The Position of Women: The BibleThe claim that Christianity had a hand in elevating the position of women in Western society is an oft repeated one. Like most of the claims we have seen, it is patently false. In this section we will take a look at what the Bible says about women. The Old Testament is a product of an ancient Semitic culture that never held women in any high esteem. In the Ten Commandments, for instance, women were listed among a man's possessions: 
A woman is therefore, part of a man's property, like his house, ox and ass. Thus adultery in the eyes of the ancient Hebrew was the robbing of another man's sexual possessions. A married man does not commit adultery when he sleep with an unmarried woman. Wheres a married woman sleeping with an unmarried man commits the crime.
Daughters are at the disposal of their fathers; who alone has the right to offer them as sexual offerings to any man. This is clearly shown in the episode of Lot who was visited by two angels.  The homosexual men of Sodom surrounded Lot's house and demanded that he hand over his two guests to them. Lot, instead of just chasing them away, actually offered the favours of his two daughters to the mob:
Obviously Lot considers rape a less serious crime than homosexuality. But what kind of man would let his virgin daughters be subject to such a treatment?
A similar story, even more abhorrent, is to be found in the book of Judges.  A Levite man was travelling with his concubine through Benjamite territory. At evening time he was invited by an old man to spend the night in his house. That night, while they were "making their hearts merry", a mob of Benjamites demanded the old man hand the Levite over for homosexual purposes. The next part is best told by the Bible itself:
The Levite discovered his concubine, dead, in front of the house. He promptly cut her body into twelve pieces (Judges 19:29) and sent each piece to each tribe of Israel as a declaration of war against the Benjamites. The next chapter of Judges showed that God approved of the Levite's actions (who was the one who actually pushed his concubine out to the man and must be by any consideration an accessary to her murder) for he guided the Israelites through their battle with the Benjamites.
But it was the story of Adam and Eve, more than any other in the Old Testament, that was to be used repeatedly by the New Testament writers and the church fathers as proof of the woman's inferior status. This story, given in chapter three of Genesis, tells of how the serpent tempted Eve to partake of the forbidden fruit. Eve then persuaded Adam to do so. As a result both Adam and Eve were driven out of the garden of Eden.
The heritage of this Semitic culture, with its contempt for women was passed on to the early Christians, who considered the Old Testament as part of the divine revelation. Thus we find the story of Adam and Eve used in the pseudo-Pauline letter of Timothy to justify the inferior status of women:
Injunctions for women to maintain their inferior status are to be found everywhere in the Pauline epistles:
Coupled with the treatment of women as second class citizens is the New Testament's pathological hatred of sex. (It should be remembered that the New Testament writers were all, without exception, men.) This is clearly evident in the epistles of Paul. To him, marriage is not an expression of love between a man and a woman but functions merely as a safety valve for sinful lust:
The abhorrence and renunciation of sex is also present in the gospels. Jesus is represented in the gospel of Matthew as saying:
This sex-hatred and misogyny found its fullest expression in the myth of the virgin birth. Mary was to be the archetypal Christian woman, one completely submissive to God's will. Mary acquiescence to be made pregnant by the Holy Spirit could not have sounded any sweeter:
Mary conceived Jesus virginally and without lust. No other woman in history could ever claim that; they will always fall short of this unreachable ideal. This was to be another element in the Christian suppression of women.
It is from the Bible, of course, that the church fathers derived the misogynist teachings. When Christianity became a dominant force in the Roman Empire around the fourth century, the position of women detoriorated. This situation was not improved until the nineteenth century. Today this Christian misogyny continues to express itself in the Catholic church's opposition to abortion and birth control.
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