Christianity Today recently published an article called “Woman as Folly” by Jana Chapman Gates in which she describes hearing a number of Bible verses that refer to women in a negative light:
The speaker on the DVD said these verses showed that women should appreciate the desire of men to analyze and provide counsel. But I had a hard time moving beyond the underlying premise, at least as I heard it: Women are foolish. Granted, a verse or two appeared on the following page about how a prudent wife is from the Lord, but that didn’t counterbalance the overarching impression that women are at worst, shrewish, at best, naïve. When we began to discuss the lesson, I was more than a little surprised to realize my opinion wasn’t the consensus view.
“I think men are more aware than women of their tendency to sin,” one of the men suggested. “Maybe they can use this wisdom to help guide their wives.”
I couldn’t believe this was being discussed as a legitimate idea. I wanted to ask if he really thought that women are blinder than men to their own foibles…
As my husband and I drove home after the Bible study, I found the voice that I had subdued during the group discussion.
“Don’t they understand?” I said. “These sort of misconceptions — the idea that Christianity subjugates women — drive people away from the church.”
Wow… awesome! This is the beginning of a newly-liberated woman, right?
No, of course not.
She quotes a passage from Tim Keller‘s The Reason for God that showed her she just wasn’t reading the Bible the right way:
Many people run from any consideration of the Bible once they find such a biblical passage. I counsel them instead to slow down and try out several different perspectives on the issues that trouble them. That way they can continue to read, learn, and profit from the Bible even as they continue to wrestle with some of its concepts. One possibility I urge them to consider is that the passage that bothers them might not teach what it appears to them to be teaching. Many of the texts people find offensive can be cleared up with a decent commentary that puts the issue into historical context.
Godless Girl can’t believe it and rewrites Keller’s passage in her own way:
Instead of realizing the Bible is wrong on a topic like sexism against women (which we know it is, but can’t accept since we believe our god inspired it as Capital-T-Truth™), make sure you try really hard to make up a new meaning from the text that isn’t actually there. Don’t let passages bother you if you can explain them away through commentary from a totally non-Biblical human source. We’re Christians. We can rationalize anything.
You know, if the people subjugated by Biblical passages collectively stood up against their churches, pastors, and faith, Christianity wouldn’t have a leg to stand on.
They always manage to convince themselves that god didn’t really mean it that way and step back into complacency.
It’s depressing as hell and I have all the more respect for women brave enough to break free from Christianity because they know the god of the Bible really does intend for women to be submissive to the men in their lives.
(via Godless Girl)