Christianity and Islam Still Encourages Patriarchy! Why? Females Cannot be Priests! Why?
Well, gender discrimination is no new topic for us. For years and years in history, and even now, we have witnessed women being oppressed in a patriarchal society, which was often justified as a part of culture and customs. Women were married off as kids, not allowed to go to school, not allowed to vote, were taught that their primary role is cooking and cleaning, and was intensely deprived of basic human rights.
Gender discrimination is in no way justifiable. Men and women are, in fact, very equal and should get to do what they please without the dictation of one party coming over as superior. But certain rules and regulations in certain aspects still do not permit this and do claim to have a say over who gets to do what. That is what we will be talking about here.
In certain sects or denominations in Christianity and Islam, women are not permitted to become priests. This does sound like gender discrimination. Will true religion permit patriarchy? And will freedom from religion eradicate it? For all we know, freedom from religion will most definitely not end gender discrimination. This is because the cause is far more deep-rooted and religion is actually just an excuse to justify it.
However, in this case, religion itself seems to be putting some bars on freedom. Would true religion do that? Does true religion require limiting freedom in order to fulfil its criteria?
The importance of the women according to Christianity
As we all know, the Bible is the Holy Book of Christianity. The Bible consists of many parts like the Old Testament and the New Testaments. It is not untrue that Christianity did not demarcate specific gender roles. This is because the Biblical texts have been influenced by the environment of those times. The position of women in society back then should definitely have had a little influence on how women were portrayed in the writing of the holy text.
The Journal Of Social Understanding states, "They believe that church has always been the domain of celibate males, who have chosen to emphasize teachings that were negative towards women so that women could be kept at the secondary position, primarily in church and secondarily in society.".
Modern interpreters of the bible
In later Christianity, however, the position and portrayal of men rose considerably. Even though modern interpreters of the Bible condemned Eve's actions of eating the forbidden fruit and emphasized her inferiority to Adam, they were much more open to ideas of equality and freedom than the celibate priests of the Catholic Church.
In his lectures of Genesis, Martin Luther King greatly emphasized the importance of mothers. He said that just like Jesus himself, mothers loved, cared for, and nourished as well. He claimed that it is the fault of 'ungodly celibacy that aspersions are cast against female sex' (lectures on Genesis, 3.16). However, he also did say that women are allowed to do their motherly duties under the influence of their husbands.
Luther King expressed women as an image of God himself and condemned the proponents of celibacy that viewed women as temptresses.
In any case, freedom from religion would not have given women absolute freedom from the chains of the patriarchal society. Freedom from religion might have freed them from the rules on doctrines of the religion, but the patriarchal society would have awaited them outside the bars of religion.
Disobeying the preach talk of your religion, however, would not result in losing your religion in all cases.
Is Islam the most restricted religion for women?
The lifestyle and suppression of Muslim women have been buzzing topics of talk throughout the years. Most people who have read the Quran will tell you that the holy book had declared everyone equally irrespective of their gender. But the actual living experiences of women in Islam is very different from what the Quran teaches. Muslim women are one of the most suppressed sections of society.
In Muslim countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan, women are known to have little or no freedom. They are not allowed to go in public without a male companion, they are not permitted to wear clothing that might expose any skin, they are not allowed to receive a proper education, and there are many more basic human rights that they are clearly deprived of.
Once again, you may say freedom from religion will lead to them achieving freedom, but unfortunately enough, it is not the case at all. Freedom from religion might only bring about the change of them not being obliged to wear a hijab, for those that do not want to wear it. And that is all the help that freedom from religion will give them. In a society like that, you will be forced to follow norms you do not like. The majority would not favour you at all.
losing your religion could lead to you losing your life
On the other hand, disobeying the norms will lead you to lose your religion. But that is only for the sense of meaning. Rules are so strict in places of conservative Muslim majority, they keep their religion above their life.
This does not apply to all Islamic regions, however. Many are well developed, educated, and at par with modern times. And as a matter of fact, they are the only ones going by the true religion of Islam since nowhere does Islam promote patriarchy or suppression of women.
Why Are Women Not Allowed To Be Priests?
It is not true that women are not allowed to become priests at all. They are. But they are not allowed to hold very high positions. If taken as a profession, women are technically allowed to hold equal positions to men too. In Christianity, this is pretty much an issue of controversy in the current times because, in certain Christian traditions and denominations, ordination was predominantly a male-dominated job. There is no specific reason as to why, but it only seems to prefer to follow the pattern that history has seen being followed.
Presently, people have to come to realize how true religion doesn't bias anyone against who they are and that there is no reason why women cannot become priests. Women are beginning to speak up on this issue and explain true religion.
As for Islam, the Quran already says what it has to and is a perfect example of true religion inarticulate sense of meaning. However, in the given case, the scenario gets a little different. Muslims do not generally ordain leaders. They consider the 'imam' to be their religious and spiritual leader, which has been a male role all this time, while women are not even seen going to mosques or the like.
In a nutshell
The topic of women acting as imams and leading a salat is a topic of intense controversy and is a place where true religion might need a little more explanation, and the Quran might express equality a little more.
Hence, it may be said that this certain hesitancy about letting women become priests actually comes from no religious bar or anything that the holy books say but is mainly due to patriarchal traditions that had been followed in the past and the pattern that males, or maybe everyone, grew comfortable with. Hence the struggle in the present times.
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