Thursday, June 22, 2017

"The Role of Religion in Furthering Patriarchal Agenda " by Nishat Amber

https://feminisminindia.com/2017/06/22/religion-furthering-patriarchal-agenda/


"...What is alarming is how deeply this religiously-endorsed patriarchy is seeped into the common psyche and behaviour. Incidentally, the Supreme God in all religions is always envisioned as a male. Scriptures are mostly written and interpreted by men who tweak and translate them to suit their own vision of the desirable social-order and preferable gender-dynamics in the same... 
Orthodox Catholicism forbids women from becoming priests simply because a priest essentially plays the part of Christ and the latter happens to be a male. Also, as per Christian traditions, since Jesus selected only male apostles and did not ordain women, the inclusion of women is not considered desirable. Hence the exclusion of women from priesthood continues. In Islam, women cannot lead prayers as ‘imams’ in mosques and in mixed gatherings. Women can lead prayers in women-only gatherings as is the general pattern in South Asia, thereby, conforming to the policy of segregation as advocated by the Holy Scriptures.
Women priests in Hindu temples are extremely rare because women are ‘biologically’ unfit for the job as menstruating women are deemed impure and unfit for ‘sacred’ duties pertaining to God. This is also the reason why women are denied entry to places of worship when they are menstruating. The fear of divine reprisal prevents women from demanding equal rights in religious affairs and a more egalitarian social-order. They simply accept this discrimination as ‘natural’ and ‘god-ordained
Through generations, women are conditioned to not only accept, but also gladly embrace, the status of a second-class citizen as assigned to them by their respective belief-system. This has a spill-over effect on other social indicators as well. The concept of role of genders in society is very much impacted by such religious underpinnings. Hence women are reduced to socially, economically and spiritually inferior beings whose primary role is procreation. Their natural realm is the home and their duty is that of a home-maker. Such blatant discrimination can only be normalised and ingrained in the common psyche by evoking the name of God.
What is ironical is that most of the organised religions of today were not discriminatory to begin with. In fact many scholars contend that religions were not patriarchal in the early stages of organised life. It is believed that early religions, or more appropriately worship, centred on female Goddesses during prehistoric times. It is believed that prehistoric societies and belief systems were matriarchal, as evident from their feminine-themed iconography..."



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