In a recent article, an author describes his objection to Christianity and states “Why I Am Not A Christian.” The objection is based upon his misunderstanding of scriptures which he views as sexist and misogynistic.
The truth is, the teachings of Jesus provide us with the singular religion in the world which elevates women to equal status with men.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all equal in Christ Jesus. ~Galatians 3:28
The two verses cited by Paul Mohn, have nothing to do with diminishing women, but are simply statements of fact. Women being silent during church meetings was a problem that Paul addressed in his first letter to the Christians at Corinth. During that period of history, men and women sat on opposite sides of the room in a church service, as was their tradition. Often during a service, a wife would ask, out loud, a question of her husband, and these outbursts disturbed the rest of the people attending the service. Paul was instructing women to hold their questions until after the service was concluded and ask their husbands at home, so as to not disturb the others in attendance.
This comes out clearly in the Message Translation of this text by Eugene Peterson:
Wives must not disrupt worship, talking when they should be listening, asking questions that could more appropriately be asked of their husbands at home. God’s Book of the law guides our manners and customs here. Wives have no license to use the time of worship for unwarranted speaking. ~1 Corinthians 14:34-35 (MSG)
The second scripture that Mohn incorrectly concludes, is regarding who has the authority in the Christian household. In every facet of life, there is a leader, one who is the primary decision maker. We have a president of the United States, whose authority is first in the executive branch and can check and balance both the legislative and the judicial branches. The president of the United States has the power to veto statutes proposed by Congress. He also has the authority to nominate federal justices and judges, who serve for life. Though he is the leader of the nation, the opinions of the people should have everything to do with his decision making process.
In the Christian Marriage, although both are equal before God, there is one head of the family unit, the husband. The wife, in this regard, is to respect his role as the head of the family. This is no way diminishes the importance of the wife, for the Christian husband must consult with His wife before making any decision and consider her opinion and feelings in all things.
In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. ~1 Peter 3:1 (NLT)
In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered. ~1 Peter 3:7 (NLT)
Here, we see that both the husband and wife are “equal partners” before God, but the husband is the head, who must consider and give honor to his wife. The warning by God is that if the husband mistreats or takes advantage of his wife, his prayers will be hindered, ie., God will not answer his prayers. This helps us understand that God considers it a great offense when a man abuses his wife and fails to consider her ideas and feelings in all his decisions.
The man may have the authority in the family, but he also bears the greater responsibility before God for what happens while he is in charge. Failures reside squarely upon the husband, for where much is given, much is required.
It is very common for critics who have a particular desire to try and discredit the Bible, Christians, or the God of the Bible, to pick out verses of scriptures and claim that these texts prove a particular offensive point that the critic is trying to make.
In truth, any person who reads through the New Testament in a modern version like the 2015, New Living Translation, can see for themselves that God elevates women to a high place, equal to men, and holds men accountable for how they treat women.
There is no religion in existence today which gives higher honor to women, nor places women equally important with men, greater than the teachings of Jesus and the scriptures of the New Testament.
Whenever you hear these objections it would be a good idea to take out a copy of the Bible and read the text for yourself. This will always clear up any misunderstanding and clarify that the critic is the one who is wrong, not the teaching of the Bible.