Example Of The Christianity And Female Oppression Research Paper

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Religion, Jesus Christ, Women, Christians, Church, Muslim, Islam, Bible

Pages: 7

Words: 1925

Published: 2021/02/25

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According to the Book of Genesis, God created the man first and named him ‘Adam.’ However, Adam was not content that he was only accompanied by animals who cannot speak; and thus he yearned for company. God put Adam into a temporarily sleep and took out half of his rib and created Eve, the first woman and Adam’s companion (King James Version, Gen. 2. 7-25). The story of the human creation is widely known throughout the world. Even those who follow different religions they know the history of the Creation. Like Islam, Christianity is a religion of love, peace, and happiness. Like all religions of the world, it helped man attain escape the darkness of ignorance by providing them an alternative explanation of things occurring in the world; that everything is made by God. However, scholars throughout the centuries discuss the gender inequalities prevalent in the early Christian societies and even today. In spite of its deep teachings about love and peace, Christianity supported misogynistic beliefs towards women and tolerated gender inequality throughout the centuries. As a carte blanche, the paper will begin with a short literature overview detailing the history of Christianity and its founder, Jesus. After the literature review, the paper will discuss the religious inequality prevalent in the early Christian societies with an occasional citation from the Bible as a proof of its misogynistic views. Third, I will discuss the impact of Christian religion in colonization as well as the oppression of women in the countries invaded by Catholic countries. All claims hereto will be summarized in the conclusion for further analysis and discussion.

The Genesis of the Christian Faith: The Birth of Jesus the Messiah (Literature Review)

The origin of the Christian beliefs traces its history upon the birth of Jesus the Messiah. According to the Bible specifically the gospel of St. Matthew explains that Jesus was conceived by the Virgin Mary through the Holy Spirit (King James Version, Matt. 1. 18). The birth of Jesus Christ was the origin of the most festive Christian holiday called ‘Christmas’ which is traditionally celebrated every 25th of December each year. Scholars deduced that Jesus was probably born in the 7th century B.C., the time when the prophet Muhammad was beginning to spread his teachings about Islam. Jesus’s parents were Mary and Joseph, both were Jews. By his 30th year, Jesus became a public person who founded Christianity whilst preaching in the streets about the existence of the Holy Father. Both Islam and Christianity began as cult and became widespread due to the efforts of their charismatic leaders, Muhammad from Islam whilst Jesus for Christianity. This was the case when Muhammad preached Islam in the city of Mecca; he was ousted by the people who did not believed in his teachings. Muhammad then fled to Medina and preached Islam to the people. Consequently, Jesus also shared the same fate as Muhammad. Jesus returned to Nazareth and began preaching in synagogues but the religious leaders were offended upon proclaiming that He was the Son of God and demanded that He must leave the city. But Jesus became popular with some citizens when he miraculously healed the sick which enhanced His popularity amongst His disciples as well as the people. Sociologists define cults as a “religious organization with roots outside the dominant religious traditions of a society” (Macionis, Nancarrow, and Gerber, 470). Cults were often stereotyped as false religions by the majority because most of the cult practices fall outside the norms existent in the society. Even scholar Richardson reiterated that the word cult invokes a sense of negativity, especially in the beginnings of the Christianity (cited from Macionis, Nancarrow, and Gerber, 470-471). Jesus’s popularity began to interest the Roman priests because they feared that due to His rising popularity, soon they will be stripped of powers. Jesus was persecuted by Pontius Pilate and died on the cross in the year 30 A.D. In the sociological perspective, the rise of Christianity from its humble beginnings as a cult to a religious super power was due to the cultural diffusion. Cultural diffusion occurs when ideas from one society are carried to another place where it is not recognized (Macionis, Nancarrow, and Gerber, 471). When Jesus was resurrected from the dead, He called upon his apostles to preach the word of God to everyone to save them from sins. The apostles journeyed towards different countries; thus making the religion even more popular.

Portrayals of Women in the Bible

“God made the man taller so He can look up into the sky; and He created the woman shorter so He can look up to the man.” –Anonymous.
Like Islam, the Christian Bible is also filled with chockfull of misogynistic stuff specifically from the Old Testament. Perhaps this views stem from the fact that the first woman was made out from the rib of Adam. The fact that the woman came second only to the man suggests that she was only the second important to the creatures created by God. Even in the spread of Christianity in the European countries, the priests preached the importance of adhering to the teachings of God, so to speak to avoid being punished and to escape the fires of Hell. In the Bible, women are viewed as sexual predators who only to seek the pleasures of the flesh. Of course, in the modern day context, this view is absolutely degrading to the position of the women in the society. One example of this evidence can be read from the passage from the Book of Genesis in the nineteenth chapter. It was stated that both daughters of Lot committed incest by making their father drunk; the two sons named Moab and Ben-Ammi became the founders of Israel’s two rivaling factions; the Moabite and the Ammonite (King James Version, Gen. 19. 30-36). It also ubiquitous to many people about how Samson fell in love with Delilah; Samson was the strongest man but the biblical accounts states that Delilah seduced him so that she can see the origins of Samson’s incredible strength which sadly led to his tragic death (King James Version, Judg. 16.). Despite their role for procreation, women were deemed to be liars and deceivers which according to the Bible, when Potiphar’s wife unsuccessful attempts to satiate her desire to Joseph, she accused him of rape and eventually the court officials arrested him (King James Version, Gen. 39. 7-20). Another example of women oppression also occurred in the Book of Deuteronomy also provides a very horrifying account of punishment towards the un-chaste women. Throughout the centuries, virginity was considered to be a prize to be acquired by the man in marriage. Virginity is valuable in Islam and Christianity for it represents an uncorrupted body, which testifies that the human body must be taken care of for it is the temple of the spirit. However, the virgin brides who cannot prove their chastity were sentenced to a grim, slow, and painful death. “Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die; because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father’s house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you” (King James Version, Deut. 22. 13-21). This was the case of Mary Magdalene, due to her profession as a prostitute; people degraded her by throwing stones to kill but it was interfered by Jesus Christ and eventually she became one of the most loyal followers of the Christian religion. Furthermore, the notion of adultery was a heavy sin; therefore, a man who suspects his wife of committing an adulterous relationship during his absence may take his wife to a tabernacle to be examined by the priest. “And the priest shall take holy water in an earthen vessel; and of the dust that is in the floor of the tabernacle the priest shall take, and put it into the water” (King James Version, 5. 17). Upon the ceremony, the priest will place a curse on a woman and she will be instructed to drink the so-called holy water to prove her innocence. “And this water that causeth the curse shall go into thy bowels, to make thy belly to swell, and thy thigh to rot: And the woman shall say, Amen, amen” (King James Version, 5. 22). If the mixture caused her belly to swell, it signifies the proof that the woman had committed adultery during the husband’s absence. The above passages from the Bible are an irrefutable evidence of oppression against women. Scholars often debated whether God does indeed value males compared to the females. Cawley suggested that because wisdom and power were often linked to the male population, it is therefore undeniable that most of the feminists would think that Christianity as well as Islam values patriarchy, wherein the male is the supreme power compared to the women (Macionis, Nancarrow, and Gerber, 468). Even today, gender oppression still occurs in the 21st century because of the emergence of the homosexual love affairs (e.g. gays and lesbians). In the Middle Ages, women were allowed to hold positions in church such as St. Clare who spearheaded the foundation of the Poor Clares and also obtained an equal status with St. Francis. More nuns became saints in the Middle Ages and even the despised Mary Magdalene who became the patroness of the abandoned and un-chaste women. For many years since the establishment of the feminist ideology, religious scholars have criticized such portrayals of women in the Bible and developed arguments about the topic. Duane Garrett countered that degradation towards women in the Bible were not developed by God, but instead the blame should be shifted to the writers of the books such as Genesis, Deuteronomy, etc. To support her claim, feminist Christians according to Sandra Schneiders, the harsh treatment towards the females in the Old Testament largely counters Jesus’s meek, nurturing, and “friend of the outcast” (cited in Woodward, 1989:61, quoted from Macionis, Nancarrow, and Gerber, 468).

The Oppression of Women in Christian Colonies

The Europeans became enamored in the notion of colonization to add further wealth to their empire. In the 15th century, Spain and Portugal spearheaded the global conquest to journey the Far East to obtain its riches. Portuguese explorer named Fernando Magallanes who worked for the Spanish King initiated the expedition to Mollucas accompanied with a crew of 235 men. They sailed towards the tip of South America and eventually reached the Philippines in March 17, 1521 (Agoncillo, 72). After Magellan’s death at the hands of Lapu-Lapu, a native of the island of Mactan, succeeding expeditions followed in pursuit of colonizing the Philippines. Spain was a Christian country; in order to colonize the natives; they introduced Christianity and baptized the indigenous people thereby granting them Spanish names. The Spanish originally used the slogan, God, Gold, and Glory to state their intentions. They used God to have an access to the wealth of the natives (represented by Gold) and this wealth would eventually bring them Glory and recognition as the world’s super power. The Spanish authorities banned the worship of indigenous religions in their colonies and proclaimed Christianity as the official religion of the Empire. The natives of Mexico, Argentina, Philippines, and Cuba followed the official religion and soon, all the natives bore Spanish names. The priests during the Colonial Era exercised their powers to the point of harming the natives to get what they want. Women under the Spanish rule were treated lowly. However, the society granted the establishment of female colleges granted an opportunity for the women to obtain a Western education under the tutelage of the Spanish nuns who also accompanied the colonists. These colleges called beaterios were founded to teach women to become good housewives (Agoncillo, 92).
Under the Spanish rule, women had few rights; and they must be submissive of their husbands of all times. Marriages often serve to strengthen political alliances and because of this, feminists often became irritated of the notion that the women served only as chattels to bear children. Other than that, they had no rights to join political discussions, nor went outside the house. According to Agoncillo, the Spanish only tolerated women going outside the house if they will go to Church accompanied by her children or a male (e.g. brother or husband). This scenario was not prevalent in the Spanish colonies but also in other Christian countries. The debate against the inequality of men versus women is still a hot topic of debate amongst scholars. Furthermore, Garrett views the Bible as a bitter account of the rigidity of male thinking because most of the accounts were written by males who only had limited knowledge of women in general. Most of this knowledge came from what they see on their spouses, or any women of their acquaintance. In fact, Garrett noted that in the Ecclesiastes, Qoheleth inferred that women were the sources of grief and sorrow; however, there is no statement citing these women as harlots (Garrett, 315). Moreover, Woodward commented that the root of inequality originates from the “traditional notions of gender” (468). He suggested that the traditional notion of putting gender towards an invisible heavenly deity causes so much grief and trouble towards feminist supporters. As the female theologian Mary Daly pointed out, “If God is male, and then male is God” (cited in Woodward, 1989:58; quoted from Macionis, Nancarrow, and Gerber, 468). For years, the patriarchal system in the religions such as Islam and Christianity are challenged by scholars. The world is ever-changing, and nothing remains the same. The concept of remaining tied up within the rigid traditional beliefs is already gone. Although the Bible had been misogynistic throughout the centuries, the analysis of its context remains on the understanding of its histories and the persons who wrote it.

Works Cited

Agoncillo, Teodoro. History of the Filipino People. 1960. Quezon: Garotech Publishing, 1990. Print.
Garrett, Duane. “Ecclesiastes 7:25-29 and the Feminist Hermeneutic.” Criswell Theological Review: Criswell College 2.2 (1988) 309-321. Web. 16 Apr. 2015.
King James Version. [n.p.]: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 2014. www.lds.org. Web. 16 Mar. 2015.
Macionis, John, Juanne Nancarrow, and Linda Gerber. Sociology: Canadian Edition. Ontario: Prentice-Hall Canada Inc., 1994. Print.

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