The QuasiChristian

Critical Thinking and Spiritual Reasoning

Women Are The Devil’s Gateway: Misogyny in the Bible and Church


I mentioned on my Facebook Page that my next research project will be about Misogyny in the Bible and Church from a historical and contemporary perspective.

Here’s a sample of what I’m compiling in my research. This quote is from the writings of Tertullian (160 A.D. – 225 A.D.). Theologically, he is considered one of the great Christian fathers, positioning him as founder of Latin Christian doctrine and proponent of much in orthodox Western Church dogmas as a whole.

This is his own writing (referring to women):

“And do you not know that you are (each) an Eve? The sentence of God on this sex of yours lives in this age: the guilt must of necessity live too. You are the devil’s gateway: you are the unsealer of that (forbidden) tree: you are the first deserter of the divine law: you are she who persuaded him whom the devil was not valiant enough to attack. You destroyed so easily God’s image, man. On account of your desert—that is, death—even the Son of God had to die.”

I encourage you to read these sources for yourself. Pastors, ministers, evangelists, and those who refer to themselves as apostles and prophets should be very familiar with Church history. Persons in those positions should be able to converse fluently about the first 500 years of Christianity, Christian Middle Ages (600 – 1500),  Age of Reformation (1500 – 1650), and the last 300 years of the Church.

Misogyny is just one of several black marks on Christianity that need to be readily addressed when trying to bring people to the faith. Being ignorant of the fact is not an excuse when confronted with opposing view points. Calling the “devil” a liar or clinging to “the Bible is inerrant” is viewed as an easy way out and intellectually dishonest.

Update: I’ve compiled over 75 Bible verses (Hebrew Bible / Old Testament  and New Testament) that support my assertion that the Bible is anti-women.

“Ante-Nicene Fathers” is an eight volume collection. “Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers” is a 28 volume collection.

Roberts, A., Donaldson, J., & Coxe, A. C. (1997). The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. IV : Translations of the writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325 (14). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems.

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August 25, 2010 - Posted by | Church History, Women | , , , , ,

16 Comments »

  1. I’m familiar with how people view Tertullian, his comment is way off base though. The only place Eve is even mentioned in relation to The Fall of Man is when God tells her she will have pain in child birth, and that while her desire will be for her husband, he shall rule over him.

    Everywhere else in Scripture, it is clear that Adam is to blame for man’s current condition (at the human level, anyway, obviously God’s sovereignty and plan played the more major role). Romans 5:12-21 tells us that we all died in Adam, not Eve. Genesis doesn’t tell us that Eve tricked or persuaded Adam, it simply says she gave it to him, and he ate it.

    Furthermore, to say that all women are “the devil’s gateway” in the sense that Eve was (as Tertullian believes) is just ridiculous. Scripture is clear that we all died in Adam, and are slaves to sin from birth, how can woman be more of a “devil’s gateway” than man when we are all slaves to sin apart from Christ?

    Lastly, how can “the hatred of women” be included in the Bible when Paul makes it clear that men are to LOVE their wives and lead sacrificially like Jesus did? I don’t doubt that this may have been the view of some of the early church fathers, and probably of church leaders today, in some circles, but to be a black mark on Christianity would mean that the Bible endorsed such behavior, and it doesn’t.

    Comment by dsartain18 | August 25, 2010 | Reply

    • I’m not surprised by your denial and emotional defense. Few want to be intellectually honest about this issue. Misogyny is prevalent throughout the Bible and the Church. Of course, this contradicts the “Christian theme” of the Bible.

      Have you studied this topic personally? It’s obvious from your last statement that you haven’t.

      A black mark, simply defined, is an unfavorable item on one’s record . How does the Bible come into play? Do you deny that The Crusades are a black mark on Christianity as well?

      Comment by K.C. Brownstone | August 25, 2010 | Reply

  2. Well, first of all, my response wasn’t emotional because I can’t intellectually debate a topic I disagree with. It was emotional because the very concept of this goes completely against the Bible and the Gospel, against everything Christ died for. So yes, I will gladly get very emotional concerning that.

    Second, if this so obviously contradicts the Christian theme of the Bible, then why do you believe it’s in the Bible? Would the Bible then not contradict itself, and be a useless philosophy like the rest of man’s attempt to explain reality? The Bible doesn’t, and can’t contradict itself and remain of any value. Not only does basic philosophy teach us this in the law of non-contradiction, but the Bible says it as well in “a house divided against itself cannot stand”…or it might say kingdom, either way the point is the same.

    I don’t deny that The Crusades are a black mark on those who have claimed the Christian religion in the past. However, the Bible clearly teaches that such actions are wrong, are sin. So those that did such things in the name of “Christianity” strayed so far from Christianity it’s ridiculous. When someone mentions the crusades in relation to Christianity, I have to stop, apologize for the confusion, and tell them that is emphatically NOT what Christianity is about. As I said, I don’t deny that some of the early church fathers may have held this “misogyny” view, but it’s not Biblical.

    Lastly, you ask how the Bible comes into play…you’re talking about Christianity, I’d assume the Bible being part of that would be obvious.

    Comment by dsartain18 | August 25, 2010 | Reply

    • Don’t assume my position on inerrancy. 🙂

      I do appreciate your point of view and I’m glad you clicked your way on here!

      Comment by K.C. Brownstone | August 25, 2010 | Reply

      • By that, are you saying you don’t believe the Bible is inerrant?

        Comment by dsartain18 | August 25, 2010

      • By that, I’m simply stating you assumed something about me in your argument.

        Comment by K.C. Brownstone | August 25, 2010

  3. I’m not sure how.

    You said “Misogyny is prevalent throughout the Bible and the Church. Of course, this contradicts the Christian theme of the Bible. ”

    I said it couldn’t be because the Bible doesn’t contradict itself, and this concept goes against what we see in Scripture.

    I’m not sure how that assumes you believe anything.

    Comment by dsartain18 | August 25, 2010 | Reply

    • You said “…Would the Bible then not contradict itself…” as if I would agree with you on that point.

      I see your point. I should have placed Christian theme in quotes for emphasis. Or I could have said “the supposed Christian theme of the Bible”. Something along those lines.

      Comment by K.C. Brownstone | August 25, 2010 | Reply

  4. Interesting topic. When I first became a Christian, misogyny in chistendom was something that interested me greatly. I often found myself attacking Paul, Peter, the author of Genesis, and the early church fathers. Of course at this point I did not believe in the inerrancy of the Bible or Christ as the only path to Heaven. My faith was very lacking in orthodoxy (if not in knowledge).

    However after more study, lots of prayer, and after spending a year working among orthodox Jews I began to see Paul for the revolutionary women’s rights activist he was. I was opened to Peter as a man with great understanding of human interaction and how that plays out both in the church and in our families. Finally I began to see that while Eve may have been the first to talk to the serpent, if anything, Adam was responsible for our fall into sin (which is exactly what the Bible teaches).

    Of course any discussion of misogyny in the Bible will have to being with the view of inerrancy for all involved. Because as Don stated, if we operate under the framework of the Bible being inerrant, then we are confronted with two choices. Either our understanding of the supposed misogyny in the Bible is incorrect or what the Bible teaches from cover to cover about equality before Christ is not advocating what it appears to. If we are moving under the framework of inerrancy, then you can guess which one of those two we would choose.

    If on the other hand the Bible is not inerrant, then we have a conversation. However we have destroyed the foundation of our faith. I don’t see how a Christian can argue that the Bible is not inerrant. Because if it can be wrong about this, then it can certainly be wrong about our salvation, our resurrection, our eventual glorification.

    So first we must choose a framework. Then we must examine historical context. And finally we must apply a holistic approach to the issue. When we do that I don’t see how there can be any question about misogyny and the Bible.

    In addition I would call on you to provide specific instances of misogynistic passages directly from the text that we can look at and debate. You make vague claims of misogyny in the Bible without providing any specifics. Don on the other hand has even talked about specific passages that are perceived to be misogynous (but actually are not).

    As far as the early church fathers, yes some of them bent Scripture to their own ends. This happens even today. It will continue to happen until our Lords glorious return. All we can do as Christians is apologize and point out that these people are DO NOT speak for the Church and that Scripture DOES NOT support their message.

    Mike

    Comment by Mike | August 26, 2010 | Reply

    • If you read my post thoroughly you would know that I stated “my next research project will be about…”, “here is a sample of what I’m compiling”.

      So, no, I’m not going to now list all the bible passages that exhibit a blatant hostility toward the female gender. I will present my findings when it suits me. You, however, are welcome to conduct your own unbiased research in the mean time.

      Here’s something to tickle your fancy while you await: If a woman gives birth to a girl, she is unclean for twice as long had she given birth to a boy. (Leviticus 12:1-5). Chew on that for now.

      Sorry, I’m not keeping the lid on this. Women and young girls need to be aware of their inferior status “according to the Bible”. The text speaks for itself.

      Comment by K.C. Brownstone | August 26, 2010 | Reply

  5. Well you make a lot of assertions for someone who has not done any research yet. Are you sure that you would be open enough if your research proves you wrong in your thesis? Don’t be so attached to your initial thought that you bend the text to your thesis instead of allowing the text to guide you.

    Why not start with Galatians 3:28?
    Then we can also see the importance of women and the egalitarian nature of Scripture in…

    John 2:1-11
    John 4:25-26
    Mark 15:41
    Matthew 27:55-56
    Matthew 27:61
    John 20:1-16
    Acts 5:14
    Acts 8
    Acts 16:13-15
    1 Cor 16:19
    1 Peter 3:7
    Genesis 2:18
    Romans 16:3
    Phillipians 4:2

    As far as Lev 12 it is part of the curse that the woman must endure because of her role in mans initial fall into Sin. Just as man had his curse woman must endure hers. There is nothing misogynist about this. Both man and woman disobeyed and both man and woman must endure their part of the curse. If anything this text will flow to my side of the discussion.

    The message of the Bible is overwhlemingly egalitarian.

    Mike

    Comment by Mike | August 26, 2010 | Reply

    • I’d be careful in the use of “egalitarian” as men and women were not created equal. We have the same dignity, value, and worth, so one gender is not preferred over the other in that sense, but were created for different functions, so we are not completely equal in all senses.

      Comment by dsartain18 | August 26, 2010 | Reply

    • Why do you claim I haven’t done any research yet? You don’t know when I first posted to Facebook regarding this research project. You’re reading your own bias into my post.

      What part of “Here’s a sample of what I’m compiling” is foreign to you?

      You made your point. You deny that there is misogyny in the Bible. Move on.

      Comment by K.C. Brownstone | August 26, 2010 | Reply

      • It’s not simply a denial of the idea, it’s more that if you’re going to make such an outrageous, anti-Christian claim, and say the Bible supports it, you need to be forth-coming with the text that makes you think this from the get-go.

        And then not get all pretentious and say “I’ll post it when I’m ready” when someone asks for textual examples to support your theory.

        And you claim that I have bias, well, yeah. This idea is completely heretical, and the burden of proof is on you to support your idea, as it would be on me if I claimed the Bible was anti-male, anti-female, or that unicorns actually existed.

        If you aren’t ready to disclose the findings of your study, why even post on it at all when you know it will drive people to ask questions and want answers?

        Comment by dsartain18 | August 26, 2010

      • Now you’re telling me how to run my blog. Get a grip.

        My blog is primarily directed to those whom I communicate with via Facebook (Profile and Page). You just happened to stroll in here. I don’t have an issue with that, but don’t try to virtually manhandle what’s mine just to satisfy your wants and needs.

        Comment by K.C. Brownstone | August 26, 2010

    • Forgot to mention…

      Your response to Lev 12 is disgraceful. WOW!!!

      I’m not surprised. You don’t have much options.

      Either the text is a falsehood. God didn’t say that to Moses.

      Or God did say that, but wait, there should be an asterisk next to that. Look at your Study Bible notes or an evangelical commentary for the real deal on this. It’s not what you think.

      YAWN

      Comment by K.C. Brownstone | August 26, 2010 | Reply


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