Wednesday, May 6, 2020
Sexism and Misogyny in Christian Tradition - Free Samples
Question: Discuss about the Sexism and Misogyny in Christian Tradition. Answer: Introduction: In the Book of Genesis, Old Testament, the heavenly Garden of Eden was inhabited by the first man and woman in the world, Adam and Eve. In this story, God creates Eve from one of the ribs of Adam, the reason, to give him company, or more precisely as his companion(Hawkins 206). This creates an image of women of being a mere resource for male. Moreover, the image of the God and his son further implements the male centric views in the Old Testament (Keil et al.). Since then the depiction of women was mostly complementary to the depiction of males and in a way that suggested the female ought to follow the footsteps of males. The women are first under the authority of their father, then their husbands after marriage, and after the death of her husband, the authority shifts to the husbands brother. Such a form of subordination of women was further impressed by the fact that women bore no signs of being members of the covenant family, as their male counterparts would have through male circ umcisions. Even though the Genesis also mentions that both men and women were created in the image of God, but since it also tells about God creating Adam first in his own image, puts males in a superior image than the females, in this context (Zevit 33). The book of Genesis further befouls the feminine image by saying that it was the women who brought disobedience in the world (Wold 330). There are many other accounts where women have been objectified and considered as a commodity. In Sam 20:30, Saul curses Jonathan as a son of perverse rebellious woman. This statement underlined the ideology that a foolish son is a dishonor for the mother, and not the father (Mechon-mamre.org). Another example where women have been objectified can be found in the story of Lot, who gave his two daughters to two complete strangers, in order to persuade them not to engage in any homosexual act with the people outside (Simons 210). Such negative views of women in the Old Testament consequently justifi ed and even warranted the routine subjugation of women. And the subjugation later spiraled into atrocities, as the societies built on the beliefs of the Old Testament, became patriarchal. Christianity adopted these beliefs from the Old Testament, and has established many of these beliefs as social constructs (Bishop). One significant social construct that still exist any several countries that has its root in the Old Testament, is the identification of the woman, first as a part of her fathers family, and then as a part of her husbands family after her marriage, which is symbolized by the change in the family name of the wife (Modise). During the medieval period, the status of women however started changing with the stories of extraordinary women achieving extraordinary fame and support, and consequently acquiring important positions. However, for the majority, the roles of women were still restricted to the predefines roles, and the women still suffered continued misery of domestic violence, subjugation and abuse. It can be understood how such atrocities could have influence from the scriptures (Modise; Ruether 90). Homosexuality, Early Christianity and the Medieval Age The Old Testament repeatedly warns all followers against homosexuality. Leviticus 18,20 prohibits homosexual acts as an abomination(Willmington). The book further suggests that those who commit such abomination should be put to death, and the responsibility will solely be on them. This has been one of the most significant code of conduct that has been used to implement prohibitions against homosexuality. The story of Sodom and Gomorrah in the book of Genesis clearly explains that homosexuality is a sin, the punishment for which is the wrath of God and complete annihilation. In fact, the story and its influence go so deep, that the word sodomy itself evolved from the word Sodom. Even in the New Testament, homosexuality is not spared, and it continued the process of criminalization of homosexuality. Book of Romans 1:26 considers it an act which is against the nature as well as a deviation from the natural use of women. This clearly implies both a homophobic as well as misogynistic. In the Cornithians 6:9, it is mentioned that unrighteous shall not inherit the gods holy kingdom. In this context, the unrighteous were those committing adultery, fornication, or homosexual acts, as well as drunkards, effeminates, or extortionist. This clearly indicts homosexuality as a sin so grave that one gets deprived of peace after death. It can be understandable why such a grave warning was taken very seriously by many. Even the teachings of Jesus Christ assumed the institute of marriage to be applicable only for a relation between a man and a woman, and do not say anything about marriage of homosexual couples. For a character, who preached against many of the teachings of the Old Testament, not opposing the homophobic ideologies was a major sign that the New Testament also endorsed the same anti homosexual beliefs as its older version (Jackson 87; Barton). In the Medieval period, the persecution of homosexuals reached its peak, and its codes were directly influenced by the scriptures of the old and new testaments, directly condemning homosexuality (Boswell). Homosexuality became a sin as grave as Satanism, during the early 14th century. During this time several people were criminalized and prosecuted for homosexual activities. Commonly given punishment were long acts of penance for first time offenders, and for repeated offenders the punishments became increasing harsher, like castration and even death on the third offence (McNeil). This clearly showed how the religious beliefs were used to justify the prosecution of homosexuals in that period. Gender, Islam and the status of women in the Middle East: In Islam, the ideologies of the Old Testament can be reflected in many of its teachings. The Quran also preaches of the one God, and his messenger. In all the accounts, the messenger is shown as a man (Moses, Christ, Mohammad). This helped to solidify the social position of the males, above that of the females (Fatemi 95). The Quran upholds the superiority of men, deeming women to be inferior, and considering women as a mans belonging. This clearly showed how the systematic objectification of the female gender was implicated by these Judaic religions. The scriptures further states that apart from the fact that a woman can be a mans property or bounty, a man can also be the owner of many properties. This clearly puts in place a male dominated structure, with a single male at the centre. The qualities of a righteous woman, in the Quran have been that of a docile, obedient and quiet individual, who would seldom complain even in the face of adversities. On the other hand, the scriptures prescribe punishment for women who would have a rebellious nature (Shaikh). The importance of women in the Quran is also further depreciated by the fact that in financial and legal matters, the woman only has only half the rights as that of a man. It clearly demonstrates, that gender equality was not a concern in the Quran, and it fostered the male centric view of the society (Fatemi). The tradition of women being identified by their male family members continued unabated through the ages, supported by the early Judaic scriptures and also in Quran. Many other accounts can be found all over the scriptures that objectify and demote the position of women in our society. The consideration that a woman can earn the grace of the God by being obedient of the husband, clearly puts women in a subordinate position, and prevents the possibility of true equality of rights (Ahmad et al). Moreover, stories like that of the 72 virgins in heaven for the martyrs of god clearly showed how women were considered as sexual objects, whose primary purpose was procreation of their children. If such an oppressive view was not enough, the view of women were further marred by the consideration that women are a distraction for men from performing their duties, and they can bring about the downfall of a community. This places a deep seated sense of mistrust towards the female gender, and a biased view regarding their role in the society. The scriptures forbid women to be given any authority in the society, apart from their roles as mothers and wives and serve as merely extensions of men. The concept of Hijab (or the religious dress code in Islam for women, which covers them head to toe), can be attributed to such ideologies. The importance of the overalls is so important in Islam, that a woman without a veil is considered nothing more than being naked, and therefore is directly against the teachings of Islam. In the Middle East, the position of women is still being subjugated by male domi nation. In Saudi Arabia, women are still not permitted to drive and cannot travel alone without a male companion (even be it a male toddler). Strong moral policing still exists that actively dissuades its citizens not to forget their traditional hijab when in public places. These inequalities against women have been systematically justified thought history by the citing the teachings of Prophet Muhammad and the scriptures of the Quran (Rita 340; Hodge 243). The status of Homosexuality saw no improvement in the Quran, than it did in the Old Testament. Islam incorporates many of the stories from the Old Testament, including the story of the Sodomy and Gomorrah, acting as a warning against the act of homosexuality, stating that such act shall be punished by the God. The scriptures further prescribe death by stoning for the homosexuals and adulterers. The scripture makes it clear those homosexuals, apostates, adulterers all are sinners in equal capacities, and are condemned to eternal suffering in the hereafter, even after being punished with brutal death (Dejong 339). Death penalty for homosexuality still exists for many Islamic countries around the world. In Uganda, Iran and UAE, and homophobic sentiments are further made strong by the Islamic Fundamentalist ideologies. Extremist groups like the ISIS directly quotes teachings from the Quran, which criminalizes homosexuality, and uses that to condemn anyone suspected of being homosexual to death. This systematic oppression of homosexuals is not uncommon in most of the Islamic countries around the world, evidently showing a pattern of intolerance propagated through the religious beliefs against this community (Hamdi et al. 688; Zuhur et al 29; Alipour 1930). References: Ahmad, Naveed, Hurmat Sumaiya Binti Bashir, and Yousfi Karima. "Status of Women in Islam: A Perspective." (2015). Alipour, M. "Essentialism and Islamic Theology of Homosexuality: A Critical Reflection on an Essentialist Epistemology toward Same-Sex Desires and Acts in Islam."Journal of homosexuality64.14 (2017): 1930-1942. Barton, John. 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