Are Men Superior to Women?
Jimmy Carter was not our best president but he wasn’t the worst either, that honor according to most historians probably goes to James Buchanan who allowed the slave states to grow in numbers eventually leading to their secession and the Civil War. Jimmy advanced in my opinion recently in his ranking by withdrawing from the Southern Baptist Convention. Plus, he actually went further than that in his essay titled “Losing my Religion for Equality”. He points out that women have been cast as inferior to men for a very long time in many of the world religions including the ranking ones, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. The so called Abrahamic Religion’s doctrines and “holy writings” have attributed this to a Higher Authority (that would be God) and “this has provided the excuse for deprivation of women’s equal rights and at its most repugnant excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation, and laws that omit rape as a crime. But it also cost millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment, and influence within their own communities.” Even in the most advanced democracy in the world, namely us, there is still a glass ceiling, a tendency to promote men over women. And women still cannot occupy certain jobs for which there is no physical reason that they should not. Orthodox Jews and Catholics will not allow women to be rabbis or priests, nor can women serve as pastors in the military. Our ruling bodies such as the House of Representatives and the Senate have a disproportionate number of male office holders compared to the population demographics of men and women. Pay scales remain bias against females. Even in Hollywood women are not given their due. There are far too few women directors in the movie business. Women’s suffrage has only been around in the US since 1920. Of all places in the world, Vatican City does not allow women to vote to this day. Just today the news came out that the WASP’s (Women Airforce Service Pilots who served from 1942 to 1945) are not allowed burial at Arlington.
Where then does religion get this incongruous idea that the male of our species is the superior and the female the lesser? So lets look at Christianity the most popular religion on earth to date with over two billion souls. Adam was created first and Eve was made from a meager rib of Adam. She is the one who got us kicked out of Paradise by tasting the damn apple and getting Adam to take a bite also. “Let the women learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” (I Timothy 2:11-14)
“For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.” (I Corinthians 11:8-9)
Saint Paul blatantly revealed his misogyny in this statement, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. Therefore, as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.” (Ephesians 5:22-24) Does everything really mean everything? Are beatings, rape, economic deprivation, and slavery also included in everything, or did Saint Paul exclude those reprehensible acts in subsequent, as yet not discovered, Epistles to the Ephesians?
“Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” (I Corinthians 14:34-35)
And this is just a small sampling of the demeaning of woman by the Word of God. It permeates the New Testament like a foul stench that smells to high heaven.
Judaism is not blameless; in fact, the Old Testament was the inspiration for the New Testament’s misogynistic ideas on women.
God, himself, decrees women to be the inferior with these words: “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” (Genesis 3:16)
“Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean.” (Leviticus 12:2)
“But if she bear a maid child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her separation: and she shall continue in the blood of her purifying threescore and six days.” (Leviticus 12:5)
If a woman bears a female child (never mind the fact that the male determines the sex of the child, something of which God was apparently unaware, but still excusable since it was not until 1905 that Edmund Beecher and Nettie Stevens figured that out) she is unclean for a longer time than if she bears a boy. Obviously it takes much longer to cleanse the body of the filth after giving birth to a female infant.
Islam the newest of the Abrahamic religions is by far the most oppressive towards women. The Burka says it all. A woman must not go out of the house alone without accompaniment of a male of that household. Even in the most enlightened of the Middle East nations, Saudi Arabia, women cannot drive a car, cannot be educated, especially higher education. Malala Yousafzai, born July 12, 1997 a Pakistani girl attending a boarding school was shot in the head three times by a Taliban gunman October 9, 2012 when she was fifteen years old because she took the unpardonably blasphemous position that girls ought to go to school. The Qur’an which is Allah’s immutable words dictated to Muhammad in some cave near Mecca makes it clear why she had to be shot: (Qur’an 4:34) “Men have authority over women because God has made one superior to the other.” How dare she try to be educated like her male counterparts? Let that be a message to all women in case they too desire to have a richer life.
The concept of honor killing is another one of the more horrifying religiously motivated atrocities. A woman who is raped is at risk of being murdered by her own family because she has dishonored the family. Although this ridiculous custom existed long before Muhammad received the Word of God, it is nevertheless condoned by Islam now. Sharia law supports such nonsense and does not punish the murderers considering such cruel and incomprehensible crimes justified.
Religion is obviously sexist which cannot be explained away by the most ardent religion apologist. The more liberal interpreters of the holy writings sweep these archaic concepts under the rug with lame explanations like: Times and customs were different then, or these are just allegory to be interpreted in our own cultural context. Good try but the black and white printed words in those holy books catch them in flagrante delicto. Religion is blatantly wrong on this score. Here I agree with Jimmy.
Science has things to say about the equality of women. Science has a different methodology of establishing the truth. Religion has revelation, direct communication with God, and faith to explain its position. None of these methods are verifiable and depend on an individual’s word. And we know just how reliable these methods are. They have spawned faith healing, snake handling cults, refusal of life saving medical treatment, witch trials, beheadings, suicide bombers, and other delightfully charming, as well as entertaining, human activities that are so completely cleansed of logic, wisdom, intellect, and common sense.
Religion remains static, ridged, and unchanging. It abhors challenges to its dogma and responds with things like the Inquisition, excommunication, shooting teen-age girls in the head, shunning and the like to any question of its authority. Science thrives on proof, logic, experiment, double blind controlled studies etc. Dogma and holy immutable writings have no place in science. Ferreting out the truth is the backbone of science. What does science say about women? Well according to recent research by James Flynn a New Zealand researcher it turns out that in IQ scores women are pulling ahead of men by an average of 5 points. In my experience of half a century as a physician there is no question in my mind that women are overall healthier. They outlive men by an average of 5 years. Women are much more tolerant of pain. There is something about estrogen that makes women more risk averse and as a consequence fewer women wind up in jails, don’t get into as many altercations, and are more prudent with money. Men have the Y (XY) chromosome while women are XX. The Y chromosome has one arm missing. Even on that score women beat out men by having more of that all-important DNA.
Finally, my question comes down to: Then, what parts of men are superior? I suppose the answer would be the obvious one as women don’t have that part. But to be a schmuck or putz is nothing to be that proud of either and certainly does not confer the mantle of superiority over anything!
Gosta Iwasiuk is the author of three books – Tales of a Country Surgeon (memoir), The Jesus Gene (commentary on genetics and religion) and Vladimir’s Visions (a coffee table book featuring the artwork of Vladimir Iwasiuk).