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The Bible and women

Let’s talk about one of the most famous and used attacks made towards the bible, so repeating that many people really thought of bible as a misogynist book…

One reason commonly given by the skeptical community for its rejection of the Bible and Christianity is the way that women are purportedly viewed in the Scriptures. According to these secular apologists, the Bible writers viewed women as inferior creatures who are less valuable than men and do not deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.

 

Evangelist-turned-skeptic, Charles Templeton, summarized this view well when he wrote, “The Bible is a book by and for men. The women in it are secondary creatures and usually inferior” (1996, p. 177). In addition, the God of the Bible and various Bible writers are accused of hating women. In his book, The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins stated that the God of the Bible is “misogynistic” (2006, p. 31). Dan Barker made a similar assertion when he wrote: “Although the bible is neither antiabortion nor pro-family, it does provide modern antiabortionists with a biblical basis for the real motivation behind their views: the bible is not pro-life, but it is anti-woman. A patriarchal system cannot stand women who are free” (1992, p. 212, italics in orig.). Famed skeptic Christopher Hitchens wrote:

A consistent proof that religion is man-made and anthropomorphic can also be found in the fact that it is usually “man” made, in the sense of masculine, as well…. The Old Testament, as Christians condescendingly call it, has woman cloned from man for his use and comfort. The New Testament has Saint Paul expressing both fear and contempt for the female (2007, p. 54).

Is it true that the biblical treatment of women presents an immoral code of ethics and falsifies the idea that the Bible was inspired by a perfectly moral Creator? Certainly not. In fact, just the opposite is the case. The Bible’s treatment of women is in perfect accord with truth and legitimate moral teaching. The accusations leveled against the Bible in this regard are vacuous and cannot be used in any legitimate way to militate against either the morality of God or the inspiration of the Bible. On the contrary, it is the teachings and logical implications of atheistic evolution that cannot hold up under the scrutiny of reason.

The Darwinian View of Women

Atheistic Darwinism is plagued by a host of problems regarding morality. In fact, it has been conclusively demonstrated that without a belief in God, concepts such as good and evil, moral and immoral, have no meaning (see Butt, 2008). Only a supernatural, moral Creator can explain the very existence of morality in man. Therefore, any attempt to question the morality of the God of the Bible based on atheistic ideas is fraught with error and self-contradiction from its inception.

Furthermore, the logical implications of Darwinism lead the honest thinker to the conclusion that equality for all humans is illusory. Not only did Charles Darwin admit that Darwinian evolution implies that certain races of people are inferior to others, with equal candor he concluded that women are inferior to men as well (see Lyons and Butt, 2009). In his monumental work, The Descent of Man, Darwin wrote:

The chief distinction in the intellectual powers of the two sexes is shown by man’s attaining to a higher eminence, in whatever he takes up, than can woman—whether requiring deep thought, reason, or imagination, or merely the use of the senses and hands…. [T]he average of mental power in man must be above that of woman…. [M]an has ultimately become superior to woman (1871, pp. 873-874, emp. added).

According to Darwin, males had evolved to a higher level than females. As evidence of his conclusion, he simply stated that males “attain to a higher eminence” in everything that they take up when compared to females. Using this line of reasoning, it would be impossible to condemn men for treating women as inferior, because, if men have the mental or physical ability to treat women as inferior, it must mean that men are stronger or more fit to survive and rule. It is ironic that the atheistic community, which is so enamored with Darwin, is suggesting that the Bible’s view of women is immoral. In reality, if their view of atheistic evolution is true, then all male-dominated societies are such because males are more able to dominate. And since survival of the fittest is desired, one must conclude that a male dominated society, in which women are viewed as inferior to men (as Darwin put it), must be at least one very prevalent natural order of things.  Even if the skeptical community is right concerning its accusations about the Bible’s “mistreatment” of women (which it is not), how could the Bible be accused of maintaining an immoral stance, when that stance coincides perfectly with the Darwinian view of the “natural order of things?” In truth, those who propound atheism and Darwinian ideals have a much more thorny problem with the logical implications of their ideas as they relate to women, than those who teach that the Bible is the inspired Word of a perfectly moral God.

The Value of Women According to the Bible

When they use the treatment of women in their attack on the integrity of the Bible, most skeptics make blanket statements about the Bible’s position, without presenting anything resembling a balanced handling of the topic. For instance, Templeton wrote: “Women were associated with evil and weakness. Indeed, Israelite males sometimes thanked God in the synagogue that they had not been born women” (1996, p. 184).

Such generalized statements are designed to appeal to the emotions of a 21st-century audience, but they simply do not accurately represent the true sentiments behind the biblical texts. For instance, using the type of reasoning in which we cherry-pick verses without adequate explanation, we could say that men are treated unfairly in the Bible because husbands are told that they must be willing to give their lives for their wives, while the wives are never commanded to make such a sacrifice (Ephesians 5:25). In addition, we could accuse the Bible of mistreating males, because, throughout its pages, men are told they must work to provide food for their entire households, while women are not held to such a standard (Genesis 3:17-19; 1 Timothy 5:8). Such indiscriminate statements should be viewed by the honest observer as suspect, and a more complete and accurate picture of the biblical view of women should be sought.

Upon closer inspection, it becomes clear that both the Old and New Testaments present a picture of woman that appraises her worth as equal to that of the man. While it is the case that the Bible presents different roles for men and women, it is not the case that men are valued more than women. A look at various biblical passages confirms this truth.

Wisdom as the Portrait of a Woman

The book of Proverbs, written primarily by King Solomon, is a literary genre known as Wisdom literature. The main theme of the book is the concept of wisdom. The writer stated: “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom” (4:7). To further stress the importance and value of wisdom, he penned: “For wisdom is better than rubies, and all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her” (8:11). Building on the idea of the immeasurable value of wisdom, the writer of the book of Job stated: “But where can wisdom be found? It cannot be purchased for gold, nor can silver be weighed for its price. It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir, in precious onyx or sapphire…for the price of wisdom is above rubies…. Nor can it be valued in pure gold” (28:12-19). It is clear that the Bible writers viewed wisdom as a personality trait of inestimable value.

What picture, then, was used to personify this trait of such value? Throughout the book of Proverbs, the idea of wisdom is personified by a woman. The text reads: “Wisdom has built her house” (9:1); “Does not wisdom cry out, and understanding lift up her voice? She takes her stand on the top of the high hill” (8:1-2). The most illustrative picture of the virtue of wisdom that the Proverbs writer could conjure was that of a woman (Willis, 1993, p. 37). How then can the Bible writers be so misrepresented as to suggest that they did not value women, when wisdom, which is “the principle thing” according to Proverbs, is portrayed as a woman? Additionally, the Proverbs writer stated, “A gracious woman retains honor” (11:16). The inspired writer also included a lengthy section (31:10-31) in which he extolled the worth of a virtuous woman who is clothed in “strength and honor,” who “opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness. She watches over the ways of her household.” Needless to say, you do not hear these passages about wisdom personified as a woman and the value of virtuous women in the jaded rants of the modern skeptic.

God’s Attitude Toward His People as Illustrated with Traits of a Woman

While it is true that God does not have a specific gender as humans do (see Thompson, 2000), it is the case that God sometimes illustrates some of His personality traits by comparing them to personality traits possessed by certain categories of people. For instance, it is a well-known fact that the God of the Bible often compares the love that He has for His created humans with the love that a father has for his biological children (1 John 3:1-2). If the God of the Bible were truly sexist, it would be obvious that comparisons between God and any human being would be confined to the masculine gender. A truly sexist god would never compare Himself to a woman.

Yet the Bible records instances in whichthe God of Heaven compares traits that He possesses to similar traits found in women. For instance, John Willis noted: “A most compelling piece of evidence that OT writers had a high regard for women is that they describe God as a mother” (1993, pp. 37-39). Willis then mentioned at least three passages as examples, including Isaiah 66:12—“For thus says the Lord…. As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; and you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.”

Furthermore, if it truly were the case that the apostle Paul was a misogynist, was afraid of women, and had contempt for them, it would be unreasonable to imagine him comparing himself to a woman. Yet in 1 Thessalonians 2:7 he wrote: “But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. So affectionately longing for you.” Surely a misogynistic man who is “afraid” of women would never describe himself in such feminine terms. Such examples as these bring to light the fallacious idea that the Bible writers hated women or viewed them as inferior to men.

Women Made in the Image of God

Many skeptics insinuate that the creation of Eve from Adam’s rib to be a helper for man manifests a view that woman is less valuable or inferior to man. Recall the claim of Hitchens when he wrote: “The Old Testament, as Christians condescendingly call it, has woman cloned from man for his use and comfort” (2007, p. 54). Supposedly, the fact that Eve was Adam’s helper somehow “proves” inferiority.

The problem with this line of reasoning is at least two-fold. First, it completely ignores the stress that the Bible places on women being made in God’s image exactly like man. Genesis 1:27 states: “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him, male and female he created them.” Contrary to many religious groups and male chauvinist thinkers, from the very first chapter, the Bible insists that both male and female were made in God’s image, and both deserve to be treated with the dignity that is inherent in that composition.

So what of the word “helper”? Is it true that a “helper” implies that the person he or she is helping is viewed as superior or of greater worth? Such an incorrect position is impossible to maintain in light of the clear biblical teaching regarding those who help others. For example, in John 15:26, Jesus explains that the Holy Spirit was going to visit the apostles after His resurrection. He stated: “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.” Using the skeptic’s reasoning, we would be forced to conclude that the Holy Spirit is inferior to the apostles, since He is referred to as “the Helper.” Such a conclusion is obviously absurd. [NOTE: It is understood that the skeptic will not concur that there even is a Holy Spirit. This example, however, is used only to show that the Bible consistently maintains a picture of “helpers” and “helping” that in no way insinuates inferiority or less value.]

In Philippians 4:3, Paul urged the receiver of his epistle to “help these women who labored with me in the gospel.” Did that mean Paul viewed the one who received his letter as inferior to those women with whom he had labored? Not in any way. Furthermore, Jesus Christ Himself stated that He came into this world not “to be served, but to serve” (Mark 10:45). Would that imply that since He was “serving” or “helping” mankind, He was inferior in some way to humans? Certainly not. The concept of “helping” or “serving” carries with it no inherent meaning of inferiority.

Many Examples of Worthy Women in the Bible

In an attempt to bolster their misrepresentation of the biblical view of women, skeptics often “count noses” and insist that far too much biblical “press” is given to narratives whose central figures are men, while not enough time is given to women. In addition, many in the skeptical community insist that if God truly viewed women as equal, they would have been granted equal positions of leadership in both Old Testament times and in the ministry of Jesus. Dan Barker stated: “Jesus upheld the Old Testament view of women. Not a single woman was chosen to be among the 12 disciples or to sit at the Last Supper” (2008, p. 179).

Such statements are plagued with dishonest selectivity. When the entire biblical picture is viewed objectively, it is easily seen that women in both the Old and New Testaments played vital, powerful roles in God’s plans for the national rule of Israel, and for the spiritual Kingdom established by Jesus Christ. And, while space is lacking in this article to adequately list and describe each of these women, a few of the most notable will be addressed.

Deborah

The fact that women attained prominent, powerful positions in Israel militates strongly against the skeptic’s accusation that the biblical view of women is sexist. For instance, the book of Judges relates the story of Deborah, a prophetess and the recognized judge and ruler of the Israelite nation during her lifetime (Judges 4:4). A close look at the narrative shows that Deborah was the woman who commissioned Barak, a man, to lead the Israelites in battle against the foreign forces. When the time came for action to be taken, it was Deborah who said to Barak: “Up! For this is the day in which the Lord has delivered Sisera into your hand. Has not the Lord gone out before you?” (Judges 4:14). After the battle was won, and Sisera, the opposing general, was killed by a woman named Jael, Deborah and Barak composed and sang a victory hymn. Throughout the hymn, Deborah is mentioned as the leader of Israel who, with Barak’s help, defeated Sisera and Jabin. The text says: “Village life ceased, it ceased in Israel, until I, Deborah, arose, arose a mother in Israel” (Judges 5:7). “And the princes of Issachar were with Deborah” (5:15).

Using the skeptic’s logic, should we conclude that the Bible views all men as inferior to women since Deborah was a female leader of Israel at the time? Should we conclude that since Deborah’s story is recorded in a book that claims inspiration, such a claim is negated because, based on the Deborah narrative, whoever wrote the Bible hates men, shows contempt for them, and treats them as less valuable than women? Such reasoning is obviously flawed.

Once it is shown that the story of Deborah exalts women to an equal position with men, however, the skeptic is forced to back peddle and attempt another tactic. While it cannot be denied that the story of Deborah manifests an exalted view of women, the skeptic contends that such stories are few and far between. If God and the Bible really viewed women as equal in worth to men, then the Bible would have just as many stories about women rulers and leaders as it has about men.

This faulty assertion can be answered in two ways. First, how many examples would the Bible need to provide of the Gospel being preached to Ethiopians to prove that the Bible writers considered them just as valuable as Jews, and just as viable candidates to hear the Gospel? Would anyone contend that in order for the God of the Bible to be vindicated of bigotry against Ethiopians, the text must contain just as many conversion stories about Ethiopians as it does about Jews? Certainly not. When the book of Acts records that Phillip the evangelist delivered the Gospel to Candace’s Ethiopian treasurer (8:26-40), that one example is sufficient to provide evidence that all Ethiopians are just as valuable to God as all Jews, Arabians, or Egyptians.

Furthermore, let us apply the skeptic’s reasoning to a brief history of the United States of America. Were we to attempt to relate the history of our country, spending our time dealing with the Presidency, how many stories about women would we be able to include who have ascended to the presidency? To date, our nation has inaugurated 44 presidents, and not a single one of them has been a woman. Using the skeptic’s accusations as a springboard, should we insist that the ancient nation of Israel had a more “enlightened” and elevated view of women than does the United States in the 21st century? Moreover, would we despise and accuse of sexism those history writers who spent the majority of their texts focusing on the men who held the office of President? Such thinking flies in the face of common sense and could only be concocted by those who refuse to deal honestly with actual history and the biblical text.

Huldah, the Prophetess

Second Kings 22 records the life and reign of Josiah, the righteous king of Judah. In the course of his attempts to eradicate idolatry from Judah, he made a focused effort to repair the temple of God that had fallen into a state of disrepair. He commissioned Hilkiah, the high priest, to collect money to be used to clean out and repair the temple. During Hilkiah’s labors to revamp the temple, he stumbled across a copy of the book of the Law of Moses. Having read it, he sent it to Josiah, who listened to the words of the Law and was heartsick because the nation of Israel had wandered so far from God’s commands. Josiah commanded Hilkiah and several of the other religious leaders to “go, inquire of the Lord for me, for the people and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found” (2 Kings 22:13). The text then states: “So Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Achbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe. (She dwelt in Jerusalem in the Second Quarter.) And they spoke with her” (22:14). After speaking with her, Huldah delivered a message from God to Josiah through these officials.

Not only did these leaders in Israel seek out a woman prophetess, though she was married, there is no indication that the advice or counsel of her husband was sought. The envoy journeyed to a woman’s house to hear a message that the Lord related to a woman. Also notice that Josiah was recognized as one of the greatest rulers that Judah ever had, yet this  passage shows that he sought the counsel of a woman of God. Here again, the narrative about Huldah undermines the skeptics’ assertion that the Bible views women as inferior.

Various Women in the Bible

Much could be said concerning women of prominence in the Bible, such as Esther, about whom an entire book is written. She ascended to the queenly throne of Persia and heroically saved her people. A lengthy section relating the selfless sacrifice of Ruth for her mother-in-law (Naomi) would further undercut the skeptics’ argument, especially in light of the fact that Ruth is listed in the genealogy of Christ as the great grandmother of Jesus. Moreover, the faith of Hannah and her prayer for, and subsequent birth of, Samuel, one of the greatest prophets to ever live in Israel, would go far to put to silence the skeptics’ assertion that women are viewed as inferior by the Bible writers. Attention could be directed to Lydia, the seller of purple whom Paul and his companions found praying by the riverside, or Priscilla, who helped her husband Aquila teach the eloquent Apollos the Gospel of Christ  (Acts 18:26). Additional information refuting the skeptics’ claim could include the faith of Jochebed, or the leadership skills and prophesying of Miriam, or the courage of Rahab, or the faithfulness of Jesus’ mother Mary, or the good deeds of Dorcas. One wonders how many examples of women in exalted positions the skeptical community would need in order to be satisfied that the biblical treatment of women is not sexist. Unfortunately, no matter how many examples are given, the skeptical answer about this and so many other things is, “Just a few more than we have.” In reality, the biblical examples of how the God of the Bible views women are more than sufficient to refute the tenuous complaints of the naysayers.

Numbering, Genealogies, and Traveling Groups

Certain practical matters must be properly considered in order to achieve an accurate picture of the biblical view of women. Some people who read the biblical text are struck by the fact that some of the genealogies only include the names of the men in the family. As Templeton wrote: “In the long list of Adam’s descendants over the hundreds of years that intervened before the Great Flood, not one female is so much as named” (1996, p. 178, italics in orig.). Furthermore, it is often the case that, when counting or listing the numbers of people involved, the Bible generally only counts the males. These instances have been viewed as sexist and discriminatory against women.

Upon further inspection, it becomes apparent that such accusations fail to take into account certain practical aspects and the cultural context. For example, Templeton mentioned the genealogy in Genesis five as an example of a “sexist” view, but he failed to mention the genealogy of Jesus Christ that is listed in Matthew 1:1-17 in which the women Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Mary are mentioned. Additionally, the text states: “And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ” (1:16, emp. added). The prepositional phrase “of whom” relates back to Mary, thus indicating that Jesus was the biological son of Mary. Would it be proper to use this genealogy to insist that God has a lower view of men, since the text specifically mentions that the Christ descended biologically from a woman? No. And neither can the “male genealogy” idea be used to sustain the false accusation that the Bible views women as inferior. Add to that the fact that even today in 21st century America, the majority of wives assume their husbands’ last names and daughters assume their fathers’ last names, and are thus recorded in modern genealogical records [such as Annaka Harris, the wife of Sam Harris, or Juliet Emma Dawkins, daughter of Richard Dawkins (Periera, n.d.)], and the skeptics’ charge becomes manifestly erroneous.

In a similar vein, biblical numbers often only included the men. For instance, Numbers 1:2 states: “Take a census of all the congregation of the children of Israel, by their families, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of names, every male individually” (emp. added). Is this numbering an example of biblical sexism, or evidence that the Bible writers thought women of so little value they did not need to number them? Not in any way. The simple, practical aspect of this numbering system had only to do with able-bodied men who went out to war. As the text explains: “according to the number of names, every male individually, from twenty years old and above, all who were able to go to war”(1:20, emp. added). In the same way that we could not use such numbering systems to insist that the God of the Bible, or the Bible writers, devalued children under 20, or old men past the age of battle strength, we could not use this method of numbering to disparage the biblical writers’ view of women. And, while the skeptic might attempt to argue that it was sexist for women to be excluded from military service in Bible times, a simple response could be that it was unfair to men to force them to be numbered for military service, while women were exempt from such. Would it be fair to state that since men were “serving” their women by providing military protection, their “service” shows they were inferior? To ask is to answer.

Other practical matters, including such simple concepts as travel and sleeping arrangements, must be factored into this discussion. For example, Dan Barker was quoted earlier in this article as saying: “Jesus upheld the Old Testament view of women. Not a single woman was chosen to be among the 12 disciples or to sit at the Last Supper” (2008, p. 179). While this statement is true, the skeptic Charles Templeton offers an extremely plausible reason for this:

The New Testament frequently reveals Jesus’ concern for women…. There were no women in Jesus’ band of apostles, but there would have been compelling reasons for this. Jesus and the disciples travelled frequently, often daily, invariably on foot. Often they slept out in the open. In the circumstances it would have been impossible—and potentially scandalous—for a woman to be a part of that male group (1996, pp. 184-185, emp. added).

Even a cursory consideration of certain practical matters that relate to numbering, genealogies, and travel arrangements serves to defeat the skeptics’ claim that the Bible devalues women.

Was Jesus Rude to Women?

Those who are antagonistic to the Bible sometimes accuse Jesus of being rude to others, especially his own mother. Christopher Hitchens quipped: “Jesus makes large claims for his heavenly father but never mentions that his mother is or was a virgin, and is repeatedly very rude and coarse to her when she makes an appearance, as Jewish mothers will, to ask to see how he is getting on” (2007, p. 116, emp. added). Richard Dawkins commented in a similar vein: “Jesus’ family values, it has to be admitted, were not such as one might wish to focus on. He was short, to the point of brusqueness, with his own mother” (2006, p. 250, emp. added).

A more thorough analysis, however, reveals that what these writers are attempting to label as rudeness was nothing of the sort. In his article, “How Rude!?”, Eric Lyons effectively demonstrated that the way Jesus addressed His mother was neither rude, nor disrespectful (2004). Jesus’ statements in response to His mother are in perfect accord with the biblical injunction to honor one’s parents. Only a misunderstanding of the original languages and phrases used, and a cynical approach to the text, could lead a person to accuse Jesus of rudeness in these instances. His statements to His mother coincide completely with the fact that the Bible’s overall treatment of women presents them as neither inferior nor superior to men, but as equals.

Galatians 3:28—The Golden Text of Equality

The apostle Paul is often demonized as a woman-hater who feared the opposite sex and held them in contempt. The skeptical attitude toward Paul is summed up well in Templeton’s statement: “To judge by his epistles, the apostle Paul was a confirmed misogynist” (1996, p. 185). Such statements conveniently overlook one of the boldest statements of gender and race equality in all religious literature. In Galatians 3:28, Paul wrote: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (emp. added). About this verse, Jan Faver Hailey wrote: “Common exegesis understands Paul here to be advocating that access to God is open to all through faith in Christ, without regard to race, social standing, or gender” (1993, p. 132, emp. added). To insist that Paul was a misogynist in light of his statement in Galatians 3:28 runs counter to evidence-based reasoning.

So why do some aver that Paul hated women, even with Galatians 3:28 in view? The main reason for this assertion is that Paul consistently maintained that, while men and women are equal in God’s sight, they have been given different duties and roles. The skeptical community mistakenly equates the concept of different roles, with the idea of different status. As Templeton wrote: “In his first letter to the church at Corinth, Paul states unequivocally that men and women have a different status before God” (1996, p. 186, emp. added). Allegedly, since Paul instructs men to be elders (Titus 1:5-9), and to lead publically in worship (1 Corinthians 14:34-35; 1 Timothy 2:8-15), and husbands to be the “head” of their homes (Ephesians 5:22-24), then he must view women as less able, less valuable, or inferior to men. [NOTE: See Jackson, 2010 and Miller, 2005 for biblical expositions of these verses.]

Is it true that since the Bible assigns different roles to the different sexes, their status or worth must be unequal? Certainly not. In Titus 3:1, Paul explained to Titus that Christians were supposed to be subject to rulers and authorities and to obey the government (see also Romans 13). From that statement, is it correct to conclude that Paul views all those in governmental positions to be of more value than Christians? Does this passage imply that, because Christians are to obey other humans who are in governmental positions, Paul sees those in governmental positions as mentally, physically, or spiritually superior to Christians? Not in any way. The mere fact that Christians are to obey those in the government says nothing about the spiritual status or value of either party. It only addresses different roles that each party plays.

Again, in 1 Timothy 6:2, Paul instructs Christian servants to be obedient to their own masters. Does this imply that Paul believed masters to be superior, or to be of more inherent worth than servants? No. It simply shows a difference in roles, not of status. Logically speaking, different roles can never be used to support an accusation that such roles necessitate different value or status.

Furthermore, while the skeptic is quick to seize on Paul’s ordination of men as elders and leaders in their homes, those skeptics neglect to include the responsibilities involved in such roles. Husbands are called upon to give their lives for their wives (Ephesians 5:25), physically provide food, shelter, and clothing for their families (1 Timothy 5:8), and to love their wives as much as they love themselves (Ephesians 5:25). While much is said about the “unfairness” of Paul’s instructions, it is productive to ask who would get the last spot on a life boat if a Christian husband and wife were on a sinking ship? The Christian husband gives himself for his wife in such instances. Is that fair that he is called upon to accept the sacrificial role of giving himself for his wife? Is she more valuable than he because God calls upon him to protect and cherish her and die for her if necessary? No. It is simply a difference in assigned roles, not in status or worth.

References

Barker, Dan (1992), Losing Faith In Faith—From Preacher to Atheist (Madison, WI: Freedom from Religion Foundation).

Barker, Dan (2008), godless (Berkeley, CA: Ulysses Press).

Butt, Kyle (2008), “The Bitter Fruits of Atheism: Parts 1 & 2,” Reason & Revelation, http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3740 and http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3762.

Darwin, Charles (1871), The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex (New York: The Modern Library, reprint).

Dawkins, Richard (2006), The God Delusion (New York: Houghton Mifflin).

Hailey, Jan Faver (1993), “‘Neither Male and Female’ (Gal. 3:28),” Essays on Women in Earliest Christianity Volume 1, ed. Carroll Osburn (Joplin, MO: College Press).

Hitchens, Christopher (2007), god Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (New York: The Twelve).

Jackson, Wayne (2010), “Women’s Role in the Church,” http://www.christiancourier.com/articles/169-womans-role-in-the-church.

Lyons, Eric (2004), “How Rude!?” http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/593.

Lyons, Eric and Kyle Butt (2009), “Darwin, Evolution, and Racism,” http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/240063.

Miller, Dave (2005), “Female Leadership in the Church,” http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2694 .

Pereira, Oliver (no date), “Descent of Richard Dawkins from Edward III,” http://humph rysfamilytree.com/Royal/Notes/dawkins.txt.

Templeton, Charles (1996), Farewell to God (Ontario, Canada: McClelland and Stewart).

Thompson, Bert (2000), “Is God Male?” http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/162.

Willis, John T (1993), “Women in the Old Testament,” Essays on Women in Earliest Christianity Volume 1, ed. Carroll Osburn (Joplin, MO: College Press).

by Apologetics Press staff writer Kyle Butt, M.A.

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Militant atheism, organized skepticism and immorality: misogyny and sexism

From: SubversiveThinking  

Before you read this post, you have to be absolutely familiar with my series of posts on atheism and morality, in which I provide strong evidence for the philosophical view of leading contemporary atheistic intellectuals on morality.  These posts were not intended to defend that atheists are immoral, but to argue that atheism (as a worldview) cannot ground ontologically nor rationally the existence of objective morality. This is a philosophical fact which has absolutely nothing to do with whether atheists are good or bad.
But this post is different. In this post, I’ll provide evidence for certain kinds of immoral behaviour which are common (not merely exceptional) on the part of militant “skeptics” and atheists, which suggests that their purely philosophical views on moral subjectivism, relativism and nihilism has PRACTICAL consequences on their own lives as hard-core atheists. This fact has to be understood in the context of the philosophical fact mentioned above.It is well known that in USA and other countries, certain social beliefs and stereotypes exist about atheists as being immoral. Some pollssuggest that atheists are the most distrusted minority in America and the standard response by atheists to it is saying that it is due to religious bigotry. However, as I’ve argued in this post, I think religious bigotry is not the only factor to consider: The own behaviour and philosophical beliefs promoted by atheists is, for a large extension, responsible for that extreme distrust by the overwhelming majority of society (for example,this kind of irrational, childish and emotional behaviour).

This post will provide more evidence for that contention.

I’ll focus on just two proven aspects of consistent immorality shown by militant atheists and hard-core skeptics: Misogyny and Sexism.
Misogyny and Sexism:
Misogyny is defined as “the hatred or dislike of women or girls“.
Sexism is defined as “prejudice or discrimination based on sex or gender;  or conditions or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex
The question is whether misogyny and sexism, as defined above, are common among atheistic pseudoskeptics.
 According to former skeptic Stephen Bond, in his article “Why I am no longer skeptic“:
One demographic skeptics are particularly uncomfortable with is the female of the species. It’s an increasingly acknowledged fact that the skeptic community is rife withsexism…  Women are a small minority in the skeptic world, and the few who get involved get shit thrown at them constantly by their skeptic peers. Every day, they suffer the whole gamut of attitudes from sneering to leering.
Bond’s observation of his former fellows skeptics imply not only sexism on the part of skeptics, but misogyny too, since they feel uncomfortable with the presence of females among them and, in addition, the few women who are part of the skeptical groups GET SHIT thrown at them. This clearly satisfies the definition of misogyny mentioned above.
Bond’s testimony is important because he belonged to skeptical groups, so he’s talking as a first-hand eyewitness, as an insider.
In confirmation of Bond’s accurate observations as an insider, we get independent evidence for the discomfort felt by “skeptics” towards women and girls from people who have studied the history of pseudoskepticism from a more detached scholarly perspective.
For example, George Hansen, in his scholarly study of CSICOP, observed:
A third distinguishing feature is that the vast majority in CSICOP are male, and this has affected the tone and demeanor of the group… CSICOP is heavily dominated by men, and until 1991 there were no women at all on the Executive Council. A reporter for New Scientist described CSICOP as “white,” “male,” and “slightly geriatric” (Anderson, 1987, p. 51). The inside covers of recent issues ofSI display the gender imbalance; the results are summarized in Table 2. The predominance of men characterizes the local affiliates as well. Of the 40 listed local leaders, only two are women.  Certainly academia is predominantly male, and so it is not surprising that a majority of CSICOP’s members are men. However, the percentage does seem disproportionate.
Not all the local groups are totally dominated by men, and a CSICOP manual prepared for local groups encouraged the involvement of women. The East Bay Skeptics in California reported that 27% of its members were women (“Members Elect First Board,” 1988), and in a 1990 election of the National Capital Area Skeptics, 3 of 11 listed candidates were women. Despite these efforts, the debunking movement is overwhelmingly run by men. 


The perceived demeanor. Some have perceived the gender imbalance as 

Table 2
DISTRIBUTION OF MEN AND WOMEN IN SKEPTICS’ GROUPS
               Fellows        Scientific and             Leaders of
Technical Consultants    Local Groups
Men                 53                       52                     38
Women           3                        4                       2

 
Figures based on pages 447-48 and the inside covers of the Summer 1990 issue of the Skeptical Inquirer. 

If as Bond suggested above, sexism and misogyny is very common among pseudoskeptics and atheist groups, then we’d expect precisely what we find: skeptical and atheist organized groups are, as a rule, “overwhelmingly run by men”, as Hansen observed. Women and girls are seen with extreme suspicion and even hostility by most “skeptics”, and hence not prominent (or at least egalitarian) status is conceded to them among  atheistic “skeptics”. Hansen’s statistical data tells us a lot about the mindset of “skeptics” regarding women and girls.
Hansen’s observation provides an independent confirmation of Bond’s own observations as an insider and former skeptic.
But we have more independent evidence of sexism and misogyny among atheistic pseudoskeptics in the case of SKEPCHICK (her real name is Rebecca Watson), a beautiful pseudoskeptic girl who, according to wikipedia, “described an experience at a skeptical conference, concerning an approach by a man in an elevator, who invited her to his room for coffee and a conversation late at night, after she had talked extensively about disliking being sexualized at atheist conferences.[19] In a video blog, among other things, she stated that incident made her feel sexualized and uncomfortable and advised, “Guys, don’t do that”.[20] Her statement sparked a controversy among the skeptic community.[21] Her critics said she was overreacting to a trivial incident, most notably Richard Dawkins, who wrote a satirical letter to an imaginary Muslim woman, sarcastically contrasting her plight to Watson’s complaint. This in turn caused him to be criticized by those supporting her on the issue, including several figures in the community.[22][23] Watson announced that she would not buy or endorse Dawkins’s books and lectures in the future.[22]She also wrote that, as a result of Dawkins’s criticism, her Wikipedia article was vandalised and offensive images were posted on her Facebook page
According to the Mail and Guardian website, the skepchick case triggered “a fairly useful debate about feminism, sexism and appropriate sexual boundaries between men and women descended into all out troll warfare and an attendant witch-hunt to persecute sexists in the atheist community.”
Watson published in youtube a video commenting on the case:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=uKHwduG1Frk

Moreover, Watson has commented on the bigotry of some “skeptics” inthis article.
In order to understand clearly why some skeptics and atheists are like that, I suggest to carefully read:
-Bond’s article on skeptics
-My posts on atheism and morality
-My posts on Jime’s Iron Law
-My post on atheism, secular humanism and sexual perversions.
If you fully understand the above posts, you won’t be surprised by the evidence of immorality discussed in this post.

Rebecca Watson (Skepchick) on sexual harassment and rape threats coming from skeptics and atheists.

In a previous post, I provided solid empirical evidence for the claim that sexism and misogyny seems to be rampant between organized “skeptics” and atheists. I provided evidence from insiders and outsiders alike.
The amazingly beautiful pseudoskeptic girl, Rebecca Watson (aka Skepchick), is one of such insiders who have commented about her first-hand experience with the sexism and misogyny which seems to affect many of the “rational”, “critical thinking”, “enlightened”, “scientific” members of organized skeptical and atheist groups.
In a must read article, Watson describes an atheist who told her:
“honestly, and i mean HONESTLY.. you deserve to be raped and tortured and killed. swear id laugh if i could”
According to Watson, “I started checking out the social media profiles of the people sending me these messages, and learned that they were often adults who were active in the skeptic and atheist communities. They were reading the same blogs as I was and attending the same events. These were “my people,” and they were the worst.”
Watson’s first-hand testimony provide us with interesting insights about the psychology of hard-core pseudoskeptics and atheists.
As I’ve mentioned, some polls suggest that atheists are the most distrusted minority in U.S., and testimonies like Watson’s support the conclusion that such distrust is not simply due to bigotry or prejudices, but that it is strongly rooted in the behaviour of (many) atheists.
I’ve researched for years the pseudoskeptical movement (mainly in its philosophical and ideological structure and working), but just recently it has became evident to me that there is a certain connection between organized atheistic skepticism and sexual misbehaviours. Some of the leading representatives have been linked with sexual scandals and misbehaviours.
For example, according to critic of pseudoskepticism Tim Bolen, you can hear in this link how one of the world’s leading skeptics, James Randi, is soliciting sex from a YOUNG BOY.
In another post, I documented in some detail how the leading skeptical publishing house named Prometheus Books sells a lot of book promoting or justifying (in the name of “reason and science”) pedophilia, zoophilia, infanticide, abortion and other moral atrocities.
British journalist and writer for TIME magazine, Jonathan Margolis, in researching for his book on Uri Geller, has commented regarding it:
Although Prometheus still a claims a strictly rationalist ethic, rationalism has come to include libertarianism, and from there on, pretty much anything goes. Prometheus Books, rationalism’s brave riposte to Uri Geller and the forces of medieval darkness, has had to diversify, a demonstration, perhaps, of the ultimate truth of Randi’s assertion, which I earlier challenged, that the sceptical world is all done with Geller. Even Randi calls some of what Prometheus publishes today ‘awful stuff’ – so ‘awful’ that Mike Hutchinson recently felt obliged to ask the local Obscene Publications Squad to adjudicate over one. It said it couldn’t recommend the book, an avowedly anti-paedophilia work, but with some passages Hutchinson thought ‘were a little bit too descriptive’, be distributed in Britain. 
One book on Prometheus’s list is a British academic text onchild abuse. Children’s Sexual Encounters With Adults, republished in the States – with a bright red jacket on which the title is printed in bold black letters three quarters of an inch high, for the benefit, presumably, of short-sighted researchers into child sex. The book consists of hundreds of pages of detailed case histories of adults having sex with children. Others Prometheus texts have little claim to being academic. Cannibalism: From Sacrifice to Survival, The Horseman: Obsessions of a Zoophile [person with a sexual attraction to animals], Whips and Kisses: Parting the Leather Curtain (by Mistress Jacqueline), The Breathless Orgasm: A Lovemap Biography of Asphyxiophilia, Death Dealer: The Memoirs of the SS Kommandant at Auschwitz … It is all some way from magicians’ arguments over spoon bending.” (Uri Geller: Magician or Mystic, chapter 16)
Margolis, even though not being a philosopher, intuitively realizes that something is seriously wrong with the atheist’s “rationalistic ethic”, which is actually a rationalization of the atheistic libertarianism in moral and sexual matters.
I’ve tried to explain and document in detail with the atheist literature at hand the philosophical foundation for the hard-core atheist/skeptic’s sympathies for these sexual practiques, in the section of my blog entitled “The moral poverty of atheistic materialism“, and I suggest to you to read carefully the evidence provided there.
 
ORGANIZED ATHEISTIC SKEPTICISM AS A HATE GROUP
Think for a moment in the rape threats coming from “rational” atheists suffered by Watson. Notice carefully that the atheist mentioned by her suggested that she deserved to be “killed”.
I ask you: What kind of people is going to say something like that? Clearly, there is something seriously wrong in the moral, ethical, spiritual and psychological nature of individuals like that.
According to this article by Tim Bolen, pseudoskeptics fits with the pattern of organized HATE groups, and he mentions as an example the rape, mutilation and death threats suffered by another woman, Meryl Dorey.
Philosophically, we have to understand that scientific materialism and scientific naturalistic atheism cannot provide any foundation for condemming rape or murder. In fact, according to the leading defender of scientific naturalism Richard Dawkins, rape is morally arbitrary:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ISYvY-AvhJQ
 
However, even if  it is a philosophical fact that contemporary atheism cannot ground objective condemmation of rape (nor any other moral atrocity), it doesn’t mean that atheism per se positively stimulates rape actions. Something more is needed: Strong emotional, spiritual and psychological unbalance and even some kind of mental disorder.
I’m sure that some atheists and naturalists are going to justify philosophically those moral atrocities. For example, they can say that free will doesn’t exist and hence those atheists had no choice in attacking Watson.  These atheists can appeal to Tom Clark,  who’s the Director of the Center for Naturalism, when he wrote in this article:
In a deterministic universe, we understand that a criminal’s career is not a matter of an unconditioned personal choice, but fully a function of a complex set of conditions, genetic and enviromental, that interact to produce the offender and his proclivities. Had we been in his shows in all respects, we too would have followed the same path, since there is no freely willing self that could have done otherwise as causality unfolds. There is no kernel of independent moral agency — we are not, as philosopher Daniel Dennett puts it, “moral levitators” that rise above circunstances in our choices,including choices to rob, rape, or kill”
Obviously, normal, sane people will know that Clark’s atheistic ideas (and their use to justify actions like “rob, rape or kill”) are DANGEROUS ATHEISTIC NONSENSE.
Actions like the ones suffered by a girl like Watson are moral atrocities and they tell us a lot about the psychology of many hard-nosed atheists and “skeptics”.
Perhaps it is wise to keep them away from us, specially from the females in our family.
I have a strong disagreements with Watson’s views on philosophical and scientific matters, but I strongly respect her, not just because she has the civil, moral and legal rights to express freely her opinions, but (and above all) because she is a WOMAN, and women deserve all our recognition, admiration and foremost respect.
This is a basic ethical principle for any REAL man, a principle which, apparently, is far beyond the reach of super-intellectual, “scientific” and “rational” atheists. Quite deplorable, indeed…

Organized skepticism, organized militant atheism and misogyny: Reasons behind the secular humanist’s mistreating of women and girls

From: SubversiveThinking

As  I documented in a previous post, there is solid evidence which suggests that organized hard-core atheists and skeptics have a personal problem with women and girls. These skeptics tend, as a rule, to dislike females.  They simply don’t like to have many women and girls among them. They have a clear tendency to be sexists and specially misogynists.
The evidence suggests not only that they ignore women (this fact alone would be already objectionable), but that they tend to actively mistreat and disrespect them. They see girls as inferior beings, unworhty of belonging to the highly elitistic group of super-intellectual atheistic male beings.
I’ve received some e-mails asking for my opinion about the causes or motives of such a weird attitude. And in all honesty, I have to say simply I DON’T KNOW.
Jime’s Iron Law provides me with the resources to not being surprised at all by the most egregious forms of irrationality and stupidity on the part of “skeptics” and hard-core atheists. Moreover, Jime’s Iron Law predicts many of the atheistic irrationalism and bigotry (e.g. vicious attacks, unjust and mean-spirited comments against honest parapsychologists, spiritualists, religious people, etc.).
But I have to confess that my law doesn’t predict specifically misogyny on the part of hard-core atheists. So, as far as my law goes, the prevalence of misogyny among organized atheists/skeptics is simply inexplicable to me for the moment. We have to research more this aspect of the hard-core atheistic mindset and, eventually, it could be incorporated into Jime’s Iron Law.
Just for the record: not all atheists are misogynists. We have to be accurate in the reading of the evidence and don’t overstate it: It is only a certain kind of atheist, the hard-core militant/radical/fanatical one who is member or active supporter of “organized skepticism” or “secular humanist groups, who is, statistically likely, to be a misogynist. Obviously, there are atheists not interested in atheisic propaganda or ideological indoctrination, who treat women with the due respect and admiration that they deserve.
But we could speculate about the causes of it, and some people have provided some suggestions:
For example, Tim Bolen, an experienced critic of organized debunking,  suggests that the members of organized skeptic groups are mainly angry male homosexuals. In his words: “he so-called “skeptics” are a misinformation campaign run by angry male homosexualsmasquerading as atheists whose management has a significant interest in pedophilia, its promotion and protection… Skeptic work is little more than employment of young homosexual men whose anger, self-loathing, and bitterness at the Judeo/Christian world and its handling of homosexuality issues normally makes them virtually unemployable in society.  So, they have available time – and a computer. They are taught to use that time to focus their self-loathing outward,  Using anonymity, lashing out viciously at those targets they are organized to attack, by “Skeptic Central” on the internet
I don’t know if Bolen is right or not on some of these points.
But some comments are in order. Personally, I haven’t found any connection between homosexuality and hard-core atheism or pseudoskepticism. But I haven’t searched for it either… It is true that atheists tend to be defenders of the rights of homosexuals, but I suspect that it is for strategical reasons: Atheists need to support other minories in order to create a social force which makes them socially recognized. As such, this kind of social action is not objectionable.
Moreover, Bolen is not talking about homosexuality as such, but about ANGRY male homosexuals. So, someone could suggest that the “angry” plus “male” aspect of the equation (and not simply homosexuality, which could be female homosexuality), if correct, could explain some of the atheists’ mistreating of women (perhaps the atheistic male’s dislike of women is due to fear of having a potential sexual competition for the alpha male?).
More research about it is needed.
Bolen mentions that these skeptics have interest in pedophilia, its promotion and justification. Certainly, as I’ve explained in detail in this post, some leading atheistic intellectuals promote or at least justifies pedophilia, infanticide, abortion, and so forth. In fact, Richard Dawkins is sympathetic to the view that killing infants with incurable diseases is morally acceptable:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=YWkJ6cZ0FY8

Dawkins also thinks that evolutionary biology makes “rape” morally arbitrary (and hence, not morally objectionable under any objective and universal standard of morality):
Dawkins’s view is not properly a promotion of rape or infanticide, but a moral justification of it based on evolution and atheistic materialism (a justification which most people would consider a moral atrocity).
In my opinion, the militant atheists’ sympatheties for these moral atrocities derive from the realization that, given atheistic naturalism, there is not reason to believe in objective morality. Morality is not a dimension of the physical or material world, but a spiritual dimension of reality (which a consistent materialistic atheist cannot countenance).
In any case, this evidence supports Bolen’s view about the sympathies of some atheists for moral atrocities like infanticide or pedophilia.
But regarding homosexuality, I don’t see any clear connection or correlation between being a “hard-core” atheist and being homosexual.
But I promise to research this aspect of organized skepticism. Stay tuned.
It is a source of fascination to me to know in depth the mental framework and spiritual nature of hard-core atheists and pseudoskeptics!
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