Men created a god in their own image” the only thing that changed from other cultures was having one god make all the rules instead of many.
Continuing on with the theme of Male Bias in the Bible, I’ll now turn to the book of Numbers. Scripture states the Lord told Moses that if a man becomes jealous, because he thinks his wife might be having an adulterous affair, but has no evidence or witnesses to support his suspicions “only that the spirit of jealousy has come upon him”, then he is to take his wife to the priest who goes through a ritual of scraping dirt off the floor of the Tabernacle in front of the altar, and mixing it with “holy water” forcing the woman to drink it. If the woman becomes ill she is assumed guilty and cursed, whereas if she does not become ill she is free.
Let me point out there is NO equivalent law pertaining to a woman if she becomes jealous and thinks her husband is having an adulterous affair.
Num. 5:11-19 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man’s wife go aside, and commit a trespass against him, And a man lie with her carnally, and it be hid from the eyes of her husband, and be kept close, and she be defiled, and there be no witness against her, neither she be taken with the manner; And the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be defiled: or if the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be not defiled: Then shall the man bring his wife unto the priest, and he shall bring her offering for her, the tenth part of an ephah of barley meal; he shall pour no oil upon it, nor put frankincense thereon; for it is an offering of jealousy, an offering of memorial, bringing iniquity to remembrance. And the priest shall bring her near, and set her before the LORD: And the priest shall take holy water in an earthen vessel; and of the dust that is in the floor of the tabernacle the priest shall take, and put it into the water: And the priest shall set the woman before the LORD, and uncover the woman’s head, and put the offering of memorial in her hands, which is the jealousy offering: and the priest shall have in his hand the bitter water that causeth the curse: And the priest shall charge her by an oath, and say unto the woman, If no man have lain with thee, and if thou hast not gone aside to uncleanness with another instead of thy husband, be thou free from this bitter water that causeth the curse: …..27) And when he hath made her to drink the water, then it shall come to pass, that, if she be defiled, and have done trespass against her husband, that the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter, and her belly shall swell, and her thigh shall rot: and the woman shall be a curse among her people.
If for no other reason these abominations should wake us up to some of the horrendously unjust, biased laws contained in the Bible, and cause us to be more discerning and careful when we speak as if every word in Scripture is coming from God…even when the Bible says “the Lord spoke”. It’s time to take off the blinders and face reality; otherwise our progress to search out truth will be blocked.
My premise for stating that I do not believe the Bible can be the word of God, is based on the fact that Scripture is totally skewed and arbitrarily biased toward the male, and the idea that no gender-neutral god who is purported to be the creator of the universe would author a book so obviously unbalanced against the woman. The reasons given in the Bible for its lopsided view of women’s rights are pathetic, beginning in Genesis with the supposed transgression of Eve. The biblical account tells us that because Eve acted upon her desire for knowledge, and ate of the forbidden fruit offered her by the Snake, the female gender was to be forever cursed with the punishment of being ruled over by the male. From that point on, continuing through the entire Bible one finds an arbitrary bias against women for no reason other than gender.
In the following pages I will set forth my case of bias based upon verses presented in the Bible that are purported to be the words of “God”. As one reads through these verses it will become obvious that male hands are all over Scripture, giving us an account of “God” as seen through their masculine eyes. Over, and over again you will see that the rules set forth as being given from “God” are based solely on gender and are strikingly similar to the customs and traditions prevalent at the time. This male bent towards the unequal treatment of women is not the only bias one finds in the pages of Scripture; the very description of “God” himself is portrayed as a masculine warrior god named Yahweh, who is given all the standard male attributes…even down to his title as “Father”.
My first presentation in the verses below are a glaring example of how the laws of Yahweh given to Moses are arbitrarily biased in favor of the male, showing an inequality in the treatment of woman based solely on the fact of being female.
The passage in Leviticus deals with childbirth and how many days a woman is unclean after giving birth to a male child, and a female child. When a male child is born the woman is considered unclean for 7 days, and then another 33 days for purification is required, BUT when a woman bears a female child. she is unclean for double the time (14 days), then another doubled time (66 days) is added for purification on top of the first.
Lev.12:1-5 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days (7 days); according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean. And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. And she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days (33 days); she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled. But if she bear a maid child, then she shall be unclean two weeks (14 days), as in her separation: and she shall continue in the blood of her purifying threescore and six days (66 days).
This is just one of the many verses throughout the entire Bible that screams in our ears….MALE BIAS!