Skip to main content

The Problem with Bigotry

By Wertbag ~ 

There is a long history of the religious teaching bigotry as part of their tenants. Gays have been at best shunned, but often arrested or even killed for their victimless crime of loving the wrong person. Women have been considered second class citizens, not allowed to hold senior positions and subservient to men in all things. Women for thousands of years suffered forced marriages, rape and discipline from their fathers or husbands. While the idea of consent is presented in the modern western world as the core of sexual freedom, this idea is sadly very new, and the religious texts have done their best to enforce these ancient bigoted customs.

For gay people, while freedom has been achieved throughout most of the western world, there are still 67 countries that say such activity is a jailable offence, and 10 of which have the death penalty (all Islamic countries). Christians will point to the horrors inflicted by the Muslim majority countries and say, "we aren't that bad", while ignoring the history where they were absolutely the same. Even to this day in Christian countries there are groups constantly pushing for laws to criminalize gay people or ban any literature that speaks on their behalf, fighting against same sex marriage or same sex adoption. These people are taught to hate gay people by their parents, by their preachers and by their holy book. The bible makes it clear that gays are to be harshly punished, which was the norm back in those days, but conflicts with our modern sensibilities.

One of the most famous examples of this religious hatred of gay people was the sad story of the brilliant Alan Turing:
"It became clear from an early age that Alan Turing was a maths prodigy, and over the course of his life and career Turing pioneered mathematics and computer science, changing the way we see and understand the world. From altering the course of history by breaking the Enigma code during the Second World War, through to applying his practical war-time experiences to design the principles of which underlie modern computers, Alan Turing’s legacy has shaped the lives of millions of people. However, Alan Turing faced much hardship during his life due to his sexuality. During Turing’s life, homosexuality was a criminal offence and Turing was convicted in 1952 of “Gross Indecency”. Alan Turing was faced with an impossibly cruel choice of imprisonment, or probation on the condition he underwent chemical castration. Turing died from suicide two years later."
We see in cultures where being gay is treated as normal, that people accept it and no one bats an eyelid. The ancient Greeks were famous for supporting this, even suggestions it was encouraged amongst some soldiers. Nowadays the bigotry against being gay is almost entirely due to either the Islamic or Christian holy books.

Women in the bible are treated like property, and what we would now consider horrific was practiced as the norm back in those ancient times. When Deuteronomy 21:11 says "if you notice among the captives a beautiful woman and are attracted to her, you may take her as your wife." there was no consideration of whether she wanted this outcome, no option to decline or no consent requested. You have a prisoner and want them, then you say the words and they are yours. Once you have said the words of marriage, then you may have sex with her, consent is not required as she is legally your wife and that is her duty. If you have a slave or indentured servant, then you could sell them into prostitution if you thought that would make you money from them. But even if you had a legal wife, she was still bound by the bible to be secondary to the husband in all things, her testimony worth less and if her husband died then she was passed his brother to own.

The bible says women aren't to be heard, to teach or hold positions over men. The law on slaves specifies that women get less rights
"If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out alone".
Nowadays we think of women as equal to men, but this idea is very new historically, with much of the world only giving women the right to vote in the last century and even through the history of getting the vote it has been restricted by race, age, position in society or in some cases later retracted. Same goes for land ownership, where it was not allowed at all for thousands of years and only started being allowed in limited fashion in the 1800's.

Religion set the standard, taught the rules and justified that discrimination because it was in the bible. Now Christians try to say we all have value, as we are all made in the image of God, but Christians for thousands of years have made it clear that some are more God-like than others.

Originally posted in the Reasons for Disbelief thread on Ex-Christian.Net