The evangelical magazine Christianity Today (which I’ve mentioned quite a bit) published an article titled “Woman As Folly” about the many curious Bible passages about women as possessions, being below or weaker than men turning women away from Christianity and god:
… “I think men are more aware than women of their tendency to sin,” one of the men suggested. “Maybe they can use this wisdom to help guide their wives.”
I couldn’t believe this was being discussed as a legitimate idea.
“Don’t they understand?” I said [to my husband]. “These sort of misconceptions—the idea that Christianity subjugates women—drive people away from the church.”
I wondered what he thought was so clear—that women bear a greater burden for the fall of man? “If I wasn’t a Christian,” I said, “these comments about women would turn me away from God.”
I wanted to deconstruct the ideas that were chipping away at my confidence in the Creator, but I felt outmatched. Among the men in our group, conversations often felt like a Scripture-quoting duel. Each time a new passage was referenced, I had the same question: What’s the context? Their response was nearly always a puzzled look. It was as if I’d just suggested we tear out pages from our Bibles and fold them into paper airplanes. Scripture, they reminded me, is inerrant.
This woman is starting to see sense. You can almost feel the warmth of the light bulb glowing brightly above her head.
Could this be the birth of a feminist? A liberated woman who realizes her entire religion has been anti-woman for 2000+ years? Maybe she could actually re-consider her belief in a god who would use authors with misogynistic values to be its voice?
But no. She can’t doubt god or the Bible. She has to pound the square peg into the round hole any way she can. So she goes looking for a comforting justification for the sexist teachings in her holy book.
Just Rationalize It!
The author then quotes what she found to be an encouraging thought:
“Many people run from any consideration of the Bible once they find such a biblical passage. I counsel them instead to slow down and try out several different perspectives on the issues that trouble them. That way they can continue to read, learn, and profit from the Bible even as they continue to wrestle with some of its concepts. One possibility I urge them to consider is that the passage that bothers them might not teach what it appears to them to be teaching. Many of the texts people find offensive can be cleared up with a decent commentary that puts the issue into historical context” (Tim Keller, The Reason for God).
Translated , this means:
“Instead of realizing the Bible is wrong on a topic like sexism against women (which we know it is, but can’t accept since we believe our god inspired it as Capital-T-Truth™), make sure you try really hard to make up a new meaning from the text that isn’t actually there. Don’t let passages bother you if you can explain them away through commentary from a totally non-Biblical human source. We’re Christians. We can rationalize anything” (Godless Girl, who knows bullshit when she reads it).
The author searches high and low for a justification for these passages she believes her deity inspired—all so she wouldn’t have to admit that this is a very good reason to not trust or believe the Bible, the men who wrote it, and the men who want to stay in power in the Church today.
In the end, she finds a way to settle on this belief:
We are all equal in the eyes of God: equally loved, sinful, and redeemed.
And, I suppose, good for her. Equality in all things is how it should be. But since that statement contradicts the practices of the Church and the text of much of the Bible, I don’t think it does quite enough to erase or justify the words of Paul or the practices of Israel. Even though some stories in the Bible portray women as leaders or examples of honor and holiness, there remain many questionable passages that cannot be ignored.
Fundy Quote of the Day
In response to this article (which I have doused with sarcasm, but is actually not bad from an evangelical point of view), of course you’re going to get a few pompous prats who think their dicks make them better than women. Here’s my favorite!:
Come on, let’s get real. Most women simply do not have the same level of mental acuity as most men. They tend to fatuousness, hysteria, shallowness and materialism. I’m sorry, but that’s just the fact. They are the weaker vessel, destined to be led by men. Inspire us, love us, support us, but as for leading, please leave that to the men in your lives who are biologically better suited to that role.
–Andrew Preston Posted: August 04, 2010 10:31 AM
Have you ever noticed that conservative gender roles bear an uncanny resemblance to internet trolling?