Quote: Originally Posted by SirJosephPorter
I will be happy to, Goober. I will consider Hinduism, Christianity and Islam, the three major religions in the world. I doubt if the minor religions (Judaism, Buddhism etc.) are much better.
Christianity regards wife as her husband’s servant, or his property. Thus in the 10th Commandant (I looked it up, I don’t know all the Commandments by heart, just a few of them) it lumps the wife together with servants, ox, donkey or any other things that belong to the neighbour. Thou shalt not covet etc.
Here at least implicitly Bible says that wife is husband’s property. Then of course, there is the advice to the wife, to be submissive to the husband. Man is the head of the household, wife is his chattel. She is expected to obey him. It is very much a master – servant relationship.
In Islam, one man is equal to two women. This irrespective of education, intelligence, upbringing etc. of the man or the woman. Thus, even the most educated, having a well paying job, somebody in position of authority, somebody who may be proficient in several languages, even such a woman is only half the worth of the village idiot, the man.
Islam regards woman as subhuman, only half human, little better than animal.
Hinduism is the most horrible of all as far as women are concerned. In Hinduism the husband – wife relationship is that between God and his Disciple. Husband is the God, wife is his worshipper, his Disciple. Let us consider the implications of this.
In Christianity, wife is husband’s servants. Now, even servants have a few rights. She is entitled to expect food from her husband, she would expect that husband provide for her, not mistreat her or beat her without just cause etc. Also, he cannot ask her to do anything against the Bible, if he does, she is free to disobey him.
In Islam, it is more animal – owner relationship. But even here, while animal doesn’t have any rights, most of us expect that animals should be treated kindly, not abused, not beaten unnecessarily etc. While wife must obey husband in every aspect without question, without hesitation, Islam would not look kindly upon a husband who beats his wife, mistreats his wife without a just cause (we don’t treat animals that way).
However, can God be ever wrong? Can any of his actions be considered wrong? No. Since husband is wife’s God, anything he tells his wife to do, she must obey, because he can never be wrong. Thus, if husband orders the wife to become a prostitute, she must obey. Here there is no question of husband ordering wife to do anything against religion, because husband's word is wife’s religion. That is Hinduism in a nutshell.
Thus, in Hinduism there are detailed instructions as to how a man should behave, how he may achieve salvation etc. To the wife, there is only one Commandment, obey your husband.
Even if wife is committing a sin such as prostitution, murder or whatever, no sin attaches to the wife if she did it in order to obey her husband. The sin will be attached to the husband, but not the wife, she is only obeying her God.
So in Hinduism, the Commandment to obey the husband is absolute, no exceptions.
Let me summarize (perhaps in a simplistic manner) the husband – wife relationship in the three religions.
Christianity: master/servant relationship.
Islam: owner/animal relationship
Hinduism : God/Disciple relationship.
You're mixing religion with culture, SJP, and they are two very distinct things. Just to take an example:
Western culture doesn't necessarily require a woman to cover her head, yet according to 1 Corinthians 11, Christian women must cover their heads. Indeed some Christian women do, especially in some Orthodox countries, but most in the West are ignorant of this commandment.
In Arab countries, many Muslims believe a man can have up to 4 wives, based on:
And if ye are apprehensive that ye shall not deal fairly with orphans,
then, of other women who seem good in your eyes, marry but two, or three, or
four; and if ye still fear that ye shall not act equitably, then one only; or
the slaves whom ye have acquired: this will make justice on your part easier.
(The Qur'an (Rodwell tr), Sura 4 - Women)
But others will agree that this is to be taken in the context of:
And ye will not have it at all in your power to treat your wives alike,
even though you fain would do so; but yield not wholly to disinclination, so
that ye leave one of them as it were in suspense; if ye come to an
understanding, and fear God, then, verily, God is Forgiving, Merciful;
(The Qur'an (Rodwell tr), Sura 4 - Women)
Essentially, they argue that the combination of these two verses are a subtle way to say indirectly that a man can have but one wife, subtlety having been necessary owing to the barbaric state of Arab society at the time.
So we can see from the two examples above that culture and religion are not always congruent.
Now as for Islam not recognizing women as humans is totally misleading. No, it does not grant equality between men and women, but certainly doesn't treat them as animals. That's pure hyperbole on your part. And considered within its historical context (men could kill their wives if they bore them a girl, and would bury the daughter alive too! to give an idea of the depravity of Arabia at the time), it was far advanced!
I personally profess neither the Christian nor Muslim Faiths, mainly because I believe that some of their social laws are outdated, among other reasons. However, to be fair, we have to judge these religions within the contexts of their time and place. The Mosaic Law, for instance, is right babaric by modern standards. Strictly speaking, a Jew is supposed to stone anyone who violates any of the ten commandments! How anyone can believe that in this day and age is beyond me. Yet, to be fair to the Jewish Faith, we need to consider that its is a 3,000 year old Faith, born in a context in which the concept of courts, police officers, modern amenities and technologies, etc. were non-existent in a hard world to live in. Within that 3,000 year old context, we could say that the Mosaic law may have been not only approapriate, but even ahead of its time!
We must judge every religion within its historical context to be fair to it.