Women and Religion

Bhutan4

A Recent article in USA Today details a story in The Kingdom of Bhutan about Buddhist women surveyed who think it's ok for their husbands to beat them.  About 70% of the women surveyed said they deserved to be beat if they neglect children, argue with their partners, refuse sex or burn dinner. 

Burn dinner? 

"Hey honey, I'm home.  WHAT!!! You burned the lasagna again?  That's it.  It's time for a beating!" 

WHAT IN THE WORLD?

Fortunately, "Karma Tshiteem, head of Bhutan's Commission for Gross National Happiness, called the findings "surprising" and "shocking," and said such attitudes are "totally inconsistent" with Buddhist teachings"

But I started thinking….

How many religions have regulated the roles of women in their community to a place where they feel  like it's ok if they are physically abused?  I know certain spots in the Middle East where a woman's voice is of NO value.  Certain Muslims must cover their whole bodies, not be gainfully employed, and stay home all day long while the men take care of the world. 

Certain Hindu communities I've observed have similar pre modern views of women in their religion.  Men rule the roost, as the patronistic culture tries to swallow thousands of years of Hindu Tradition. 

Not to mention the history of the Christian community.  The ancient near east view of women was closer akin to property management than it was a part of humanity.  The men would literally buy a woman from a family with a few goats and cows, and add her to the harem at home. 

So what gives?

Where in history did humanity roll out this view that women had to be some sort of sub-class human?  Is it a religious ideal? Or is it something deeper?

The beautiful part of the Christian story is when Jesus comes to eradicate all of the sexism ruling the day.  Remember when He was traveling to Galilee he had to travel to Samaria.  You can read about the significance of Samaritans in my book LOVE THIS so I'll save the time not to add racial comments here on the blog. But in verse 7 it said, "When a Samaritan woman came to the well, Jesus said to her…"  WOAH!

I know that seems like a nothing statement. 
WHOA, Jesus actually "TALKED" to a woman.  How is that so significant.

But if you put the story in the context of history…

Jews never talked to Samaritans.
Men never talked to women.
A woman that approached a man was considered a whore.
Jesus was a Rabbi.  He wouldn't have even stopped for this woman.

It's almost like the gospel of John is beginning a transition.  He's showing the human side of Jesus, and the care He has for all people, including those considered property. 

You might say, well that was then, and this is now….but I've been to churches where pastors won't let women teach past a certain grade level.  I know men in certain religious communities that control every move their wives make.  Whether they can go out with friends, watch movies with aquainences, or even down to the menu on the dinner table at night.  I'm just confused. 

If Jesus is a revolutionary, why are so many Christians caught up in this loose version of oppression?  Shouldn't we love our wives like Christ loved the church? (Ephesians 5:25)  Didn't Christ die for the church? 

So, at least in the Christian Story, we should be willing to go out and sacrifice everything, even our own lives for our wives. 

I could go on and on, but the view of women in religion, I know, is certainly a hot button. But I wonder….

WHY?

What say you?

 

1 Comment

  1. I think it all goes back to the garden when Adam and Eve sinned. God told Eve in Genesis 3:16 that her pains in childbirth would increase and her desire would be for her husband and he would rule over her. I think it was a mindset that was established many, many years ago. God, through Christ and His sacrifice on the cross, broke the curse that was established in the beginning…but many people do not allow it to be broken in their own lives. I, as a woman have dealt with this frustrating issue since I was little. I couldn’t do certain things because I was a girl. As I grew up many different mind sets have been established in my own life because of this view on women. I feel very sorry for those women in other countries that do not share in the freedom I do as an American. As a woman who has been called by God to preach his word is very frustrating in the conservative church! It burns me up when women say, “We are not called to preach. We are called to teach other women and children.” I don’t want to pour out my frustration, so to answer your question as to why? I think it is mindset that have been established and people do not want to embrace the full freedom that Christ brought. He came to do away with the principle of sin once and for all. He came to set all things right.

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