I am posting the introduction from my booklet which I have re-named Gender Bias in the Bible (previously The Male Bias of the Bible) hoping that the term "Gender Bias" will solicit more hits on Google searches. Please spread the word and share it freely.



Gender Bias in the Bible

Exposing the missing feminine voice in the masculine landscape of Scripture

Introduction

The approach I am taking in this book is the argument from bias. Starting with the question of what is it that makes something biased? Well, first off there must be an innate inequality and injustice that is built into the doctrine, which is exactly what we have in the Bible starting with the book of Genesis and continuing throughout the entire text. In my argument I assert that the Bible is irreparably flawed because of its inherent gender bias, which is all the proof that is needed to invalidate its god as authentic. With the many examples I give it will become abundantly clear that the biased nature of the Bible is wholly in keeping with societal and cultural norms of the time periods in which it was written. When one looks back through the recorded history of civilization and across cultural boundaries a clear theme of the male domination of women becomes apparent. Comparing this to the fact that all the major religions that oppress women are patriarchal and have been started by men, it stands to reason that the gods of those religions are also created by men. When an overarching system decrees worth and value by gender, questions must be ask of that frameworks validity. I think most people have an innate sense of what is just and fair and what is not if they stop for a moment and think about it, the problem lies in what we are taught by the society we live in. If one is raised in a culture of male domination it seems normal for women to be denied opportunities and advantages that men are privileged to. This is why many cultures past and present overlook the blatant bias that is rampant in the biblical text.


Violence against women is an everyday occurrence, it is estimated that one out of three women will experience some form of violence in their lifetimes. This violence is inflicted upon them by men who operate under a mentality of male superiority. The mindset is propagated culturally through religion and patriarchal domination by aggressive domineering men. Generation after generation men forcibly impose their biased ways of thinking upon their children who many times blindly accept and never question gender inequality. This culture of male violence and gender bias remains strong in our modern western society that is predominately Christian. I think a good share of the blame lies in our long history of patriarchal rule with its deep roots firmly planted in the dominant patriarchal religion of Christianity. A good definition of patriarchy is given by Allan Johnson in his book The Gender Knot, “A society is patriarchal to the degree that it promotes male privilege by being male dominated, male identified and male centered. It is also organized around an obsession with control and involves as one of its aspects the oppression of women.”


The correlation between patriarchy and violence against women is an historical fact, also by the very nature of such societies that are male centered and male dominated women are denied equal human rights. The fundamental flaw in the idea of biblical male hierarchy being the superior god ordained order is that societies structured on male dominance always begets oppression of women and forced subservience. The promotion of patriarchy by religious fundamentalists who claim that male leadership of the family and society is the optimal structure is in grievous error. It is a known fact that the most pervasive human rights violations are perpetrated by men against women and this arises out of societies ruled by men…this of course begs the question as to why an all knowing god (if one exists) would set up such a hierarchy to begin with, knowing that the oppression of half the population would be the outcome. Those who do not speak out against injustice, wherever it is found are in compliance with it.


While every culture and society has its share of bias and violence my purpose in writing a book let on the subject is to expose the nature of the biblical god, Yahweh by walking through the male landscape of the Bible. After being a Christian for nearly thirty years I will show why I no longer believe the Bible can be the “Word of God”, based on the fact that Scripture is arbitrarily biased toward the male and missing the feminine voice. It will become clear to the reader that no gender-neutral god who is purported to be the creator of the universe, could inspire the authorship of a book so obviously unbalanced and biased against women. The first of these problems arise with god being referred to as masculine, because the idea of masculine must be defined relative to a feminine counterpart. So, where is his feminine complement? Something can only be viewed as masculine if it is in contrast to something feminine, which is why a true god must be gender neutral. But, the biblical authors coming from a patriarchal society saw god through their own masculine eyes and mapped their egos onto him; consequently the language they wrote in was masculine and the god they portrayed was male.


The Bible is a book describing doctrines of what I call a cult of masculinity, every page within its covers exposes the male landscape that dominates Christian and Jewish history. This cult of masculinity forms the mindset that males are placed at the top of the hierarchal order by their god with females at the bottom being in subjugation to them. Over, and over again the same bias is exposed; women are never allowed to walk in their full integrity and potential, instead they are relegated to a set status of childbearing and subservience which they can never rise above. The perspective and viewpoint of half the population is missing from the pages of Scripture – the feminine voice – imagine how this has reflected on human thinking? To only be exposed to a masculine point of view with gender being the number one factor in determining human rights and morals is very skewed and biased, but it is exactly what we see in the Bible. Does it not seem odd and very convenient that all the laws and commands pertaining to women contained in the Bible are only given to men who then relay the message to their feminine counterparts? Why would Yahweh not directly speak to the women that these laws are given to? Is it because men wish to dominate and control women? Just more evidence pointing toward the authorship of the Bible being that of primitive men who patterned their deity after their own male egos and developed a religion in keeping with the structure of the patriarchal societies they lived in.


Do you realize that the Bible itself never claims Yahweh as its author; it is the men who penned its pages that declare the words written to be from a divine male source. It is the male ego that takes the shape of god. There is only one place in the New Testament where a man, the apostle Paul states that all doctrines within the Bible (Old Testament) are god given and to be use for teaching and instruction, but nary is a word spoken about which books are to be included in this tome of god’s laws. We are told to have faith in a particular god and believe merely because men say so. None of the men in this biblical cult of masculinity have proved their trustworthiness to us, so why should we believe them. Men with a masculine bias have made declarations that the god of the Bible is true and should be trusted, yet he has not been proven to be trustworthy or his words true, especially for women. Are we to accept on blind faith that men are to rule over women, simply because words in an ancient book written by men say so? I should think not. If the cards were flipped how would men feel if women published a book claiming to have received revelation from a female deity, who declared all men to submit to women?


Prior to the worship of a single male god beginning with Abraham, many gods and goddesses were worshiped, and often times the act of creation was shared between male and female deities. All this changed with the emergence of monotheism and the Hebrew religion, now the act of creation and birth came from a sole male deity without the need of a natural feminine complement found throughout life, this in turn elevated the position of male above that of female. A new convention took shape in the creation story “birth from the male”, whereas before, life came forth from the female, now the male god speaks life from his words, and brings forth woman from the man…setting the male in the superior position.


The reasons given in the Bible for its lopsided view of women’s rights lack any kind of justification, beginning in Genesis with the supposed transgression of Eve. The biblical account tells us that because Eve acted upon her desire for knowledge, and ate of the forbidden fruit offered her by the snake, the female gender was to be forever cursed with the punishment of being ruled over by the male, even though many places in Scripture including Proverbs, speaks of knowledge as something to be desired. From that point on, and continuing through the entire Bible one finds an arbitrary bias against women for no reason other than gender. This type of gender bias was common in patriarchal cultures of that time period and throughout history, so its reflection in the Bible is no surprise.


In the following pages I will set forth my case of male bias based solely upon verses presented in the Bible. As one reads through these verses it will become obvious that male hands are all over Scripture, giving us an account of its god as seen through masculine eyes. Over, and over again you will see that the rules set forth as being given from “God” are based solely on gender and are strikingly similar to the customs and traditions prevalent in male dominated societies at the time. This male bent towards the unequal treatment of women and viewing them as property is not the only bias one finds in the pages of Scripture; god’s very description is portrayed as a masculine warrior named Yahweh, who is given all the standard male attributes…even down to his title as “Father”.


This leads to an evaluation of the difference in the type of love a father gives versus the type of love a mother gives. Fatherly love is generally based on “conditional” love that must be deserved, and can be lost if one does not do what is expected. In the nature of fatherly love lies the fact that obedience becomes the main virtue and disobedience the main sin…its punishment is the withdrawal of fatherly love. Its principle is “I love you because you fulfill my expectations” it says, “You did wrong and you must change your ways if you want me to like you”. This conditional love is the type of love one finds in the masculine god Yahweh, who is portrayed as divine Father. This is in contrast to a mother’s love which begins as “unconditional”, because from birth the child can do nothing to earn love; he is loved simply because he is. In presenting god as father the unconditional side of love is all but missing from Scripture, leaving those who read its pages lacking in the motherly perspective and giving an unbalanced framework from which to view human relations.


The Cult of Masculinity and the Feminine Voice

You will now begin a journey through the male landscape of the Bible, what you will find missing from this masculine landscape is the feminine voice that tempers and balances the aggressive, dominating nature of primitive men whose warrior mentality colors much of biblical history. The cult of masculinity prevalent in most patriarchal societies focuses on the male ego, so the actions of men is what we see dominating the pages of Scripture. The desires of the male were of utmost importance, so to assure those desires got fulfilled women were subjugated and laws made and enforced to assure their compliance. Continue reading here ...




Rose