Thursday, January 28, 2016

How Conventional Religion Subordinates Women Even When It Doesn’t Mean To

I have written numerous entries about the bad things that religion can bring upon the human mind and the human experience. I have never done so, as some bloggers have done, in a spirit of contempt or ridicule. I have a background of religious fundamentalism, and when I write negative things about religion it is because I yearn for people who are still within the confines of doctrinal religion to be able to escape from it. For those of you, if any are reading this, who are still bound within the shackles of doctrinal religion (as opposed to spiritual sensibilities and feelings), I really care about you. I fear that you are missing out on anything good that religion might have to offer, as I did for so long.

One of the bad effects of doctrinal religion that I have noticed, especially here in rural Oklahoma, is that it plunges women into a position of inferiority. I’ll bet you’ve never heard that one before. Right. Whether it is overt, as in fundamentalist Christianity and Islam, or unspoken, as in conventional Christianity and Islam, women are encouraged to think of themselves as servants rather than leaders.

You knew that already, of course. I just want to tell you what I have directly observed. I have lost count of the number of brilliant and promising female students that I have had who end up dropping out of their professional or graduate programs and becoming more or less domestic servants. And religion plays a role in this, if only because religion pervades the culture from which these women briefly began to emerge. They are not forced to do so by their male partners; I have seen the husbands of these women interrupt their own careers to support their wives in medical school. But these women have grown up feeling more comfortable in the position of servant than in the position of leader. Adam was the leader, and Eve the “help-meet,” and nothing but trouble came from Eve thinking for herself. Religion, even if it does not prescribe a subordinate role for women, feathers the beds that make women feel comfortable at home rather than in the workplace.

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