Thursday, October 12, 2006

Even More Evidence That Christianity Views Women as the Property of Men

Craig Sowder, a Christian blogger and all around nice guy, has recently written about the ideas expressed in a book written by another Christian named Doug Wilson.

In his book, Doug Wilson writes about how a Christian man should go about finding a wife. Craig sums up Wilson's ideas of Christian courting by saying:

Wilson has written a little book called Her Hand in Marriage where he explains that, from a Biblical perspective, the father has authority over the daughter, and that an interested young man should approach the father before he ever approaches the daughter about courtship. If the father approves, the young man can begin spending time with his daughter under the supervision of the family. As time goes on, the two can begin spending more time alone together. But throughout the entire process, the father is the authority over the daughter.

Craig says that while he has a bone to pick with Wilson over specifics, he doesn't necessarily disagree with Wilson's general message.

To Craig's (partial) credit, he does say this in response to Wilson's views on women:

Sure, that all sounds good and everything until you actually try doing it that way. I would be willing to bet that if I walked up to the father of a girl I was interested in at church and said, "I'm interested in getting to know your daughter", the father would probably say, "Okay… she's standing right over there, so why don't you go talk to her?" Wilson might say that the father isn't doing his job, but the reality is that, right or wrong, this is the way things work in 21st century American culture.

Notice that while Craig accepts the reality of today's (post-Christian) world as not working that way, he doesn't actually disagree with Wilson's view that "women = property":

Now, as I said, I do believe Wilson's philosophy or vision for Christian courtship and marriage is a good one, so I don't want to give the impression that I disagree with it in theory.

Every time I read anything from a Christian about women, and every time I read any historical or news source concerning Christian treatment of women, the ownership concept is all over the place. What I mean is, that Christian women are owned at all times by someone other than themselves. Either they are owned by God, or their father, or their husband, or even a combination of these! But at any rate, the poor women are constantly treated as property.

But when Christians encounter my charge of sexism and maltreatment of the status of women, they disagree quite vocally. They say that not all Christians agree about this, and that I'm taking things out of context, or adhering to a narrow fundamentalist view of Christianity.

Yet again, I have to call bullshit. Ownership of women is so incredibly widespread in liberal, conservative, and moderate Christian circles, that I've yet to see a single Christian write against the idea. And believe me, I do read a lot of Christian writing. When I read religious/atheist blogs (and I do quite often) about half of my reading is done on Christian blogs, the other half is for atheist blogs. And this is probably the 1000th time I've read some Christian view about women not having ownership over their own person. I've yet to read anything from a Christian who says that a father or husband doesn't own their daughter or wife.

Would I ever accept a doctrine of my mother owning me and a woman having to ask my mother permission to court me? Hell no. And would I ever ask a father permission to court his daughter? Hell no. It's not his choice; its his daughter's choice. If I wanted to court a woman, it would be because I respect her as an equal, and my equals own themselves. It would be an insult to the woman to ask her father and to treat her like a commodity or piece of property.

I don't court pieces of property. I respect myself too much. I court women who are my equal. And I consider women my equal because I am not some chauvinistic insecure sexist bastard. I don't want to marry a piece of property. I want to marry an equal, where the respect and admiration and love between us is equal.

Craig, again to his credit, has experienced both Christian and non-Christian social environments. Craig couldn't ignore the reality of the situation when he compared Christian women to non-Christian women:

let me tell you that Christian women need to take a few lessons from non-Christian women. The non-Christian women I've been around over the years are not afraid to get into relationships with men and actually arrive at conclusions about men far more quickly than Christian women. Sometimes I don't think Christian women will go out for a cup of coffee with a guy without some kind of sign in the heavens telling them to go for it.

I literally LOL'ed at this. I think Craig may have accidentally revealed a bit too much about the detrimental effects that accepting an other-ownership doctrine can have in the mind of a young woman. Craig says here in no uncertain terms that non-Christian women are much more of what a woman should be: thinking for themselves, and taking responsibility for themselves.

Incidentally, Craig's blog is called "Autonomy is Madness," yet he quite clearly is praising secular women for their autonomy, while lamenting the lack of autonomy in Christian women. Craig has also expressed multiple times in the past that he thinks that Christian women are crazy.

So is autonomy madness, or is it the reverse? Craig is obviously implying that the reverse of his blog title's message is true, yet he doesn't seem to realize it. Craig can't seem to see the big picture here - that his religion is detrimental to the social lives of both male and female Christians. The Christian singles simply can't compete with the secular ones.

Anyway, where is the "women own themselves" Christian view? Where can I find the writings of a Christian who says that men do not own women, and that both men and women are equal in the sight of God? Where are the Christian writings that say that the father does not own the maiden, or that the husband does not own the wife?

And perhaps more importantly, where is the Biblical support for a "husband does not own the wife" Christian view?

Obviously the "women are property" Christian view is fucking up the lives of the Christian youth, and they are watching their secular peers live much happier, more fulfilling social and romantic lives, in general. I know that I sure am!

Thanks to Dr. Zachary Moore for writing about this first and bringing this to my attention.


Anonymous said...

I really like you Aaron!:) You are so right on the freaking mark! Christians absolutely do view women as property. Even the traditional christian wedding symbolizes ownership of women. The virginal bride wears white as her father passes his untainted property to another man, who is not expected to be virginal and can do whatever he wants with her. Its absolutely disgusting! I have two very beautiful daughters(13 & 11) and it will be over my dead body before anybody showboats them as property and my husband agrees! Who ever they want to date or marry is THEIR choice just like it is for our son. I also incourage my daughters to keep their own name and to make sure their children have THEIR name. I also tell them they dont even have to marry if they want children. If they feel they can raise a child on their own, then that is their choice and I will always be there to help out like it should be. As for my son(17 yrs) and he will tell you himself, he doesnt feel the need to force his name on a woman nor her children wheather he fathered the children or not. He doesnt feel it is his place to claim children that he did not suffer to bring into this world and conciders it a privilage to be a father not a gawd given right.

Thanks for the post to let me rant

beepbeepitsme said...

Even the expression, "who gives this woman to this man", denoted that the woman is the property of her father, which he passes to another man.

Quite weird in my opinion.

Aaron Kinney said...

Say no to christ,

Thank you!! Im glad you agree with me... but I feel like these ideas should be obvious to everyone! At least they are obvious to people like us.

I think you definitely are giving your children the right ideas. They will be able to make the right choices for themselves because they will understand what self-responsibility and self-determination are, and they will know how to wield it.


That whole giving the bride away thing makes me uneasy... Its like a "transferring ownership of property" ritual.

The parents should be there as invitees of the engaged couple, not as tyrants or deciders of the wedding.

Even if its only symbolic act in todays world, it is still demeaning - and a lie - symbolically.

Krystalline Apostate said...

Let's be fair here (don't throw stuff: I kin explain!) - arranged marriages were & are common across multiple cultures. If memory serves, it was originally the Romans (at least in the occidental world) who began the whole process of allowing an agreement to be reached between man & woman, as opposed to the parents deciding. As repugnant as that is to all of us here, we still see these sort of arrangements, mostly in the ME & the parts of the Far East that are more traditional (well, not in China, or Thailand, or even Cambodia: the last 2 have what are known as monsoon wives).
& I wonder, in the 12 yrs. of persecution, when Valentinus (yep, same guy St. Valentine's day was named after) was marrying xtians in the catacombs, how they manuevered around the 'giving the bride away' routine, if the parents weren't xtians.
Of course, the Romans were WAY more tolerant than they've been portrayed.

Much of this is traditional trappings to substitute ritual for parental consent. It's antiquated, & it needs to go.

That having been said, the patriarchal tone of the bible distinctly reeks of misogyny. That too, has gotta go.
I say we let the women have a go at running the whole show. Our gender sure has goofed up bigtime (there are exclusions to this, I think: there's a coupla women who shouldn't be let anywhere near seats of power, like Schafly, Rice, etc.).

TV's Mr. Neil said...

Oh yeah?! Well you're a porn watcher! PWNED! Beat that, Kinney! :D

Porn is EBIL! Women should NEVER be allowed to conscent of displaying their bodies in exchange for money! That would imply self-ownership, and women just don't... um...

Oh, wait a minute.

Anonymous said...

This whole subject is such a joke to me, and one I have some personal experience with.

So my in-laws used to hate me. Plain and simple, out and out, hatred. They didn't think I was 'worthy' of their daugher. I was a.) not a repbulican, b.) not a Christian, and c.) was a philosophy major (seriously, this was a problem for them).

So did I ask their 'permission' to propose to my wife? Hell no! I wouldn't have anyway, but why would I ask their permission for something that was a foregone conclusion first off; and secondly, if you guys knew my wife, you'd know that anyone who tried to 'own' her would have to pick their balls up with chopsticks. (which makes me proud as hell by the way ;))

To this day, they justify treating us like shit when we were engaged, and up until our wedding, because I didn't ask permission (and also that we 'lived in sin' before getting married).

Whatever, I'm so sick of this shit. It goes beyond misogyny... it is just insecurity on the part of men, in the end, because they can't handle the idea of strong women.


Frank Walton said...

I actually responded to your "consent" premise at the same link. And if anything it's just arbitrary. Check it out.

Frank Walton said...

I should also add that your assessment of Sowder, in that "women=property", is a complete hasty generalization. I can't believe someone can come up with that after reading Sowder's simple blog. If anything it's making you look ridiculous and desperate in refuting Christianity. And I didn't even have to try :o)

Aaron Kinney said...


You are being rather disingenuous. Craig EXPLICITLY STATED IT in his quote which he said he totally agrees with. I quoted him at length in my post. Its right there, plain as day.

And you have yet to make anything stick over in the comments at Craigs blog. Not only that, but your porn charge amounts to an ad hominem and does nothing to deflect my claims.

Why dont you try actually quoting and addressing the things Ive written instead of throwing around ad hominem and making unsupported assertions?

You must be blind. Quit acting like a retard, because you arent fooling anybody (except perhaps yourself).

Aaron Kinney said...

Compare Frank Walton's recent comment:

should also add that your assessment of Sowder, in that "women=property", is a complete hasty generalization. I can't believe someone can come up with that after reading Sowder's simple blog. If anything it's making you look ridiculous and desperate in refuting Christianity. And I didn't even have to try :o)

With what I quoted Craig as saying:

Wilson has written a little book called Her Hand in Marriage where he explains that, from a Biblical perspective, the father has authority over the daughter, and that an interested young man should approach the father before he ever approaches the daughter about courtship. If the father approves, the young man can begin spending time with his daughter under the supervision of the family. As time goes on, the two can begin spending more time alone together. But throughout the entire process, the father is the authority over the daughter.

Now, as I said, I do believe Wilson's philosophy or vision for Christian courtship and marriage is a good one, so I don't want to give the impression that I disagree with it in theory.

Case fucking closed. Frank is either blind, retarded, crazy, or a liar (or a combo of all of those).

Give it up Frank. You are pathetic. And I didnt even have to try :o)

Frank Walton said...

Don't get all soft on me now, Kinney-poo. You think someone having authorization over somebody else means that that person owns them like property. That's begging the question and also a hasty generalization. If you have a 6-year-old daughter and she consents to making out with a 60-year-old man you better let her, because if you don't, you're putting your own authority over her, and that means you're treating her like a piece of property, according to you.

Anonymous said...

Frank thats not very honest of you...

We all know we are not talking about 6 year olds. We are talking about adults who are old enough to think for themselves who are stuck in an antiquated system that promotes patriarchal misogyny.

Stop lying and trying to use misdirection

Frank Walton said...

Hiyah Benny,

Well, if you go over the other link at Sowder's website I addressed that already. But Kinney's "consent" premise is arbitrary. So this makes the "adults only and not children" dictum just as meaningless. It's a good way of avoiding the serious implications of an already flawed premise. And of course he's faced with the problem of equating someone who has authority over someone else as someone who owns that person as property. Looks like Kinney jumped the gun there. I hope you understand. I doubt it, but try anyway.



BlackSun said...

frank walton,

Give it up. You have already shown you don't know how to argue or debate reasonably. Your "6-year old making out with 60 year old lecher" straw man has nothing to do with the self-ownership Aaron is talking about.

I've raised three children to adulthood. There's a sliding scale of authority that diminishes as the child reaches maturity. (Theiy're all atheists and rock-musicians, by the way.) Of course parents are there to protect their underage children. Duh.

But once a child is of age, or even close, say 15-16 years old, they are pretty much baked, and any important decisions they make will be without you around in any case.

It's just that Christians have planted this poisonous doctrine that people can't make such decisions for themselves. So when their kids grow up, they haven't developed the self-esteem or street-smarts to handle tough situations. (You know, the ones that arise in basements at parties in other people's houses, or the backs of cars, those kinds of decisions.)

And I think what Aaron is talking about here is clearly adult morality, where the imaginary god takes over for the parents. Except, since 'god' doesn't speak to people who aren't mentally ill, people rely on what amounts to a mental virus for their answers. Really, they would be much better served using their ENTIRE brain (instead of just the diseased part of it) to simply reason out what they are going to do--and make a choice.

Frank Walton said...

If you're determining authority because of age (which you are) then you can't say my refutation of porno-wating Kinney's argument is false.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Frank you sure do paint a pretty picture of overbearing and overcontroling fathering.

I think the most important thing I have taught my children, is that not everyone in authority is always right and that even those in authority do horrible things. I never painted a pretty picture of adults just because their a member of the same group/church. SO, at six years of age, any one of my children would have known that if a sixty year old man tried to kiss them it would be wrong.
Thank goodness for them, I never put them in church where a sixty year old man would have the oppertunity to do such things to them.

And let me set you straight about what causes men to do such disgusting acts. It is religious ideaology with virginity taboos, just like yours. Its the obsession with the pure and inocent. Just look how they showboat their vigin daughters around at their weddings. Untainted, virginal and pure. It is well known that in the Middle East and in the bible, marring girls off as soon as they came of age, to make sure she was pure is and was a regular practice. And then christians have the nerve to act surprised when one of their own(and it usually is one of their own) has done such an act. The studies on the early plains Indians shows that there was NO sexual abuse of children nor raping of women and young adults choose their own mates. The studies on the Trobiands islanders, who still exist today, do NOT sexually abuse women and children.

The difference between them and our christianized nation is that they are NOT sexually repressed and the MAJORITY of Americans are, being that the majority of Americans are christians. And the big kicker is that the Trobiand women and little girls run around naked all day. Imagine that.

Anonymous said...


Hey there stranger.:)

You said:" arranged marriages were & are common across multiple cultures."

You are correct, but arranged marriages only began 6000 years ago with the bronze age. Before that, I feel we can safely say that men and women chose their own mates. Why do I say that, cuz the acient writings that have been found, ( some that predate the bible) mythology, and anthropology, strongly suggest that our prehistoric ancestors lived like the early plains Indians and the Trobriands.
They were/are matriarchal and equalateral. Men and women chose/choose their own mates. The early Romans were matriarchal till they were invaded by the patriarchal Greeks who had been invaded by or came into contact with the desert dwelling patriarchal Turks(or some other northern desert peoples, I can't remember right off hand). The Romans were only revising some of their older traditions. And I completely argree, the Romans were more tolerant than our christianized history would want us to believe. They also didnt kill christians for just being christians and they didnt kill as many christians as they would have us believe. The only reason they killed christians at all was because the christians were reeking havic throughout the cities and causing upheaval. It is debatable to whether Ceasar caused the great fire or the christians. Either way the christians were blamed and that is the start and the end of a mass of maybe a thousand christians being killed. It was NOT for their beliefs, but for creating anarchy and arson.

Anyway, with the rise of patriarchy came marriage as a way to take over womens land. Anthropologist, mythologist and even some theologist now agree that it was women who created agriculture.(The Adam and Eve story is about sex and agriculter. Eve showed adam how to create life, thus knowing good and evil. Good=how to create life. Evil=the act of how to create life. That is why the serpent said that she would become like gods. Genesis;3:5) Women were the gatherers and that made raising children dangerous and hard. Being that they were familar with seeds and plants it is only natural that they put the two together and found a way to create a constant food source for their young and a safer way to go about it.
Anyway, when drought and famine would happen societies were force to migrate and men would marry foreign women to gain land for the survivors of their own peoples. This started the whole arranged marriage system and dowry and men's control over women and children.

I have alot more to say on the whole topic of women and religion, its just hard to get all my thoughts out at once being that I am the most popular person in my house. MOM! is everyones favorite word here. lol

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Admin said...

Peace Aaron Kinney,

Does God exist? Yes!

It is obvious to anyone who ponders the matter, and there is no need for a lengthy discussion. When we ponder the matter, we find out that it is divided into three categories: instinctive evidence, tangible evidence and shar’i evidence. We will explain that to you further, insha'Allah (God Willing).

1 – Instinctive evidence:

The instinctive evidence that God exists is the strongest of all evidence for those who are not led astray by the devils. Hence Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“So set you (O Muhammad) your face towards the religion (of pure Islamic Monotheism) Haneef (worship none but Allah Alone). Allah’s Fitrah (i.e. Allah’s Islamic Monotheism) with which He has created mankind” [al-Room 30:30]

Man’s sound nature (fitrah) testifies to the existence of God and man cannot turn away from that unless the devils mislead him; whoever is misled by the devils may not recognize this evidence.”

Every person feels inside himself that he has a Lord and Creator, and he feels that he is in need of Him; if some major calamity befalls him he turns his hands, eyes and heart towards the heavens, seeking help from his Lord.

2 – Tangible evidence:

This refers to the things that exist in this universe; we see around us things that exist, such as trees, rocks, mankind, the earth, the heavens, seas, rivers…

If it is asked: these things are so many – who created them and is taking care of them?

The answer is that if these things came into being by accident, spontaneously and with no cause, then there is no one who knows how they were created, and that is one possibility. But there is another possibility, which is that these things created themselves and are taking care of themselves. And there is a third possibility, which is that there is Someone Who created them. When we look at these three possibilities, we find that the first and the second are impossible. If we reject the first and the second, then the third must be the one which is correct, which is that these things have a Creator who created them, and that Creator is Allah. This is what is stated in the Qur’an, where Allah says:

“Were they created by nothing? Or were they themselves the creators?

Or did they create the heavens and the earth? Nay, but they have no firm Belief” [al-Toor 52:35]

Moreover, when were these mighty things created? For all these years, who is it that has decreed that they should remain in this world and has granted them the means of abiding?

The answer is, it is Allah who has given to each thing that which is suited to it and will guarantee its survival. Do you not see the beautiful green plants; when Allah cuts off their water supply, can they live? No, rather they become dry stalks. If you ponder all things you will find that they are dependent upon Allah. Were it not for Allah, nothing would remain.

And Allah has created everything to do that for which it is suited. So camels, for example, are for riding. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Do they not see that We have created for them of what Our Hands have created, the cattle, so that they are their owners.

And We have subdued them unto them so that some of them they have for riding and some they eat” [Yaa-Seen 36:71-72]

Look at the camel and how Allah has created it strong, with a strong back, so that it can be used for riding and it is able to endure harsh conditions which other animals cannot bear.

If you look at other creatures you will find that they are suited to the purposes for which they were created. Glory be to Allah.

Examples of tangible evidence include the following:

When calamities befall people this points to the existence of the Creator, for example, when they call upon Allah and Allah responds to their prayer; this points to the existence of Allah. Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said: “When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) prayed for rain, he said, ‘Allaahumma aghithnaa, Allaahumma aghithnaa (O Allah, send us rain, O Allah, send us rain).’ Then a cloud came and it started to rain before he had even come down from the minbar. This points to the existence of the Creator.” (Sharh al-Safaareeniyyah).

3 – Shar’i evidence:

All divinely-revealed laws point to existence of Allah.

All the divinely-revealed laws point to the existence of the Creator and to the perfect nature of His knowledge, wisdom and mercy, because these laws must have been prescribed by someone, and that Lawgiver is Allah.

Now you might ask: why did Allah create us?

The answer is: so that we would worship Him, thank Him and remember Him, and do that which He has commanded us. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Who has created death and life that He may test you which of you is best in deed” [al-Mulk 67:2]

“And I (Allah) created not the jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me (Alone)” [al-Dhaariyaat 51:56]

We ask Allah to to guide you to the right path!

Thank you for visiting our blog and we hope you will stop by every now and then :)


Admin said...

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And thank you for your kind comment, it was much appreciated and insha'Allah (God Willing) we hope to see you around. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask as we are more than happy to answer it.

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Anonymous said...

I love how muslims, christians and jews try to prove their BELIEFS by using their holy books. Their books are the same except a few stories here and there and if they dont believe in the other holy books, why would anyone believe any of them? After all they are all the same.

I have to make a correction about the Natives. Over the past couple of days I have been digging deep into the Native American history and the Majority of Native Americans were matriarchal, very few were patriarchal, in fact the only ones were the mound builders.

Anonymous said...


You are correct. Women tend not to subjugate their children male or female. The Iroquois nation is the best example of how female dominated systems tend to be more equaliteral. Male and female own property, are involved in politics and religious rituals. The only difference is that children take their mothers name and it is the mothers who decide on whether or no to go to war. Not because women have more power, but because native men respected motherhood so much that they didnt feel it was right to send their children off to die without their support.

You know, a lot of christians try to claim that it was christians that started the womens sufferage and the slavery abolishment movements. Nothing could be farther from the truth. They fought it tooth and nail, till the quakers joined when it was in full swing. The sufferage and its offspring the slavery abolishment movements were started by atheists, agnostics, and deists who were so impressed by the native womens freedoms and that they could walk alone at night and not be raped.

Anonymous said...

Hey this may be random...I came across this site when I was searching for information about arranged marriages for a report. I am a christian, and I am a female. I found it interesting that you think christian females are "property" to their fathers, then their husbands and God. Well, for the whole courting thing. I would actually respect a guy who asked my Father permission to court. My whole life I was raised by him, and im sure he has my best interest at heart. He is not going to let me be with a complete jerk. It is out of respect to ask a father if you can court his daughter. It not only shows respect to the Father, but also to the daughter. It shows that you understand that her father took part in raising his daughter and you are asking for his permission. Soo dont feel too badly for us. Respect is a two way street my friend!!

Tom Foss said...

It's not much, but my (liberal Lutheran) college adopted a policy my junior year specifically with regard to the treatment of our GLBT population, which was based around Gal. 3:28: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus."
Basically saying that Jesus doesn't care who you sleep with, everyone's equal, and welcome to participate in the college life. As far as Christian writers go, it might be less than a drop in the ocean, but it mattered to our campus.

Anonymous said...

A lot of people have it wrong on this one - Christians included. God created Adam, gave him dominion over everything on earth (Eve wasn't there yet), then pulled Eve out of Adam, making a creature with the same dominion as Adam, but complementary instead of competitive. The whole woman-domination thing was a curse. Christ died and broke all curses. Men and women are back to being equal. Of course, old habits die hard and so you still read things regarding how Biblical people carried our their lives and they still dominated women, but that's not what Christ wanted. He honored women every occasion he could. For instance:

1. At Mary and Martha's house, he gave kudos to Mary for sitting and learning from him with the disciples (women weren't allowed to learn, they were supposed to be "in the kitchen" as her sister was)

2. He told the woman at the well that he was the messiah. I don't think he admitted this to anyone before her.

3. He saved the "adulterous woman" from being stoned by reminding all of the men standing around her that they weren't perfect, either.

4. A woman decided she loved him so much that she wanted to give him her most expensive possession, an alabaster jar of perfume. His disciples said she was stupid for this, but Jesus defended her against them.

5. At his resurrection, he appeared to a woman first and made her the first "preacher" or person to proclaim the message that "Christ has risen". He had 12 male apostles he could have came to. He chose her. The 12 had to hear it from her, second-hand, instead of directly from him. This was considered a supreme honor.

These seem like little things, but in that culture they were subversive. Men and women are equal in Christianity. Unfortunately some of us Christians haven't gotten the message. And, I know that Paul said some pretty weird things about women (women being silent in church was a seating issue, not a gender-issue, but saying women couldn't lead or teach was sexist), but we aren't called "Paulians" so we shouldn't follow Paul in places where he doesn't follow Christ. That's why we're "Christians".

I know you aren't a Christian. However, if you understand the Bible to be a book of universal truths with some cultural history thrown in - and you're smart enough to tell one from the other - you might find that Christianity isn't so bad.