Gender Equity

June 11, 2007 at 8:34 am 19 comments

EquityHumanity as a whole has struggled with the issue of gender equity in the modern era. Combined with the teachings of the majority of the holy scriptures of today’s major religions, progress is slow in coming. Of course, there are nations classed as non-religious or secular nations where women are also viewed as second class citizens. However, I should point out that it is not their lack of religious beliefs driving this belief but more the views and traditions of that particular culture.

Similarly, theism itself does not classes women as second class citizens but the beliefs of specific theist religions. In fact, one can be a theist and believe in gender equity just as one can be an atheist and believe the opposite.

A core value of this blog is that we:

Afford the same access rights, privileges and power to both genders

This is in sharp contrast to the beliefs of many of the world’s major religions. Here are a few verses from the Christian Holy Scriptures on their view of women:

Genesis 3:16 To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

Ephesians 5:22-24 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

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

1 Peter 3:1 Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.

1 Corinthians 11:3 Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.

1 Corinthians 14:34-35 Let women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says. And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church.

Here’s a verse from the Qur’an:

4:34 Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever High, Exalted, Great.

These views are in sharp contrast to our core values. John Stuart Mill, generally taken to be an atheist or agnostic per the Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, wrote these profound words in his essay “The Subjection of Women” (1869):

“The principle which regulates the existing social relations between the two sexes – the legal subordination of one sex to the other – is wrong in itself, and now one of the chief hindrances to human improvement; and that it ought to be replaced by a principle of perfect equality, admitting no power or priviledge on the one side, or disability on the other.”

– The de-Convert

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19 Comments Add your own

  • 1. agnosticatheist  |  June 11, 2007 at 9:01 am

    This should be a core value of atheism 🙂

    BTW, in reference to the passage from the Qur’an, I looked up what scourge means. Here’s the definition of scourge from Wikipedia

    A scourge is a whip or lash, especially a multi-tong type used in order to inflict severe corporal punishment or self-mortification on the back.


  • 2. Heather  |  June 11, 2007 at 11:22 am

    One thing that has almost amused me is when one of those verses is used to show why one might have a problem with the Bible, the response is either one is taking the verse out of context, one doesn’t understand what the verse really means, or the verse no longer applies, it was just for a set area. But considering how long verses from the Bible have been used to justify slavery or fight against women’s rights, how do we know that the verses aren’t mean to promote slavery? Or keep women as second-class citizens? In a way, it’s like picking and choosing, only in regards to interpretation. It’s almost like a defense mechanism so that people can just believe in a perfect, good, just God, yet dismiss anything that hints otherwise. Especially in regards to women’s rights. One can say as much as one wants that the Bible does support equality for all, but there’s about 18 centuries worth of tradition that disagree with that statement.

  • 3. Karen  |  June 11, 2007 at 12:37 pm

    A scourge is a whip or lash, especially a multi-tong type used in order to inflict severe corporal punishment or self-mortification on the back.

    Yeeeowch! There was an article in the NY Times not long ago about how Muslim scholars are currently arguing about this and similar verses that seem to okay “corporal punishment” for wives. There’s a big controversy (no surprise) between those who want to attribute different interpretations to these verses and those who want to stick with the traditional word definitions.

    (Hmmm …. why does that controversy sound so familiar? 😉 )

  • 4. storbakken  |  June 11, 2007 at 9:54 pm

    Wait now… I thought that “atheims” means simply “godlessness.” It has core values? Where do these core values come from? And when did atheism become a humanitarian movement?

  • 5. Sue Ann Edwards  |  June 11, 2007 at 10:12 pm

    It would have made a big difference if the rest of the book had been quoted accurately in Genesis. It would have told of Adam’s first wife, who left him, after he made demands to always be on top. Eve, was Adam’s second wife.

    As a women of genuine Self Respect, I wouldn’t even allow such a being as is decribed to be ‘god’ around my children.

  • 6. agnosticatheist  |  June 12, 2007 at 3:17 am


    This should be a core value of humanity and atheism is a subset of humanity.


  • 7. Simen  |  June 12, 2007 at 3:28 pm

    Of course, this isn’t a core value of atheism, since the only value of atheism is godlessness. A more interesting discussion is whether or not it ought to be a value every atheist (and theist) should adopt independently of other beliefs.

  • 8. mysteryofiniquity  |  June 12, 2007 at 5:57 pm

    I disagree. Core values of atheism are integrity, reasonableness, and a holistic vision for humanity’s future; one that doesn’t entail sending most of them to their torment for “bad” decisions.

  • 9. Simen  |  June 13, 2007 at 10:14 am

    mysteryofintiquity, by definition atheism is simply godlessness; any other values are incidental and not required to be an atheist. Godlessness is the only value of atheism, but not the only value of atheists, obviously.

  • 10. mysteryofiniquity  |  June 13, 2007 at 10:38 am

    by that token then what is the only value of Christianity? Godliness? We know that doesn’t hold true either.

  • 11. mysteryofiniquity  |  June 13, 2007 at 10:46 am

    Better yet,
    What’s the core value of theism, (defined as Godmoreness)?

  • 12. storbakken  |  June 13, 2007 at 11:10 am

    The core value of theism is a belief in the existence of God. Whereas the only value of atheism is a disbelief in the existence of God. Atheism by definition means godlessness.

    Christianity, according to the teachings of Christ, has many values. This sums it up quite well:

    “Central values of Christianity include Christian love, compassion, and justice. The Christian interpretation of justice involves fairness, equal distribution of resources, and positive discrimination in favour of underprivileged groups. Christians believe that God has created all people with equal worth, and so prejudice and discrimination are wrong. These views are supported by two teachings of Jesus: to love other people as one loves oneself, and to treat other people as one would want to be treated.”

    Of course, there are all types of Christians, but this is what is put forth in the teachings of Christ. These are central values.

  • 13. mysteryofiniquity  |  June 13, 2007 at 11:29 am

    Sorry, but I don’t agree. A definition is not a value. A value is something you work for on principle. Therefore godlessness is not a value.

  • 14. storbakken  |  June 13, 2007 at 12:59 pm

    A value is that which something is worth (i.e. equal to). It is the principle or quality of something. A principle is the fundamental law, doctrine or assumption so said thing. Thus, the only value of atheism is godlessness. To quote Simen:

    “Godlessness is the only value of atheism, but not the only value of atheists, obviously.”

  • 15. mysteryofiniquity  |  June 13, 2007 at 1:44 pm

    Semantics, semantics. Your saying it that often, doesn’t make it so. But I’m used to Christians defining their own terms and castigating others for not adhering to them. Common tactic.

  • 16. storbakken  |  June 13, 2007 at 2:22 pm


    please don’t resort to playing victim. This has nothing to do with one’s personal beliefs regarding a deity. This has to do with our ablility to reason in communication. These are not my definitions. They belong to Merriam-Webster.

    If what I’ve said is incorrect please show me where my reasoning falters. And please back it up with support.

    When you say the “core values of atheism are integrity, reasonableness, and a holistic vision for humanity’s future” you are treating atheism like it is a morality-teaching belief system. The term “atheism” merely means “godlessness”. Nothing more. I would imagine some who consider themselves atheistic might be offended by your caricature of a large, diverse group.

    Some atheists consider morality to be merely a socially-constructed term. Some atheists believe that people who eat meat are inherently wicked. Others believe that prayer in school is fine as long as all religious groups are allowed to express their faith equally. Atheists are a large, diverse group with many values, but atheism itself has only one value (i.e. godlessness).

    Theism has one value (belief in God). Atheism has one value (disbelief in God). Christianity has many values just as Socialism has many values. Get it?

  • 17. mysteryofiniquity  |  June 13, 2007 at 2:46 pm

    Please don’t resort to personal attacks. We disagree on the meaning of value. Nothing more.

  • 18. storbakken  |  June 13, 2007 at 3:10 pm

    I fail to find any personal attacks on this page. In fact, you broke your own rule number 4 on your personal blog when you stated: “I’m used to Christians defining their own terms and castigating others for not adhering to them.” I believe that comment was in poor taste, especially when the topic at hand is not about Christianity, but about atheism. I hope we can move forward in peace.

  • 19. mysteryofiniquity  |  June 13, 2007 at 7:13 pm

    Even though I’m not bound by my rules here since this isn’t my blog, I apologize if you were offended.

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Attention Christian Readers

Just in case you were wondering who we are and why we de-converted.

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Whether or not you believe in God, you should live your life with love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance while trying to make the world a better place. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will have made a positive impact on those around you. If there is a benevolent God reviewing your life, you will be judged on your actions and not just on your ability to blindly believe in creeds- when there is a significant lack of evidence on how to define God or if he/she even exists.



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