Friday, September 6, 2013

Is Islam Evil? - Part VII

In previous posts I have shown that the opening sentence of the Bible and the first two chapters of the Old Testament book Genesis are sexist, and that on the assumption that Jehovah inspired and guided the writing of the books of the OT, we should conclude that Jehovah is a sexist and that Jehovah is a false god.

Chapter 3 of Genesis confirms the previous interpretation of the first two chapters of that book. After Adam and Eve disobey Jehovah's command to not eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, Jehovah punishes each of them with a curse.  Here is the curse proclaimed against Eve:

To the woman he said,

“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
    with painful labor you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
    and he will rule over you.”  (Genesis 3:16, NIV, emphasis added)

In the second chapter of Genesis it was already implied that Adam should "rule over" Eve, because (a) the first woman was created for the purpose of helping Adam, esp. helping Adam to be happy, and (b) Jehovah brought the first woman to Adam in order for Adam to name and evaluate her (naming being a common symbol of a king's authority over another person), as with the previous animals Jehovah had made.  So, this explicit declaration that husbands were supposed to "rule over" their wives was already implied in the previous chapter.

In any case, both Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, so neither one was shown to be morally or intellectually inferior to the other (as far as we can tell from the story).  So, Eve no more deserved to be placed under the authority of Adam than Adam deserved to be placed under the authority of Eve.  Furthermore, even if Eve was in some way significantly inferior (intellectually or morally) to Adam, this has no relevance for whether or not women are in general inferior (intellectually or morally) to men, nor to whether or not husbands in general should "rule over" their wives.

Once again, Jehovah is either omniscient or not.  If omniscient, then Jehovah knew that any intellectual or moral inferiority of Eve to Adam was irrelevant to the question of whether husbands should in general "rule over" their wives.  Thus Jehovah was being unfair and mean to billions of women in proclaiming that husbands should "rule over" their wives.  Jehovah was knowingly promoting sexist beliefs and practices by making this proclamation, and so was a sexist for promoting sexism, even though Jehovah knew that women were not in general inferior  (intellectually or morally) to men. If Jehovah was unfair to women by promoting sexist beliefs and practices, then Jehovah was NOT a perfectly good person, and thus Jehovah would be a false god.

On the other hand, if Jehovah truly believed that women were inferior to men, then Jehovah would have been just as ignorant on this subject as the men of ancient Israel, and thus Jehovah would not have been omniscient.  If Jehovah was ignorant in this matter, then Jehovah was a just an ordinary ignorant sexist, like the men of ancient Israel.  If Jehovah was an ignorant sexist, then Jehovah was a false god.

So, it does not matter whether Jehovah was omniscient or not.  If Jehovah was omniscient, then Jehovah was a false god, and if Jehovah was not omniscient, then Jehovah was a false god.  Thus, Jehovah is a false god.  And if Jehovah was a false god, then Jesus was a false prophet, because he taught his disciples to pray to Jehovah.  So, Jesus was a false prophet, and Christianity is a false religion.

There are many passages in the Old Testament that imply that Jehovah is a sexist, on the assumption that Jehovah exists and that Jehovah inspired and guided the writing of the Old Testament.  If you are not convinced by the evidence of the first three chapters of Genesis, then I urge you to buy or borrow a copy of the book God and Sex: What the Bible Really Says by Michael Coogan (editor of The New Oxford Annotated Bible, and co-editor of The Oxford Companion to the Bible).  I'm going to briefly summarize here some of the evidence that Coogan covers in more detail in his book.

In ancient Israel and in the OT, women were considered to be property, first of their fathers, and then of their husbands.

1. Fathers could sell their daughters into slavery (Exodus 21:7-11).
2. Fathers could sell their daughters into marriage for a 'bride-price' (Exodus 22:16-17).
3. Jephthah sacrificed his daughter to Jehovah (Judges 11:30-39) , yet he is considered to be one of the great heroes of Israel (I Samuel 12:8-11)
4.  Fathers could nullify vows of their daughters, and husbands could nullify vows of their wives (Numbers 30:3-15).
5. Although the OT prohibits several different types of incestuous sexual relationships, there is no prohibition of a father having sex with his own daughter (Leviticus 18:6-16), presumably because she was his property, and having sex with her would mean that she could not be sold for the higher bride-price that could be obtained for virgin girls.
6. The Ten Commandments given by Jehovah, speak of wives as property of their husbands:

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. (Exodus 20:17, NIV, emphasis added)

7. Virginity was required of young women (Deuteronomy 22:13-21) , and sexual fidelity was required of engaged and married women (Deuteronomy 22:23-24 and Leviticus 20:10 & Deuteronomy 22:22) on pain of death, but neither virginity nor fidelity were required of men.  Men were only required to leave alone the wives (or engaged women) who were property of another man.
8.  In cases of the rape of a girl, it was the Father who was given payment, because his daughter was now damaged goods and would not bring the higher bride-price for a virgin. So the Father rather than the girl was viewed as the victim of rape, and the girl who was raped could be required to become the wife of her rapist (Deuteronomy 22:28-29).
9. The laws Jehovah gave to ancient Israel made it easy for a man to divorce his wife, but made no provision for a wife to divorce her husband.  So, even if a man was abusive to his wife or sexually unfaithful to his wife, she had no legal option of divorce. (Deuteronomy 24:1-4).
10.  According to Jehovah's commands, only men were allowed to be priests (Exodus 28:1-5 and 40:12-16).
11. The Laws of Israel, including the Ten Commandments, were (supposedly) given by Jehovah, a deity represented as a male,  to Moses, a male prophet, who then brought them to an all-male audience:

So Moses went down from the mountain to the people.  He consecrated the people, and they washed their clothes.  And he said to the people, "Prepare for the third day, do not go near a woman." (Exodus 19:9-15, NRSV, emphasis added. See also: 20:1-21, 21:1, 24:1-7)

12. The very wording of the Ten Commandments shows that the intended audience was men, and not women: "You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey..." (Exodus 20:17).  Men are commanded not to covet the wives of other men.  There is no similar command for women to not covet the husbands of other women.  Men owned houses and wives and slaves and donkeys.  Women did not own their husbands, so women could not, on this assumption, covet another woman's husband. 
13. It was acceptable for men to have multiple wives (polygyny) "as did Abraham, Jacob, David, and other biblical heroes, with no sign of divine disapproval." (God and Sex, p.79). There is no indication that a woman ever had, or could have, more than one husband  This is another indication that women were viewed as property of men.  Men could own one wife or many wives.  Women could not own even one husband, because a woman was the property of her father until marriage, when she became the property of her husband.  The laws of Jehovah recognized the legitimacy of polygyny:

If a man has two wives, and he loves one but not the other, and both bear him sons but the firstborn is the son of the wife he does not love, when he wills his property to his sons, he must not give the rights of the firstborn to the son of the wife he loves in preference to his actual firstborn, the son of the wife he does not love. He must acknowledge the son of his unloved wife as the firstborn by giving him a double share of all he has. That son is the first sign of his father’s strength. The right of the firstborn belongs to him. (Deuteronomy 21:15-17, NIV, emphasis added)

14.  The above passage from the Laws of Jehovah not only recognizes the legitimacy of polygyny, it also approves of  traditional favoritism of sons in terms of inheritance.  Note there is no mention here of inheritance for the daughters of the loved vs. hated wives.  The law is concerned with inheritance being passed on to the sons, with the bulk of inheritance going to the firstborn son.  Women were discriminated against in terms of inheritance of property, and Jehovah's laws reinforce this discrimination.
15. Of the "approximately thirty-eight books of the Hebrew Bible, only two, Ruth and Esther, have women's names as titles, and not one is traditionally ascribed to a woman author." (God and Sex, p.55-56, emphasis added). If we assume that the writing and composition of the Old Testament was inspired and guided by Jehovah, then the fact that all of the authors of the OT were (apparently) men, implies that Jehovah had a policy of preferring men over women to reveal himself and his will to Israel.  In conjunction with the fact that the Ten Commandments were delivered by a male prophet to an all-male audience, and the fact that Jehovah demanded that all the priests of Israel be men, it is very clear that Jehovah approved of discrimination against women in terms of positions of religious authority.
16. "Descent was traced through the father; men were usually identified as the "son of" their father, as in Joshua son of Nun and Isaiah son of Amoz.  Women were similarly identified, at least until marriage, as in Rizpah the daughter of Ai and Esther the daughter of Abihail." (God and Sex, p. 22).  See Chapters 5 and 11 of the book of Genesis for an example of descent being traced from father to son.
17. "Within this patriarchal framework, women--daughters, wives, mothers, sisters--were subordinates and, like younger sons, are often not mentioned.  Even when they have narrative significance, they are frequently unnamed: we are never told the names of Noah's wife, Lot's wife, Jephthah's daughter, Samson's mother, Job's wife, and many other notable women." (God and Sex, p. 23). Jehovah's failure to mention women and to name women involved in OT events, suggests that Jehovah had a sexist bias against women.  See the story of Noah in Chapters 6-9 of the book of Genesis.
18. Lot offers his two virgin daughters up to be gang raped by a group of violent men in order to show hospitality to angels who visited his house and to protect his visitors from being raped (Genesis 19:1-8).  This is an example of how men treated women as property.  There is no indication in the story that Lot was wrong to offer up his daughters to be gang raped, so this story reinforces and promotes the sexism that was present in the culture of ancient Israel.
19. Jehovah assigned a monetary value to various categories of persons, so that instead of sacrificing a son or daughter to Jehovah, someone could give the monetary equivalent to Jehovah.  Females and children are consistently valued less than males and adults by Jehovah. For example, a male between age 5 and 20 was valued at 20 shekels of silver, while a female of the same age range was valued at 10 shekels of silver. (Leviticus 27:3-7).
20.  Sarah refers to her husband Abraham as her 'lord' and her 'master' (Genesis 18:12 and 20:3). "Both of these terms are indicative of the status of the wife: she was under her husband's rule, she was his property...the word 'master' is frequently used for ownership in the laws concerning property." (God and Sex, p.24)
21. "The primary function of marriage was to produce offspring--especially, as in most patriarchal societies, male offspring." (God and Sex, p.64).  In ancient Israel sons were much preferred over daughters.  This sexist attitude is reinforced in some Psalms of the Old Testament (Psalm 127:3-5 and Psalm 128:3-6.  Note: The New Revised Standard Version translates 'sons' as 'children' in Psalm 128, in order to avoid sexist language and ideas, but that is not an accurate translation of the Hebrew).

The Old Testament touches on the following topics: the origin of human beings, marriage relationships, arranged marriages, slavery, rape, virginity, sexual fidelity, divorce, incest, polygamy, coveting a neighbor's possessions, the Ten Commandments, qualifications for the priesthood, and the inheritance of property.  In each of these areas of the Old Testament women are treated as inferior to men, as property of men, as second-class citizens of ancient Israel, and as being under the authority of men.  

Assuming that the writing of the books of the Old Testament was inspired and guided by Jehovah, one must conclude that Jehovah was a sexist, thus that Jehovah was a false god.