What the Bible really says about Gender Roles
The first thing I have to do, and I can’t believe these are the times we live in, but there you go… is to establish that there are irrefutable differences between the genders. This should be self-evident, and almost unequivocal considering how far we have come in terms of science and biology research, but in the same way that we now have flat-earth rearing its idiotic head, we now have gender-deniers as well.
I want to state from the outset that this no indictment on the trans community, it is actually the opposite, since the validity of being trans also hinges on the concept of gender being an actual thing and not something you can simply announce in your twitter bio. How is someone supposed to transition from one gender to another, if gender doesn’t exist?
Let’s start off with the basic building blocks of biology; genetics. There are normally two main types of people on the planet; XX chromosome people and XY chromosome people, also known as female and male.
Now, there are situations where the chromosomes are present, but during foetal development something blocks the hormones necessary to develop along those lines, such as androgen insensitivity, or congenital adrenal hyperplasia, which result in being born intersex.
There’s also a condition known as monosomy, or Turner’s Syndrome, which is when a female loses a part of one of her sex chromosomes during embryonic development leading to life-threatening and disabling conditions in multiple areas of the body. They can be born without ovaries to supply necessary hormones for development, but synthetic hormonal replacement can help to prompt secondary sex characteristics during the teen years. This condition is about as close as we get to the concept of “gender neutral” in terms of chromosomes, but even then it is specifically a female condition, so that argument falls apart instantly.
You can’t be gender neutral. You have chromosomes. Sorry.
By all means, you can shirk the idea of gender stereotypes. That’s different. And of course, people can choose to fight biology if they are really determined to do so, but it’ll never provide the full experience of truly becoming the opposite gender. For example, a trans woman won’t have periods.
The gender deniers have tried to argue that gender differences are arbitrary and merely a social construct designed to marginalise women (who, theoretically, according to them, have no significant differences to men). However, this does not bear out in medicine. A research piece by UC Berkley found that if drug trials were only conducted using male participants, female patients would be at risk of overdoses from prescription medications.
As you can see, biology between the genders does exist and does matter. It has real-world consequences when we don’t factor that in.
The Christian stance on the matter of gender is that God doesn’t foster confusion. Confusion comes from living in a fallen world where things like hormones run into interference from a myriad of factors which were never part of the original design. God does not want us to be at odds with either our own bodies, or with Him, which is why He has sought to draw us back into His fold through the grace of Jesus. However, we will still have to contend with the world, our own weakness of the flesh, and the influence of the adversary (Satan) who thrives on stirring conflict and strife.
Now that we’ve established the truth of biological gender, we can turn to the real question at hand: gender ROLES.
Gender roles have been hotly debated… since the beginning of time. Around the globe and throughout history different cultures have dealt with the conundrum of gender roles in a variety of ways. The influence of biology is significant in certain respects and irrelevant in others, so it can depend on whether a particular society is collectivist vs individualist; agricultural or hunter-gatherer; what level of technology they have; socio-economic power & education levels.
Anthropology, psychology and sociology have all attempted to figure out if there are consistent gender roles across different cultures, but no academic department has done such a thorough and honest job of it, as… Marketing.
Let’s be real, when it comes to making money off our human weaknesses and tendencies, no marketer worth their salt is going to risk a profit margin just to be woke.
Unless you’re Procter & Gamble. In which case; get woke, go broke.
A cross-cultural study on gender markers examined 3 countries from a masculinity ranking system of 53 countries which rated Mexico as the 6th most masculine country , the USA as 15th, and Norway as the second most feminine on the scale.
They used large sample groups of similar ages and education for the survey study in order to reduce covariant results in the cohorts.
They measured 20 survey questions of gender tendencies: 10 masculine and 10 feminine. The results found that 16 out of 20 were consistent with their corresponding genders across vastly differing cultures. In other words, females tended towards feminine traits and males tended toward masculine traits regardless of their culture.
So we know that men are women have substantial biological differences physiologically, and also psychologically.
The next question is, how does Christianity define femininity and gender roles?
Proverbs 31:10-31 (NRSV) is a chapter in the bible dedicated to describing how women should be at their most ideal;
A capable wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.
She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. She is like the ships of the merchant, she brings her food from far away. She rises while it is still night and provides food for her household and tasks for her servant-girls.
She considers a field and buys it; with the fruits of her hands she plants a vineyard.
She girds herself with strength, and makes her arms strong.
She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. She puts her hand to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle.
She opens her hand to the poor, and reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid for her household when it snows, for all her household are clothed in crimson. She makes herself coverings; her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known in the city gates, taking his seat among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them; she supplies the merchant with sashes. Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her happy; her husband too, and he praises her: ‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.’
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is in vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her a share in the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the city gates.
This description of a good and Godly woman is interesting because it in no way makes her the property or subservient to her husband, but rather implies that women are free to manage their own money, buy property, run a business, employ staff etc. She is characterised by strength, wisdom, charity, future planning skills, sound judgement, hard work, and kindness.
Her partner and kids treat her with respect and gratitude, and she is highly regarded by the community. In turn, her good character reflects positively on her family and elevates her husband’s esteem from others as well.
This view of women is hardly degrading or outdated.
One of the arguments against Christianity made by feminism is that it replaced the highly evolved and woke pagan societies which allowed women to be as promiscuous as they liked, with an oppressive patriarchy and modesty culture.
This argument relies on an assumption that being promiscuous is liberating or desirable for women, and that the presence of indiscriminate sex somehow goes hand-in-hand with emancipated females. However, this assumption is incorrect.
One of the biggest adversaries to the Hebrews in the bible was a nation known as the Canaanites, but which modern archaeology know as the Phoenicians. Their culture worshipped the gods Baal, Molech and Astarte. Modern day witchcraft also worships Astarte as a patron goddess, but they would probably be horrified at what the historic practice of dedication to this demon actually is.
At the temples to Astarte they had what was known as “sacred prostitution” where literally every teen girl in the land would be forced to contribute her virginity to a random stranger who paid the temple for the privilege of deflowering a young girl. On top of that, the temple would host regular drug-fuelled orgies which could become so berserk that the men would castrate themselves in dedication to the goddess.
Many unwanted pregnancies to unknown fathers would result from the orgies, but rather than this being a problem, it simply became fodder for the other gods, namely Molech or Baal.
Once the child had been born, especially if it was a male child, it would be sacrificed on an altar to Molech or Baal at the Tophet by having its throat slit and then cremated in the furnace of the belly of the idol.
There is a mass grave site in Carthage with approximately 20,000 urns of the bones of babies and toddlers, mostly male children in full health at the time of their deaths.
To me, these people were less monstrous than we are today. At least they gave their murdered children a funeral. These days we just use them as science experiments or throw them in the trash. Twenty-thousand children is nothing compared to the numbers we rack up in the west on an annual basis, tallying between half a million and a million babies aborted per year just in the US alone.
People like Meghan Markle try to garner sympathy for a miscarriage, but at the same time happily advocate for a “woman’s rights” to terminate a “clump of cells”. Is it a clump of cells, Meghan, or is it a baby? Because it can’t be both of those things whenever you feel like it. Either she’s remarkably stupid, or she’s grotesquely hypocritical, but if I had to guess I would go with the latter option and unfortunately this is a common double-standard in feminism.
The famed occultist Aleister Crowley wrote about abortion as a form of child sacrifice, specifically male babies in full health. As a society, are we unwittingly partaking in child sacrifice dedicated to demons?
Strangely enough, this possibility isn’t out of the question considering that Molech is still being worshipped by political leaders at a site in California known as Bohemian Grove. Whether they use actual children during the annual ceremony of the “Cremation of Care” is unknown and possibly unknowable, but not entirely out of the question when we take into account what people like Epstein have partaken in.
To me, the idea that paganism or the third-wave feminist movement do favours for women whatsoever is a complete farce. It seems more like a social system designed to make women more easily sexually exploited and then leave them in situations where they have to make life and death choices about their own future as well as that of unintended children.
When the bible talks about sex outside of marriage being against God’s plan for humanity’s wellbeing, we need to bear in mind that God is not interested in you being able to get off. He’s preoccupied with the misery and pain which will be endured by the children which result from unstable relationships as well as the emotional and psychological fallout for the couple involved.
And as much as feminists want to rail against that reality, it keeps being backed up by psychology research. Children raised in a household which directly involves both biological parents vastly outperform all of their peers in every developmental facet. Not only that, but married couples outlive their single and divorced counterparts by up to a decade.
That’s not religion, that’s science.
Of course, there are situations where people end up in destructive and abusive relationships, but that’s also an aberration which was not part of the plan and is more of a symptom of a society based on cynical and exploitative ideas about relationships.
As Jesus himself said in Matthew 19:4-9 (NRSV) that marriage was designed to be a permanent joining of two people into one flesh, but ‘…it was because you were so hard-hearted that Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but at the beginning is was not so.’ This highlights the fact that relationships break down due to people hardening their hearts against one another and having no true love for each other. The fallout is that people abuse and are abused within relationships when they should be protected, cared for, respected and loved.
When we start to treat sex as a “right” instead of a responsibility, and relationships as a transaction instead of a mutually necessary form of family, not only do we encounter twisted ideas like the incels, simps and e-thots, but we also start sacrificing the wellbeing of future generations on the altar of our own egos.
Women in Leadership
The final criticism of Christianity is that it doesn’t elevate women to positions of leadership and instead makes them subservient to men. There are two verses usually referred to when making this argument which are:
I do not permit a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man (1 Timothy 2:12)
Wives submit to your husbands as to the Lord (Ephesians 5:22)
Both of these statements were written by St Paul the Apostle in his letters to the first century churches and need to be read in context both historically and linguistically, as well as the broader context of the passages they’re found in.
First of all, women in leadership is not unheard of throughout the bible, but it is rare. That’s not because women are viewed as “incapable” but because they were not generally put in harm’s way or expected to endure targeting and suffering.
Examples of female leadership include Deborah, who was one of the early Judges, which was essentially a type of elected leader similar to a combination of priest and president. There was also Esther who convinced a king to spare the lives of her people, Judith who cut the head off a general who had laid siege to her city, Jael who drove a tent-peg through the skull of another general, Miriam who saved the life of her baby brother Moses, the Queen of Sheba who visited Solomon to debate him in philosophy as well as negotiate trade deals, and Mary Magdalene who (along with a number of other women) worked to keep Jesus and disciples housed and fed during their travels and was the first witness to His risen form at the tomb. The rumor that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute is not biblical, that comes from conflating two different characters as the same person when the gospel of Luke talks about the woman with expensive oil anointing Jesus’ feet. That woman is never named, nor is Mary ever referred to as a prostitute.
When it was necessary, women stepped into leadership, but they did it in specifically feminine ways which worked in those circumstances when masculine tactics would not. Generally speaking, though, women were not exposed to unnecessary risk or put in harm’s way such as on the battlefield. Instead, they were to be protected as much as possible and deployed as a last resort.
In this context we can understand why Paul made stipulations for the protection of women, not in order to subjugate them, but to shield them from harm.
First, the passage about not permitting women to teach can be understood as a means of not making them targets for slaughter by the Romans. Anyone in leadership would be particularly at risk. But also it goes back to the innate gender differences discussed earlier.
In a study by Zheng et al. (2017) they conducted an experiment to see if there was a gender difference in how easily people acquiesce to unjust situations. Basically, do men and women cave under social pressure? It was found that, yes; women cave to social pressure far more easily than men do. This goes back to the tendencies to nurture and people-please which women are prone to do noted in the earlier study on masculinity.
Having an understanding of human nature and the immense pressure from outside forces to take down the Christian church, Paul did not advise for teaching positions to be held by women simply because they have a harder time standing up to bullying.
This doesn’t make women “inferior” it simply means that we naturally care for other’s wellbeing and this can be weaponised against us. On the flip-side, it’s supposed to make us good mothers who are able to put the needs of our children before our own pursuits.
Where this tends to break down is when the men fail to behave as protectors and instead abuse their positions of power, which is what the statement in Ephesians attempts to address.
The book of Ephesians is predominantly about how to handle spiritual warfare, so it uses military language and structures on this topic. All the members of the church as instructed to follow the teachings of Christ and to seek support from one another. Women are advised to “Hupotasso” to their husbands, which is the original Greek word used in the scripture and has a cultural meaning lost in translation to the English. This is a military term and means something along the lines of “fall-in” behind your leader so that you can follow their tactical orders and back them up in battle.
In return for this trust that women place in their husbands to be a good leader, the men are instructed to love and protect their wives even to the point of sacrificing their own lives to do so. This harks back to the teachings of Jesus when he said that divorce is only necessary when people’s heart are hardened against one another, not when they have genuine love.
There is an onus of expectation on both genders to deal fairly and caringly with one another in ways which protect and support, not an excuse to abuse power or to undermine each other.
When the bible is read as a whole and in context, as well as when we apply thorough understanding of human psychology, we begin to see how it is meant to be applied in our lives, rather than seeing it as an affront to our “rights” or a big mean dictatorship.
Unfortunately, humans like to start wars with one-another as we have seen in the gender war between men and women. That’s not Christianity, that’s humans.