What with diatribes about entertainers who invite rape and moms who are destroying America by supporting their families . . . with ignorant arguments about fetuses that masturbate, and females who might as well if they use contraception, and fetal personhood that trumps the personhood of females . . . . it’s tempting to think that Christian conservatives, have reached some new pinnacle of hating women and sexuality. But the sad reality is that even the media’s most unabashed misogynists like Michelle Bachman, Michael Burgess, Lou Dobbs or Juan Williams are actually tame compared to their ideological ancestors, which include some of the biggest names in Christian history.
In past centuries, men who were hailed as Church Fathers, Patriarchs, Doctors, and even Saints boldly expressed their view that females are inferior and loathsome; and they explained at length why God shared their perspective. Lest we fall into the conservative trap of thinking that the past was somehow better than the nasty messes we face today, it’s worth pondering some of the lovely tidbits that the Church has thought fit to preserve and promote in the centuries since Christianity was founded. Here are some of the most savory. They come from three waves of religious leaders: “Fathers” of the Catholic Church, Protestant Reformers, and American patriarchs who inherited the mantle of both.
Church Doctors and Fathers
- Woman is a temple built over a sewer. –Tertullian, “the father of Latin Christianity” in De Cultu Feminarum (c160-225)
- [Women’s] very consciousness of their own nature must evoke feelings of shame.–Saint Clement of Alexandria, Christian theologian (c150-215): Pedagogues II, 33, 2
- Nor are the women to smear their faces with the ensnaring devices of wily cunning. . . The Instructor [Christ] orders them to go forth “in becoming apparel, and adorn themselves with shamefacedness and sobriety, subject to their own husbands.” –Saint Clement of Alexandria, Christian theologian (c150-215): The Instructor
- In pain shall you bring forth children, woman, and you shall turn to your husband and he shall rule over you. And do you not know that you are Eve? God’s sentence hangs still over all your sex and His punishment weighs down upon you. You are the devil’s gateway; you are she who first violated the forbidden tree and broke the law of God. It was you who coaxed your way around him whom the devil had not the force to attack. With what ease you shattered that image of God: Man! Because of the death you merited, even the Son of God had to die… Woman, you are the gate to hell. –Tertullian, “the father of Latin Christianity” (c160-225): De Cultu Feminarum (On the Apparel of Women), Chapter 1
- For it is improper for a woman to speak in an assembly, no matter what she says,
even if she says admirable things, or even saintly things, that is of little
consequence, since they come from the mouth of a woman. –Origen (d. 258): Fragments on First Corinthians, 74
- Woman does not possess the image of God in herself but only when taken together
with the male who is her head, so that the whole substance is one image. But
when she is assigned the role as helpmate, a function that pertains to her
alone, then she is not the image of God. But as far as the man is concerned, he
is by himself alone the image of God just as fully and completely as when he and
the woman are joined together into one. –Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo Regius (354-430) On the Trinity
- What is the difference whether it is in a wife or a mother, it is still Eve the temptress that we must beware of in any woman… I fail to see what use woman can be to man, if one excludes the function of bearing children. –Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo Regius (354 – 430): De genesi ad litteram, 9, 5-9
- Woman is a misbegotten man and has a faulty and defective nature in comparison to his. Therefore she is unsure in herself. What she cannot get, she seeks to obtain through lying and diabolical deceptions. And so, to put it briefly, one must be on one’s guard with every woman, as if she were a poisonous snake and the horned devil. … Thus in evil and perverse doings woman is cleverer, that is, slyer, than man. Her feelings drive woman toward every evil, just as reason impels man toward all good. –Saint Albertus Magnus, Dominican theologian, 13th century: Quaestiones super de animalibus XV q. 11
- As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active force in the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of woman comes from a defect in the active force or from some material indisposition, or even from some external influence. –Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church, 13th century: Summa Theologica I q. 92 a. 1
- The word and works of God is quite clear, that women were made either to be wives or prostitutes. –Martin Luther, Reformer (1483-1546), Works 12.94
- No gown worse becomes a woman than the desire to be wise. –Martin Luther, Reformer (1483-1546), Table Talk
- Men have broad and large chests, and small narrow hips, and more understanding than women, who have but small and narrow breasts, and broad hips, to the end they should remain at home, sit still, keep house, and bear and bring up children. –Martin Luther, Reformer (1483-1546), Table Talk
- Thus the woman, who had perversely exceeded her proper bounds, is forced back to her own position. She had, indeed, previously been subject to her husband, but that was a liberal and gentle subjection; now, however, she is cast into servitude. –John Calvin, Reformer (1509-1564): Commentary on Genesis, p. 172.
- Do not any longer contend for mastery, for power, money, or praise. Be content to be a private, insignificant person, known and loved by God and me. . . . of what importance is your character to mankind, if you was buried just now Or if you had never lived, what loss would it be to the cause of God. –John Wesley, founder of Methodist movement (1703-1791): letter to his wife, July 15, 1774
American Patriarchs (Puritan, Mormon, Baptist, Evangelical)
- Even as the church must fear Christ Jesus, so must the wives also fear their husbands. And this inward fear must be shewed by an outward meekness and lowliness in her speeches and carriage to her husband. . . . For if there be not fear and reverence in the inferior, there can be no sound nor constant honor yielded to the superior. –John Dod: A Plaine and Familiar Exposition of the Ten Commandements, Puritan guidebook first published in 1603
- The second duty of the wife is constant obedience and subjection. –John Dod: A Plaine and Familiar Exposition of the Ten Commandements, Puritan guidebook first published in 1603
- The root of masculine is stronger, and of feminine weaker. The sun is a governing planet to certain planets, while the moon borrows her light from the sun, and is less or weaker. –Joseph Smith, founder of LDS movement (1805-1844): History of the Church, V, p. 211
- Women are made to be led, and counseled, and directed. . . . And if I am not a good man, I have no just right in this Church to a wife or wives, or the power to propagate my species. What then should be done with me? Make a eunuch of me, and stop my propagation. –Heber C. Kimball, venerated early LDS apostle (1801-1868): JD 5:29
- A wife is to submit graciously to the servant leadership of her husband, even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. –Official Faith and Message Statement of Southern Baptist Convention, Summer 1998, (15.7 million members)
- The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians. — Pat Robertson, Southern Baptist leader (1930-): fundraising letter July 1992
- The Holiness of God is not evidenced in women when they are brash, brassy, boisterous, brazen, head-strong, strong-willed, loud-mouthed, overly-talkative, having to have the last word, challenging, controlling, manipulative, critical, conceited, arrogant, aggressive, assertive, strident, interruptive, undisciplined, insubordinate, disruptive, dominating, domineering, or clamoring for power. Rather, women accept God’s holy order and character by being humbly and unobtrusively respectful and receptive in functional subordination to God, church leadership, and husbands. –James Fowler: Women in the Church, 1999.
- Women will be saved by going back to that role that God has chosen for them. Ladies, if the hair on the back of your neck stands up it is because you are fighting your role in the scripture. –Mark Driscoll, founder of Mars Hill nondenominational mega-church franchise. (1970-), sermon 2008?
Why has the main current of Christianity produced a steady diet of misogyny for over 2000 years? The answer may lay partly in human biology and culture. But it also lies in the Iron Age texts of the Bible itself. The Judeo-Christian tradition of building up men by tearing down women goes all the way back to the most ancient parts of the biblical collection, to the opening pages of Genesis, and continues unabated through the New Testament. (I’ve written elsewhere about 15 of those Bible verses because they partly explain the conservative assault on women.) As Mr. Driscoll likes to remind his followers, “Every single book in your Bible is written by a man.”
Say no more.
Fifteen Bible Texts Reveal Why God’s Own Party is at War with Women
The Difference Between a Dying Fetus and a Dying Woman
Was the Risen Jesus Originally Female?
What the Bible Says About Rape and Rape Babies
Captive Virgins, Polygamy, Sex Slaves: What Marriage Would Look Like if We Actually Followed the Bible
Valerie Tarico is a psychologist and writer in Seattle, Washington. She is the author of Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light and Deas and Other Imaginings, and the founder of www.WisdomCommons.org. Her articles can be found at Awaypoint.Wordpress.com.
An excerpt from an article by Steve Taylor, Psychology Today:
“What sane species would treat half of its members — and the very half which gives birth to the whole species — with such contempt and injustice?
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In pain shall you bring forth children, woman, and you shall turn to your husband and he shall rule over you. And do you not know that you are Eve? God’s sentence hangs still over all your sex and His punishment weighs down upon you. You are the devil’s gateway; you are she who first violated the forbidden tree and broke the law of God. It was you who coaxed your way around him whom the devil had not the force to attack. With what ease you shattered that image of God: Man! Because of the death you merited, even the Son of God had to die… Woman, you are the gate to hell. –Tertullian, “the father of Latin Christianity”
Tertullian was a heretic. All his words need to be taken with a TON of salt.
Misogynous Men and the Women They Love
By Mark Mathison 2007
“Unto the woman [God] said… thy desire [shall be] to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” ~Genesis 3:16
Misogynous man in godly trance
Gratuitous sex in missionary stance
Masturbates in her vaginal vault
Absolves himself, ’twas her fault
Bound by parchment, loosened by lust
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
Coming to bed stale stinking and sour
Impress the world with morning shower.
“Spread your legs Woman, I need relief.”
Guilt hidden behind a fig leaf
Two-legged dildo grunting a tune
Ending the song two verses too soon
Aborted dreams draped in desire
Duped again by his heavenly choir
Hating to love, but loving to cum
Fooled again by his silvery tongue
“The pleasure’s all mine” was his only true line
Exquisite verse! Listen up, guys!
Published at Alternet: http://www.alternet.org/belief/20-vile-quotes-against-women-religious-leaders-st-augustine-pat-robertson
Still kind of shocking to read these but then some of them are at least understandable when you know the context of the times and the doctrines. I can see how they might view women as innately flawed with the Eve story basically showing her as the one who was weak enough to be tricked and so they blame Eve for bringing sin into the world and by extension, killing Jesus. But I find it interesting that these guys writing about women having no use apart from pumping out babies obviously were raised by one of these wretched creatures. Did they truly think such things about their own mothers? I have to believe the did!
The Genesis account also shows Adam standing by “with her” and doing nothing. It has been suggested that he was actually waiting to see if Eve had adverse affects from the fruit before eating it himself. Dominion over the earth was given to both of them. Also, when the Bible gives an account of a woman in leadership, the text itself says nothing about it being because there were no qualified men, or a punishment from God. That’s all chauvinist conjecture, and terrible hermeneutics. Complementarians are deceived. Augustine and Calvin both plagiarize Plato, who provided the philosophical framework through which they interpreted the Bible. Many of the obscene things the so called church fathers said about women were paraphrases of Plato or Platonist writings.
I am a Christian who toyed with the idea of atheism in college, not because I didn’t believe, but because I didn’t want to. I thought I was angry with God, but I was really angry at self-important narcissist liars who worship their own plumbing. Augustine appears to have been one of many in a long line of such men. He was so captivated by Plato that he appears to have sometimes confused things he read in Platonic writings with the Bible. Not very scholarly of him if you ask me.
I understand the pain and anger of being betrayed and sold out by the collective institutional church. I live with it every day, but I hope you will all take the time to evaluate the BIble apart from the lens of Neo-Platonism. Jesus had female disciples, and the gospels make a point of letting us know that women financially supported Jesus’ ministry, accompanied Him to the cross when all of the men but John abandoned Him, and that a woman was the first to witness the resurrection.
The wicked “church fathers” chose to ignore ALL of that.
I have decided to see what I can do to start holding men accountable who call themselves Christians but don’t condemn the words of celebrity misogynists who also call themselves Christians. The God of the universe loves you so much that He took on human form and paid the price for your sins and mine. And He would have done it for you alone (anyone reading this). He does not see you the way those lying wolves in sheep’s clothing (the “church fathers” and “church doctors”) did. He promises eternal life to those who trust in Him to take away their sins. I made my decision about Jesus based on Jesus, not Tertullian, Augustine, Calvin, Wesley, Driscoll, or any other fallen man. My immortal soul is too important to make decisions based on the words of liars.
These quotes about women may indeed sound rather coarse, but I still think it is liberals who do the greatest damage to women. They teach them to hate men. They teach them to hate child bearing. They encourage them to be sexually promiscuous. They depict female prostitution as something exciting and positive. They promote their exploitation through pornography thus reinforcing the popular and negative connotation that women are mere sex objects. They encourage young women to be lesbians by glorifying lesbianism. They lie to them and tell them they are in fact, well, men.
I enjoy hearing others perspectives, but I do think there is a little bit of a misunderstanding amongst believers on what atheism is or is like for those who have come to that conclusion.
You mention that your ‘immortal soul’ is far too valuable to sacrifice. You speak about eternal life, and a God and his son-person. These are all concepts which are too distant to grasp or impossible to measure, to see, and quantify. It has taken me a long time as an atheist coming out of Christianity to divorce myself from the belief that what cannot be seen, known, or understood is better than the material, known universe.
There is no evidence to suggest that there is some non-material aspect to our selves which exists beyond death. Seeing as that particle psychics reveals the complexity of our bodies, and that the known Universe is a delicate interweaving of various types of matter, I have a hard time comprehending what sort of energy an immortal soul would contain to exist. And then, where would it go? We know now that the sky is nothing more than atmospheric gases and light scattering – and this is a gross oversimplification. We can see that the Earth has a solid core, and most of the outer planets, including the gas giants, have them as well. Even many of the satellites, such as our own moon, have inner cores. If we had an eternal soul, where would it go to? Another planet? The Orion Nebula? Andromeda?
As a former Christian, dealing with the realization that what I had been told or led to believe wasn’t true was a difficult pill to swallow, and certainly it leads to a great mental shattering, as the idea of a God is comforting in an unpredictable world that doesn’t shape itself around us. But asking myself that question has led to a great happiness and freedom for me, one in which I never found in Christianity.
There’s really now law or hypothesis that can give me a personal reason to believe or not to believe, but really being honest with myself has. Personal experiences I’ve had has made me question the idea of a god even more, as no matter how hard I tried, whatever I saw or felt or realized was not God like by any means. I used to think people were exaggerating when I heard things said such as, ‘there is no evidence of a god or God,’ but now after doing research and just spending time with myself, I’ve come to the same conclusion. There is very little evidence of a divinity in general, outside of scripture and word of mouth. The Universe, while mysterious and beautiful, does not seem to have been molded by a god, any god. Maybe I’m wrong, but at this time in my life, I don’t expect to encounter a god, and my life isn’t lacking without Jesus or the Bible in it. No one has ever seen the face of ‘God’, if a god could ever have a face, and I find it interesting that there have been no prophecies, no messiahs, no grand messages of salvation distinct from already existing scripture with the advent of science, the accessibility of the arts, and the advance of technology.
The only thing I can say on God is that, if there is sort of a being, it is not ‘human’. It didn’t create us in its image, it is not benevolent, but neither is it ‘evil’. God would have to be another aspect of nature, assuming all its characteristics of birth, life, and death. It cannot be immortal, eternal, or omniscient or omnipotent. Nothing in this world can be as we know it. It cannot intervene in our lives, it cannot save us, and I don’t think it’s something that we should worship, or that it could be aware of us in the sense it cares for us or wants to help us.
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This is really shocking. Didn’t these people have mothers while they grew up?
Unfortunately this attitude is seen even now here in Asia in our cultures.
In the classical world, some of them may not have had meaningful relationships or connections to mothers while they grew up, as death by childbirth was far more common than later, and the vagaries of society would often split up families and such. This isn’t to excuse the misogyny of the era, but can perhaps help us understand it.
Do you know the context of the Wesley quote? It would probably be impossible to make it anything like palatable, but I can imagine a context that would at least soften the blow somewhat.
Hey Mike –
Thanks for asking. I dug into the quote which was truncated in my original source. You are right that in context, though it is still obnoxious, it is more understandable.I have revised and sourced it.
Valerie, as an antidote to those 20 vile opinions and in support of your crusade on behalf of women let me quote your American 19th century “great agnostic”, Col. Robert Ingersoll:
“The crosses of this world are mostly born by wives, by mothers and by daughters. [You] live and suffer and die for others. It is almost enough to make one insane to think of what woman, in the years of savagery and civilization, has suffered. Every true man will sympathize with woman, and will do all in his power to lighten her burdens and increase the sunshine of her life.”
That is actually an excerpt from a full length play I have just written (not yet produced) featuring the Colonel (“The Orator – the unsolicited resurrection of Col. Ingersoll”). As I am sure you know he had a great deal to say about the need to free both women and men from the shackles of religion.
Here’s another little gem from Luther. Why was Eve the target of temptation instead of Adam?
“Because Satan sees that Adam is the more excellent, he does not dare assail him; for he fears that his attempt may turn out to be useless. And I, too, believe that if he had tempted Adam first, the victory would have been Adam’s. He would have crushed the serpent with his foot and would have said: ‘Shut up! The Lord’s command was different.’ Satan, therefore, directs his attack on Eve as the weaker part and puts her valor to the test, for he sees that she is so dependent on her husband that she thinks she cannot sin” (LECTURES ON GENESIS, Ch. 3, v. 1: Trans. George V. Schick, Concordia Publishing House).
Surprisingly, though, Luther was actually somewhat ahead of his time when it came to how he treated his own wife Katherine. She was the undisputed master of the home in practical matters, and Luther refused to shoo her away from the dinner table when guests were over discussing lofty matters of theology, to their discomfort. He encouraged her to read his new translation of the Bible for herself, and having women reading Scripture was a further step in his revolutionary push to have it made accessible to the common people. Indeed, he said of his translation that he wanted to use the language understood by, among other things, the woman in the market.
Another positive note in Luther’s mixed record about social matters is the importance he placed on women’s sexual satisfaction. In an era when divorce was all but impossible due to the statelike power of the Catholic church, he advocated that a woman should be entitled to a divorce if her husband was impotent. Even more shocking is that he thought, lacking a divorce, a woman should be able to go get some on the side and the impotent husband ought to be understanding about it. Amazing stuff, but he was quite an amazing historical figure. I still find him somewhat inspiring, despite being an ex-Lutheran (and ex-Christian), and being all too well aware of his vicious, disgusting views and writings about Jews and dissenters.
Religion is cancer
Comments like these are cancerous to healthy dialogue about significant issues.
Valerie – I appreciate the post. I’m an Evangelical pastor and teacher, and am challenged by these quotes to assess the history, and reassess contemporary understanding. Though it isn’t fair to line up all the extreme quotes in one place, just as it wouldn’t be fair to line up all my Reformation quotes that make them look like ERA lobbyists.
Keep posting, and let’s keep thinking! – bh
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The species may not be well in the head.
I laughed out loud when I first saw this wonderful bumper sticker:
“EVE WAS FRAMED.”
All this shows how very cultural religious beliefs are, including faith ideas about God and moral ideas about women, sex, and childbearing. Humans of all religious persuasions have always tried to ascribe their claims of faith and morals to the infinite in order to prevent any challenges to those ideas. As science, history, and sociology, especially science, present irrefutable challenges to the ancient mythologies of religious belief, we must always be ready to adjust those religious beliefs with the recognition that they are human and we are not gods. We are not even privy to the “mind of God.” If we were, we would be equal to God, gods ourselves. And that is a quaint contradiction of most religious beliefs.
Jesus considered women to be equals…. his Mother and Mary Magdalene were his constant companions, especially Magdalene, who was at the foot of the cross at his death, and the first to see Him after he came back from the dead… Male clergy have bastardized the role of women in scripture to fit their own power hungry egos for domination and subjugation… get real…
So Jesus had twelve opportunities to pick a female Apostle and he decided not to because He felt women are equal? ROFL!!!
Denis, there is a difference between apostles and disciples and between the 12 and others. Leaving that aside however the more important is this – Jesus picked 12 male Jewish men. Does this mean that only Jewish men should be allowed to preach and teach? Jesus also chose Judas Iscariot as one of the 12 and keeper of the common purse when he knew that Judas was a thief and a devil. There is much more meaning than this to the teachings of the Messiah, it is after all “living” word.
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The quotes here are almost all from Westerners, and that is telling. Eastern Christianity has always had a much higher view of women. In fact, the Syriac Orthodox have always viewed the Holy Spirit as feminine (and they have Biblical backing for that, too, especially in the OT!).
In Byzantium women could be ordained as deacons. And don’t forget the Church Mothers–they existed too!–you should try quoting some of them.
And then, here comes Maximus the Confessor who sounds almost like a feminist, and he lived in the 6th century.
“There was no end to the servitude and pain and affliction of women. But when the archangel said to the holy Virgin, ‘the Lord is with you,’ all the debts of afflictions were erased . . . . There is no longer the lordship of man over you….The holy mother of Christ was the model and leader of every good activity for men and for women through the grace and support of her glorious king and son . . . . She was a leader and a teacher to the holy apostles.” (emphasis added)
This continued into later eras, too. Herman of Alaska had a young (and Native Alaskan!) female disciple whom he did not consider to be inferior to him in any way. Eastern Orthodox consider Maximus and Herman to be two of the most beloved saints.
Orthodox Christians have always considered Tertullian to have been a heretic. Likewise, Clement of Alexandria was somewhat Gnostic-inflected (the Gnostics, because of their ultra-intellectual “mind over matter” attitude, tended to be far more misogynist than orthodox believers). As a result neither of these men is considered a saint, so it’s not fair to tar the entire early church with them. Tertullian was indeed very influential on the Latin church, but then again most Eastern Christians consider Tertullian the poster boy for “where the West went wrong”.
The problem here isn’t Christianity, it’s Western-ness. There is something genuinely nasty about the Western mind, and it pre-dates the rise Christianity in the West (the pagan Romans’ view of women was FAR worse than any of the quotes here!). It persisted even as the West began to become less Christian; the French Revolutionaries and “Enlightenment” thinkers were also seething misogynists, who looked to Science and Reason to justify their views.
Of course, we now live in a post-Christian West, which is still largely misogynistic (hip-hop culture is hardly a paragon of Christianity, and yet women are still degraded in rappers’ lyrics). So if you think a post-Christian West will treat women any better, think again.
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Fascinating. Thank you for illuminating this difference.
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Yes, this is very good. I, too, would like to look into the Eastern forms of Christianity, including Copts and Orthodox and Christians who fluently speak Aramaic and had once lived in Iraq.
Thanks to both of you, Anastasios and Valerie. God bless.
It isn’t simply a western problem. Even Chrysostom had a low view of women. Not just that, but Origen is also an Eastern father. There wasn’t the same East vs. West tension in the first five centuries that there is today. Of course the West was more scholastic and judgmental in its theology, but there didn’t seem to be much of a disagreement on this issue.
“The whole of her bodily beauty is nothing less than phlegm, blood, bile, rheum, and the fluid of digested food… If you consider what is stored up behind those lovely eyes, the angle of the nose, the mouth and cheeks you will agree that the well-proportioned body is merely a whitened sepulcher.”. ~St. John Chrysostom
What a bizarre thing to say. That is true, yes, but no truer of women than of men.
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This angers me so much. I went to an abusive Missouri Synod Lutheran church that spewed that shit out. Girls were told by this school nurse that women’s bodies were evil and make men sin. I blame that for my several year long battle with eating disorders. I hate Christianity and everything it stands for. My PTSD from that is so bad that I can’t even go into a church or any Christian functions because of severe flashbacks.
Ugh. That sounds horrible. I’m very sorry you had to go through that. Experiences like yours are one of the reasons I keep writing.
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Thank you for your comments. Very sad and horrible that these words were ever said. May I suggest you check out Christians for Biblical Equality. There is a lot of information on the website. Also, I am interested in your sources – can you please send them to me so I can do my own research.
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Why worry about Islam bringing in Sharia law? Our own citizens are doing it right down to the Taliban beards. I’m wondering how much of this crap my church believes?
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Those quotes were truly disgusting! This is what happens when people misunderstand scripture… While the bible does describe women as “the weaker vessel”, it doesn’t mean that women are lesser than men at 1 Peter 3:7. It also says “assign them honor” and “since they are also heirs with you”.
When it says the weaker vessel it;s actually saying that women should be treasured that they are something precious and special… The quotes provided in the post show just how far from that situation has fallen.
A man and woman should be like a knife and fork, they compliment each other.
And if they want to get into Genesis… 1 Timothy 2:14 says that Adam was not deceived… Eve was the one deceived, but Adam sinned, which is much worse. Eve was deceived and tricked into thinking it was ok to eat from the tree… Adam wasn’t, he chose to eat the fruit. Which is why Romans 5:12 says “just as through one MAN sin entered into the world”.
Nenamatahari – sorry to hear about the vile way the women at your church were treated, the worst part is that it’s not a unique thing, in so many religions people are corrupting the scriptures to suit what they want (I use the term corrupting deliberately instead of misinterpret because I feel that it is a deliberate act)
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I just randomly found these today after doing some research on the subject. I feel like I am more and more confirming my atheism than ever before. To think I was raised in a belief system that thinks I’m some sort of devil! It’s no wonder my father is a misogynistic pig – comes with the territory.
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Reblogged this on The Magdalene and commented:
We get a clear picture on the relationship of men and women from this post. We need to rethink who we are assuming is the authoritative voice for our understanding of faith. Jesus said the kingdom of heaven is within – not with men only.
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I don’t think the problem is so much with them (and by “them” I mean every culture that we can actually put names and dates to, in every historical era, except our own) as it is with us. We are so sure that we are right. But, of course, so were they. And cultures that, with respect to gender issues, are like theirs far outnumber cultures like ours. And how long has woman-empowered Politically Correct (and constantly whining) culture of ours lasted? Not long. And it appears to be wearing out already.
I think that some of those cultures – medieval, ancient, and probably prehistoric too – got something right about moral priorities that we got wrong.
Maybe we tell what is good by what can endure, and not by what makes us feel righteous over our rules of fairplay. Survival is the natural supreme value. Things like fairness and justice, while good, aren’t as good as survival, and there are times, there are conditions in which, those lesser values must be set aside for survival’s sake.
Because what matters to the dead? Neither truth, nor justice, nor freedom, nor prosperity have any value at all to dead peoples. Only to something alive may anything else be good.
It might be that female empowerment isn’t consistent with, or at least isn’t optimal for, the survival of a people. It’s possible that any people foolish enough to empower women will be overrun, defeated, and enslaved by other people who did NOT empower their women. And when that happens, all of the formerly empowered females in the conquered people will lose everything they gained – AND THEN SOME, since their masters now are not men who are relatives of theirs.
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When you quote St. Thomas Aquinas perhaps you could be so kind as to include the whole thing, for he was actually ridiculing that idea. I know that this is difficult because it contradicts the whole “Catholics hate women idea,” but it is intellectually honest. -Thank you: Thomist Woman
“As regards human nature in general, woman is not misbegotten, but is included in nature’s intention as directed to the work of generation. Now the general intention of nature depends on God, Who is the universal Author of nature. Therefore, in producing nature, God formed not only the male but also the female.”- The rest of the quote by St. Thomas Aquinas
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You are right that more context is helpful in clarifying his view. Thank you for pointing that out. Reading further, however, nothing suggests to me that he was ridiculing that idea — merely nuancing it. Here is a discussion that offers some of the context http://amymantravadi.com/2017/03/24/1594/
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lol, why are any women members of any Abrahamic religions?
Its ironic that much of Genesis appears to have been appropriations and distortions of Mesopotamian myth to suit the cultural biases of the early patriarchs. One particularly poignant myth had the gods of Mesopotamia sending a ‘legged serpent’, their messenger, to gift Mankind with the herb of life that would make humanity divine, and their equals. Only to be told ‘Oh no, if you eat of the Herb, you shall surely die!’ by jealous and fearful members of the pantheon.
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That women are described as less-than, guileful, and weak in the teachings of Western Christianity is a defensible argument and needs to be faced squarely by those of us who are seeking the truth of the matter.
But, Dr. Tarico, I am having no luck finding actual cites for many of these vile quotes.
For example, even though Tertullian was a notorious misogynist, I am unable to find a source online for the two quotes you attribute to him (which are particularly vile). In fact, I have found one erstwhile online scholar that attributes the “sewer” quote, without citation, to Jerome, an early Church father who had higher regard for women than many men of his time! California-based contemporary author Helen Ellerbe attributes the “sewer” quote to Boethius, (http://www.thenazareneway.com/dark_side_of_christian_history.htm ). Boethius was a 6th Century Roman philosopher whose most influential work, The Consolation of Philosophy, never mentions Christianity or Jesus Christ … and, in one English translation, nothing like the quote Helen Ellerbe cites. (https://www.exclassics.com/consol/consol.pdf) Finally, despite his misogyny, Tertullian did teach that there is neither male nor female in the soul, and that God’s salvation was equally available to both genders. (http://www.tertullian.org/articles/turcan_etre_femme_eng.htm).
Lists of quotes like yours are all over the Internet, but you are the source for many of them. No one who passes along these “vile quotes” has ever actually sourced them back to their original utterances or writings, or, at least, back to an English translation of the original utterances/writings.
As I am sure you remember from your days of studying for university degrees, unattributed quotes may ultimately diminish an author’s credibility. This is especially risky among your audience of current and former Christian fundamentalists like me, i.e. people who were raised to place the highest regard and most value on written sources.Your work and blogging are too important to fall prey to the temptation of confirmation bias by employing vile quotes that might not have a basis in reality.
Would you mind providing your source citations for these 20 vile quotes?
Inquiring minds want to know. Clickable links for independent verification would be divine!
Valid and important critique. In the years since I wrote this article, I have become keenly aware of how many quotations online are misattributed or outright fabricated. I have added the information I could find about the primary source of each quote, though not links as I don’t read Latin and these works aren’t readily available online. I’m happy to correct anything you find to be in error. Here are some additional quotes along the same lines if you are doing research into credibility:
When a woman thinks alone she is evil, for the woman was made from the crooked rib which is bent in the contrary direction from the man. Woman conspired constantly against spiritual good. Her very name, fe-mina means “absence of faith.” She is insatiable lust by nature. Because of this lust she consorts even with Devils. It is for this reason that women are especially prone to the crime of witchcraft, from which men have been preserved by the maleness of Christ.
Malleus Maleficarum (fifteenth-century manual of the Dominican Inquisitors against witches)
Eve originally was more equally a partner with Adam, but because of sin the present woman is far inferior creature. Because she is responsible for the Fall, woman is in a state of subjugation. The man rules the home and the world, wages war and tills the soil. The woman is like a nail driven into the wall, she sits at home.
Luther, “On Marriage”
The covenant of creation dictates a certain order, a relation of priority and posteriority, of A and B. Just as God rules over creation in the covenant of creation, so man rules over woman. He must be A; he must be first. She is B; she must be second. He must stay in his place. She must stay in hers. She must accept this order as the right nature of things through which she is saved, even though she is abused and wronged by the man.
Barth, Church Dogmatics
The “temple built over a sewer” statement is dubious. I don’t find it in Cultu Feminarum. I may be wrong, but my guess is it has been interpolated in a lengthy polemic in Book 1, Ch. 1, in which Tertullian essentially blames women for the sin of Eve. This unflattering portion reads: “And do you not know that you are (each) an Eve? The sentence of God on this sex of yours lives in this age: the guilt must of necessity live too. You are the devil’s gateway: you are the unsealer of that (forbidden) tree. . . .” Too bad there’s no Snopes for the church fathers. And no, I’m not suggesting Tertullian’s remarks are not problematic, only that I doubt that he made the temple/sewer remark.
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First of all, I’m no feminist, and neither is Christianity proper. Man and woman are obviously not equal. However, God loves both men and women, and both can inherit His Kingdom through the redemptive work of Christ. In this fallen world, relationships between men and women are deeply distorted, but at least some redemption is available.
Some of the quotes are clearly misguided, but others are taken fully out of context.
John Wesley’s quote for instance is part of a letter in which he lists all his efforts to solve marital problems. He writes:
Clearly showing that his wife’s concern with her own character in itself is of little value, which is in accordance with traditional Christian teachings for both men and women. It does show he thinks her contribution to mankind has been of limited value. But it does not mean he thinks that of all women.
For centuries men have controlled women but, the one thing men can not control is their lustful desire for a woman’s body.
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