The Importance of Women Within Christianity
The role of women in Church has forever been scrutinized and misunderstood; although many churches continue to refuse women certain rights, it cannot be overseen the vast contributions women have given to Christianity and vice versa. All forms of Christianity use scriptures to guide their beliefs, theories and practices. For centuries it has been disputed and argued as to how scriptures should mold religious practices with changing times; with this several branches of Christianity have been formed and each branch views women differently according to their scripture translations, guidance, and beliefs. From Early Christian times people have followed and believed many religious theologians, which has led to a negative, insignificant, interpretation of women’s roles, rights and status, within the Christian community. All of these negative connotations towards women have led to a sexist view on the Christian church and religion. If one looks beyond the rights of women within the church, and sees the vast opportunities that have evolved for women from the religious community and their contributions to the Christian community, it is obvious that Christianity has actually given women a name and place in society, and without the women, the Christian community would be at a completely different place.
Throughout the international growth of Christianity women have been the majority of followers and participants, in many countries. It is women that keep the religious communities strong.
The rights of women in Christianity may not have been, nor may not ever, be equivalent to man; however, despite these inequalities between sexes, Christianity actually helped give women a place in society and contributed greatly to the success of women’s rights. Through the growth and development of Christianity, women were devalued and disrespected: seen as a property of men. This has created a stigma against women in religious communities and has influenced various beliefs regarding women and their role within Christianity. Women have slowly gained rights and respect, not only in the church, but also in society overall. In the first century women in the church were extremely active and were viewed as equal to men. They were respected and acknowledged within the religious community; to some it was even an advantage for women to be Christian. This did not last long, “after that, as Christianity became the dominant faith of the empire and as sex ratios responded to the decline in the differential conversion of women, the roles open to women became far more limited” (Stark 238). Women lost much of the respect and rights, this was due to various scriptures, translations and theories that influenced the Christian religion. Christianity has forever used scripture as a basis for the hierarchal roles within the church, and to sculpt and build the beliefs that hold the community together. Within this dependence and fidelity of scriptures, women’s roles were sacrificed. This was mainly due to the translation and implication of the scriptures.
One of the first, and the most influential, Christian writings are the testaments. These represent the foundation of defining gender differences and roles. The Old Testament was translated into the belief that God chose men to speak to and to perform various significant events. This was and, to many still is, interpreted as all leadership roles in the church can only be done by men and that they are capable of ‘speaking’, preaching, and acting through the voice of God. This was one of the first influences on the separation of men and women in the church. In the New Testament women are not acknowledged as unimportant, but it emphasized that all of Jesus’ twelve disciples and his apostles were men only. With these early translations of scriptures that illustrate men as higher and more powerful, the perception of women has been undervalued....
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