Saturday, March 11, 2017

How Jesus Liberates Women: Index of Arguments

Image result for jesus woman at wellOver several years I have argued on this site that the life, example, and teaching of Jesus Christ have liberated billions of women around the world in profound ways.  I am hoping to do some more research, and put the completed argument in book form before long.  But meanwhile, the series has grown so long that it may have become difficult to navigate.  So here I provide links to each article in the series to help the reader make easier use of this important material.  Six of the 42 articles listed are either incomplete, or have yet to be begun: and Lord willing, I will probably add more soon, as I intend to spend more time researching this subject early this year.  

(1) How it began: a brief response to John Loftus on Christianity and women.

A. How Jesus Liberates Women: A Prima Facia Case. 

(2)  A general introduction to the first several (and most central) articles, describing the research procedure I would follow.

(3) The short story of how I became interested in this subject, as a missionary in East Asia.

(4) My analysis of a United Nations survey including 99 countries and almost all the world's population, on the status of women in relation to education, marriage and family, health, work, and social equality, showing a strong correlation between Christian influence on a society, and a high status for women.

(5)  Historical evidence that Christianity did, in fact, cause the effect described in (4).

(6) An analysis of the gospels, suggesting that Jesus is a highly plausible "causative agent" in the reform that has helped billions of women.

(7) An analysis of Acts of the Apostles on this topic.

(8) Paul and women: Does Paul lock them up again?

(9) Women in Genesis: "The Two Shall Be as One." 

(10) Women in the Torah (Exodus-Deuteronomy). 

(11) Women in Joshua, Judges, and Ruth.

(12) Women in the Jewish Kingdom (I Samuel -- Nehemiah)

(13) Esther.

(14) Women in Hebrew Wisdom Literature.

(15) Women and King Solomon (Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon).

(16) Women as Isaiah and Jeremiah see them.

(17) The rest of the prophets and women

(18) How we should understand the most troubling texts.

B. Other Religions on Women

(19) Comparing Scriptures on Women.  (Methodological, partly complete, first comparing Jesus to Mohammed.)

(20)  Islam I: Karen Armstrong Kisses up to Mohammed, and Throws her Sisters under the Bus. 

(21)  Islam II: Mohammed gives women more trouble.

(22)  Islam III: Mohammed further enslaves women, then John of Damascus chimes in.  

(23) Islam IV: A partial Muslim challenge to the UN report, and my response.

(24) Hinduism I: The Rig Veda.

(25) Hinduism II: The Ramayana.

(26) Hinduism III: The Law of Manu. 

(27) Women in Tribal Cultures.

(28) How the Sumerians Treated women.

(29) How the Greeks treated women: Herodotus, Thucydides and Polybius. (Partially complete.)

(30) Women in Egypt.

(31) (More on the Greeks and the Romans.)

(32) (More on women in Chinese Culture, including Confucian and Taoist texts.)

C. Response to Critics and Skeptics

(33) "Lamest Rebuttals Award."   Some fun poked at the ten worst of hundreds of responses that came to the initial set of arguments.

(34) Republicans hate women, Democrats eat people of both sexes.  (Why the former, at least, is not generally true of the dreaded "Christian Right.")

(35) Sara Robinson vs. Jane Austen.

(36) PZ Myers vs. Women.   And then a response to an inept response he gave to someone else on the same subject.

(37)  An answer to Harry McCall at Deconstructing Christianity on this subject.  (Harry later fell out with John Loftus, and wrote to me kindly expressing respect for my style in disputing him.  Which I appreciated, because while I found some of his views quite over-the-top, he did at least express them with personal civility.)

(38)  Did Jesus Really Liberate Chinese Women?  A Response to Loren and Patrick.

(39) A summary of my argument with John Loftus on this issue two years on, noting that while he had issued the challenge that led to this series, he had never answered the wealth of data I provided in any substantive manner.

(40)  How Smart People Lie (Facts about women as perceived and treated in Buddhism, Hinduism, and Christianity, and why they make many scholars uncomfortable.)

(41)  A refutation of Annie Gaylor, who claimed in one of Loftus' books that Christianity is at "war" with women, the Bible expresses "pathological hatred" of human females, "utterly devalues them," and that women in the Bible are either "superfluous" or "diabolical."  (I would concede, however, that the Bible calls Satan the "father of lies," which may make Gaylor at least rather diabolical, by kindred at least.)

(42) This post, a second rebuke to Annie Gaylor, analyzes the role that some 114 women in the Old Testament, play, showing that far more are presented positively than negatively.


John W. Loftus said...

David you have already been refuted. See the Women's Bible Commentary, 3rd edition:

Sacred Witness: Rape in the Hebrew Bible

Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven: Women, Sexuality, and the Catholic Church

There is nothing I need to add to these books. Respond to them or consider yourself refuted.

David B Marshall said...

What a sad admission of defeat. The books you refer to (again, in some cases) not only do not seem to refute any of my arguments in this series, the authors probably don't even know those arguments (and facts) exist.

This is like saying, "You adduce embryology, plate tectonics, The Grand Canyon, red shift, the half-life of heavy metals, fossils, and ancient glacial tills to prove the Earth is ancient? Nah. This book here on mud flows at Mount Saint Helens refute the Ancient Earth before you even mentioned it. I need to add nothing."

John W. Loftus said...

Mere assertions Marshall. You've been avoiding those books for a couple of years or more. Become informed. This is not a childish debate or boxing match. Research is ongoing and demanded. Now do it. My claim is they refute you. All you do in response is hand wave.

David B Marshall said...

"Mere assertions?" Thirty-two fact-filled posts are linked above, which rely on systematic and thorough engagement with almost all the most relevant primary sources (almost every major passage in the Bible, the Koran, the Ramayana, the Analects, the Dao De Jing, etc, on women), United Nations data -- along with references to secondary literature.

You blow in and say, "Hey, I've read three books on more or less that subject!" and you think you've answered me! And you can even call my hard data "mere assertions!"

And lecture me about the difference between "research" and "hand-waving!"

All I see, John, is your integrity waving goodbye.

It is clear from Amazon that none of those books will challenge my actual arguments, or the research they are based on. One is "offered" for over $1000. I put another on my Amazon list. Not that it challenges any of my arguments.

It's pathetic that all you can do, besides wave your hands and ignore the evidence above, is keep on repeating "Hey, I read this book and it refuted all your stuff before you wrote it, never mind details!" As if I don't cite any secondary arguments myself. And as if thoroughly examining primary sources in a systematic way and accurately describing that data and what it shows is not a pretty central part of what research involves -- which you obviously have not done, or I hope you wouldn't have printed Annie Gaylor's abject nonsense in one of you books. (See links above.)

John W. Loftus said...

I've seen you twist the facts beyond recognition. So it would be a waste of my time to spoon feed you these books. I consider them the three best, but I have read dozens, another example of you twisting the facts for mere rhetorical effect. Sincevyouvwould never mention them I do for honest readers you Wish to decide for themselves.

David B Marshall said...

A personal attack in lieu of an argument! How utterly shocking, coming from a New Atheist! :- )

Again, far from "twisting the facts beyond recognition," I quote the original texts directly and usually completely, hundreds of quotations in this series. As you said, let the honest reader (do you remember what it was to read honestly, John? I think you did, once), read the primary sources for himself or herself and decide.

I've been asking you to engage these facts for years: you used to make the excuse that you didn't have the time, but now, like Dawkins explaining why he won't debate Craig, your excuses for refusing to engage in genuine intellectual discourse have evolved into character attacks. Remember that next time you challenge Craig yourself.

John W. Loftus said...

Again, my claim is that these books refute you. I have nothing to add.

Even now you're twisting my words as if I'm scared of debating you on this. I'm not scared of you any more than I would be to debate a flat earther. But as this brief exchange shows, you twist my words and waste my time correcting you, because you're not interested in the truth but in dishonestly defending that which cannot be reasonably defended. If you want to debate me do extensive reviews of the books I recommend.

David B Marshall said...

In response to hundreds of pages of facts and systematic quotation of almost every important relevant text, you have nothing to say, you mean.

Again, those three books don't even appear to address my arguments, which you have shown no sign whatsoever of having read. I put one on my Amazon read list, however, and will deal with whatever arguments it makes in due course, as I have dealt with books recommended by other skeptics. One of my favorite books on women in the Middle Ages was initially recommended by a atheist even more radical than yourself, as if it refuted my arguments -- it did not, it affirmed them. Truth is one.

You were responsible for printing the following claim, among others:

"Biblical women play one of two roles: they are either superfluous . . . or diabolical.”

One of the threads above shows that out of 114 women whose treatment in the OT I analyze, NOT ONE of them falls into EITHER of those categories -- still less all of them.

No one will refute my argument, ever, because it is impossible to refute - your woman was talking complete and demonstrable nonsense.

And you talk about "flat earth" thinking. Sorry, my friend, don't go up in a rocket any time soon.

John W. Loftus said...

You stupid dishonest man. Does the editor of a collection of essays agree with everything authors write? No. I'm not even an expert enough in the chapters included in my anthology to know if they're right about everything, since they cover a wide variety of issues no one could be an expert in. But Gaylor's chapter on women is well-written and ON TARGET, as are the other chapters, and she is an important woman's voice in the atheist community. On target. That's what you'll find argued in it. I agree more with the three scholarly books that I have to goad your ignorant mind into reading. Your twisted mind will twist the truth in them just like in these comments, so why should I bother since all-combined they cover more territory with more research and more words than I could do myself. You're a pathetic little man. Now do your research. Your debate is with Gaylor not me, but more importantly the books I now recommend out of the many I've read and know about.

David B Marshall said...

Insults! Well there's a shocker. An atheist makes sweeping anti-Christian claims that he can't support, and that I have systematically shown are the opposite of the truth. The Gospel not only does not lock women in a dungeon, which you claimed was your biggest reason for rejecting Christianity, but actually has liberated literally billions of women around the world. I have witnessed it myself, and have even been involved in that movement of liberation in a small way. I cite United Nations surveys, historical sources of many sorts, and the world's great religious texts, which I have been analyzing systematically and thoroughly, citing every important reference I could find to the subject. (I am now working my way through the Law of Manu -- have you even heard of it?)

Gaylor claimed that every single woman in the Old Testament is either "diabolical" or a non-entity. You, as her editor and as a self-described theologian and former preacher, an expert on the Bible in other words, should have immediately recognized that as patently and absurdly false. Sarah? Deborah? Esther? Ruth?

In fact, I show, far more women in the Old Testament are portrayed positively than negatively. I doubt that could be said of the men, though I haven't checked that systematically as I have with the women. Not one is portrayed as a fiend, though some bad women do appear, as they do in history.

I could call you to task on many points. Your entire edifice of skepticism is mostly a house of cards, IMO. (Though some of the cards are propped up against a chair to make them more stable -- of course the Christian faith has intellectual vulnerabilities too, as we both know.) But many of your most passionate claims are simply false, such as the claim that Christianity has done the world harm not good. (And others I have called you on in the past.)

I chose to focus on Gaylor's claims because they are so obviously and demonstrably bogus. No honest skeptic can read the original sources, which I quote directly (no twisting of words, as you claim) in the two relevant articles above, and conclude other than that Gaylor was telling the most grotesque and threadbare falsehoods throughout that piece. Yet you edited and approved her article, and have repeatedly defended it. (In a vague and general way, of course, since the claims I attack are indefensible in a more concrete sense.)

Your Baloney Detector should have lit up like a Christmas tree when you edited that chapter. All you had to do was read the OT just a tiny bit fairly and honestly.

I have edited books too. I wouldn't allow such patent nonsense about my worst enemy to get by my editing pen.

Now you're angry because you know I'm not accusing you of being stupid, as you (absurdly, you know) accuse me. I'm not even saying you went too easy on an ally because you needed that ally and her husband. You know that I am striking at a card at the very base of your house of cards, and that if you let it fall, the whole edifice will come tumbling down: your whole excuse for a crusade on the Christian faith.

So I hesitated to open your post last night, because I knew what it would look like, in broad terms. I prefer to remain on affable terms, and overlook your occasional emotional outbursts, the accusations of "liar" and so on, which you know are as false as the "stupid" accusation.

But I love truth. Sorry if this angers you again. But it is past time that you stopped talking about intellectual integrity, and started practicing it. It would be unkind of me to let you continue to get away with this kind of crap, because I still believe (even though many other Christians tell me I'm wrong) that you are capable of better.

John W. Loftus said...

You are clueless to believe Christianity caused women's liberation. Correlation does not make for causation Just because it happened at the end of Christianity's reign over Europe doesn't mean it caused it. Nor science. Nor democracy. Nor human rights. Nor the liberation of gays, either.

It doesn't matter if the activists and advocates claim Christianity did it either. We must go back to the Bible to see if it did. The church keeps reinventing itself and the Bible with the realities of life. Here you go again, without doing the research I told you about, spouting off some more. This only proves you refuse to be convinced you're wrong. It's like talking to a wall dealing with you. No one on my side thinks you're worth a discussion either.

Now go read and review those books I recommend, or are you scared?

John W. Loftus said...

You also need to explain why you're god didn't make it crystal clear women we not to be blamed for Eden, and they could do what men do, and be honored as men were, and that the Bible would reflect the concerns if women. Then there would be nothing much for them to be liberated from. The fact that we are even having this debate, all by itself, shows your god did not care much for women. And we know why, too. It's because the Bible and the church are the oroducts if oblivious, uncaring, male brutes for the most part. Just because some kind words were spoken of women in women's roles, means nothing.

John W. Loftus said...

Typos are the product of typing on my phone but not being able to proof-read.