Commenter Vince Albonov suggested a column on a little section of 1 Timothy, specifically chapter 2:11 – 12. Good idea, since it is from Paul, the man known as a disciple, apostle and herald (his words) of the truth of the Bible.
But it does give us a little problem today, were we to strictly follow all this in this short segment about women.
In 1 Timothy 2:11 he states: “A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.” It goes on with similar nonsense, but you get the idea.
I guess that goes along with the old stuff that all women and wives should be kept barefoot in summer and pregnant in winter. And why in the Bible (both Testaments) it is not worthwhile to teach women to read, write, or do anything else above being a scullery maid.
No point in learning that new fangled stuff of readin’ and writin’ when all you are going to do in life is raise babies, wash, clean and cook. Why would you women want to read or write anyway?
But throughout history we have had some learned women, from Nefertiti of Egypt through Cleopatra to Joan of Arc, Catherine de Medici of Spain, Mary Queen of Scots, Catherine the Great of Russia, Golda Meir of Israel to Margaret Thatcher of England. And a lot more through a couple of thousand years of history.
The problem is that Christians and before them Jews in the Old Testament always wanted women to be near-slaves, property to be owned, sold, traded, married off, given away, etc., with little thought to the wishes of the woman or women involved. Paul sure echoes this abhorrent philosophy.
Fortunately we have seen an erosion of this thinking over time, particularly in the last few hundred years. Right now I am waiting for a phone call from my bank manager. This manager is a woman, very learned about banking and always very helpful.
My mother was a teacher – I guess that Paul would have to scratch her as anyone worthwhile. My wife Brenda is a school nurse and has authority over all the boys (and girls) in her schools. Paul would not like that.
The third in line for the US presidency until the recent election of 2010 was a woman – Nancy Pelosi. Major corporations have been and are being run by women. Of course all this is not so good for the religionists, according to Paul.
We got rid of skin-color slavery. Riddance of de facto female slavery came later with the vote in 1920 in the US, the typewriter and opportunity to gain outside work to help women escape being “in service” to wealthy estate owners (check out the Downton series on TV). Equal opportunity laws in this country aided in giving women a valued working place in the work place, Parliament, the Senate, the House of Representatives, and private and governmental positions throughout society.
Perhaps we can forgive Paul, writing 2,000 years ago as he did. But perhaps we should be more skeptical about the Old Testament, the New Testament, the teachings of God and Jesus and the hatred, unfairness and misery that religions have always brought to free people.
Maybe Paul did not know better, but God should have – and not allowed Paul’s hatred in God’s Book, the Bible, the Inerrant Word of God. Skepticism is looking pretty good – just ask a woman.