Sexism is a manifestation of the human propensity by which those who hold power over others tend to abuse that power. Nothing in atheism helps correct that problem.
Now compare this to what I have written about women’s status and rights in Jewish and Greco-Roman culture of the day. Do you see how revolutionary all this was?
In Galatians 3:26-28 we see how it coincides with the very heart of the Gospel:
For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
There is a saying among Christians: all are equal at the foot of the cross. There is no partiality or favoritism in Christ. We are all equally created in God’s image, we are all equally fallen into the disaster called sin, and we are all equally dependent upon Christ’s work on the cross to rescue us from that disaster. No one is more human than any other person, no one is worth more, no one is higher in God’s eyes than any other.
That is not to say that every person has the same role in life. In the Godhead, Jesus Christ submits to the Father. There is a difference of roles in the Trinity that has nothing to do with worth, power, excellence, or value. Similarly with humans: some have higher leadership authority, not because of any difference in excellence or value, but because without differentiation there would be chaos.
But leadership must be exercised:
In other words, not only does the Bible overrule sexism, it overturns all self-centered, abusive exercise of power.
Our discussion of sexism in Scripture will lead us soon to some controversial passages in Scripture, where the Bible assigns differing roles to husbands and wives, for example. Before we got there, though, let’s take a common-perception, worst-case look at the matter. It will be quite instructive.
For here is the charge commonly laid against Christianity: that it makes the wife subservient to her husband, and it prohibits women from leading men in the church. For the sake of argument I will invite you to think of those two things in the worst possible light. With that in mind, consider this:
And while we’re on the subject of context, compare women in Christian culture to women in:
Taken in that light, even if some aspects of the way the Bible treats women were as bad as some people claim they are, is it really reasonable to consider Christianity sexist? Where would women be today without Christianity’s long, enduring, and overwhelmingly positive effect on their place Western culture?
I am making an even-if-so case here. I am not granting that it that Christianity really is guilty of sexism the way it is accused of being. I am merely trying to put some context around that accusation, to show that even if it were true, Christianity (both ChristianityT and ChristianityS) has done much more good for women since the time of Christ than any harm it is currently accused of having done.
Soon I will address the more controversial passages about women in the New Testament. In the meantime, I hope to have instilled in you a better sense of perspective. Again: even if today’s charges against Christianity were completely true, Christianity has done women an immense amount of good down through the centuries.
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