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Women And The Bible Essay Research Paper

Women And The Bible Essay, Research Paper Women and The Bible The Bible and the church have been the greatest stumbling blocks in the way of woman’s emancipation.

Women And The Bible Essay, Research Paper

Women and The Bible

The Bible and the church have been the greatest stumbling blocks in the

way of woman’s emancipation.

A famous 19th century feminist named Elizabeth Cady Stanton voiced this

about her struggle for women’s freedom. Women, considered a lower class than the

men, wanted this subjugation changed. Part of the reason for the subjugation of

women is that the Bible could be interpreted in many different ways to suit the

needs of the interpreter. These interpretations of the Bible are in part

responsible for the belief that women are of a lower class than men. The reason

this belief is present in our society is that approximately 85% of Americans are

Judeo-Christian. We see examples of these beliefs when we look at the church,

the daily lives of women, and the media. Looking at 1 Timothy 2:11-12, we see

why our religious society could interpret the Bible this way:

Let a woman learn in silence with all submission, and do not permit a woman to

teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.

We must look at the historical context of the passage. Written

approximately 2000 years ago, many parts of the Bible seem outdated. The passage

portrays a time when women were property and were ?trained? to be weak and

fragile. This stopped only about 30 years ago. Before this time, society taught

women from birth to be submissive to men. What does this mean to us today? It

means that although American Society is no longer training women to be

submissive, the problem is still present in our belief system. Many churches do

not believe that women should be part of the clergy. This is because they

interpret parts of the Bible, such as 1 Timothy 2:11-12, as saying that only men

should preach. In 1848, women made a retaliation to these sentiments. At the

Seneca Falls convention, women (including Elizabeth Cady Stanton) signed a

Declaration of Sentiments. In the declaration it states:

He allows her in church, as well as state, but a subordinate position,

claiming apostolic authority for her exclusion from the ministry,

and, with some exceptions, from any public participation in the

affairs of the church (Declaration 1)

The people that these women fought against, including other women,

believe that it is the duty of a woman to be quiet and submissive. I have

experienced this anti-freedom dogma growing up in the Church of Christ community.

I experience this dogma when I talk with my grandmother, a woman who lives by

the Word. My grandmother states that I should ?be a good girl and keep my mouth

shut and clean.? She says that if I am quiet and do not tell my opinions, people

will like me better that way. My grandmother tries to teach the same submissive

qualities that were taught to her when she was young. We, as a society, also see

this in media. In the November 5, 1996 airing of the sitcom Cybil, the future

stepmother of Cybil’s daughter was giving advice to the daughter. The advice was

that women should let men win arguments. Cybil, enraged, made told her daughter

that she did not have to submit.

Along with the belief that women must be submissive and silent, there is

also the belief that women are the cause of men’s downfall and therefore are

evil. The last two verses we look at talk about the story of the fall of Adam

and Eve. In the story of Adam and Eve, God tells Adam and Eve that there is one

tree in the garden of which they must not eat. Deceived by the devil, Eve eats

fruit from the tree and then persuades Adam to eat it. This act historically

displays the deception of man by woman and has put women in a very bad light. I

Timothy 2:13-14 states:

For Adam was formed from Eve, and Adam was not deceived, but the woman

being deceived, fell into transgression.

Meant for a different time, the basic belief that women are the cause of

men’s downfall is obsolete. Some people say that this belief is not present in

our society. I have heard men say that the reason that they are ?in the mess

they are in? is because of women’s ?folly.? Many popular Hollywood movies today

reflect these misogynistic attitudes and use themes that portray women as evil

and deceiving. In these films, women want nothing else but to destroy men and

the order of society. One popular movie called Eve of Destruction, portrays a

woman named Eve as a mechanical tool of destruction that destroys anything that

gets in her path. The name Eve in this film indicates a link to the Eve of the

Bible, connotating treachery and deception and seen as a bane to man’s existence.

Not all the Bible portrays women as submissive and evil. Many still

believe that women must obey their husbands and live a life of subservience. If

people look to this interpretation of the Bible for guidance, women will remain

treated as inferior. I am not saying that we need to get rid of the Bible, I am

saying that we need to get rid of interpretations of the Bible that are

derogatory towards women; like the belief that women are not equal.

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