Sexism In Christian Religion
The concepts of Christianity and racism have for a long time been regarded as incompatible. George Kelsey, in his thesis proves that in the same way, Christianity and sexism can as well be viewed to be incompatible. The Christian theology places emphasis that the worth of an individual is not as per his or her chromosomes but is within his relationship with the almighty God (Kelsey, 1965). This means that basing one’s personal self-worth on skin color and gender are viewed as forms idolatry. Despite of this Christian position, there has been sex bias in Christianity ever since the historical period. Sexism is an issue that is deeply rooted within the philosophical and religious traditions in most western worlds. To Christians, sexual difference is viewed as part of God’s creation, and sexual inequality is an issue that is ordained by God. Therefore, the system of meaning has enforced gender roles and gender concepts that define the male and female roles and aspect that contrasts between femininity and masculinity. The sex -role attitude is seen in the western religious and philosophical thought.
The historical overview of gender roles in Christianity indicates enormous changes throughout the history of the Christian church leadership. Unlike in the past there are more women biblical scholars and theologians than in the past. This has placed enormous attention on how gender assumptions and gender roles were used in the New and Old Testament and how they impacted on church leadership. The early religious traditions among Christians were based on the belief that the Bible was written to be read by the male. This can, for example, be seen in the Ten Commandments that show that man should not covet his neighbor’s wife. However, this aspect as change after the teachings done that wife in this case does not only mean a woman but can be property or man.
Another sexist approach that has changed in Christianity is that the female had no place in leadership roles because they were defined as been unfit and unclean at the time of their menstrual period or after giving birth. Also, when they gave birth to a daughter t, they were viewed as being unclean for fourteen days and seven days if they gave birth to a son. Such attitudes towards women have, however, changed in modern day Christianity but not the Hebrew teaching s that rely on the Old Testament. Though the book of proverbs and Ruth depict women as have enormous wisdom, courage and strength, they are generally regarded as being subordinate in the Old Testament. Men, on the other hand, were presented as having the right to conduct rituals that directly involving God such as in the covenant with God and his people. These views have not been totality accepted by Western Christians, but some still accept the teaching as being all true.
The third aspect that has changed in modern day Christianity is the dualistic world view that was proposed by early Greek philosophers such as Aristotle and Plato. They believed that the Greek males were between with the rationality and the ruling force of a good society. They showed that males were the spirit people while the body people comprised of women, barbarians, and slaves (Ruether, 1975). Aristotle teaching was that the male seed produces at its own image and the female seed as a result of an aberration or accident in the womb. Such believes were incorporated in the Hebrew Bible and other literature of the earlier centuries. There are also the teachings by Plato that sexual desires and acts that change people to have passion similar to those of beasts. These philosophical systems of the ancient Greece lead people to sexists thinking, and women were regarded as part of a lower process. The history of Christianity is rooted in these Greek philosophies mainly the Hebrew religion (Ruether, 1975, p 187). The western Christianity is based on clear scientific research that has proven these beliefs as wrong and was simply based on patriarchal views and their need for dominance in the society.
Kelsey G (1965) Racism and the Christian understanding of man. New York
Ruether R (1975) religion and sexism, New York, Simon & Schuster, p 187