The Old and New United in Bias
Turning to the New Testament we find that according to the Apostle Paul in his letter to Timothy, the reason the woman was put under the authority of the man, is because Eve was deceived by the Snake, and therefore she was the one who transgressed. For that reason, and that reason alone, all women from “The Garden of Eden” 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 sole fact of being female! Paul also confirms this subjugation of women, showing that being under obedience to a man is a part of the law and even going so far as to say it is a shame for women to speak in church.
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.
1Cor.14:34-35 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
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.
One of the ironies of the biblical account of creation which states that Adam was formed first then the woman was formed from the rib of the man, is the reality that men actually come from woman and are literally flesh and bone of the woman. Every human on the planet begins from a single egg cell that is part of the body of their mother, that original cell divides to become every cell in the body of the child, hence her offspring is literally one with her body and nourished by her blood. The biblical idea of woman coming from man is just a pathetic attempt to once again rob the woman of her equal standing with man by stripping her of recognition in creating life.
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, though he fails miserably to condemn any of the gender biased laws contained in the Old Testament, so by default he is condoning them. The apostle Paul is the culprit for most of the bias against women in the New Testament, but the apostle Peter, also plays a significant part even though only two books are attributed to him, versus fourteen epistles 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. The man is to be the head over the woman in the same manner as a male god is the head of Christ and a male Christ is the head of the Church. With teachings like these built into the foundation of Christianity is it any wonder that women have had to struggle so hard (and are still struggling) 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 has diligently followed every good work. Then Paul goes into a tirade against young widows, refusing them support from the Church, commanding they 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 and misogyny – funny thing again – 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 patriarchal customs and traditions of his time.
In Subjection to her Husband
The Apostle Peter seems to share the same understanding of a woman’s place being under the authority of a man, as Paul…which is in keeping with their Jewish upbringing. Even though both men supposedly were following the teachings of Jesus (who never spoke for or against man’s headship over a woman, even though he did keep Jewish law which was biased against women) they chose to incorporate the customs of their patriarchal society into their rendition of 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 the reasons that Peter states is that through a woman’s fearful conduct and behavior in being submissive 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, 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 as many Christian men do! 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 (mentally and physically) it is needful that men have the position of ruler-ship over them. What is so grievous about the 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 ones who supposedly need 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 ruler-ship over the woman and ending in the New Testament book of Revelation with the idea of men being defiled by women.
Rev.14:14 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.
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 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.
Titus 2:4-5 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
This is in keeping with all the patriarchal 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 hierarchical order is ordained by the creator god, is like 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 rest of 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 patriarchal system of rule, created from the mind of the aggressively natured male and patterned after his ego. 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 when men should protect the woman from other men, NOT turn on the woman and try to dominate and control her…they’ve 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 and the well-being of both is compromised.
So, exactly how is this biblical hierarchical 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:
- Not allowing women to hold positions of leadership over men.
- Not allowing a woman to speak in Church.
- Not allowing women to live up to their full potential.
- Not allowing women to be educated.
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. This system of patriarchy imposed upon humanity by the Bible has a clear record of failure when viewed throughout history. To believe a flawed structure like patriarchy that is male focused and centered would be promoted by a creator god is beyond credulous and only adds to the many reasons why the Bible should be rejected as the word of god.
Why didn’t Jesus stand up for women’s rights?
Throughout the Gospels it is written that Jesus speaks out against the way religious leaders were interpreting many of the Old Testament laws that were given to the Jews through Moses by their god Yahweh. So, why didn’t he also speak out against the inequality of women that was also written in the law? For example, when the Jews sought to stone the woman caught in adultery they were carrying out the law given to Moses by Yahweh; instead of rebuking those who were carrying out the law, Jesus should have condemned the law itself and rebuked his father who gave it. Jesus could have said: “This woman is of equal value to a man, so where is the man?” If Jesus would have set a precedent by speaking up and declaring that women are of equal value to men and deserve equal human rights, he could have changed the course of history with respect to women. Never in all of his words recorded in Scripture did Jesus ever resend one law with respect to women, nor did he ever condemn one atrocity against women commanded by Yahweh, whom he called his father. Under the Law of Moses a man could condemn a woman to a death by stoning if she could not prove her virginity upon marriage, was any such law written for men…of course not…did Jesus ever mention that? No. Also why would any compassionate being give such a barbaric law as stoning to begin with, those types of laws clearly come from the minds of cruel men?
For all the magnificent words spoken by Jesus about his love for humanity, he failed miserably when it came to promoting equal human rights for women. Because of his negligence in regards to women’s rights, the apostle Paul also refused to speak up for equality of women, and instead reaffirmed the secondary position of women being in subjugation to men and considered property…this in turn has led to the continued discrimination against women in the Christian church up until today. Just imagine what could have been accomplished by a few positive words on the equality of women spoken by Jesus? Many thousands of lives would have been saved during the witch hunts and it wouldn’t have taken two thousand years for women to gain equal rights (with no thanks given to the authors of the Bible). Not only was the status of women as property upheld by Jesus, but also the legitimacy of slavery was endorsed by him as well, which leads to the inevitable conclusion that the god Jesus called his father did not believe in human equality and by default Jesus himself also condoned the status of women as property. Jesus also never spoke out against the segregation in the temple where women were denied access beyond the area called the ‘Court of the Women” begging the question as to why the supposed god given plans for the temple included areas of segregation between men and women in the first place. Whether or not Jesus could have changed the arrangement of the temple, should not have stopped him from speaking out against the extreme bias that women were subject to … it didn’t stop him in other areas.
The Two Shall Become One:
Matt.19:3-12 The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.
A careful reading of the above discourse by Jesus on the unity of marriage will disclose a theme that is not only out of character with Jewish thought in the Old Testament, but also contrary to the actions of the God inspired patriarchs. Starting with Abraham who took Hagar as his second wife it becomes a common occurrence throughout the Old Testament for men to have multiple wives, which is totally at odds with the idea of becoming one flesh, as presented in Genesis and reiterated by Jesus. Also the phrase “the twain shall become one” only occurs once in the entire Old Testament. Polygamy is never frowned upon by Yahweh, but rather encouraged as in the case of Jacob with his four wives from whom the twelve tribes of Israel were born…conflicting greatly with the idea of one man, one woman equals one flesh. Anyone who is familiar with Scripture knows the account of Yahweh giving the wives of King Saul to David (2Sam.12:7-11) and then giving those same wives of David to his son Absalom to rape as punishment for David’s sins (2Sam.16:21-22), clearly showing Yahweh had no problem with multiple wives, adultery, or rape.
Another out of character theme touched upon by Jesus is the answer given to the query of the disciples “If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry” to which Jesus responded “He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.” Implying that the best way for man is to be a eunuch for the kingdom of heaven, which again is contrary to the proclamation in Genesis 1 “Be fruitful and multiply”. Nowhere throughout the Old Testament is celibacy encouraged, even the priests were expected to marry, albeit within their own tribe. So, where did this idea of celibacy, and monogamy which was also promoted by Paul, enter into the biblical picture?
This passage in Matthew also conflates the idea of God creating male and female (chapter 1) with the reason that a man leaves his father and mother is to cleave to his wife (chapter 2). First off, the idea of God creating male and female in his image comes from Genesis 1:27 and says nothing of man and woman being joined together as one flesh in marriage which doesn’t occur until Genesis 2:24. Why Jesus conflated the two concepts and spoke of them as being one idea when it directly conflicts with the explicit biblical approval of polygamy I don’t know. Obviously, it was news to the Pharisees who queried Jesus on the matter. Another well know fact is the incongruity of the two biblical stories of creation in Genesis 1 and 2 which I’m Jesus was well aware of, yet he spoke as if both accounts were valid.
Another matter that comes to mind is that of divorce, in the same passage Jesus says that Moses allowed divorce because of the hardness of mans heart. The reality of the matter is that in Deuteronomy it says that God gave Moses all the laws including the one on divorce, so if one is to believe the Bible it wasn’t Moses who allowed divorce it was God who gave Moses that law. If that is the case then the claim by Jesus which says not one “jot” or “tittle” shall be changed from the law is also false, because Jesus changed the law on divorce from that of being acceptable to that of causing one to commit adultery. Did Yahweh whom Jesus claimed was his father, change his mind from that of permitting and encouraging multiple wives and divorce, to forbidding it lest you be called an adulterer? Just another point in my long list of reasons showing why the god of the bible cannot be who he is claimed to be, but rather a construct of the minds of men.
Speaking of adultery, the famous verses in the New Testament concerning the woman caught in the very act come to mind. While it’s all fine and dandy that Jesus forgave the woman who was brought before him, has anyone ever considered that in order for her to be caught in the act of adultery there had to also be a man? So, where was her partner in crime? Nary is a word spoken as to the whereabouts of the man this woman was caught in adultery with.
John 8:3-6 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
If Jesus truly was concerned about equality for women, he would have exposed the gender bias of accusing only the woman. Of all the sermons that I have heard preached on these passages in John, I do not ever recall hearing anyone mention the fact that only the woman stood condemned. This type of bias is quite common once one begins to look for it.