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Apr 23 2012

Women who believe in religion are masochists

 

 

I understand why men believe in religion, but I do not understand why women believe in religion. Or perhaps I understand. Either they’re ignorant or they’re  masochists. No woman who  lives with dignity and honor will accept humiliation and abuse of women. No woman with self-esteem worships  gods that hate women . Religion demands women to be chaste and silent. Religion wants women to be obedient and  submissive to their husbands. All religions treat women as  inferior beings. Women should read god’s texts and get angry with god. Women should  stop worshiping  god.

Women   pray more  then men, are more likely to believe in God, and are more religious than men.  Some  evolutionary psychologists try to justify it.  I do not agree with them. They say, ‘women are inherently more risk-averse than men’. Aren’t women  constantly taking risks more than men just  for  living their lives? They take risks of being  raped, abused and murdered when they’re at home or at  workplaces or just anywhere outside! Women have always been  forced to stay behind, to practice religion, and to keep the anti-women patriarchal system intact.   Even during the age  of Enlightenment,  women were not  allowed to get an education, and even though the coffeehouses  for intellectual exchange were generally accessible to everyone, but that  did not allow women to participate, or  express their opinions. Women’s place was in the kitchen, it is still in the kitchen.

If women do not fight to stop being oppressed by a shameful patriarchal and oppressive religious system, then shame on women! Shame on women  for not protesting, for not fighting, for allowing a system to continue that will affect our children as well as our children’s children. We badly need to create a gender equal society where misogyny has no place.

 

Let’s see what some of  the religious scriptures say about women:

Women in the Bible

 

“A woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son will be ceremonially unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during her monthly period. On the eighth day the boy is to be circumcised. Then the woman must wait thirty-three days to be purified from her bleeding. She must not touch anything sacred or go to the sanctuary until the days of her purification are over. If she gives birth to a daughter, for two weeks the woman will be unclean, as during her period. Then she must wait sixty-six days to be purified from her bleeding. These are the regulations for the woman who gives birth to a boy or a girl. She is to bring two doves or two pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering. In this way the priest will make atonement for her, and she will be clean.” Leviticus 12: 1-8

“Women should remain silent in churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission…”1 Corinthians 14:34

“Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting to the Lord.” Colossians 3:18

 

Check it out:

GENESIS
2:22 Eve created from Adam’s rib.
3:16 Cursed with painful childbirth and domination by husband.
4:19 Man marries two wives.
12:13-19 Abraham prostitutes wife.
19:26 Lot’s wife turned into pillar of salt for disobeying god.
19:30-38 Lot impregnates his two daughters while drunk.
25:1-6 Keeping many concubines is OK.

EXODUS
20:17 Wife as property.
21:4 Wife and children belong to master.
21:7-11 OK to sell daughters. Female slaves can be used for sex.
Polygamy permitted. Unwanted female slaves can be set “free” without payment of money.
22:18 Kill witches.

LEVITICUS
12:1 Childbirth a sin, Women unclean after childbirth.
15:19-32 Menstruating women are unclean.
21:9 Burn daughters.
21:13-14 Priest must marry virgin, not “used” woman.

NUMBERS
1:2 Census lists only men – women do not count.
5:11-31 Fidelity test for women only.
30:1-16 Woman’s vow invalid unless approved by her father or husband.
31:17-18 Kill all except virgins. Keep virgins for yourselves.
CH 12 Miriam punished for rebuking Moses.

DEUTERONOMY
20:14 Take women, livestock as plunder.
22:13-21 Stone non-virgin bride.
22:23-24 Stone rapist and rape victim.
22:28 Rape victim must marry rapist; rape victim’s father compensated for depreciation of his property.
25:11-12 Cut woman’s hand for touching foe’s penis.
24:1-5 Man can “send” wife from HIS house. Man must not marry “used” woman.

JUDGES
5:30 Women are spoils of war.
14:20 Samson gives wife to another man.
CH 19 Concubine pack-raped and butchered.
21:10-12 Slaughtered all inc. women and children. Saved virgins for wives.
21:21 Abducted girls for wives.

2 SAMUEL
5:13 David took many wives and concubines.
CH 13 Ammon rapes his own sister.
16:21-22 Absalom sleeps with his father’s concubines.

1 KINGS
11:3 Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines.

2 KINGS
9:30-37 Brutal murder of Jezebel.

2 CHRONICLES
11:21 Hoards of wives and concubines.

ESTHER
CH 1-2 Queen Vashti dethroned for disobedience; setting “bad” example to all other women.

PSALMS
51:5 Sinful since conception.
127:3 Sons are heritage from god.
PROVERBS
CH 5 Beware of wicked women!
31:3 Do not waste strength on women.

ISAIAH
3:16-26 Lord punishes haughty women.
4:4 Filthy women.
13:16 Ravish wives, dash infants.
19:16 Will be like women! (insult to Egyptians)

EZEKIEL
9:6-7 Slaughter all including children.
CH 16 Prostitutes, stoning, promiscuity…
CH 23 Tale of two adulterous sisters

 

NAHUM
3:4… wanton lust of a harlot… prostitution… witchcraft.
3:5 I will lift your skirts over your face!
3:13… Your troops are all women. (insult to Nineveh)

MATTHEW
5:32 Husband can divorce wife for adultery.
CH 25 Sexist tale of ten virgins.

I CORINTHIANS
11:2-10… Woman created for man.
14:34 Women must be silent in churches.

EPHESIANS
5:22-24 Wives must submit to husbands in everything.

COLOSSIANS
3:18 Wives submit to husbands.
3:22 Slaves must obey masters in everything.

I TIMOTHY
2:11-15 Woman must not have authority, she must be silent. Women can be saved with childbearing.
5:9-10 Widows should be faithful to husband and must wash saints’ feet.

1 PETER
2:18 Slaves submit to masters, even masters who are harsh.
3:1 Wives submit.
3:5-6 Sarah calls husband master.

.

 

 

Women in the Quran

 Your women are your fields, so go into your fields whichever way you like. (Sura 2:223)

The share of the male shall be twice that of a female. (Sura 4:11)

Oh! ye who believe! When ye deal with each other, in transactions involving future obligation in a fixed period of time reduce them to writing and get two witnesses out of your own men and if there are not two men, then a man and two women, such as ye choose, for witnesses so that if one of them errs the other can remind her. (Sura 2:282)

And if the husband divorces his wife (for the third time), she shall not remain his lawful wife after this (absolute) divorce, unless she marries another husband and the second husband divorces her. [In that case] there is no harm if they [the first couple] remarry .(Sura 2:230)

And forbidden to you are wedded wives of other people except those who have fallen in your hands [as prisoners of war] (Sura  4:24)

 

And if you be apprehensive that you will not be able to do justice to the orphans, you may marry two or three or four women whom you choose. But if you apprehend that you might not be able to do justice to them, then marry only one wife, or marry those who have fallen in your possession. (Sura 4:3)

 

It is not within your power to be perfectly equitable in your treatment with all your wives, even if you wish to be so; therefore, [in order to satisfy the dictates of Divine Law] do not lean towards one wife so as to leave the other in a state of suspense.(Sura 4:129)

 

If you fear highhandedness from your wives, remind them [of the teaching of God], then ignore them when you go to bed, then hit them. If they obey you, you have no right to act against them. God is most high and great. (Sura 4:34)

 

O Prophet, when you [and the believers] divorce women, divorce them for their prescribed waiting—period and count the waiting—period accurately . . . 4 And if you are in doubt about those of your women who have despaired of menstruation, (you should know that) their waiting period is three months, and the same applies to those who have not menstruated as yet. As for pregnant women, their period ends when they have delivered their burden. ( Sura 65:1,4)

 

 

 

 Women in Hinduism

 
“Almighty God, you have created this womb. Women may be born somewhere else but sons should be born from this womb” – Atharva Veda 6/11/3

“O Husband protect the son to be born. Do not make him a woman” – Atharva Veda 2/3/23

 

‘A virtuous woman is one who dies on the funeral pyre of her dead husband’ -this one?’ –Atharva Veda (18-3-1)

“Lord Indra himself has said that a woman has very little intelligence. She cannot be taught” – Rig Veda 8/33/17

 

“There cannot be any friendship with a women. Her heart is more cruel than hyena” – Rig Veda 10/95/15.

 

”Women are without energy. They should not get a share in property. Even to the wicked they speak in feeble manner” – Yajur Veda 6/5/8/2

 

‘…but woman, the Sûdra(untouchable), the dog, and the black bird (the crow), are untruth: he should not look at these, lest he should mingle excellence and sin, light and darkness, truth and untruth’ –Satapatha Brahmana 14:1:1:31
 

 ‘There is no creature more sinful than women; women are blazing fire; they are poison; they are snake; they are living lies..’  Mahabharata, 13:40

 

‘“Men must keep their women dependent day and night, and keep under their own control those who are attached to sensory objects. Her father guards her in childhood, her husband guards her in youth, and her sons guard her in old age. A woman is never fit for independence!’‘  –Manusmrti 7:149-150

 

Endless. You can read more.

 

80 comments

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  1. 1
    Cimorene

    Cognitive dissonance is when someone believes in two conflicting ideas, such as god being all-loving but torturing people in hell for eternity.

    Denial is when you refuse to accept something despite the evidence. Such as when religious women refuse to accept that the bible is full of quotes promoting abuse against women despite being repeatedly shown the quotes.

    Masochism is when a person enjoys pain or humiliation. Ignoring key aspects of religion is not masochism, that falls under cognitive dissonance or denial. Please stop using masochism as an insult.

  2. 2
    Raging Bee

    Most of the traditions of Western polytheism (a.k.a. Paganism) are a lot better for women than any of the Abrahamic beliefs.

    Also, I notice you don’t have any actual quotes from Jesus demeaning women. So one could easily imagine (as many actually practice) a version of Christianity that dispenses with all the misogyny.

    1. 2.1
      Arakiba

      I was going to say, the only religion that treats women like human beings is Wicca.

    2. 2.2
      karmakin

      One of the core problems is that there are really two different faces of Christianity. There’s the Jesus face, which I think a lot of people actually believe in..this is a bit of a watered down version focused around all the relatively good stuff with much of the bad stuff handwaved away…please note that I don’t actually think it requires actual theism to believe this, in fact I think there are a lot of atheist Christians who just handwave god away.

      The other face is the God face, which is about maintaining “social order” and all that lovely (horrible) stuff. This is the fire and brimstone stuff that you see from a lot of powerful men.

      It’s easy for women to believe in the first face without being masochistic. Probably impossible for the latter, EXCEPT. And this is a big except, gender is not the only social order. We’re also talking about sexual orientation, race, class, etc. And the pros for trying to maintain those privileges may very well be greater than the con for maintaining the “divine social order” regarding gender.

  3. 3
    Bernard Hurley

    You say you understand why men believe in religion, but is is a pretty feeble reason for believing what is written in a book just because it says I am better than someone else.

    1. 3.1
      Taslima Nasreen

      I am sorry. I will try to give good reasons.

    2. 3.2
      Annie

      I interpreted that as her meaning she could conceive of how men might have some vested interest in maintaining religion. Not that she thought, “Gee golly! Having a penis sure makes religion make so much sense!

  4. 4
    MLR

    Also, I notice you don’t have any actual quotes from Jesus demeaning women. So one could easily imagine (as many actually practice) a version of Christianity that dispenses with all the misogyny.

    I could imagine a version of Christianity that claims Jesus was a space alien from a planet in the Alpha Centauri system. That doesn’t mean it has any basis in reality as far as what Christians actually believe. As for demeaning quotes in the Gospels, I’m no Biblical scholar so I can’t rattle them off the top of my head. But I have read that Jesus preached a rather draconian form of marriage where divorce was not permissible under any circumstances save one: if it were discovered the woman was not a virgin. How is that not demeaning? If a woman’s husband rapes, beats, and otherwise abuses her, no big deal. However if she dared to explore her own sexuality prior to marriage, gasp! It violates her imaginary purity and therefore desecrates the imaginary holy union. But that’s not degrading at all.

    1. 4.1
      Robert B.

      You’re quite right about Jesus’ views on divorce. There’s also the story of Mary and Martha, which asks whether women should work at domestic service or just listen to Jesus – what a range of options there! And of course the apostles were all men, people miss that one for some reason.

      On the other hand, I do know Christians who are dedicated to feminism. They’re very heterodox – some of them go to churches where if they shared their exact beliefs, a big chunk of the community would call them heretics. But they identify as Christians and go to church.

  5. 5
    mynameischeese

    Oh no! Satoshi Kanazawa (in the psychology article you linked to) strikes again! I think I officially stopped taking him seriously when he wrote a story about how science proves that black women are ugly.

  6. 6
    alexmartin

    ALL religious belief constitutes masochism on the part of women?
    Mother Goddess worship?
    Wicca?
    Gaia?

    This entire hypothesis is wack. The ancient Etruscans,I understand, were matriachal and worshipped women and female fertility and the like. History is rife with such examples the world over.

    I’ll be brief. Beyond any doubt, this author has no problem whatsoever with religion that ensconces Woman as the highest order of creation and places a woman at the head of any pantheon of gods, or designates a feminine character as Supreme Being, particularly if that goddess worship seems to largely benefit women or the social order. At worst, such an ideation may been seen to be harmless, impact-neutral; At best, a beneficial transitional state to the culmination of a more reasoned socio-cultural, secular order.

    Religion is only “bad” or “evil” when women aren’t running it.

    Damn. Utter ignorant hypocrisy.
    Think the thing through, first. Please.

    1. 6.1
      Robert B.

      Wait, what? Isn’t this just a “children are dying in Africa” argument?

      Taslima denounces religion for its treatment of women, and from that you decide her only problem with religion is its misogyny? If that were true, why doesn’t she worship the Mother Goddess?

      I’m sure Taslima would agree that religion has other problems, namely that it is authoritarian, homophobic, reactionary, anti-rational, and false to fact.

      I will grant you that it’s an exaggeration to say that all religion hates women. But if it’s “just” the largest religions, with the most power and influence, isn’t it still a fair way to characterize religion as a whole, at least as it exists today? If Taslima had been more precise, and said “Aside from a few smaller sects, those without much influence on the law or society as a whole, religion hates women,” it might have weakened her rhetoric, but it would not have weakened her point.

      1. Martyn

        ‘I’m sure Taslima would agree that religion has other problems, namely that it is authoritarian, homophobic, reactionary, anti-rational, and false to fact.’

        I certainly agree with that.

        ‘and false to fact’. And especially that.

        1. Robert B.

          Yes, that’s the most important one for me, too, but I don’t insist on that priority. I don’t much care why someone opposes harmful lies, as long as they consistently do so.

        2. Taslima Nasreen

          Thank you so much. Yes, I know that religion is authoritarian, homophobic, reactionary, anti-rational, and false to fact. But I only talked about religious misogyny in that article.
          I find the comments are all very interesting and enlightening. I learn from people who share my ideas and also from those who do not.

  7. 7
    MasqueofRed

    I frequently find myself wondering how female friends of mine can be willing to embrace a religion that so frequently puts them down. They tend to just ignore the parts that tell them how awful they are, but I still don’t see why you’d choose a religion that you have to ignore so much of just to make it make sense.

    But of course, none of them chose their religion, it was chosen for them when they were too young to question it. Just like myself.

  8. 8
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    You evince a total lack of understanding of the sociological reasons women cling to religion: Socialization to please others, still hefting the primary burden of child-rearing (and therefore child indoctrination), and, most importantly, the social services and social outlets provided by religion in areas where neither is easy for women to come by on their own.

    But I’m sure this post will be a hit with the type of smug male atheist who deems all theist women as “stupid” and “cowardly” for doing what they need to do in order to survive.

    Oh, and I noted the implied dig at masochists, too, which is in keeping with your unsubstantiated beliefs about female sexual submissives.

    1. 8.1
      Robert B.

      I agree with most of this. But I wouldn’t say that bearing the primary burden of child-rearing would excuse holding harder to religion. Quite the opposite, actually – teachers (professional or otherwise) have a greater moral obligation to hold fast to the truth, because they are responsible for what ideas they give their students. Indoctrinating a child with religion is a fairly terrible thing to do, though of course I understand why believers do so.

      Although, I can imagine that a disenfranchised group put in charge of child rearing would face more intense penalties for teaching, or even publicly holding, the “wrong” ideas. Those in power, seeing someone with “heretical” ideas teaching their (or “their”) children, might react very badly. Was that what you meant? And of course the rest of it, the socialization and social services, those points hold just fine. (Not to mention the bit about masochism – how did I miss that one?)

      1. Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

        Although, I can imagine that a disenfranchised group put in charge of child rearing would face more intense penalties for teaching, or even publicly holding, the “wrong” ideas.

        Yes, thanks. It’s yet another a case of “women’s work” being undervalued, even held in contempt, but FSM help the woman who “does it wrong.”

    2. 8.2
      Martyn

      masochist: Someone who obtains pleasure from receiving punishment.

      Perhaps, this is what Taslima means when she writes; ‘No woman who live with dignity and honor will accept humiliation and abuse of women. No women with self-esteem worship gods that hate women’.

      Perhaps, there are elements of masochist psychology that keep some women in a religion that hates them.?

      1. Robert B.

        This could be construed as a slur on the dignity, honor, and self-esteem of masochists here present. Perhaps it’s unwise to propose hypotheses about masochist psychology at all, if you lack either expertise or experience.

        Not to mention, you don’t have to be a masochist to buy into and internalize a system that oppresses you. There are elements of human psychology that keep all sorts of people in institutions that hate them.

        1. Martyn

          ‘This could be construed as a slur on the dignity, honor, and self-esteem of masochists here present.’

          No. This is not a slur on people who derive pleasure from masochist practice.

          Perhaps it’s unwise to propose hypotheses about masochist psychology at all, if you lack either expertise or experience.

          No. It is not unwise to propose an hypotheses about masochist psychology regardless of expertise. Afterall, it is through discussion and exploration of ideas that understanding of the issues we face surface.

          I appreciate the politically correct angle you’re working from, but when we are discussing the systematic and institutionalised abuse of women, political correctness can go out the window as far as I am concerned.

          It is that very same political correctness here in Europe, that tries to stop us having a fair and free discussion on Islam and Islamism.

          1. Robert B.

            Discussing and exploring ideas is excellent, but without a certain degree of prior understanding, one can’t have any expectation that one’s ideas are valuable or correct. In other words, there’s no point opening your mouth if you don’t know what you’re talking about. (Just to make sure there’s no misunderstanding, I want to make clear that I don’t insist on credentials or formal training, or any over-specific conditions like that.) You haven’t displayed any understanding of masochism that goes past the dictionary definition, which is inadequate for even explaining what masochists do, let alone their psychology.

          2. Martyn

            A dictonary definition will suffice.

            Look Robert, let me make myself clear. You are working from a ‘sex-positive’ politically correct angle, which a lot of FTB readers do. That’s fine of course.

            I – like Taslima – am working from a human rights activist perspective.

            You cannot ask us to be politically correct when trying to understand the causes of the systematic abuse we just discussed.

            You cannot ask us in the face of such barbarity that many women face to spare your feelings. It will not be granted.

          3. Robert B.

            I can and will ask you to be correct in all ways at all times, to the limits of your ability. The point is not to spare anyone’s feelings, the point is to speak truth.

            But the immediate issue here, as I see it, is not even political. At the moment, I’m coming from a rationalist perspective. How do you know that a dictionary definition will suffice? The definition doesn’t engage with psychology at all, beyond using the word “pleasure,” so how can you expect to base a psychological hypothesis on it and have even a chance of being correct?

          4. Martyn

            Let me repeat myself one last time Robert.

            There shall be NO political correctness granted. You can ask, you can kick, you can scream, you can do anything you want.

            In fact, you’re starting to remind me of those Islamist thugs who turn up to talks on Sharia and start screaming for respect.

            Your feelings do not matter. They have not an iota of influence within this debate.

            You want sex-positivity? There are other boards here where you’ll be granted the ‘dignity, honor, and self-esteem’ you are so looking for.

            This board, and this topic is about women in religion. I shall not derail it any further by making it about you.

            Get it?

          5. Robert B.

            The reason you have to keep repeating yourself is that you’re not listening to me.

            There’s a reason it’s not called “political niceness” or “political consideration for feelings.” You are designating an entire category of correctness – of being accurate to the truth – as something “nice” you can dispense with when something more important comes up. This will make you wrong, over and over again, until you stop.

  9. 9
    Arakiba

    Wicca is the only religion I can think of that doesn’t treat women as inferior. The Abrahamic religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, and the patriarchal pagan faiths of the Indo-European cultures (e.g. Rome and Greece) all see women as less than men.

    And how disgusting a world we live in, where the vast majority of people believe in these religions that regard half of humanity as less than human.

  10. 10
    J Pickering

    This article is unfortunate. It’s fine to have a go at religions, but what good does it do to rip texts from their contexts, to remove ameliorating evidence, and to ignore evidence to the contrary? This article builds a false impression of religion (although I can’t speak for anyone but Judeo-Christianity) and then berates the religious for not being convinced by it.

    While there is much that appears harsh to us in Judeo-Christianity, it’s attitude to women is remarkably even handed.

    Many of the verses quoted about death to witches and so on have a corresponding verse aimed at the male equivalent. The issue is witchcraft, not gender. Unlike what I believe is the case in Islam, both woman and man are condemned in adultery, and the woman’s testimony counts as much.

    The verse about women keeping silent in church comes from the same book that discusses how they should behave when praying out loud in the congregation (i.e. speaking publicly; the issue is heckling and the like from the womens’ gallery in that particular region, not gender per se). Leading Christians Priscilla and Aquilla are always named with Priscilla first — she is the more prominent member (and she was involved in training another leader, Apollos).

    Finally, these verses from the famed ‘misogynist’ St Paul show radical equality that even we don’t practice:

    “The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife.” (1Corinthians 7:4)

    “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (i.e. by dying for it)… In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” (Ephesians 5:25, 28)

    This latter passage is the same one that demands ‘submission’ from the wife. Is submission to male headship so bad when the man’s parallel responsibility is total self-sacrifice?

    J Pickering
    Junior Old Testament and Greek Lecturer, Cape Town

    1. 10.1
      ema

      @ J Pickering

      While there is much that appears harsh to us in Judeo-Christianity, it’s attitude to women is remarkably even handed.

      Because nothing denotes even handedness like the fundamental dogma that women, by virtue of their sex, cannot have authentic faith and morals.

      1. J Pickering

        Your argument only holds water to the degree that you can prove an identity between the teaching of the Vatican and that of the Bible, seeing as the latter is what we’re talking about. Christians have long regarded the ‘Catholic’ faith as being something of a departure from scripture, which is why Luther led a reformation (and I think you’re misreading that linked article anyway).

      2. J Pickering

        @Ema,

        Sorry, re-reading your point, I see what you mean. Yes, if everything that goes by the name ‘Judeo-Christianity’ is taken into account, then there are many examples of abuses of women. Point is, those are not justifiable on the basis of the scriptures that such people ought to be following.

        1. smrnda

          Here’s a few problems – with the woman commanded to ‘respect’ or ‘reverence’ her husband, any idea that he has any obligations to her is thrown out the window as if he fails to meet them, she’s still required to ‘reverence’ him. If an authority figures allows those below to have unlimited power to criticize them, then they can argue they can be benevolent, but not otherwise. If I’m say, required to honor the president, then he can’t be said to have any obligations to me other than what he feels like, and if he’s the ‘leader’ then he gets to tell me how great he is and how much he does for me; as the person is submission, I’m supposed to inflate the leader’s ego out of a duty to respect him. Luckily we have the idea that government shouldn’t work like that, and I see no reason why marriages should follow different laws.

          The other thing is the talk of self-sacrifice is, given reality, a lot of empty poetic rhetoric. Women have jobs, make money, clean their own houses and pay their own bills. It’s kind of nice, and I find that most men who aren’t insecure, narcissistic losers want authentic, egalitarian relationships with women, not some 50s style deal of playing house. Men I know like women who wouldn’t be submissive but have personalities, likes, dislikes and opinions of their own.

          I’m sure you’ll argue that the husband who is head will do this out of sheer benevolence or duty, but it’s he’s doing the woman a favor to listen to her. The Christian view of marriage sets the sights so low.

          1. J Pickering

            I think that might possibly be the GOP view of marriage, but I’m no expert on Republicans.

            What you’re not seeing is that there is a dual, co-equal responsibility. If the husband doesn’t feel like ‘giving himself up for’ his wife, then yes, she is still meant to maintain a relationship of respect (although she is not without recourse if her husband is sinning against her — Christian communities also have a duty to help one another to be good). But similarly, if the wife doesn’t feel like submitting to her husband, he is still obligated to love her self-sacrificially.

            Paul’s advice about love and submission aims at other-person-centredness and mutual care. It doesn’t favour one party. So obviously one can claim all the rights afforded one, and cast off all one’s responsibilities, but that’s called being a douchebag, not a Christian husband. The wife could do so too, but either way, it is directly at variance with what Paul is teaching as Christian marriage.

            It seems to me that you’re trying to make Paul’s teaching into the script for Mad Men, when it really isn’t. Even today — when they seriously consider the implications — I bet most men are deeply uncomfortable with the idea that their wives are co-owners of their husbands’ bodies. Don Draper would be.

    2. 10.2
      Khantron, the alien that only loves

      So you ignore all the terrible things the bible has to say about women, and find two verses the first that says that spouses’ bodies belong to each other. An endorsement of marital rape. While the other promotes rigid gender roles in which a woman is expected to be subservient and the man is expected to be magnanimous. Because following orders given to you is exactly as difficult as not mistreating your inferior. Women are expected to be slaves while men are expected to meet minimum standards of human decency. I’m sorry I’m so unimpressed.

      It really is something that the best thing you managed to cherry pick out of the bible is still misogynistic.

  11. 11
    alexmartin

    This entire argument is hollow, that all or most religious women are self-abusing: had humanity never unfortunately evolved, we are told, the capacity for religious ideation, it’s an article of unexamined faith that humankind wouldnt’ve been an even more barbarous and inhumane species, that we’d be all gentle and warm and fuzzy. In the absence of a powerful constraining behavioral element–religious dictate or vengeful god to appease and answer to– “man” then is left as sole arbiter and ultimate authority of “good” the world over, in all our disparate global caprice. If true that even with applied voluntary or involuntary constraint man remains execrable (in his treatment of women for example), what is the world without religion?

    The “law of the jungle” would have prevailed. I doubt we’d ever have had the sciences to create these very laptops and PC’s we globally discourse and dialogue with. We’d have little more than clubs and rocks with which to bash each other, I’d think.

    Feminism? Sensitivity to the feminine and genteel? Almost certainly not in that dog-eat-dog world. Makes no sense to just assume we’d be somehow “better” than what we observe now.

    I fear throwing the baby out with the bathwater: I have no faith that a purely secular world would be better than what it is now. I have reason to believe it would be far more harrowing.

    Better to say by that reasoning and as logically,that religion came about, not just as a means to crush and oppress, but as a means to allow human inter-relation, to moderate behavior, to control the savage beast that ‘man’ apparently is, when left to ‘his’ own wayward devices, to facilitate cooperative enterprise, to civilize the intransigent. Religion may deserve some thanks then instead of blanket condemnation, even with it’s many and inherent failings.

    This modern age, religion may be dispensable, but let’s not deceive ourselves regarding it’s utility, whatever it’s derivation.

    I don’t defend religion. Why should I? Destroy it or reform it, but not all religion is or has been destructive to women. There may have been some (small) benefit. A little perspective is in order, I think.

  12. 12
    Lisa

    Thank you so much for posting this article. You made my day. I don’t know any women who agree with me on this issue, unfortunately. It was such a great gift to read this today. I agree 100%. :)

  13. 13
    Robert Hagedorn

    Google First Scandal.

  14. 14
    Mixhele

    Thank you. Your posts always challenge me to think and rethink how feminism is a part of my atheism today, basically I don’t believe in god(s) and my feminism wasn’t part of that but you force me to put the two together. I was moved by your speech at the Reason Rally and am so glad you are writing here now. Your perspectives are fresh (to me at least) and provacative. Keep on keeping on.

    1. 14.1
      Annie

      I so agree!

  15. 15
    SallyStrange

    Some psychologists try to justify it. I do not agree with them.

    On what grounds? On your superior understanding of psychology? I mean, if you’re going to disagree with psychologists, great, but you should offer more than “I disagree with them,” especially since you’re talking about their area of expertise, that is, the psychological motivation women have for endorsing a belief system that tells them they are inferior and justifies treating them as second-class citizens.

    If you just wanted to write a screed talking about how women should abandon religion because religious treatment of women is oppressive, then I’d be 100% behind you. But you’re not just doing that, you’re challenging experts without offering evidence to justify the challenge, and you’re also insulting the intelligence and sanity of women who are religious. And insults should always be backed up by evidence and argument, otherwise they only undermine your position. These particular insults are not; it is fairly evident that at least a few religious women are intelligent and sane. Once again you make the mistake of universalizing. You fail to consider the exceptions that might undermine your argument.

    Also, Satoshi Kanazawa is a TERRIBLE source for anything regarding psychology. The man has made a habit of using psychology to justify bigotry. This is really disappointing. FreeThought does not mean “you are free to think whatever you want.” FreeThought means “you are free to think whatever is justified by evidence and rational inquiry.” I think there’s some sort of miscommunication here regarding the aim of FreeThoughtBlogs.

    1. 15.1
      kevinalexander

      Sally, as Satoshi Kanazawa proves, any one can call themselves a psychologist and any bullshit can be called psychology. If it doesn’t take any learning to pronounce on it then it doesn’t take any to disagree with it so Taslima is on solid ground here.

      True masochists are a subset so that can’t be the main reason why women are more religious. A simpler reason would be that religiosity goes with powerlessness. If you can’t find justice in reality then you will look or succour in a dreamworld.

      Even philosophers and psychologists could see this if they weren’t paid by the hour.

      1. SallyStrange

        Sally, as Satoshi Kanazawa proves, any one can call themselves a psychologist and any bullshit can be called psychology. If it doesn’t take any learning to pronounce on it then it doesn’t take any to disagree with it so Taslima is on solid ground here.

        I have to disagree. Kanazawa misrepresents a field that has actual evidence that could be useful to Taslima’s hypothesis. Taslima’s own ignorance is not an excuse for relying on discredited sources who do not accurately reflect the field. If she is going to rely on psychological arguments to buttress her position, then it is incumbent on her to make sure that those psychological arguments are sound. It does not take an expert to conclude that Kanazawa is a prejudiced jerk, but it does take expert research to debunk the particular arguments he’s made.

        1. Kevin Alexander

          I went back and reread Taslima’s post and…….you have changed my mind. Thank you.
          She could have made her point without mentioning psychology at all.

          I am myself an evolutionary psychologist (amateur) and it’s guys like Kanazawa who piss me off because they make my favourite science look ridiculous.

  16. 16
    mnb0

    “All religions treat women as inferior beings.”
    Generally speaking you’re right of course. But in Ancient Greece some Orphean religions saw women not as inferior at all. Let’s face it, the character of Hera is pretty bad ass.

  17. 17
    mnb0

    @10 Pickering:

    That doesn’t explain away Titus 2:4-5

    “That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,
    2:5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”

    Confirmed by Colossians 3:18, 1 Timothy 2:11-15 and 1 Peter 3:1.
    As so many theologians you’re cherry picking. That makes you a nice guy, but doesn’t do much in defence of your beloved book.

    1. 17.1
      J Pickering

      The point of my comment was to show that Talisma was cherry-picking. In response, I provided an example of each of my three charges (that she was prone to ‘rip texts from their contexts, to remove ameliorating evidence, and to ignore evidence to the contrary’). So obviously I’m ‘cherry picking’ too, because I necessarily have to select a certain kind of evidence (i.e. the evidence that balances the cherry picking that it aims to expose).

      Secondly, not all theologians cherry pick. Many of us are committed to understanding and incorporating the whole of scripture. I’m also not sure that this is the forum for a non-cherry-picked response. Which is of course why…

      I obviously could not account for every tricky passage (your citation of Titus 2:4-5). All that passage is aiming for is non-rebellious behaviour, because rebellion for its own sake detracts from Christian witness (“that the word of God be not blasphemed.” v5). It is not prescribing an eternal law; it’s a socially guided instruction (Paul’s entire view of the law was that it is subject to context).

      So, the charge that women should be house-keepers is a generalisation on the basis of a social pattern (Paul’s first Greek convert was Lydia, a merchant, and she was never discouraged from being such). The ‘law’ is that even though Christianity is in some ways counter-cultural, it should not be made an excuse to rebel against honest labour and good behaviour in society just for the sake of it.

      If it’s the ‘obedience to husbands’ thing that’s upsetting you, I wonder what the wise alternative is in your opinion, if the goal is to encourage peaceful relationships rather than rebellion? Male-headed homes are not offensive per se (the buck must stop with someone), unless the leadership is oppressive and domineering. Given that I have already pointed out that Biblical headship involves total self-sacrifice, that sort of misogyny is not an option. The NT considers both sexes to be equal and joined as one, and love and submission are both roles of self-sacrifice for the sake of the marriage partner. That’s not exactly backward.

      1. Robert B.

        But the NT also says that women are require to be pure when they marry while men are not. The books of the Bible contradict each other all the time; one is almost never justified in talking about them like they have a coherent position.

        And anyway, why are women only being discussed in the context of marriage in the first place? I find it interesting that the founder of a religion proclaiming the equality of the sexes just happened to recruit 12 male apostles and no females. That’s about a 4000 to 1 “coincidence.”

        And if the Bible does teach equality between men and women, why did it take almost two thousand years for Christians to figure this out?

        1. Bernard Hurley

          Stupididy?

        2. J Pickering

          Again, there is such a thing as hermeneutics. You’ve taken two texts (female purity and choice of disciples) and assigned meaning and implications to them, without any basis, any controls.

          Ephesians pays attention to female purity only because Paul is discussing marriage as an allegory of divine-human relationship (in which the woman represents the church, male and female). Sexual purity is especially focussed on men elsewhere. Twelve disciples are chosen to mimic the twelve tribes of Israel, indicating that Jesus intends to re-form God’s ‘nation’ on a new basis. Women don’t really qualify as patriarch symbols.

          1. Robert B.

            And what kind of religion of equality needs patriarch symbols but no matriarch symbols?

          2. J Pickering

            You know how non-scientist Creationists pick on some science issue that is far outside their realm of expertise and then wave it in the faces of scientists as ‘obvious’ evidence that evolution is nonsense? I don’t mean to be unkind, but you’re doing that now. You’re talking about things that you don’t understand as if they’re self-evident. (Which is pretty much why I also don’t appreciate the original article). Sorry.

          3. Gra-gra

            You know how non-scientist Creationists pick on some science issue that is far outside their realm of expertise and then wave it in the faces of scientists as ‘obvious’ evidence that evolution is nonsense?

            Yes, but science is a real subject.

      2. smrnda

        Why must the buck stop with someone? Do nations need an imperator to make sure that we don’t get too much dissent from open, democratic discussion? Isn’t it better for people to talk openly about what they really want, to express their authentic feelings, than to just go along with some hierarchy for the sake of order? Human civilization survived the demise of monarchies, I think marriage can survive egalitarianism. As for peaceful, I’d rather have a bit of honest contention in life than obligatory ‘peace.’ I don’t see how you can have a healthy marriage unless people can openly express their real feelings, including ones of disappointment and dissatisfaction.

        The whole notion of marriage being sacrifice makes it sound awfully dreadful. Marriage is supposed to make life better, and the best way to have a good marriage is to find someone who is compatible. I don’t know any married couple operating on the sacrifice and male headship model, and I’ve only seen one marriage of a close friend end in divorce. Marriages work when people don’t have to make sacrifices to be able to live together, when what both people want is more or less on the same page.

        My problem with self-sacrifice is that, as the leader, the husband is controlling the *idea* of what is going on. A totally self-serving husband may be totally deluded and see himself as a sacrificial leader, and as the woman is required to respect his headship, it’s not like reality is ever going to tell him otherwise. The ruler sets the standards for the official narrative.

        1. J Pickering

          No, you misunderstand. The male is the one who takes *responsibility* for decisions and their consequences. He isn’t the *generator* of all decisions. For there to be a loving relationship, there must necessarily be mutual agreement and consideration of each others’ wishes. The point of the commands to each party (submission and loving sacrifice) is, yes, establishing orderliness that maybe we don’t mind inverting and deconstructing and subverting these days, but also to urge selflessness in our relationships.

          Having an easy ‘compatible’ relationship is great, but even that requires partners to make mutual accomodations (if you don’t like the words ‘self-sacrifice’) to each other. And then what if you find you’ve made marriage vows to a person that isn’t exactly ‘compatible’? What then? It’s either sacrificial love or discord.

          1. smrnda

            Or divorce, which I regard as no big deal whatsoever if a marriage isn’t going to work. I mean, even the Beatles broke up.

            When people are given asymmetric roles, any notion of mutual obligation goes out the window. I’m sure the husband who views himself as the head of the relationship might feel bad if his decisions don’t work out, but most women I know want to know that their decisions count. With the ‘head’ idea it’s like it’s a courtesy to take the woman’s opinion into account. I wouldn’t get married, but if I was and my husband was going to make a decision I had no confidence in, it’d be he can either change his mind or I’d file for divorce and make my own decisions.

            Sure, people have to make some accommodations, but relationships work best when there are fewer of them, and this involved people being open and honest about themselves before they get married. The problem with duty and selflessness is that in the end, it requires dishonesty and self-deception. People these days feel entitled to their real feelings. They want to know whether the person they are with is really happy, and they would not consider it acceptable for the other party to put on an act out of a sense of duty or commitment.

            The other problem with decision making is that there isn’t always a clear ‘better’ or ‘worse’ result. The husband might make a decision and be happy with the outcome. The woman, who is raised to submit, will decide that the decision is good since she has not been taught she has a right to her own opinion of things. ‘ The other thing is that you haven’t taken into account how people’s views shape how they feel about what’s going on – I’ve met plenty of evangelical Christian women and what stood out to be about them was how they seemed to have much less independent opinions and personality. I can’t generalize, but it stuck out to me that these women would probably assume that their husbands were being selfless no matter what. It’s kind of like the Animals in Animal Farm praising the selflessness of their leaders. Once you believe in these sort of different roles, it affects your whole perspective.

            My take is you can’t pervert an egalitarian view. A view based on headship can be easily perverted. If the Bible was so egalitarian, it wouldn’t use words like ‘head’ and ‘submit.’

            I think the difference is that ‘commitment’, to me, is not love. Conflicts emerge, and some relationships should end, even marriages. How many people want to be in a marriage where the other person is just going through the motions out of commitment? I think more people would rather just get divorced rather than live a lie.

      3. mnb0

        “I wonder what the wise alternative is in your opinion,”
        That’s the nice thing about you nice christians, you always end up inconsistent.
        What about reversing the roles? Husbands obeying their wives? What’s wrong with that except your prejudices based on your holy book? Or do we need sophisticated theology once again to answer that question, instead of just common sense?
        Fyi, I’m male. I am just extremely uncomfortable with the thought that my female partner (she is muslim btw) should obey me, simply because I know I am wrong way too often, like all humans.
        Assuming that you like most of your co-believers lack the imagination I will answer the next question too: what happens if we disagree?
        We put up a fight. With arguments. Sometimes one can convince the other. Sometimes I give in (or she does mutatis mutandis) because I have learned that I benefit from listening to her. That’s called trust, trust in her judgment. It’s very comfortable to have someone around who cares about me and whose judgment is sensible and reliable. I would not want to give that up for any religion.

        1. J Pickering

          Nothing you’ve said is incompatible with the mutuality within Christian marriage that I’ve already pointed out. Mutuality between partners, equality in being. The only difference is that there is complementarity of role, not identity of role. The male is called to account ultimately for his home. That may be an arbitrary point of social order, but few things aren’t. It says nothing about who is allowed to speak in marriage, who must follow whose ideas, who can give advice etc. It aims at mutuality with accountability. You’re missing the point entirely.

          Mutual and complementary. Equal not identical.

          1. mnb0

            “the ‘obedience to husbands’ thing” you defend only and just only because it’s in the Bible is incompatible with that last alinea of mine. You are deceiving yourself and of course you are neglecting my answer to your question, like the typical theologian you are.
            My partner does not obey me. I don’t want her to. She sometimes agrees with me; sometimes she gives in; sometimes I do. Simple. Clear.
            You are not capable of reversing roles; nor do you argue against it.

          2. mnb0

            As I have debated with theologians before I know from experience that an atheist has to explain the simplest matters into detail. So I’ll give you an example.
            I want my partner very much to move in with me (she lives with her brother). It has been my wish for years. She doesn’t want to. She doesn’t give in, doesn’t obey me, no matter how often I debate the subject. That’s an offense against Titus 2:4-5, Colossians 3:18, 1 Timothy 2:11-15 and 1 Peter 3:1, no matter how much you twist the meaning of words, like most theologians do.

  18. 18
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    I think you’re excluding the possibility that some women are rewarded in religion.

    We could ask why men believe in sexism. It constrains their behavior, causes schoolyard bullying and ultimately violence and injury. It causes f*ing wars, FFS. So why do they believe in it? Because they have good reasons to believe that they get more out of it than they lose to it.

    I think that there are plenty of women, maybe even 95% or more, who fall under your analysis. But I don’t know that it’s 95% and it’s certainly not 100%. Women who are willing to suck up to the Pope get to go to the Vatican all expenses paid and spend a wonderful vacation in Europe. Women who suck up to the Catholic Church in Ireland or the Anglican Church in N. Ireland get serious social benefits. When religion is pervasive enough that you face more disadvantages from opposing religion than from supporting it, you might still lose under religion but lose bigger by declaring atheism. That doesn’t have to be an ignorant view. That could be a considered decision. It’s also, under those conditions which don’t have to be uncommon, not masochistic. It minimizes pain when maximizing pleasure is impossible. it’s the opposite of masochistic, the opposite of ignorant.

    I think your perspective here ignores both the tiny topmost ranks of women in religious societies as well as the large bottom most rants of women in religious societies.

  19. 19
    smrnda

    @ alexmartin

    I’m not sure how much you know about human history and origins, but it’s quite possible that our instincts for things like cooperation and pro-social behavior was what enabled us to survive as a species. Simply but, one prehistoric human isn’t likely to survive on his own or her own, so you have to band together and form a larger group in order to survive where a high degree of cooperation is needed. If prehistoric humans hadn’t have been cooperative the human species would not have survived. It takes a lot of cooperation between people to survive with low technology. Simply put, with stone age technology, it isn’t in your self-interest to be an asshole.

    One of the byproducts of civilization is a hierarchical society where some benefit at the expense of others, and religion is a way of giving some privileged leader divine status so that his power and authority is unquestioned. It’s probably the case that religion emerged as a way of enforcing tribal loyalty – once the leader of your tribe is in it for himself instead of the good of all members, you need some control to keep people from defecting.

  20. 20
    alexmartin

    “From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?”

    James 4:1

    Smrnda, I know enough of the unobserved, unrepeatable ancient past to as effectively speculate about it as you have.

    I stand by that which I have surmised.

    1. 20.1
      smrnda

      Given that I believe in human evolution, the human past went on for a long time. Given how tough it is to survive with low levels of technology, a world where the ‘law of the jungle’ prevailed would have left the human species extinct. Can you imagine how hard it was to try to raise kids say, 30,000 years ago? It’s tough now, how do you think a bunch of primitive humans did it? How many kids, 30,000 years ago, would have survived infancy if it was any man or woman for themselves? You must be forgetting that kids need to grow into adulthood. If the best tool you’ve got is a stick, do you think one woman can raise a kid on her own?

      I am not an evolutionary biologist or anthropologist, but I trust those who are in the field that they know what they are talking about. I’m not speculating, I’m telling you what they told me. I trust their conclusions more than some random assertions from various holy books. Plus, we have some idea of how low-level technology nomads functioned in recent history and still do today. We can also examine the behavior of social primates.

      If you wan to accuse me of speculating, I’m not, I’m repeating what I learned in science class years ago. We weren’t here for the dinosaurs either, but I’m pretty sure that they didn’t drive around in cars despite the fact that nobody was there, so just because something was not observed does not mean we cannot reason about it. That was a pretty ridiculous example, but I’d suggest you read up on what early human life was like from some recent scholarship.

      Plenty of people doubt that stone-age folks really hunted big game these days, mostly since if there was something safer to hung, you would. Something deer like, rather than a saber-tooth tiger,which is likely to fight back and has pretty sharp teeth.

  21. 21
    grumpyoldfart

    Quoting the holy books is useless. Religious people don’t care what is in them. All they want is an interpretation that tells them their mistakes are not their own fault (it’s god’s will) and the people from the neighbouring tribe are the one’s who always piss in the river.

    1. 21.1
      J Pickering

      That’s a witty response, and perhaps true as a generalisation across all of religion (I have no idea). But it is very, very untrue of a great many of us.

  22. 22
    harries

    We need a direction to lead our life. religion gives us direction to go with peace. everybody needs a direction to lead his/her life. everybody get it from his learning. a learning could be right or wrong considering place and situation. if we learn one direction then we can go peaceful way. if every person learn different way what will happen, we never can match each other. so we never can be with peace. girl are more expert to take care the next generation this is why honor them more than a boy. we should remember having a girl you have a chance to feel two heart beat in a body. Why do not you think boys are deprive of it? there are a lot of example like that. Never try to neglect girl. I have a question to you “What is freedom?”

  23. 23
    Kathy

    Just want to let you know that there are more religions in the world than just the Abrahamic ones.
    I cannot fathom why people don’t seem to know, or care about, this fact.
    When you say, “religion does this”, you are saying this about all religions, and it simply isn’t true in that context.
    Most non-Abrahamic religions are nothing like this.
    It is important to me to advise you of this because my religion is one of those that is nothing like the Abrahamic ones, and it is frustrating to see it included in comments like the ones in your article.
    It is frustrating to see the idea that there are other religions in the world excluded from discussions about religion.

    Anyway, now you know.

    Aside from that, great article.

    1. 23.1
      Robert B.

      *raised eyebrow* There was that whole section on Hinduism in this very article. In fact, from what I’ve seen, Taslima spends more time criticizing Hinduism than Christianity. I can see your basic point, but she’s clearly not talking just about Abrahamic religions and ignoring the others. Rather, it seems like she’s talking just about the religions she’s seen do the most damage, and ignoring the others. Still not fair, but more reasonable than what you accuse her of. (And apparently, the Abrahamic religions are not the only ones you need to distance yourself from.)

    2. 23.2
      Tony! The Queer Shoop

      Kathy:

      Just want to let you know that there are more religions in the world than just the Abrahamic ones.
      I cannot fathom why people don’t seem to know, or care about, this fact.
      When you say, “religion does this”, you are saying this about all religions, and it simply isn’t true in that context.

      I thought the same when I read this post. It seemed as if Taslima ignored or didn’t consider the other religions of the world with her comments.
      Just as a guess, I’d say many people forget (or don’t know) of other religions. Having lived in the US south most of my life, I’ve seen that a *lot* of people immediately think of Christianity when talking about religion. To my atheist mind, I always get a chuckle out of hearing people talk about god. Sometimes I want to remark “which one?” In other areas of the world, where a specific religion is dominant, I can easily see people being more aware of that religion than others.

      Aside from that, great article.

      On this, I disagree.

    3. 23.3
      kevinalexander

      What about places where there is no religion at all? Women in China get the same shitty treatment. It seems to me that in any social system the physically weakest getting the worst treatment is the likeliest outcome.

      Religion is the just-so story used to justify it.

  24. 24
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Taslima:

    I understand why men believe in religion, but I do not understand why women believe in religion. Or perhaps I understand. Either they’re ignorant or they’re masochists. No woman who lives with dignity and honor will accept humiliation and abuse of women. No woman with self-esteem worships gods that hate women . Religion demands women to be chaste and silent. Religion wants women to be obedient and submissive to their husbands. All religions treat women as inferior beings. Women should read god’s texts and get angry with god. Women should stop worshiping god.

    You seem unaware of the strong cultural attachment men AND women have to religions. As well, the indoctrination of children into religious institutions at such a young age plays a strong role in why people cling to their beliefs. For many people, the religious beliefs make up much of their sense of self, so there’s another reason.
    Your assertions that ignorance and masochism are the reasons why women hold religious beliefs are based on what evidence?
    Do you have anything to cite that supports your view here?
    Do all religions treat women as inferior?
    Is there a list of all the religions of the world-past and present-that documents their treatment of women?
    This oversimplification and generalization on your part hurts your argument.
    To add insult to injury, you also deliver a big insult to women around the world who *do* have self esteem, dignity and honor, yet are still religious. Or do you honestly believe that of the women who are part of Christianity, Jainism, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Islam, Cheondoism, Mandaeism, Scientology, Echankar, and Taoism (just to name a few) that none of them have good levels of self esteem? Do you think they have no dignity or honor? Do you really want to make an over generalization like this? You would have to intimately know all the religions of the world, or have access to some deep knowledge of all of them to begin to make that statement, and even then, I just don’t think it would be true. The impression I get is that you’re speaking of the bigger religions of the world, and not *every* single one that currently exists.
    I also get the feeling that you may not understand human psychology that well if you think women can just *stop* worshipping god if they read their religious texts. It’s not that easy. Heck, look to atheists and the difficulty many of them had giving up their religious beliefs. Neither men, nor women are likely to have an easy time letting go of religious beliefs. That’s probably due to the complex nature of those beliefs.
    I do agree with you that many religions are misogynistic and humanity as a whole will likely benefit tremendously if/when religion is relegated to antiquity. I just think that the observations you’ve made and the solutions you’ve called for are incredibly simplistic and fail to take into account how complex we as a species are.

  25. 25
    Taru Dutt

    TaslimaDi, great job on criticizing the misogynistic roots of religion. As a person with culturally Hindu roots, especial kudos for exposing the ugly side of Hinduism. You see, I was taught that if I am not ready to criticize my own, then I really haven’t a lot of credibility criticizing somebody else’s belief systems/ideologies. This lesson seems less and less taught today, for now I see many falling over themselves to criticize somebody else’s country/culture/religion/ideas while carefully holding their own above criticism. Criticizing others is fine, and must be encouraged. It’s just that when it’s accompanied by convenient reluctance to criticize one’s own that it does not really qualify as criticism, but seems to point more to a distractive agenda – see how awful what you believe is, but as for what I believe, no matter how awful it seems on the surface, there are very good explanations. Another name for that second category of criticism would be hypocrisy, perhaps.

    Thank you, TaslimaDi! May you always continue to speak as you do now, with dignity, courage and unflinching honesty. I wish India’s government had shown some of that same courage in allowing you to stay in India.

  26. 26
    TBRP

    It seems that the fact that women are more religious is just more evidence that they are in general more oppressed than men. Most of the sociological evidence suggests that the more stress one has, the lower quality of life one has, and the more uncertainty one has in their life, then the more religious one is likely to be; it follows then that women are a more religious demographic.

    1. 26.1
      Taslima Nasreen

      Not all poor people can afford being religious. Most hard working laborers can’t fast during Ramadan or pray five times a day while working. Religion is for the rich and the middle class. They get a comfortable life here on earth, they want to get the same in next life, if there is any.

      1. kevinalexander

        Religion is for the rich and the middle class.

        Exactly. Religion is controlled by the rich and middle class who rework the scriptures for their own benefit. They do it to rob the poor and otherwise powerless. The tragedy is that the victims can’t see it. The most dependant on religion are the ones who have nothing else.

      2. Ace of Sevens

        What poor people especially can’t afford is to go against the grain. It’s not like they have independent means of support if they get ostracized. You also can put up with a lot of shit if you think you’re getting rewarded for it later. This is why the Bible has so many negative things to say about the rich. Poor people get to feel like they are beating the system when they’re really just getting screwed.

  27. 27
    smrnda

    Attempts to argue that calling women to submit isn’t harmful since men are called to ‘sacrifice’ (whatever that would look like in a world where women get educations, work, serve in the military and make decisions on their own and even get elected to office) is like saying we can give the police powers to arbitrarily search or detain anybody they feel is suspicious or a threat as long as they are called to serve the community and each cop sounds serious about being fair. It’s like saying ‘woman, submit!’ is a law on the books but since you can just trust men to be self-sacrificing, it is like all the other archaic laws that remain on the books but are just not enforced.

    If the real issue was encouraging mutual consideration, I doubt it would have used the same language at all. Plus, the problem is that the traditional male contribution (or female one for that matter) is no longer applicable since both men and women do things like work. Single men do their own laundry. Single women pay their own bills. Put them together you have two people who both work, pay bills and do laundry.

    Plus, if men shouldn’t try to get their own way, in what sense is the woman submitting at all if the husband is supposed to never make decisions she wouldn’t agree to? If the husband is really called to self-sacrifice, then the woman not submitting isn’t an issue, so why the invocation to submit at all?

    All said, the egalitarian marriages I’ve seen did much better than ones based on following ‘roles.’ A role is something you can do for a while, like on a stage or as part of a job, but once it’s supposed to replace the real you, it can’t be done. It ignores the real person and substitutes a formula.

    As for rebellion and discord and conflict, sometimes those things are the source of a better life and a better world. If we hadn’t had rebellion and discord we’d all be living under kings and queens. You wouldn’t get to choose what religion you belonged to or didn’t belong to. We’d still have slavery. To me, rebellion, discord, conflict and defiance of authority and a demand for fairness rather than peace can be very good things.

  28. 28
    Taru Dutt

    Taslimadi, Thank you for your criticism of Hindusim. As a culturally Hindu woman, I appreciate it very much. Culturally Hindu generally means being brought up in an atmosphere of Hindu culture, not believing in the truth of its scriptures, (I have always read the scriptures of religions as what they are – the work of human beings) and being deeply critical of many things about Indian-ness and Hinduism. As an Indian woman, I find patriarchy and misogyny widespread and widely accepted across India. As I often say, India hates its women. Many Indian men and women hate women, too. A recent UNICEF poll shows fairly widespread support for wife-beating among Indian adolescents. Shameful.

    Please keep speaking out with your usual unflinching dignity, frankness, and courage. Your voice is indispensable, and I only wish India could have kept you within her borders. You would have been an asset to the country.

  29. 29
    Ishani

    Please let me add about ‘Women in Buddhism’:

    Buddha showed equality for the so-called lower castes in India, but not for women. He refused to allow the commencement of ordainment for female monks twice before finally yielding. Even then he did it only after the women requesting ordainment agreed to follow 8 laws, which clearly put females in a position lower to males. The first law – Even if a female monk (bhikkuni) has been ordained for 100 years, when she is faced with a male monk (bhikku) ordained on the same day, she must get up from her seat and show respect – This law not only devalues women, but it also devalues the Buddha Dhamma and Ordainment, as it considers ‘gender’ as a matter more important than following the dhamma properly or ordainment. The 8th law – A female monk should never advise a male monk. A male monk can advise a female monk. The 7th law – A female monk should never criticize a male monk – These laws as well as ones I haven’t mentioned promote male chauvinism. There is no equality here.

    He also promoted stereotypical gender role socialization for non-ordained men and women, which while possibly suitable for the society 2600 years ago, have no role being promoted in the current day and age.

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