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Things They Don’t Tell You About Christianity

There would be no need for the women’s movement if the church and Bible hadn’t abused them.
— Father Leo Booth

The Bible and the Church have been the greatest stumbling blocks in the way of women’s emancipation.
— Elizabeth Cady Stanton, 19th century U.S. campaigner for women’s rights

In “The Crone: Woman of Age, Wisdom, and Power” by Barbara G. Walker the number of witches slaughtered was estimated by scholars to be 7 to 9 million also. [Historian] Will Durant, in his 12 volume History of Civilization sets the figure also at 7 to 9 million.

Misogyny is fundamental to the basic writings of Christianity. In passage after passage, women are encouraged—no, commanded—to accept an inferior role, and to be ashamed of themselves for the simple fact that they are women.  Misogynistic biblical passages are so common that it’s difficult to know which to cite.

  • From the New Testament we find “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church…” (Ephesians 5:22–23) and “These [redeemed] are they which were not defiled with women; …” (Revelation 14:4);
  • and from the Old Testament we find “How then can man be justified with God? Or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?” (Job 25:4)
  • Other relevant New Testament passages include Colossians 3:18; 1 Peter 3:7; 1 Corinthians 11:3, 11:9, and 14:34; and 1 Timothy 2:11–12 and 5:5–6.
  • Other Old Testament passages include Numbers 5:20–22 and Leviticus 12:2–5 and 15:17–33.

The Church and women: from early Church fathers, Saints, Popes and Reformers to today

  • What is the difference whether it is in a wife or a mother, it is still Eve the temptress that we must beware of in any woman… I fail to see what use woman can be to man, if one excludes the function of bearing children.-– Saint Augustine of Hippo, Church Father, Bishop of Hippo Regius, 354 – 430
  • As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active force in the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of woman comes from a defect in the active force or from some material indisposition, or even from some external influence.— Thomas Aquinas, Saint, Doctor of the Church, 13th century
  • Although far more women are witches than men… yet men are more often bewitched than women. And the reason for this lies in the fact that God allows the devil more power over the venereal act, by which the original sin is handed down, than over the other human actions.— Henry Kramer and Jacob Sprenger, Inquisitors, 1486
  • Woman is a misbegotten man and has a faulty and defective nature in comparison to his. Therefore she is unsure in herself. What she cannot get, she seeks to obtain through lying and diabolical deceptions. And so, to put it briefly, one must be on one’s guard with every woman, as if she were a poisonous snake and the horned devil. … Thus in evil and perverse doings woman is cleverer, that is, slyer, than man. Her feelings drive woman toward every evil, just as reason impels man toward all good.— St. Albertus Magnus, Dominican theologian and Doctor of the Church, 13th century
  • In pain shall you bring forth children, woman, and you shall turn to your husband and he shall rule over you. And do you not know that you are Eve? God’s sentence hangs still over all your sex and His punishment weighs down upon you. You are the devil’s gateway; you are she who first violated the forbidden tree and broke the law of God. It was you who coaxed your way around him whom the devil had not the force to attack. With what ease you shattered that image of God: Man! Because of the death you merited, even the Son of God had to die… Woman, you are the gate to hell.  –Tertullian, 2nd-3rd Century church father
  • To embrace a woman is to embrace a sack of manure…— Saint Odo of Cluny, 10th Century,  from The Dark Side of Christianity, by Helen Ellerbe
  • Saint John Chrysostom commanded every Christian father to instill into his son “a resolute spirit against womankind … Let him have no converse with any woman save only his mother. Let him see no woman.” — Christianity and Pagan Culture In the Later Roman Empire, by M.L.W. Laistner
  • [Churchfather, venerated as a Saint up to the 17th century] Clement of Alexandria (150?-215?): “Every woman should be filled with shame by the thought that she is a woman.”
  • [Churchfather] Tertullian (160?-220?): “Woman is a temple built over a sewer, the gateway to the devil. Woman, you are the devil’s doorway. You led astray one whom the devil would not dare attack directly. It was your fault that the Son of God had to die; you should always go in mourning and rags.”
  • [Saint] Ambrose (339-97): “Adam was deceived by Eve, not Eve by Adam… it is right that he whom that woman induced to sin should assume the role of guide lest he fall again through feminine instability.”
  • [Saint] Augustine (354-430): “Woman was merely man’s helpmate, a function which pertains to her alone. She is not the image of God but as far as man is concerned, he is by himself the image of God.”
  • Pope Gregory I (540-604): “Woman is slow in understanding and her unstable and naive mind renders her by way of natural weakness to the necessity of a strong hand in her husband. Her ‘use’ is two fold; [carnal] sex and motherhood.”
  • [Saint] Thomas Aquinas (1225-74): “[Woman] was made only to assist with procreation.”
  • [Reformer, founder of Scottish Presbyterianism] John Knox (1513-72): “Woman was made for only one reason, to serve and obey man.”
  • [Reformer, founder of the Methodist movement] John Wesley (1703-91): “Wife: Be content to be insignificant. What loss would it be to God or man had you never been born.”
  • Southern Baptist Convention (2000): “A wife should submit herself to the leadership of her husband. Leadership in the church should always be male.”
  • Local church in Holland (2004): “More and more we see women being placed in the position of Elder or Pastor in churches. Is this a good thing? Well, if your goal is to undermine the authority of the Word of God, it’s a good thing.”
  • Martin Luther (1483-1546), leading Reformer, founder of Lutheran Protestantism: “If [women] become tired or even die, that does not matter. Let them die in childbirth–that is why they are there.”-– Martin Luther– The Dark Side of Christianity by Helen Ellerbe
  • Orthodox Christians held women responsible for all sin. As the Bible’s Apocrypha states, ‘Of woman came the beginning of sin. And thanks to her, we all must die.’
    — The Dark Side of Christianity, by Helen Ellerbe

See more: Martin Luther’s statements on women. For more anti-women sentiments to be found among Churches and Christians today, including the evangelicals:

It is this long tradition of bias against half of the human population that has made the Catholic Encyclopaedia declare:

The female sex is in some respects inferior to the male sex, both as regards body and soul.
… If the two sexes are designed by nature for a homogeneous organic co-operation, then the leading position or a social pre-eminence must necessarily fall to one of them. Man is called by the Creator to this position of leader, as is shown by his entire bodily and intellectual make-up.
— The Catholic Encyclopedia

Of course, the CE is generally good at obfuscating. Without retracting its statements on how woman is ‘inferior in certain respects … both as regards body and soul’ and how man is called by God to the ‘position of leader’, the CE continues that “To deduce from this the inferiority of woman or her degredation to a “second-rate human being” contradicts logic”. They are the ones who are illogical by contradicting themselves; as are those who affirm faith in such nonsense as are to be found in this ‘Encyclopaedia’.

Are women human? – voting and debating needed for Christians to decide the matter

In 584 CE, the Council Of Macon was held at Lyons. 43 Catholic bishops attended as well as 23 male representatives of other bishops. On the question of “Are women human?”, 32 voted Yes, and 31 No (that would make the remaining 5 still undecided).  Apparently, their decision was not final, as the question would be picked up again as late as the Reformation

The Original Sin and clergy against reducing pain during childbirth

In 1591 in Scotland, Euphanie Macalyane used a remedy to reduce delivery pains. For bypassing the Biblical curse of Genesis 3:16 – where God cursed Eve (and thus, women) with pain during childbirth – the devout King James VI had her burnt at the stake. Pious King James is better known for authorising the Bible’s translation into English: the KJV (King James Version).

In 1847, A British [in particular, Scottish] obstetrician, Dr. Simpson, used chloroform as an anesthetic in delivering a baby. A scandal followed, and the holy men of the Church of England prohibited the use of anesthetic in childbirth, citing Genesis 3:16: ‘God said to woman Eve, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy pain in childbearing. In pain thou shalt bring forth children and thy desire shall be to thy husband and he shall rule over thee.'”
— Women Without Superstition, by Annie Laurie Gaylor

Scotland’s Presbyterian Church ensured that their female flock refused the treatment, frustrating Simpson’s work. In an attempt to change the Church’s adamant stance, Simpson offered Genesis 2:21 as supposedly supportive of anaesthetics: “God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam … he took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh”. However, the Church, being more knowledgeable in theological matters, showed that 2:21 had happened before the Fall and thus before the Curse of Eve was pronounced, meaning the curse was still in effect. See the book: Triumph Over Pain by R. Fulop-Miller.

To relieve labor pains, as Scottish clergymen put it, would be ‘vitiating the primal curse of woman…’ The introduction of chloroform to help a woman through the pain of labor brought forth the same opposition. According to a New England minister:

‘Chloroform is a decoy of Satan, apparently offering itself to bless women; but in the end it will harden society and rob God of the deep earnest cries which arise in time of trouble, for help.’

— The Dark Side of Christian History, by Helen Ellerbe

It was only with Queen Victoria’s use of anaesthesia during her delivery that matters changed.


  • Woe to the Women: The Bible Tells Me So by Annie Laurie Gaylor
  • The Born Again Skeptic’s Guide to the Bible by Ruth Hurmence Green


Mental abuse as a form of “spiritual instruction”

…an example of Christianity’s cruel brainwashing of the innocent, consider this quotation from an officially approved, 19th-century Catholic children’s book (Tracts for Spiritual Reading, by Rev. J. Furniss, C.S.S.R.):

Look into this little prison. In the middle of it there is a boy, a young man. He is silent; despair is on him … His eyes are burning like two burning coals. Two long flames come out of his ears. His breathing is difficult. Sometimes he opens his mouth and breath of blazing fire rolls out of it. But listen! There is a sound just like that of a kettle boiling. Is it really a kettle which is boiling? No; then what is it? Hear what it is. The blood is boiling in the scalding veins of that boy. The brain is boiling and bubbling in his head. The marrow is boiling in his bones. Ask him why he is thus tormented. His answer is that when he was alive, his blood boiled to do very wicked things.

There are many similar passages in this book. Commenting on it, William Meagher, Vicar-General of Dublin, states in his Approbation:

“I have carefully read over this Little Volume for Children and have found nothing whatever in it contrary to the doctrines of the Holy Faith; but on the contrary, a great deal to charm, instruct and edify the youthful classes for whose benefit it has been written.”

More from Father Furniss’ writings for children:

A little child is in this red hot oven. Hear how it screams to come out! See how it twists and turns itself about in the fire. It beats it head against the roof of the oven. It stamps its little feet on the floor. You can see on the face of this little child what you see on the faces of all in hell – despair, desperate and horrible.
— Books for Children, by Father Furniss quoted in Atheism The Case Against God, by George Smith

If the book came back in print, many Christian parents will doubtless continue to find it very useful (“charming, instructive and edifying”) and a means to instill the fear of Hell in their children. If this book seems distinctly unpleasant, it is yet better than being forced to read the Bible at a young age, which many parents still inflict on their children.

There’s also Bible-sanctioned abuse, where parents are allowed to chastise their children with a “rod”.  From the Bible (KJV):

  • Proverbs 13:24: “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.”
  • Proverbs 19:18: “Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.”
  • Proverbs 22:15: “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.”
  • Proverbs 23:13: “Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.”
  • Proverbs 23:14: “Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.”
  • Proverbs 29:15: “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.”
  • Hebrews 12:6-7: “the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son. Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?”
Today: pious Christians still beat their kids with the rod

Samuel Butler’s line “spare the rod, and spoil the child” from the 17th century had been taken up with enthusiasm by Christians. Beating children is illegal today in many European countries, yet the chastising of children by beating them still occurs in Christian families in America. This is especially the case with the fundamentalist Christian denominations, who know that the Bible is very clear on how they should correct the ways of their children.

  • About.Com – illustrates how there are advertisements to sell rods to Christian parents and there are devout people buying them. The market’s there.
  • A modern-day Christian site advocating the rod. They cite articles that support their Biblical views, although even if there were no such articles, one can be sure that the Biblical sanction is more than enough for them.
  • Spare the Child by Philip Greven.
    Greven cites many excerpts from present-day American Protestant writers to demonstrate that violence against children is still being promoted by Christian clerics.
  • For Your Own Good by Alice Miller
    In which the author traces the roots of physical violence towards children in the western world to the influence of Christianity.

See also:

The Evolving Destruction of the Female

When the Christian church really went full steam ahead in their destruction of women, the female and the Goddess within women, was during the Great Inquisition:I am quoting now from a classic academic work on the Goddesses by Marija Gimbutas, “The Language of the Goddess“…The author is a Professor of European archaeology at UCLA and the curator of the Old World archaeology at UCLA’s Cultural History Museum: On page 319: quote: “Women were called Disciples of Satan and this period was one of the bloodiest in history. The witch hunt of the 15th to 18th centuries was the most satanic event of European history. The murder of women accused as witches escalated to MORE THAN EIGHT MILLION. The burned or hanged women were mostly country women who learned the lore of the Goddess from their grandmothers.”

Listen to Episcopal Bishop C.L. Meyers: “A priest is a God symbol. God is masculine in both the Old and New Testaments. Christ was a man, masculine. That was a divine choice.” He said this at Grace Cathedral before 700 delegates fighting the ordination of women.Listen to the former Senior Minister of the one of the largest Presbyterian churches in Houston, Texas. the Rev. Dr. Charlie Shedd. He wrote this in a book called “How To Treat A Woman.” “Women are simple souls who like simple things. Our family airedale will come clear across the yard just for one pat on the head. Wives are like that. They will come across the house, across the room, across anything if you will just keep patting them on the head.”


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Joan of Arc

I know this now. Every man gives his life for what he believes. Every woman gives her life for what she believes. Sometimes people believe in little or nothing yet they give their lives to that little or nothing. One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. And then it is gone. But to sacrifice what you are and live without belief, that's more terrible than dying.--

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February 2013



On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

John O'Donohue, Echoes of Memory