A Misogynist Preacher & The Chicken or the Egg

Here’s what the Bible says about women … according to this guy:

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Not many people–including Christians–would disagree that this preacher, Jack Schapp, is a sexist, woman-hating, ignorant schmuck. As expected (to me, anyway), he is a pastor in the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist movement of which I am fairly familiar, having family members who attend such churches and having visited a few myself.

But beyond his personal viewpoints, I have a question for you, reader:

Does the religion make the person or does the person make the religion?

It’s a question of which came first: the chicken or the egg.

Do you think people choose their religions, denominations, and churches based on who they already are? It seems to me that those with misogynistic beliefs will favor a theology that undercuts the value of women. Likewise, a person who is kind and loving and sees the worth in other people will likely choose a theology that favors ultimate reconciliation and no hell or punishment for differences in belief, sexuality, and so forth.

I’m unconvinced that it is solely a religion or denomination’s fault that people kill each other, persecute other faiths, and teach abhorrent beliefs about the value of humanity. We can blame much of that on religion simply because it’s an organized, financed, public outlet for such opinions, but in the end, the fault lies with each one of us who is bigoted, hateful, or unloving, doesn’t it?

What do you think?

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23 Comments


  1. Some men will do anything to be in control of women. I think its because they’re not satisfied with their own ability to get laid. Just a hunch.

  2. Inculcation. Some poor kids never stand a chance..

  3. I’m going to go with the Hitchens orthodoxy on this: Religion poisons everything.

    Bigots, sociopaths, and misogynists will always be with us. Religion gives them a forum to spew their filth.

  4. It’s weird, I’ve read the bible cover to cover and it does express a lot of these kinds of ideas, but if you showed this to the average Christian they would back pedal as hard as they could, and you would hear the word “context,” so many times it would sound like a nervous tick. So, what confuses me is that we don’t see more pastors preaching this kind of thing directly. Sure, one could argue that most churches/doctrines/pastors/denominations are at least slightly misogynistic, but it doesn’t even come close to the kinds of things in the bible. This guy is clearly a bastard (and probably would be with or without the religion), but his representations of the attitudes toward women in the bible seem to be for more accurate than those of the revisionist Christians who want to pretend that the values in the bible aren’t those of a bunch of bronze aged, goat herding, desert dwelling, genocidal, misogynistic, racist . . . you get the point.

  5. I don’t think it’s either/or, I think both are true. One of the final pieces of the puzzle that clicked to convince me that all this God stuff was hokum was coming to the realization that, for 99% or more of religious people, the creator and supreme power in the Universe just happens to think *exactly like they do*.

    It’s as if “God” is the superego, and “Satan” is the id, and the ego can’t handle these conflicting opinions being in the same mind so it copes by visualizing them as external entities which just so happen to be invisible and with which it can communicate by pure thought.

    And just to finish channeling Freud, I suppose the church steeple is a bit phallic….

    • One of the final pieces of the puzzle that clicked to convince me that all this God stuff was hokum was coming to the realization that, for 99% or more of religious people, the creator and supreme power in the Universe just happens to think *exactly like they do*.

      The other 1% are extremely interesting people to hang around with.

  6. As Luna so wisely tells the knocker on the door to Ravenclaw Tower:

    “A circle has no beginning.”

    The Bible is just like any other literary text: people will read into it what they want to see. What they want to see is contingent upon too many factors for me to even begin to wrap my head around. I think vile people will be vile with or without religion just as much as I think good people will be good with or without it.

  7. People don’t choose their religion, at least at first. Generally speaking, your first religion is the religion of the time/place/ethnic group/family that you’re born into. It’s also what you’re exposed to in your formative years. So really, they grow up together.

    I know that I’ve met more than one atheist who grew up in a fundamentalist household who still retain many of those fundamentalist traits. The black-and-white, us-vs-them attitude can be very hard to shift if you’ve had it drummed into you from day one.

    Tim hits the nail on the head, but I’ll go a bit further: Religion tends to amplify your own qualities. So if you’re a bigoted arsehole, religion will often make you an even more bigoted arsehole. If you’re a kind enlightened humanist, religion will often make you an even kinder enlightened humanist.

    Incidentally, since someone mentioned Hitchens’ slogan “religion poisons everything”, I will point out yet again that he sent his own daughter to a Quaker school.

    • Hitchens’ “sent his own daughter to a Quaker school”.

      As opposed to what exactly? Non-belief is just getting rolling here — we’re embedded in a heavily Christian population in the US. There aren’t a lot of options out there yet. Atheists are still hated here in the US, if we tried to open an openly atheist school I suspect it would be burned to the ground. I dare you to try and get insurance for one. Very timid pro-atheist billboards and bus ads are still denied or destroyed.

      Do you think our US ‘secular’ public schools don’t have Crazy Christian’s running all over them? Federal Court Lifts Ban on Public Prayer at Texas High School Graduation:
      http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/06/03/texas-senator-blasts-judges-decision-to-forbid-public-prayer-at-high-school/

      US Schools refusing to allow student atheist groups: http://hoydenabouttown.com/20110225.9556/us-high-schools-refusing-to-allow-student-atheist-groups/

      Yeah, that’s the bullshit I get to deal with here while over at Sidwell Friends School they have silent time. I would send my kid to Sidwell over ANY Texas public school in a heartbeat.

      If you know of better options I’m all ears but I don’t think they are likely just yet. So we have to live within the system that exists for now.

      Going with the Quakers seems like a choice of the lesser of many evils. And Hitchen’s has been relatively kind to the Quakers and Jains. So while they might be religions that poison the least, the superstitious, magical thinking is still a drag.

      I hope this will change as non-belief builds steam – but remember you are fighting people who think having 10 kids is a really good idea while I have 1. You can guess how the numbers game plays out.

  8. It’s a two way street, both are equally as bad

  9. When a religion holds up a holy scripture as the word of God, and all who join study, listen to and teach the precepts of that scripture, then I think the scripture is the main source of the ideas of that society. When the Bible teaches hatred against gays and discrimination against women, it is the source of the poison. The people can mainly be faulted for exalting and ignorantly believing such a spurious document as the Bible.

  10. I would say the issue isn’t which spawns which … it’s that one feeds the other… nasty religious ideas attract nasty people who spread the nasty ideas… the point is to break the cycle at as many points as possible

  11. Great question.

    So much of what he says sounds like pure and simple hate speech to me. Misogyny is divinely ordained, so he says. Strange, given that Jesus seemed especially close to women.

  12. It’s both. Misogynists like Schapp would exist without religion but religion is a means to enforce their beliefs and teach them to future generations who will continue the cycle.

    I guess what you would have to look at is how many people choose to go to certain churches compared to how many people were simply born and raised into them.

  13. They gravitate towards what is a reflection of themselves.

    “You can tell you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” – Anne Lamott

  14. TruthOverfaith

    “Pastor” Schapp has a website where anyone can ask a question about the Christian faith. I posted one that he probably won’t answer. I was a bad boy. But it sure was fun!

    Perhaps others on this site might enjoy doing the same?

  15. I just stumbled across your blog and I think it’s rad!

    I think it’s a little of both. I think people tend to choose a religion that fits with their current worldview beliefs, but then as the religion grows/changes, they also change accordingly. People who were raised in a particular religion are shaped by that religion, too, especially if their entire family and all their friends are involved. I also think that religion definitely gives people an excuse to be idiots – you can pretty much interpret it however you want. Doesn’t make it right though. Stuff like this is so sickening.

  16. I couldn’t listen, it was too much.

    Somebody suggested I start a business in Indiana. I’m sorry but if this is an example of the customers that I would have there, I’ll just visit, take my ThreeFloyds Beer and continue on my way.

  17. You may be interested to know that no matter how right-wing religious crazy a person might be, there’s always someone a little crazier. Dr Jack Hyles has condemned Jack Schaap for not believing right enough: http://www.jackhyles.com/
    Dr Hyles was the preacher at Schaap’s church before Schaap was…Hilarious stuff to me as I grew up in a church that idolized (well, i mean, you know, not _idolized_ but whatever the equivalent of idolatry would be without being an idol worshiper) Jack Hyles and the First Baptist church of Hammond, Indiana.

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