Before sharing my thoughts on this issue, I think it’s important for my readers to know my background as it pertains to religion. I was raised in the Presbyterian Church, baptized as an infant, and confirmed as an official member in seventh grade. A christian lifestyle was all I ever knew–God and Jesus were an essential, unquestionable part of life. I was never exposed to other theories and philosophies, and especially not the depths of evolutionary science until reaching college.
Boy, was I in for a reality check once I hit college. Suddenly I was immersed in a culture composed of people not only across the country, but across the globe with countless cultures, ideologies, and religions. I just felt extremely naive coming from my hometown made up of a large majority of white christians.
As the year began I never doubted my faith. But come second semester I took a class on biological anthropology, learning about human evolution dating back to seven million years ago. At first I was in pure shock. My professor was telling me science proved that there were things walking this earth that looked like humans 7 million years ago??? No way. This blew my mind compared to what I’d learned in my science classes growing up. Yeah, the idea of evolution was mentioned down in the bible belt along with a definition but I had no idea the extensive scientific proof of evolution. It was in this class I began to doubt the faith I’d grown up with. How could the Bible so blatantly oppose evolution? The Bible only dates back about 2000 years– what happened in the other 7 million? In comparison to the extensive human record, it began to seem strange to me that a large majority of modern humans have based life off this one book. Why?
As I began to question the Bible more because of bio anthropology, feminist philosophies appeared in my other classes and my interest sparked in this area. I quickly became uncomfortable with the way book that laid the foundation for my religion portrays women. In my opinion the Bible created a culture that depicts men in a superior light as compared to women. It all started in Genesis when Eve was made from Adam’s rib, setting a standard that woman is nothing without man. It preaches for women to submit to their husbands. It claims a woman should have to ask permission from her husband to speak in a Church. A woman is deemed “unclean” while on her period, an inevitable function of being a woman. The Bible is downright sexist. I understand these were the “norms” for the time period that was written, but there have been extreme long term effects on society because of sexist principles found within the book.
This Bible calls for Christians to spread the gospel, and many Christians interpreted that to mean traveling to unfamiliar lands to starting new societies bringing the word of God to unfamiliar peoples. The Bible guided a great deal of human expansion and as christians colonized, the sexism spread too. All Christians today are still using this book as their guiding philosophy and although most modern churches do not view woman as inferior, one cannot read the Bible without also reading the sexist passages within it.
Point Blank- the Bible is not a progressive book. It is outdated and we acknowledge that culture has evolved extensively since the period it was written. We must recognize that this book created and promoted sexism inadvertently. I would like to believe it wasn’t God’s intention to portray women in an inferior light, but the authors of the Bible did just that. Yes it holds a number of invaluable moral lessons, but we need to leave its sexist ideologies in the past.
As for where I stand on my personal religion, I’m not entirely sure right now. I strongly disagree with many aspects of the Bible, not just the sexist parts. Most importantly I feel as if Christianity has betrayed me. I was roped in from birth and the Church never told me the other side of the story. I believe in something. I do think some sort of god type figure exists. It is just going to take me a while to mentally sort it out.