Why I'm Now an Atheist- Part 2- Feminism and Women in ReligionSomervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


Why I'm Now an Atheist- Part 2- Feminism and Women in Religion

14 November 2010 at 12:26:12 PM

Part 1 here. Part 3

I've always believed I am a competent female (not perfect by any means but competent). Also that I am not in second place compared to a man, nor should I be subservient or in submission. When I last worked, I was one of only two females that worked in a mostly male environment, and when I found that another guy who had the same qualifications as I did, but I had better stats, I spoke up and got a raise, too. It isn't that I think I am better or smarter than men, just different but should have the same opportunities to succeed or fail, be paid the same for the same job, and not be treated differently in a professional environment simply because I'm female. Oh, it's not that I don't think people aren't aware of sex in the marketplace, but a professional seeks to put business dealings on a different plane.

I'm married and I believe that marriage is an equal partnership, with agreed upon division of duties. I've heard the example about "You can't have two people steering the car" with which I agree but that doesn't preclude taking turns driving.

Does this make me a feminist? Yes, it does. And I'm quite proud to have that as a description. I don't think every feminist is the same, but what all who want to use that term have in common is that we believe women should have the same social, political and economic rights as men. If I have the same job and qualifications and stats as a man, I should be paid the same. And if there were not people in the past who fought for women's rights, including the right to own property or the right to vote, wouldn't there be feminists now who would do so? Of course.  If there are some that want to denigrate the idea of feminism with pejorative language, the question needs to be asked of them, especially in America, "why?".

I saw this video about a Wife Swap episode where the christian woman said that, due to Eve's actions in the Garden of Eden, women are *under the heel of men". What! First off, that is based on a fable. Second, belief in that fable reinforces for those who buy into it that they are second class underlings. Or worse.

No wickedness comes anywhere near the wickedness of a woman…..Sin began with a woman and thanks to her we all must die” (Ecclesiasticus 25:19,24).

Um. Thanks. :)

I also do not believe that being a woman physically is a curse, that being able to have children, or feel pain during childbearing, is a curse, or that women should be blamed, like Pandora opening the box, for all the world's evils.


I've read a number of stories where women have been in abusive relationships and have been told by religious *authorities* to basically put up with it, and wait on god. That's absurd. If a woman genuinely feels that she is being abused, she can make her own decision about whether to get out or not. Again, her OWN decision, because she is an adult, not a child that needs to be told what to do. And I don't want to hear "If people would actually follow the example of God's love...". Belief that one should treat each other kindly and with love is an ethical position that anyone can have; conversely there are plenty who profess to be moral that don't follow loving precepts.  From Alternet

There are more blatant examples of excusing abusive male authority among stricter proponents of complementarianism and submission theology. In June 2007, professor of Christian theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Bruce Ware told a Texas church that women often bring abuse on themselves by refusing to submit. And Debi Pearl, half of a husband-and-wife fundamentalist child-training ministry as well as author of the bestselling submission manual, Created to Be His Help Meet, writes that submission is so essential to God’s plan that it must be followed even to the point of allowing abuse. “When God puts you in subjection to a man whom he knows is going to cause you to suffer,” she writes, “it is with the understanding that you are obeying God by enduring the wrongful suffering.”

I've wondered before it was all simply a desire for power. That is, one who wants power must have others to be powerful over. If you can convince half the world that you have a right, simply because of your sex, to have the power and they cannot, because god says so, why wouldn't you do it? But why does any woman buy into this?

“They called out to Lot and said, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Send them out to us so we can have sex with them! Lot went out to them at the entrance and shut the door behind him. He said, “Don’t do this evil, my brothers. Look, I’ve got two daughters who haven’t had sexual relations with a man. I’ll bring them out to you, and you can do whatever you want to them. However, don’t do anything to these men, because they have come under the protection of my roof.” (Genesis 19:5-8)

When I started really considering whether a book had the right to dictate how I should be perceived, only because I happen to have been born female, I decided it could not. That goes for any so-called holy book or any religion or philosophy. To me, a book only has power over you to change how you perceive yourself if you allow it to.

I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. --Susan B. Anthony

If there are women that want to be submissive to the men in their lives, they can be. But because America is a nation of laws, others that do not want to live this way do not have to and can, in good stead, reject that choice of life. I prefer relationships that are based on love, respect and equality.

That gets me to the heart of my philosophical argument I had with myself regarding a just god. I don't believe that if god exists, he or she would make a distinction based on a flawed book between male and female, that he would punish a woman just for eating an apple that represented knowledge, or create physical problems and pain. If that were true, then god would be no better than an abusive husband. I do not see any evidence among religions that claim to speak for god that women are treated consistently better. Is there any reason to have male dominance over women aside from claims for it, or justification based on a book? No.

If god existed, and god were good, he or she or it would have made sure that everyone, male or female, was treated fairly and that if there were those that sought to lord it over others were stepping out of bounds, they would be snapped back. Instead there are a host of evils that are done to woman in the name of religion.

The birth of a daughter is a loss” (Ecclesiasticus 22:3).

Therefore, I reject religion as an artifice of humans designed for various earthly ends.

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1 - humanbeing   14 Nov 2010 @ 11:13:11 PM 

Religion is man's creation, not God's, as you have noted. Deciding there is no 'God' based on the limitiations (and disappointments?) of religion does not prove there is no God.

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2 - salon   15 Nov 2010 @ 7:54:39 AM 

What I'm describing is some of what led up to me thinking and researching about whether god exists and this particular post is about feminism and religion and whether if there actually were a god he or she would require such nonsense.

As far as a god itself. There is no scientific or empirical evidence that a god exists.Nothing to prove that there was a god/s that created the world at some initial stage. If there is a god and someone wants me to believe that, it's up to that person to prove the negative, and to do so on the basis of reasonable, observable facts, not feelings or unexaminable faith. Someone can't do it on the basis of reference to a so-called holy book (none of them, the bible, the koran, the extra mormon chapters, etc) that is full of flaws, errors, and contradictions. I'm with Ricky Gervais on this.

It annoys me that the burden of proof is on us. It should be: "You came up with the idea. Why do you believe it?" I could tell you I've got superpowers, but you can't go up to people saying "Prove I can't fly." They'd go: "What do you mean 'Prove you can't fly'? Prove you can!

I do think that consideration of thes types of things is why so many of the early founding fathers in this country were deists, that is, they didn't believe in a personal god but one that created the world and then no longer had any direct interferernce in it. Even then, there is absolutely zero proof from reason that gods created the world at some point in time.

If at some point, someone or a group of someone proves that god exists other than "I know he lives, he lives within my heart" type of stuff, I probably would change my mind. But that's how science works-you have hypotheses, you test those hypotheses with observation and from that you form a reasonable theory . One can't do the scientific method for philosophical theories.

For me, this is a wonderful, realistic way to see the world, and enjoy my place in it. Being an atheist in America is a good thing, not bad. Obama said that we are "a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and nonbelievers."

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3 - humanbeing   15 Nov 2010 @ 9:11:39 AM 

I would argue that the existence of God can neither be proved nor disproved by any form of intellectual analysis.

I believe that this great mystery called 'God', is something beyond any form of definition, characterization or imagination and can only truly be experienced when one has silenced the mind and its thoughts.

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4 - salon   15 Nov 2010 @ 9:30:41 AM 

And you can believe that. I've said that I have no problem or issue with others that want to believe that god(s) in whatever form exist. I also want the same consideration that I believe there is no god.

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5 - humanbeing   15 Nov 2010 @ 9:48:58 AM 

Sorry, salon, I thought this post was open for dialogue.

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6 - salon   15 Nov 2010 @ 10:12:58 AM 

It is. I'm just replying, maybe I should have put it another way. What I think is truly great in America is that we have freedom of religion or freedom from religion. Sometimes I feel like, living in Texas, there are those that wish that didn't exist, this rich diversity of belief, philosophy, or thought. (Not you!) The problem with writing stuff is that you can't tell my tone; not trying to shut down your comments.

You know how you put in the recommendation a while back to watch God in America? I had recorded it and finished watching it last night. There were at least three things that stood out in the last episode. One was where Billy Graham invited Nixon to one of his dognponies a couple of years before Nixon even ran. Another was seeing the video footage of children actually being led in in prayer in schools, and the resulting lawsuit.

Third, our religious composition makes us a vastly more diverse people than were our forefathers. They knew differences chiefly among Protestant sects. Today the Nation is far more heterogeneous religiously, including as it does substantial minorities not only of Catholics and Jews but as well of those who worship according to no version of the Bible and those who worship no God at all.8

See Torcaso v. Watkins, 367 U.S. 488, 495. In the face of such profound changes, practices which may have been objectionable to no one in the time of Jefferson and Madison may today be highly offensive to many persons, the deeply devout and the nonbelievers alike.

Whatever Jefferson or Madison would have thought of Bible reading or the recital of the Lord's Prayer in what few public schools existed in their day, our use of the history of their time must limit itself to broad purposes, not specific practices. By such a standard, I am persuaded, as is the Court, that the devotional exercises carried on in the Baltimore and Abington schools offend the First Amendment because they sufficiently threaten in our day those substantive evils the fear of which called forth the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment....

The case shows how elusive is the line which enforces the Amendment's injunction of strict neutrality, while manifesting no official hostility toward religion - a line which must be considered in the cases now before us.10 Some might view the result of the Ballard case as a manifestation of hostility - in that the conviction stood because the defense could not be raised. To others it might represent merely strict adherence to the principle of neutrality already expounded in the cases involving doctrinal disputes. Inevitably, insistence upon neutrality, vital as it surely is for untrammeled religious liberty, may appear to border upon religious hostility. But in the long view the independence of both church and state in their respective spheres will be better served by close adherence to the neutrality principle. If the choice is often difficult, the difficulty is endemic to issues implicating the religious guarantees of the First Amendment. Freedom of religion will be seriously jeopardized if we admit exceptions for no better reason than the difficulty of delineating hostility from neutrality in the closest cases.

The third was the lawsuit in which a school was holding religious instruction during school hours and one child would be left alone in the class because he wasn't a participant.

But the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case and on March 9, 1948, it delivered an 8-1 decision saying the religious education classes in Champaign's public schools violated the constitutional provisions for separation of church and state.

Writing for the majority, Justice Hugo Black said, "The 1st Amendment has erected a wall between the church and the state which must be kept high and impregnable."

If we don't all speak out about things we believe or don't believe in, it makes it easier for those who want to tear that wall down to think they have complete public support. But I know you agree with me that the consituttion and courts are also there to protect minority opinions.

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7 - humanbeing   15 Nov 2010 @ 6:22:17 PM 

I agree with you completely. salon, about the separation of church and state and about the problem of religion having many other agendas, besides the spiritual one.  I take no issue with your personal choices in these matters.

I was merely offering some food for thought. I know there are many different ways of looking at the same thing (in this case, God) and I hope I will always speak for this perspective when presented with the opportunity.

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