The Influence Of Christianity
Many non-Christian feminists and humanists make the claim that Christianity and the Bible are oppressive and degrading to women. But is this really the case? Has Christianity had an adverse effect on women? Did Jesus and His apostles disrespect women and teach others to do the same? The facts of history demonstrate that the status of women in the western world has been dramatically improved because of the influence of the Christian faith. All one needs to do is to examine the plight of women in the Eastern world and in the Islamic world. Women in these cultures are still denied many basic rights rights that are available to men. When women appear in public they must be veiled. Saudi Arabia, the birth place of Islam for instance, bars women from driving automobiles. In countries where Islam is the major worldview, men can beat their wives. All of the horrendous things that men can do to women in Islam have the full sanction of the Quran.
The treatment of women in Western countries is completely different. The reason for this difference is the influence of Jesus of Nazareth. The Apostle Paul taught that men should “Love their wives as Christ loved the church.” The love of Christ for His church was a sacrificial love, unconditional love, eternal love, an electing love, and a love characterized by tenderness and kindness. The New Testament gave honor, respect and consideration to women that was never heard of in any other culture of the world.
In ancient Greece, a woman was not allowed to leave the house unless she was accompanied by a male escort. A wife was not allowed to eat, fellowship, or mingle with the male guests in her husband’s home. All women were segregated in their private living area. Men kept their wives like slaves under lock and key. The status of women in ancient Greece was no different from that of slaves. Girls were not allowed to be educated and were not allowed to speak in public. To do so brought shame on the husband. Women were treated as inferior creatures to men and basically had no rights and privileges equal to men.
The plight of Roman women was not any better. Everything that was true of women in Greece was equally true in Roman society. Women had very few rights as compared to men. They were viewed as being inferior and had no better status than common slaves. The role of women was to work, slave, provide sex and remain in silence in the homes. Women could not speak in public, and when they did travel publicly they were veiled and attended by male guards. The role of women in ancient Greece and Rome must have been very oppressive and appalling.
Jewish women, based on the oral traditions of the synagogue, fared no better. Jewish women were also barred from public speaking. The oral law prohibited women from reading the Torah out loud. Synagogue worship was segregated, with women never allowed to be heard.
In the midst of this Eastern world came a man from Galilee named Jesus Christ. Jesus’ treatment of women was diametrically opposite of that of the ancient world. It is a fact of history that the awful plight of women in the East was dramatically improved when Jesus appeared in the land of Palestine. The teachings of Jesus impacted the status of women in ways that was unheard of before.
That women have the right to vote, attend college, drive a car, work outside the home, run for office, lead in the largest companies and corporations in the world and even to serve in the military is a testimony to the powerful impact and influence of the Christian faith on Western civilization. In Western nations women are treated with respect, honor, and love. The courtesy and kindness that is shown to women is not matched in any other country, culture, or people group in the entire world.
It is a tragedy of unimaginable proportions that so many women believe that it is Christianity that has been a curse on women. The fact that many women today believe this lie demonstrates how powerful the propaganda against the Christian faith has been. I have traveled the world over many times and can testify to all that I am saying. History does not lie. The facts are clear, but the prejudice is great against the faith of those who love and follow Jesus Christ.
Untold millions of unfortunate women live in Eastern countries where the influence of Hinduism and Islam suppress women and hold them down in a cultural sewer. What feminists in the West do not realize is that by working so hard to destroy and discredit the Christian faith, they are actually destroying the very religious system that gave them the rights that they now take for granted. Feminists reject the Biblical teachings on pro-life, moral purity, the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, the law of God and the way of salvation through Jesus Christ. But by rejecting these things, they are undermining the very principles that were used by God to mold Western civilization into the most compassionate, educated, and advanced societies that has ever existed. It remains to be seen what will replace the Christian worldview in the West. But this much we know —that the West is descending into a new dark age that will be more frightening and dangerous than we have ever seen.
I fear that one day many women in the United States and in Western nations will wake up under the oppressive heel of Sharia law and will wonder where did the freedoms and the blessings of Western civilization go? They will have to face the sad reality that they fought against the very faith that gave them the highest standard of living and freedom that the world has ever known. How sad it is to cut off their nose to spite their face.
One author made this insightful comment on the influence of Christianity on women.
“As a result of Jesus Christ and His teachings, women in much of the world today, especially in the West, enjoy more privileges and rights than at any other time in history. It takes only a cursory trip to an Arab nation or to a Third World country to see how little freedom women have in countries where Christianity has had little or no presence. It’s (Christianity) the best thing that ever happened to women.” Sue Bohlin
Imagine a world without Christianity. Other religions have left a dark stain on the curtain of history. Only the Christian faith has elevated women, purged societies of many evils, erased centuries of prejudice and corruption and continues the march of reform in the nations of the earth.