The Bible contains verses that have been used to justify the yoke of suppression that women have lived under for millennia. Does this mean God hates women? BRIGHT MHANGO wonders aloud.
Paul wrote: â€œThere is no difference between Jews and Gentiles, between slaves and free people, between men and women; you are all one in union with Christ Jesus.â€ (Galatians 3:28). This call has, however, done little to check the unthinkable oppression and discrimination women have gone through for millennia.
Many may say illiteracy, poverty, culture and sheer male chauvinism are to blame. But does anyone suspect that the very scriptures and religions we trust are the culprits?
Despite Genesis 1:27 saying that God created man and woman as equals, the author quickly retracts the statement in the next chapter (Gen 2:18-25). Here, Eve is shown as created to patch Adamâ€™s loneliness. Thus, a woman is objectified. If Adam never felt lonely, a woman would not have existed.
Next, Eve â€“ who, if we look carefully, wasnâ€™t there when God told Adam not to tamper with the knowledge tree (Gen 2:17) â€“ is shown being tempted by the snake. Many have hated women from this verse, but donâ€™t know that God himself had created the snake as the most intelligent animal (Genesis 3:1).
God is all-knowing: He knew what He was doing and He had his reasons for not keeping the snake away or grabbing the fruit from Eve. Both Adam and Eve ate the fruit but it is Eve who got the worst punishment.
The woman was from then on cast into subservience. God said: â€œI will increase your trouble in pregnancy and pain in child birth. In spite of this, you will still have desire for your husband, yet you will be subject to him.â€ (Gen 3:16).
Genesis 3:16 equips man to rule over woman and one would argue that desire was thus made for women. Which is why in the mid 1800s, the Church of England used Genesis 3:16 to prevent use of chloroform as anesthesia in childbirth as discovered by Young Simpson.
One church father, Marcion of Sinope, suggested that the God of the Old Testament was cruel. His teachings are to this day deemed hearsay.
Jamaican poet Allan Hope has also raised eyebrows on manâ€™s motive in religion.
â€œThey say God, the Father; God, the Son and God, the Holy spirit; no God, the Mother. Why?â€ he asks.
In Leviticus 12, for example, God tells Moses that when a woman gives birth to a boy, she shall be unclean for about 40 days. But when she gives birth to a daughter, she shall be unclean for 80 days. There should be something wrong with a daughter, then.
The author of Ecclesiastes also has a share of scorn as he says he had seen few trustworthy men but not one trustworthy woman. In fact, he suggests that death is the only other bitter thing apart from the woman (Eccl 7:26-29).
Many have since rejected the Old Testament and said the New Testament is the future of the modern world. However, unpacking the New Testament also reveals some disturbing verses cementing stereotypes against women.
Paul is responsible for the outlook of the church today. He wrote variously and some dogma he dictated still causes controversy today.
Take what he said in his first letter to Corinthians. He explicitly said husbands are supreme over wives: â€œ… he [man] reflects the image and glory of God. But woman reflects the glory of man … for man was not created for woman, but woman from man. Nor was man created for womanâ€™s sake, but woman for manâ€™s sake.â€ (1 Cor. 11).
Probably, the most questionable verses are 1 Cor. 14:34-36 which suggest that women should keep quiet in the meetings. â€œ…they are not allowed to speak; as the Jewish Law says, they must not be in charge…â€
Is the Bible Godâ€™s word? If yes, why does it hate women? And why should the whole Christian church be based on Jewish culture? And, since culture is dynamic and the Bible static, what should the modern church do?
Paul prohibits women from wearing make-up, expensive clothing and jewels; he prohibits women having authority over men and says women will be saved by having children (1 Tim. 2:8-15).
Paul argues that women should be subdued because they are the ones that broke Godâ€™s law and because they were created last (1 Tim. 2:13-14).
One wonders why one womanâ€™s sin is carried across millennia when men have broken heinous records before, like the first murder (Cain), the first rape and incest (Lot) and drunkenness (Noah).
Many have accepted into their daily routine reading and interpreting scripture but they donâ€™t want to question Godâ€™s word.
Musicians, poets and philosophers have also developed their works based on the age-old injustice, further cementing manâ€™s hegemony.
The message in Lee â€œScratchâ€ Perryâ€™s Conscious man, for example, is that women are crooks. He sings: Solomon was wise, but he couldnâ€™t see the secret of a woman; and Some strew are strewn … by a woman.
And Samuel Butler, the English poet, wrote: â€œThe souls of women are so small that some believe theyâ€™ve none at all.â€
Is it time to critically look at religious texts not only as solutions to problems, but also as causes? Does the solution lies in rejecting or amending some of these teachings.
God would never hate his own creation. For sure, the problem lies with the creatures, so does the solution.