Women’s place in Religion

As anyone who has studied the scripture knows, divine commands found in the Bible are often easily confused with human traditions that have simply been recorded in the Bible as well. Someone of simple-mind, however, would make no effort to puzzle out the difference between the two, and so would make the assumption that everything included in the Bible must be a direct command of God.

This is particularly troubling when we come to the issue of women. Paul wrote in his letters to Timothy that “A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent”. Many Christians wish to claim that this is an actual divine commandment. This is typically a result of that Christian not using their God-given brains.

Which makes more sense- that God commanded women be silent, or that Paul simply included a typical first century prejudice in a letter that was later included in the Bible?

This was prompted by an article on the subject by former President Jimmy Carter. You can find it here.

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2 responses to “Women’s place in Religion

  1. My view goes something like this: http://www.xenos.org/books/mythmw.htm

    As far as women having leadership positions in the Church goes, I don’t think either way is really “wrong” per se. If a church wants to have female ministers, great. If they don’t, that’s great too.

    For the churches that don’t (like my church in Newburgh), the reason has less to do with keeping women out of leadership roles, and more to do with re-establishing the necessary role of husbands and fathers as spiritual leaders. Because the family problems in our society (divorce, single parents, abortion, etc) are largely to be blamed on men who shirk their responsibilities to their wives and children. Women today tend to do a much better job of making church and family priorities.

    So churches like mine in Newburgh want to encourage men to pick up the slack and do their duty, so to speak. Women serve many roles in the church, just not as elders or preachers.

    But I also don’t have any problem with churches that take the opposite view. As long as everything else is Biblical, I really don’t see this as a critical issue.

  2. Perhaps. I just always get suspicious when I hear alternative reasoning for such things as that. In other words, how can we be sure that your Church in Newburgh is not simply rationalizing a morally untenable viewpoint? I’ve heard a lot of bad excuses from many a Christian over the years. But I don’t know. Maybe they have a point. I’ve never been to your church. I can’t really make a value judgment, one way or the other.

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