As a career Navy sailor, I spent a lot of time away from home when our two daughters were in the toddler/elementary school age. I learned early that trying to single-handedly change ANYTHING when I returned home would be unfair to the family, stupid on my part, and ultimately futile. My lady instilled fairness, love, and intellegence in both our girls, and I couldn't be prouder of the way they turned out. Me, make a unilateral declaration in my capacity as "head of the house"? Not on these deckplates, mate!
You make some great points in your thesis. I am new here too, so "hello" TAA and Celeste. I think you are correct about the social control aspect of religion, and particularly its use in the furtherance of patriarchal power and rigid reinforcement of gender and gender stereotypes. Another interesting observation is how most religions hold women responsible for the inability of some men to control themselves. If, for example, Taliban men were as strong in their belief as they profess, why must women be veiled or totally covered? Surely they could walk round without a stitch of clothing and be perfectly safe from unwanted attention if the males were as devout as they claim. It is a combination of mysogyny and control.
I was raised Fundamentalist.
In so doing, I was raised to believe the best woman I could be was the Proverbs 31 woman. Let's take a look at her, bearing in mind that the proverb is attributed to King Solomon, who had six wives, 800 concubines, and still managed to commit adultery.
It starts off saying "Who can find a virtuous woman, for her price is far above rubies?" Then states that the only woman of virtue works her hands to the bone feeding and clothing her family and her servants, "with her own hands she planteth a vineyard", manages household money, and her "candle goeth not out by night".
All the while, her husband "is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land".
Well, who's really running that household while the man of the house is traipsing about the town square? And she's still expected to sex him up at night, and "riseth up while it is yet night" to do it all over again.
I say, screw that. If I have to do all that work and _still_ not be considered worthy of being heard in matters of home _or_ church, I'll just be one of the worthless, non-virtuous women.
I think the sexism is *one* of the things to hate about religion in general, but it isn't just the big 3, it goes further back than that, a lot (not all) ancient religions were pretty sexist too. . .
but i have to say that i realized i was an atheist when i realized that god doesn't exist not when i realized that the church is sexist. . .
Here's another example of religion being used to oppress women. This would almost bev funny if it weren't going to be enforced by the Saudi religious police.
"Saudi women with attractive eyes may be forced to cover even them up, if resolution is passed" http://t.co/Q3Ply2MT
Religion was created by people to make some sense of the world and the shortness of life. Soon it was also used to control people and make them resign themselves to their fate.Men figured out they could control and own women and children with religion.
Women are scary things to men because they can produce life, nurture and feed it, not to mention take more pain than most men have ever considered exists in this life. How terrifying that must be to them. Their own 30 second contribution must seem like nothing much to them in comparison. Women who allow others to control them through religion are losing out on being empowered, IMO.
That being said, I like to have someone control me at times. That's my choice. I chose someone I trust and respect and who (this is KEY) trusts and respects ME.
Though I was raised in a very restrictive religion. It didn't take me long to see the bull shit being done. If the religion wasn't fair for all and wasn't enforced evenly, I had problems with it.
When my parents split up, that allowed me to have more freedom of all kinds. I embraced that with joy and enjoyed learning about many things that had been shielded from me.
For a while I was not sure about religion and god but once my father was terminal, I became quite certain. Even so, I soothed him with his favorite songs and verses.
Later I even considered going through catechism in the episcopal for the legal benefit of my kids. Once my ex husband died (oh happy day!) I was no longer worried about court action of his cult vrs a "respectable" religion and was totally free again.
Over the years I've honed my freethinking. I've been in the closet about so many things. My diet which is veggie, my freethinking, my sexual orientation which is D/s and bi curious but now I can be more out in private at least. (Business might suffer.)
When my daughter came out as gay, that also allowed me to be a bit more free. Because what I wouldn't do for myself I will do for her. Mama Lion here! LOL
I think churches can serve as good meeting places and offer charity and good works in the community. However, I'm totally against any institution generally speaking. I think "missionary work" has negatively corrupted almost all of our known world.