Last time I suggested that there is evidence, that on the part of some, women are viewed as inferior objects to be used, rather than equal human beings to be appreciated. The recent media barrage reporting incidents of inappropriate sexual behavior toward women supports this assertion. I promised to complete the article this week by addressing why Christianity is the best thing that ever happened to women.
Let’s begin with Jesus. The world that He entered afforded little honor and placed small value on women. In fact women, in His day, were viewed as being emotionally, intellectually and spiritually inferior. This was not Jesus’ view. The care that He gave the Samaritan lady in John 4 is just one example. In the gospels we find numerous women following Jesus as disciples. They were influential in His ministry and some of them made financial contributions to His work (Luke 8:3).
The apostle Paul, emphasizing the equality of all Christians wrote, “…there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26,28). If there were any doubt left, it would be eradicated by Ephesians 5:25 where we read, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” Note the pronoun “her” indicating that Jesus likens His followers to a beautiful bride preparing for marriage.
Christianity has occasionally, if not often, been accused of demeaning behavior toward and undignified treatment of females. Sadly, at times, the allegations have been accurate. However, I would like to point out, that typically and historically, anywhere in the world where true biblical Christianity has been introduced and practiced, women (and children) have received greater honor and their rights have been elevated.
Many positive changes for women have been fomented by Christianity. For example, the Roman law/practice of patria potestus, “power of a father”, which gave the man absolute, supreme power over the life and death of wife and family, was repealed by an Emperor influenced by Christianity.
The practice of taking child brides was contested and exists today only in parts of the world un-impacted by Christianity. Moreover, wherever Christianity has taken root, the demeaning practice of polygamy and the owning of women as chattel, has been challenged and changed.
Wives being burned alive on their husband’s funeral pyres in India and the crippling practice of foot binding in China (which allegedly made women more seductive/appealing) were both confronted and eradicated primarily through the influence of Christianity.
Conversely, there are places in the world today, and again, typically countries unaffected by Christianity, where women are not allowed to drive vehicles; others where the husband has the legal right to afflict his wife in a sexually malevolent fashion or to brutalize, beat and/or abandon her. Some cultures blame women for everything from the entrance of sin into this world to the lust that enters the hearts of men.
I rest my case. Christianity is the best thing that has ever happened to women!