The Instigator
SperoAmicus
Pro (for)
Winning
44 Points
The Contender
dairygirl4u2c
Con (against)
Losing
18 Points

The Christian Bible Does Not Teach Sexual Oppression/Inferiority

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/21/2007 Category: Religion
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,692 times Debate No: 797
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (17)

 

SperoAmicus

Pro

The Bible does not teach sexual oppression.

There is, above anything, a phenomenal lack of opression in the Bible, compared to, say, its historical contemporary the gnostic Gospel of Thomas.

Paul does state that the two sexes were built with different roles in mind, and based on simple genetics this ought to be obvious. But any notion that one sex is, should, or would have to be inferior to the other is the result skewed cultural values and sexism and not of the Christian faith itself. Nor are the two roles meant to be taken as absolutes, as the Bible is filled with examples of men exuding feminine traits, and women exuding masculine traits.

Moreover, in the very beginning Genesis ascribes female oppression as a consequence of the Fall, meaning that it is a corruption of the form relationships are intended to take and therefore, something we are to work against.

Finally, it's true that most Churches deny women positions of pastoral authority, but the bulk of the theological purpose behind this single restriction is symbolic. A woman simply does not invoke the sensation of Christ any more than a man invokes the sensation of Hillary Clinton. But this symbol is important because it stems from the traditional sacramental role of the Church, where every acute detail of the Church had been designed to represent key aspects of the Faith, including the figure of Christ as the head of the Church. It is in this light no more discrimination to deny a woman the job of pastor than it is to deny her the job of playing Santa Clause.

And so with these things in mind, a cultural oppression of women does not stem from a proper understanding of Biblical faith, but rather, simply from the flawed human culture which that faith must cut through.
dairygirl4u2c

Con

while i take the position the bible does put women in an inferior role, i'm probably not who you thought would argue. i'm not arguing that because of that, women should be treated inferior, like many christians would argue. my agenda would be simply to point out the oppressive nature of the bible itself, and tagently how i think the bible is not the word for word word of God.
if you dont want to debate me, just start a new thread and copy and paste

bible passages.
---When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. And if the slave girl's owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter. If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment. (Exodus 21:7-11 NLT)

--Deuteronomy 22:28-29 NLT)
If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father. Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her.

also, if you look at the NT, it says women should not wear hats in church. it says women should take an inferiror position because of the LAW. often people says it's a cultural thing, but it explicitly says the law.

even if these are not the way things are done anymore, it still does not answer why it ever was.

http://www.evilbible.com...
Debate Round No. 1
SperoAmicus

Pro

When it comes to these early "evil Bible" Old Testament passages, it's important to remember that the law was being given to a society which was culturally unevolved and often resistant to the laws being given.

Such that a woman in this position....

--Deuteronomy 22:28-29 NLT)
If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father. Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her.

....would more than likely be otherwise unable to be married at all after being despoiled, even if God and Moses had said "You shall be willing to marry a woman who has been raped." The result in those days would almost certainly have forced the woman into prostitution.

Furthermore, note the end of the passage, "and he will never be allowed to divorce her." That is, he will never be allowed to abandon her. AND according to the marriage laws, if he cheated on her he would be put to death.

The passage is clearly meant to protect the woman involved.

Similarly, it's easy to assume that because men and women are treated differently in Exodus....

---When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. And if the slave girl's owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter. If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment. (Exodus 21:7-11 NLT)

....that the woman is somehow meant to be inferior because she wasn't to be released from her slavery. But this passage follows the same pattern as the other one, being designed explicitely to protect the woman from the cultural consequences of her time period.

A man who was sold as a slave became a physical laborer. But a woman, whether it was explicit or not, would be assumed to be despoiled in her slavery. "Freeing" her would leave her to the same life of harlotry above, which was unfortunately the consequence of a woman who went unmarried.

On the other hand, as the passage outlines, if the man married her and then failed to look after her, her walking free becomes a very different thing in the eyes of the people around her. She's no longer the slave girl, the implied harlot, but rather her situation becomes much more legitimate and her position much more fit for re-marriage than before.

So that the passage which you've suggested undermines a woman's claim, when understood in its historical and cultural context, instead is a clear defense of the woman against the oppressive nature of the culture surrounding her.

Finally, about the women wearing hats, do you have the quote which directs it to the Law?
dairygirl4u2c

Con

"Let the women keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but let them subject themselves, just as the law says. And if they desire to learn anything, let thorn ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church."
I Cor 14:34.35

That is the verse I was referring to.
There is also a verse that says women must wear hats in church. now, this verse could be just a cultural thing. The above quote though, says it's part of the law for them to be oppressed.

"When you go out to war against your enemies and the LORD, your God, delivers them into your hand, so that you take captives, if you see a comely woman among the captives and become so enamored of her that you wish to have her as wife, you may take her home to your house. But before she may live there, she must shave her head and pare her nails and lay aside her captive's garb. After she has mourned her father and mother for a full month, you may have relations with her, and you shall be her husband and she shall be your wife. However, if later on you lose your liking for her, you shall give her her freedom, if she wishes it; but you shall not sell her or enslave her, since she was married to you under compulsion." Deuteronomy 21:10-14 NAB

Here is another verse. Why don't men have to "pare their nails" etc? Why does she have to shave her head? that seems like she's to be looked down upon, at least as far as I can tell with our culture. The context seems to support that too.

Exodus 22:16, where we read "If a man seduces a virgin who is not betrothed, and lies with her, he shall give the marriage present for her, and make her his wife." But when we look at the verse immediately following, we get a whole different picture. In verse 17 we read, "If her father utterly refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money equivalent to the marriage present for virgins."

Apparently, the woman is someone who is paid for. Why? because she's treated like property. why isn't a male paid for by the woman? i could see rationalizing that the father had to spend money etc on raising the kid, but the father also did for a son too. In some nonjewish cultures of those days, women were the "superior" sex. Judiasm's oppressive nature is arbitrary.

As for the arguments you made. I could maybe see God saying, you're gonna be a damaged good, so you would be best off to marry the rapist. But, why do the people even act that way? I suppose it could be their own cultural problem. From what it looks like, it's probably part of the overall bad bible system. I'd bet the bible says somehwere that you aren't to marry someone who's been raped... though I admit I may be wrong.

At least for the quotes I've given, it's apparent women were oppressed by "God".

Incidentally, there's many other absurd and irrational verses in the bible you might want to consider...

Kill Your Neighbors
(Moses) stood at the entrance to the camp and shouted, "All of you who are on the LORD's side, come over here and join me." And all the Levites came. He told them, "This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Strap on your swords! Go back and forth from one end of the camp to the other, killing even your brothers, friends, and neighbors." The Levites obeyed Moses, and about three thousand people died that day. Then Moses told the Levites, "Today you have been ordained for the service of the LORD, for you obeyed him even though it meant killing your own sons and brothers. Because of this, he will now give you a great blessing." (Exodus 32:26-29 NLT)

2 Kings 2:23-24
"Elisha Is Jeered
23 From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some youths came out of the town and jeered at him. "Go on up, you baldhead!" they said. "Go on up, you baldhead!" 24 He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the LORD. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths."
Now, granted,they made fun of him. But c'mon. Plus, why doesn't this tstuff happen nowadays?

Just some food for thought, don't want to get too off course.
Debate Round No. 2
SperoAmicus

Pro

It's bad manners to bring up a different topic than the one under debate. I did not say that the Bible is the word of God, or that it is morally sound. While I may believe those things, they have no relevance as to whether the Bible itself teaches that women are, should be, or would have to be inferior.

Rather, I assert this claim:

The Bible does not teach that women are inferior. Rather, in all of the Old Testament citations you have pointed out, the Bible assumes the tendancy of man to treat a woman as inferior as a given, and attempts to mitigate the damage done by that cultural tendancy. As I've mentioned before, all of this is consistent with the Genesis passage of the Fall, where male superiority is presented as a factual corruption of the way the things are intended by God to be.

In order to disprove this argument, I believe that logically, you need to find not just a law relating to the presumed-but-undesired inferiority of women, but a value judgement attached to that law, indicating that such oppression is desirable.

Moreover, as to the references you've cited...

>>Here is another verse. Why don't men have to "pare their nails" etc? Why does she have to shave her head? that seems like she's to be looked down upon, at least as far as I can tell with our culture. The context seems to support that too.

The simple answer is that men didn't decorate their nails, wear elaborate hairstyles meant to worship other gods, and "pimp" themselves in similar ways. Why you would assume this was in any way, shape or form meant to humiliate her is beyond me.

And,

>Apparently, the woman is someone who is paid for. Why? because she's treated like property. why isn't a male paid for by the woman?

Nope, rather it would have to do with the need for a man to make a sacrifice which demonstrates his ability to support her. The dowry was common practice throughout much of the world, expressly for this reason, for a very long time.

Finally....

>There is also a verse that says women must wear hats in church. now, this verse could be just a cultural thing. The above quote though, says it's part of the law for them to be oppressed.

But Paul is only referring to liturgical law. Ancient masses had men and women divided in two halves of the room, and women had to be silent for the simple reason that they gossiped during the men's part of the Mass.

>As for the arguments you made. I could maybe see God saying, you're gonna be a damaged good, so you would be best off to marry the rapist. But, why do the people even act that way? I suppose it could be their own cultural problem. From what it looks like, it's probably part of the overall bad bible system.

Arguing that you can see God doing so is based solely on your construction of God, and not on the facts.

Rather, all of the passages you present show a trend - that they emphatically DO NOT expressly teach female inferiority the way that you see it expressed in other cultures of the time.

For instance, the gnostic Gospel of Thomas, a heretical contemporary of the New Testament Gospels wholeheartedly rejected by Christianity, would have Peter and Jesus saying the following:

114 Simon Peter said to them, "Mary should leave us, for females are not worthy of life." Jesus said, "Look, I shall guide her to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every female who makes herself male will enter heaven's kingdom."

But if the best that can be claimed is that the New Testament oppresses women by wanting them to keep from gossiping at Mass, or that the Old Testament - silent in values - tried to establish laws mitigating the harm of a cultural reality, then that is simply not a teaching of oppression.
dairygirl4u2c

Con

You're the one assuming things, by assuming the cultural problems were because men blamed women for the fall. I admit that one specific verse I was reading into it, that women had to marry the rapist as it was what was best for her. I don't need that verse tthough to make my point tho.

I've cited all the other verses, which indicate God's take on the matters: not just a reaction to cultural problems but in fact God mandating things that are inherently demaning to women, that thereby show them to be inferior. The passage does not have to say "women are inferior" or say that only those with a dick will make it to heaven.

For example, you say women are being beautified after the rape. By paring her nails. Now for paring, it's not clear what's meant… it could be simply filing them such as beauty people do, as a technical argument. Any use of that word I've ever hear means they simply file them down so much so as to be nonglamourous and flat. And that's supported by the fact she has to shave her head, something not glamourous but infact an act of shame. You've avoided the obviouis shameful nature towards the women who who raped that "God" has mandated. This is showing them to be inferior, because men are not shamed like that, and it's inhereiently disrespectful to do that to someone raped, even if men did have to,

You said the paying is simply to show how the man can support her. A man could simply show that he has the means to support but that's not what's done here. He's paying money, for no apparent reason and no good ones, but in fact bad ones, stated by you. If there were a bad culture against women, making them be paid for would only exacerbate the inferiorority applied to them. The apparent reason then for the act, is to treat them as property or inferirorly, and to have a double standard aginst them that is not applied to men.

the argument that it's a liturgical law. That's simply imputing more contemporary notions of mass and canon type law into what otherwise is a clear verse. Other passages of the bible when they refer ot the law it's referring to jewish law. That's what's probably the case here too, so it's mandated by "Gods" law. Even if it were liturgical law though, why do men have a "man's session" or at least why aren't there passages referring to women's sections of the liturgy. and why aren't there any passages that assume that men gossip or that regulate bad things men do; surely they weren't perfect. It's again the inferority treatment that is inherent in the passage.

Just like it's apparent in all the other passages I've cited. What's apparent is that you're rationalizing these verses. without rationalization, they certainly treat women inferiorly as a result of God's unjustified desire to treat them that way.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Rousseau 9 years ago
Rousseau
An relation with the pictures?
Posted by Renzzy 9 years ago
Renzzy
I agree with SolaGratia, your points are well made, and you have done a good job all around. You definitely have my vote as well.
Posted by SperoAmicus 9 years ago
SperoAmicus
Thanks SolaGratia.

I don't understand her closing statement, especially as she misquotes me repeatedly. I didn't say men blamed women for fall, or that women were being "beautified" after rape. I said the Fall shows that the relationship between men and women has been undesirably corrupted, and that women had to pare their nails because those nails were painted in honor of other gods and, well, to pimp themselves.

But ah well.
Posted by SolaGratia 9 years ago
SolaGratia
Spero: you've done a good job. Your point that the inferiority of women was only stressed at the Fall is interesting and well-made. I'm voting for you.
Posted by SperoAmicus 9 years ago
SperoAmicus
Ohh! I responded without even realizing I'm also debating you elsewhere. Fancy that, I'm sorry, it's also really late here so I'll blame my lack of greetings on that.
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