Masolino's The coffee shop where I work is constantly crawling with holy rollers. One of these people recently left her "amplified" version of the bible behind, and it was promptly taken to the back. I have been perusing it for a week, looking for every passage that the owner highlighted and trying to divine what kind of person this mystery woman is.

The most heavily highlighted areas were in the book of Job and Proverbs, particularly passages about women. More particularly than that, this passage.

What I found most interesting was that the encouraging parts that don't devalue the female gender were highlighted ("She is far more precious than jewels..."), but not the parts that fail to fall in line with a modern American view of women ("She comforts, encourages, and does [her husband] only good as long as there is life within her").

Is the only way to marry the ideas of being a woman and being a Christian to ignore the inability of Christianity to fairly serve both genders? Assuming, that is, that it truly serves either. There is no shortage of what Christians would consider factual support from the bible for the idea that women are all "Eves."

It is impossible to be a Christian, at least not a by-the-book Christian, without also being a sexist. I realize that there are these "Neo-Christian" types that do a real number on the bible with pick-and-choose interpretation, just like the woman who forgot her bible for dummies. That brings up a whole other point of irritation for me. If one is going to be religious, I don't understand how one can tailor a religion to him or herself and not be considered a heretic.

Besides all of that, I don't think that Christianity would exist today if it were not for sexism. If Mary didn't face getting stoned to death for getting knocked up before marriage, there would have been no need for the cockamamie immaculate conception story anyhow. Odds are, Joseph pressured her to have sex before marriage and told her nothing bad was going to happen. But, I guess I'm biased.

On another note, lots of atheists are sexist, too. Even lots of sexist, atheist women. Especially if you, like me, consider it sexist to identify yourself to others through objectification and the exploitation of your own sexuality. Some people might call that "owning" yourself. I call it a cheap shot.

Honestly, I was mildly disappointed by not finding a feminist group on T|A - but then I thought, "How unnecessary to divide ourselves further." Which is why I decided against starting one.

Anyhow! I'm off to do something productive.

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Comment by asie on November 9, 2009 at 4:02am
i think, to most women who understand it, atheism IS feminism. the world's monotheisms have the subjugation of women enshrined in their holy books, this reason is used every day around the world to rationalize brutality against women in our time too. a woman who knows about this and chooses to stay religious is like a freed slave who chooses to stay on the plantation - but think, those who have been brought up to be subjugated find it very hard to find the courage and sense of self-worth to be free! there's also a huge family and cultural impetus to keep these women in line. so as much as it angers and baffles me to see women going along with their own oppression, i have to feel some sympathy too. an excellent book on this, by the way, is ayaan hirsi ali's "infidel."

i don't find that atheist men are sexist - odds are if they're enlightened enough to be atheists they will have given up the sexist assumptions that come with religion. but perhaps the sexism you detect is rooted in this same bafflement about women who stay in religions that so obviously subject them. again, more understanding is the key, subjugated people are kept in line by powerful authorities and this is even more true for the world's women. but it's important for atheist women to have more of a presence in forums like this too.
Comment by Frink on November 9, 2009 at 10:40am
Until now, I had no idea "amplified bibles" existed. Reading through it, I can see the editors took more than a few liberties.
Comment by Izzy on November 9, 2009 at 1:16pm
It's amazing how many "blanks" they fill. Very interesting to read through.
Comment by Galen on November 9, 2009 at 11:02pm
The xtian apologist will tell you that the Bible is not "devaluing" women, it is merely stating that men and women have separate roles assigned to them by God. In other words, saying that a woman should serve her husband is merely a fact of life and it's not meant to be demeaning that this is her given role, it's simply what is.

And I say that's a fine sentiment and would be a decent justifcation IF IT WORKED THAT WAY. If men in the 50s really did see their wives as their equals who merely fulfilled a different role in the relationship, that would've been just fine. But that ISN'T how it worked out and it's NOT how it works in today's sexist relationships. The apologist explanation I gave is a perfect example of "revisionist Christianity." In other words, when xtians act like they were never against a particular ideal and, in fact, were in favor of it all along. Like how they NOW preach against racism whereas int he 50s they preached in favor of it. Like how NOW they are against gay marriage, but in 50 years they'll be in favor of it and act like they were never against it!

You see my point. :)
Comment by Gene Park on December 10, 2011 at 10:55pm

Some believe that Christianity is a male-dominated religion that reduces women to an inferior status. Or there is discrimination based on sexist in the Bible which claims that it is true book. As I am a Christian, I will defend with some reasons that Christianity is not sexist at all. First of all, the God of the Bible is not male in any sense, because God is not a sexual being. Jesus taught that God is Spirit (John 4:24) and not one who brings things into existence through procreation. The Bible also tells God is not to be represented as either a male or a female. Second, the Bible use feminine descriptions or imagery when it speaks of God. If you have the Bible, please look and find (Deuteronomy 32:18, James 1:18, Matthew 23:37-39). Thirdly, Jesus did not set up a male-dominated religious system in which women would be permanently subjugated. He surprised his followers by teaching theology to women in private and in public (Luke 10:38-42). Some of feminist opposes to Christianity because of discrimination based on sexism in the Bible, but the truth is that The Bible does not talk about sexism God.

Comment by Chrono-Synclastic Infundibulum on December 11, 2011 at 12:05am

@Gene Park

"The Bible also tells God is not to be represented as either a male or a female." Where does it say that?

Also, you have not addressed the many sexist teachings in the Bible. Read 1 Corinthians 11, 1 Corinthians 14, Ephesians 5, 1 Timothy 2, 1 Peter 3, Genesis 3:16,  or Job 25:4


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