[ The below article was contributed to Answering Islam by a Catholic Christian and contains a few statements (i.e., beliefs taught only by the Catholic Church) which Answering Islam does not agree with. This refers mainly to the Catholic doctrine of the sinlessness of Mary, but it will be obvious throughout that the author writes as a Catholic. Nevertheless, this paper is a thorough rebuttal to a Muslim polemic against the position of women in Christianity, and it skillfully exposes how the Muslim author has misrepresented the Bible and Christian belief. ]
This article is written in response to the widely used Muslim publication, Women In Islam Versus Women In The Judaeo-Christian Tradition: The Myth And The Reality, by Dr. Sherif Abdel Azeem. At this time, it only answers to the first couple of sections of the Muslim booklet, titled "Eve's Fault" and "Eve's Legacy". Sherif Abdel Azeem's words are in blue and Anthony Wales' words are in black.
The three religions agree on one basic fact: Both women and men are created by God, the Creator of the whole universe. However, disagreement starts soon after the creation of the first man, Adam, and the first woman, Eve. The Judaeo-Christian conception of the creation of Adam and Eve is narrated in detail in Genesis 2:4-3:24. God prohibited both of them from eating the fruits of the forbidden tree. The serpent seduced Eve to eat from it and Eve, in turn, seduced Adam to eat with her. When God rebuked Adam for what he did, he put all the blame on Eve, "The woman you put here with me --she gave me some fruit from the tree and I ate it." Consequently, God said to Eve:
"I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you."
To Adam He said:
"Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree... Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life..."
The Islamic conception of the first creation is found in several places in the Quran, for example:
"O Adam dwell with your wife in the Garden and enjoy as wish but approach not this tree or you run into harm and transgression. Then Satan whispered to them in order to reveal to them their shame that was hidden from them and he said: 'Your Lord only forbade you this tree lest you become angels or such beings as live forever.' And he swore to them both that he was their sincere adviser. So by deceit he brought them to their fall: when they tasted the tree their shame became manifest to them and they began to sew together the leaves of the Garden over their bodies. And their Lord called unto them: 'Did I not forbid you that tree and tell you that Satan was your avowed enemy?' They said: 'Our Lord we have wronged our own souls and if You forgive us not and bestow not upon us Your Mercy, we shall certainly be lost'" (7:19-23).
A careful look into the two accounts of the story of the Creation reveals some essential differences. The Quran, contrary to the Bible, places equal blame on both Adam and Eve for their mistake. Nowhere in the Quran can one find even the slightest hint that Eve tempted Adam to eat from the tree or even that she had eaten before him. Eve in the Quran is no temptress, no seducer, and no deceiver. Moreover, Eve is not to be blamed for the pains of childbearing. God, according to the Quran, punishes no one for another's faults. Both Adam and Eve committed a sin and then asked God for forgiveness and He forgave them both.
The Bible does not place all the blame on Eve and no blame on Adam. The Bible merely records Adam trying to put all the blame on Eve. He also tries to blame God when he says to him, "the woman you put here with me" (3:12). These statements do not mean that God and Eve are to blame and Adam is innocent. Scripture is merely telling us what Adam did after he committed the first sin. It is also encouraging us to recognise that we often blame other people and things for our sins, and must learn to take responsibility for our failings.
Adam, Eve and the snake (an implicit reference to the devil, see Revelation 12:9) are all to blame. God knows this, and he therefore judges them fairly and gives them all punishments for their sins. At the same time, God shows mercy to Adam and Eve (and all people). He clothes Adam and Eve, and makes them mortal so that they can't keep sinning forever (3:21-24). According to Christian interpretation, God also promises to send a Redeemer in chapter 3, verse 15 - a Redeemer who will crush Satan and bring human beings eternal life.
Christianity does not teach that God punishes us for the sin of Adam and Eve. Rather, it says that we are all affected by their sin. This is because sin is an infinite offence against God and has a great impact on us and on the world. To claim that the sin of Adam and Eve has no impact on us shows, in my opinion, a failure to recognise the reality of sin. Also, forgiveness restores friendship with God but it does not remove the effects of sin (such as increased attraction to sin, and the transmission of original sin).
For a further discussion of original sin see the following articles:
CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPAEDIA: Original Sin
CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CURCH: The Fall
Original Sin and Original Grace by Fr Joseph Kenny OP
The Bible does say that Eve gave the fruit to Adam (Genesis 3:6). It also tells us that Adam listened to the voice of Eve, which means she was encouraging him to eat (3:17). Therefore, it can be said that the Bible portrays Eve as tempting Adam. However, the Muslim author is reading things into the Biblical text when he claims that Eve seduced or deceived Adam. Adam knew exactly what he was doing and was not deceived, which means Eve is not a deceiver (1 Timothy 2:14). It is only the snake/devil who is called a deceiver in the Bible (Revelation 12:9).
In the second last sentence of the above citation the Muslim author claims: God, according to the Quran, punishes no one for another's faults. This claim is wrong. This means the Muslim author's criticism of Christianity backfires on his own religion. See the following articles for a discussion of this issue: , .
The image of Eve as temptress in the Bible has resulted in an extremely negative impact on women throughout the Judaeo-Christian tradition. All women were believed to have inherited from their mother, the Biblical Eve, both her guilt and her guile. Consequently, they were all untrustworthy, morally inferior, and wicked. Menstruation, pregnancy, and childbearing were considered the just punishment for the eternal guilt of the cursed female sex. In order to appreciate how negative the impact of the Biblical Eve was on all her female descendants we have to look at the writings of some of the most important Jews and Christians of all time. Let us start with the Old Testament and look at excerpts from what is called the Wisdom Literature in which we find:
Original sin is transmitted to all human beings, not only women. All Christians believe there is one exception to this, and some Christians believe there are two exceptions. All Christians believe Jesus is free from all sin and actually could not sin (John 8:46; Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5). This is because he is truly God and truly Man. Catholic Christians also believe that God kept the Virgin Mary free from sin from conception until death, because she is the Mother of Jesus Christ.
Adam transmits original sin to us. The Bible says, "sin came into the world through one man [Adam]", "one man's [Adam's] trespass led to condemnation for all", and "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 5:12, 18; 3:23). Christians have held this view throughout the centuries. St Thomas Aquinas, for example, says that Adam, not Eve, is the transmitter of original sin (Summa Theologica, 1st part of the 2nd part, question 81).
Christianity does not teach that menstruation, pregnancy, and child bearing are "the just punishment for the eternal guilt of the female sex." The Bible specifically records God telling Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply before they have sinned against God (Genesis 1:28). This means that pregnancy and child bearing are good things (God never commands us to do evil) and that God intended them before/irrespective of the fall. The only thing the Bible says is that child bearing will be accompanied with greater pain as a result of original sin (Genesis 3:16).
Nowhere does the Bible describe women as "the cursed female sex". This criticism is unreasonable and not based on the Bible. It appears to be nothing more than an extreme and attention grabbing claim that has no substance behind it, or is used to hide the absence of a solid argument. The woman and man receive different punishment for their sin, but neither is criticised or punished more than the other. It is only the serpent and the ground that are cursed by God (Genesis 3:14, 17). God has not cursed men or women.
If someone reads the Bible they will notice that Biblical characters see barrenness as something bad. Beginning in Genesis we see Abraham, and a little while later Rachel, distressed at not having children (15:2 and 30:1). Moving forward thousands of years to the New Testament we see Elizabeth rejoicing that she is going to have a son after many years of barrenness (Luke 1:5-25). So, contrary to what Sherif Abdel Azeem claims, the Bible teaches that pregnancy and child bearing are great goods, and the problem (not necessarily punishment) is married people not being able to have children.
Sherif Abdel Azeem has done (deliberately or unknowingly) nothing more than find the worst looking statements in the Bible and by Christians and ignored all the positive statements and actions. He never mentions that there are entire books in the Bible dedicated to describing great women and their deeds. For example: the book of Esther, which is part of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures; and the book of Judith, which is part of the Catholic and Orthodox Christian Scriptures, and is highly regarded by the Anglican Church. Neither does he mention the great deeds and influence of women throughout Christian history - this will be discussed in more detail later.
"I find more bitter than death the woman who is a snare, whose heart is a trap and whose hands are chains. The man who pleases God will escape her, but the sinner she will ensnare... while I was still searching but found nothing, I found one upright man among a thousand but not one upright woman among them all" (Ecclesiastes 7:26-28).
The New Jerome Biblical Commentary - Student Edition said the following about the words in Ecclesiastes (7:26-28). "Qoheleth states again his search for wisdom (v25) and quotes some traditional advice which he has found which warns against women (v26). He then reacts unfavourably to another saying, which he has found: 'One man in a thousand (is good) but no woman' (vv 27-28). In conclusion he states that the only thing of value which he has been able to find is that God made all (male and female) upright, but they have all sought out many devices." [The New Jerome Biblical Commentary - Student Edition, eds. Raymond E. Brown, Joseph A. Fitzmyer, and Roland E. Murphy (London: Geoffrey Chapman, 1993), p. 493]
In other words the writer of Ecclesiastes found the following piece of advice: "one upright man in a thousand but not one upright woman among them all." The writer disagrees with this piece of advice and says the truth is that God made men and women upright but both men and women have gone astray.
"No wickedness comes anywhere near the wickedness of a woman.....Sin began with a woman and thanks to her we all must die" (Ecclesiasticus 25:19, 24).
The New Jerome Biblical Commentary - Student Edition says that verse 19 is a deliberate exaggeration to make a point. Therefore it is not to be seen or used as a strictly objective and universal statement about women. Also the surrounding verses make it clear that these verses are specifically talking about bad women/wives and not women in general. Chapter 25 of Ecclesiasticus (also known as Sirach) can be found on this page.
The second part of the quotation (verse 24) should be read together with Romans 5:12-19 and 1 Corinthians 15:21-22. These passages make it clear that the Bible sees Adam (man) as responsible for sin and death in the world. Eve is not mentioned in Romans and 1 Corinthians, which are the major texts about the meaning of the first sin in Genesis 3. A link to the letters of St Paul can be found below in the section where I discuss parts of them.
The American Catholic Bishops Conference have chapter 25 of Ecclesiasticus online (the above given link). This site includes a comment that relates to the issue being discussed:
According to the account in Genesis 3 to which Ben Sirach refers, sin, the cause of death, originated in woman: Eve, the first human being to sin, induced Adam to follow her example. But it is through Adam, as head of the race, that original sin and its punishment of spiritual death are presented by St. Paul (Romans 5) as having entered the world, to become the occasion for the redemptive work of Christ our Lord.
It should be noted that Ecclesiasticus is only part of the Catholic and Orthodox Christian Scriptures. This means it cannot be used in a Scriptural argument with Jews and Protestant Christians.
The Biblical Eve has played a far bigger role in Christianity than in Judaism. Her sin has been pivotal to the whole Christian faith because the Christian conception of the reason for the mission of Jesus Christ on Earth stems from Eve's disobedience to God. She had sinned and then seduced Adam to follow suit. Consequently, God expelled both of them from Heaven to Earth, which had been cursed because of them. They bequeathed their sin, which had not been forgiven by God, to all their descendants and, thus, all humans are born in sin. In order to purify human beings from their 'original sin', God had to sacrifice Jesus, who is considered to be the Son of God, on the cross. Therefore, Eve is responsible for her own mistake, her husband's sin, the original sin of all humanity, and the death of the Son of God. In other words, one woman acting on her own caused the fall of humanity. What about her daughters? They are sinners like her and have to be treated as such.
Christianity does not say that Eve is entirely or even mainly responsible for the present fallen state of humanity or the death of Jesus Christ (the Son of God). Romans 5:12-21 is the most detailed discussion of original sin, our sinfulness and Christ's crucifixion in the Bible. This section of Scripture clearly presents Adam as the cause of sin in the world, and thus as the cause for the coming and crucifixion of Jesus. In Isaiah 52:13-53:12 we find a detailed prophecy of Jesus' suffering, and it says he is suffering for the sins of all of us, not just the sin of Eve.
All the descendants of Adam and Eve are sinners, not just their female descendants. The Bible says, "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). As mentioned earlier in my response Jesus Christ is an exception to this. The Catholic Church also believes Mary to be an exception. However, other Christians do not believe the latter teaching. (I mention the Catholic belief in the sinlessness of Mary because I am a Catholic and I don't want to imply something different to this. Not mentioning Mary's sinlessness when talking about the transmission of sin and who is a sinner could be interpreted to mean she is a sinner.)
Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, not heaven, when they sinned.
Listen to the severe tone of St. Paul in the New Testament:
"A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I don't permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner" (1 Timothy 2:11-14).
This statement by St Paul needs to be read in context. St Paul was writing to a bishop named Timothy to give him instructions for his ministry. From the statement mentioned above it appears that there were women who were acting improperly during Church services. For example: Constantly talking, asking questions and interrupting. St Paul's words should be understood as a response to this particular problem. He may have used strong words to ensure that his message was understood and put into practice. The reference to Adam and Eve may have been used to give Scriptural support to his instruction. (This explanation is partly based on what is said in the New Jerome Biblical Commentary - Student Edition.)
In his letter to the Romans, St Paul placed great emphasis on Adam's sin being the cause of sin and death for the entire human race (5:12-21; see also 1 Corinthians 15:21-22). This is St Paul's major theological statement about the crucial topics of (original) sin, death, Jesus Christ and redemption. St Paul's letter to the Romans is his longest and its purpose is to present the central teachings of Christianity. Therefore the words in Romans, and not the words to St Timothy, should be seen as best representing St Paul's view of original sin. The statement to St Timothy is (merely) a pastoral statement given to a single Bishop in response to a particular problem at a particular time and a particular place.
If people take the time to read the letters of St Paul (Romans to Philemon in the New Testament) they will see that he taught the equality of men and women. In his first letter to the Corinthians, St Paul says that in marriage the wife's body belongs to her husband and the husband's body belongs to his wife (7:4). In his letter to the Galatians he says that women and men are one in Christ Jesus (3:28). St Paul allowed women to help him in his ministry and permitted women to prophesy/preach (Acts 18:1-3, 24:26, Romans 16:1-2, 1 Corinthians 11:5, Titus 2:3).
The letters of St Paul, and the rest of the Bible, may be found online: , .
St. Tertullian was even more blunt than St. Paul, while he was talking to his 'best beloved sisters' in the faith, he said:
"Do you not know that you are each an Eve? The sentence of God on this sex of yours lives in this age: the guilt must of necessity live too. You are the Devil's gateway: You are the unsealer of the forbidden tree: You are the first deserter of the divine law: You are she who persuaded him whom the devil was not valiant enough to attack. You destroyed so easily God's image, man. On account of your desert even the Son of God had to die."
Tertullian has never been declared to be a 'saint' by any Christian churches. Therefore, 'St' should never be placed in front of his name. Placing it there (whether done deliberately or unknowingly) only contributes to people developing incorrect views about the beliefs and practices of Christians. Because it is claiming that Christians proclaim Tertullian as a great example of holiness and teacher of Christian truth, when in fact he is not and Christians say no such thing.
Tertullian spent some time as a Christian, but unfortunately he left the Church and remained outside of Christianity until his death. Therefore, people should check particular statements of Tertullian to see whether they were made during his Christian or heretical period. I do not know whether he said this as a Christian or as a heretic. However, from what I have read and been told, I think this statement has been misused in both Sherif Abdel Azeem's booklet and the source he got it from.
A couple of days after I first read this part of Sherif Abdel Azeem's booklet I mentioned this statement to a Catholic priest (Fr Joseph Vnuk OP). We spent some time discussing this topic and he gave me the following information about this statement by Tertullian. It is discussed in a book called 'The Status of Women and Gnosticism in Irenaeus and Tertullian' by Daniel L' Hoffman (Lewiston NY: Edwin Mellen, 1995). The book says that Tertullian's statement is merely a rhetorical attention-grabber at the beginning of a talk, and is not mentioned again in the rest of the talk or any other works of Tertullian. In fact, Tertullian actually had a high respect for his wife and other women.
St. Augustine was faithful to the legacy of his predecessors, he wrote to a friend:
"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."
This quote comes from St Augustine's 243rd letter. The second half of the quote "I fail to see what use woman can be to man, if one excludes the function of bearing children" is not part of the letter. Therefore, it appears that Sherif Abdel Azeem has invented a bad statement and falsely attributed it to a great Christian. Anyone who wants a copy of the entire letter is welcome to email me. Alternately, the entire letter can be found in
The Fathers of the Church - A New Translation, Volume 32, St Augustine Letters (204-270), trans. Sr Wilfrid Parsons, S. N. D. (New York: Fathers of the Church, Inc, 1956).
St Augustine wrote this letter to a friend named Laetus. Laetus had entered religious life and his mother was tempting him to abandon this way of life for worldly reasons. Religious life consists in Christian men and women committing themselves completely to the service of God and his Church in a life of poverty, celibacy and obedience. Laetus wanted St Augustine to write to him.
The context explains why St Augustine said, "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." This was not an arbitrary statement, but was said to strengthen Laetus against his mother's attempts to remove him from religious life for worldly reasons. The rest of the letter is filled with other Biblical ideas and images. Augustine's statement is similar to Christians saying "Beware of Pharaoh the tyrant in rulers", "Beware of Adam the blame-shifter in men", "Beware of Judas the traitor in the people around you", or "Beware of Peter the denier in yourself" (Genesis 3:12; Exodus 1:8-16; Matthew 26:14-16, 69-75). Elsewhere in the same letter, St Augustine tells Laetus to treat his mother with respect because she is a sister to him in Christ.
Speaking more generally about St Augustine's view of women, it is fair to say that Sherif Abdel Azeem's picture of St Augustine is not accurate. Firstly, Augustine supported and praised virginity, widowhood and monasticism. Therefore, it is incorrect to say that he thought the only purpose of women was for childbearing. Secondly, in the classic autobiography of his spiritual journey and conversion to Christianity (the Confessions), Augustine says that male and female are one and that God does not discriminate between them (Book 13, Section 23). Thirdly, Augustine talks about Adam being the cause and transmitter of original sin and its consequences (City of God, Books 13 and 14).
The relevant works may be found online at the following addresses:
CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPAEDIA: The Rule of St Augustine
Of Holy Virginity by St Augustine
On the Good of Widowhood by St Augustine
The City of God
Centuries later, St. Thomas Aquinas still considered women as defective:
"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."
This statement comes from St Thomas Aquinas' 'Summa Theologica' (Part I, Question 92, article 1, reply to objection 1) and is actually a citation from "On the Generation of Animals" (Book II) by Aristotle. Here St Thomas is making a scientific statement about the physical generation of females and he quotes Aristotle because he was the best scientific authority at the time. The Arab and Muslim philosophers and theologians also used Aristotle in their writings.
Immediately following the statement in question, St Thomas goes on to discuss the creation of women from a theological perspective. His theological statement is quite different than the citation from Aristotle and is much more positive towards women. "On the other hand, as regards human nature in general, woman is not misbegotten, but is included in nature's intention as directed to the work of generation. Now the general intention of nature depends on God, Who is the universal Author of nature. Therefore, in producing nature, God formed not only the male but also the female."
The statement quoted by Sherif Abdel Azeem has nothing to do with the sin of Adam and Eve, and is not influenced by the Genesis account. Aristotle was a Greek philosopher who lived over 300 years before Christianity began and had most probably no contact with the Old Testament. So his words, which Aquinas cites, are not influenced by the Biblical account of Eve sinning and then tempting Adam. Also, in the section of the Summa Theologica where these words are found nothing is said about the sin of Adam and Eve. Elsewhere St Thomas discusses original sin and he says that Adam, not Eve, is the transmitter of original sin (Summa Theologica, 1st part of the 2nd part, question 81).
For more (relevant) information, please check out the following:
The Summas Theologica by St Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas, Islam and the Arab Philosophers by Fr Joseph Kenny OP
What Aquinas Never Said About Women by Michael Nolan
What Aquinas Really Said About Women by Marie I. George
Finally, the renowned reformer Martin Luther could not see any benefit from a woman but bringing into the world as many children as possible regardless of any side effects:
"If they become tired or even die, that does not matter. Let them die in childbirth, that's why they are there".
I have attempted to trace this alleged statement of Martin Luther to its original source, but have been unsuccessful. The words in question appear in The Gospel According to Woman by Karen Armstrong (which Sherif Abdel Azeem refers his readers to), but this book did not give a reference for it. I looked at some of the works of Martin Luther on the internet and could not find this statement. Therefore, I will not directly discuss this quote. If anyone can point me to the original source, please do so.
Again and again all women are denigrated because of the image of Eve the temptress, thanks to the Genesis account. To sum up, the Judaeo-Christian conception of women has been poisoned by the belief in the sinful nature of Eve and her female offspring.
The remainder of my response has already answered this particular statement against Christianity.
It is clear that the Quranic view of women is no different than that of man. They both are God's creatures whose sublime goal on earth is to worship their Lord, do righteous deeds, and avoid evil and they both will be assessed accordingly. The Quran never mentions that the woman is the devil's gateway or that she is a deceiver by nature. The Quran, also, never mentions that man is God's image; all men and women are his creatures, that is all. According to the Quran, a woman's role on earth is not limited only to childbirth. She is required to do as many good deeds as any other man is required to do. The Quran never says that no upright women have ever existed. To the contrary, the Quran has instructed all the believers, women as well as men, to follow the example of those ideal women such as the Virgin Mary and the Pharoah's wife...
This paragraph by Sherif Abdel Azeem is clearly meant to be an attack on the Christian view of women. So I will respond to it and let people know about the real position of women in Christianity.
Before doing this it is necessary to point out that the Muslim author has compared the Qur'an with some non-authoritative statements by Christians, and some of his claims are based on this comparison. I am sure it would be easy to find some Muslims making bad statements about women, and then place these against the teaching of the Bible. A proper comparison would have been to compare Jesus and Qur'an (central revelations), or Bible and Qur'an (Scriptures), or Christians and Muslims (believer's words and actions). More discussion about women in Christianity and Islam can be found elsewhere on this website.
Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the supreme revelation of God. This means that we should above all look to Jesus in any discussions about Christian beliefs and practices. Throughout his life on earth Jesus affirmed the dignity of women and their equality with men. He had women disciples, he challenged oppression of and violence towards women, he spent plenty of time with women, and he first appeared to women after his resurrection. For some examples see the following parts of the Holy Gospels: Luke 7:36-8:3, 23:49; John chapter 4, 7:53-8:11.
The Bible teaches that both men and women are made in the image of God. Genesis 1:27 reads: "So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them".
Christianity does not say that no good women have ever existed. On the contrary, the Bible describes numerous women as doing good deeds for God and other people, and presents them as examples for us. For example: Deborah, Esther, Anna, the Virgin Mary and Phoebe. See the following parts of the Bible: the book of Esther, Judges 4-5, Luke 1-2, and Romans 16:1-2. Of special importance is the fact that many Christians believe the Virgin Mary is the holiest and highest of all creatures (including men and angels).
After Biblical times, there have been countless Christian women who lived extremely holy lives. Many of these women are honoured as saints and the Catholic Church presents them to men and women as great examples of how to be good Christians. For example: Perpetua, Felicity, Catherine of Siena, Joan of Arc, Teresa of Avila, Therese of Lisieux, and Edith Stein. The Catholic Church has declared three of these women (Catherine, Teresa and Therese) to be doctors of the Church, and there are Christians who want St Edith Stein to be declared a doctor as well. This means that their writings are extremely helpful for understanding and living Christianity, and that all Catholics should believe this.
Information about these women can be found by searching online at:
Some of the writings of Catherine of Siena, Teresa of Avila, and Therese of Lisieux can be found by searching online at: http://www.ccel.org/
Christianity does not say that the only purpose of women is to bear and raise children. The Bible talks about the value of celibacy, virginity and widowhood, which enable men and women to devote themselves completely to God and all people. For example: Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, St John the Baptist, St Paul and the daughters of Philip (Acts 21:8-9) were virgins. There is also the example of Anna a widow who "never left the Temple but worshipped there with fasting and prayer night and day" (Luke 2:37). Plus there are the words of Jesus and St Paul praising celibacy and virginity for God's sake (Matthew 19:11-12; 1 Corinthians 7:32-35).
Based on these teachings of the Bible, the Church has developed/organised vocations of nuns, virgins and widows. For example: there are Catholic nuns, virgins and widows; and also Orthodox, Anglican and Lutheran nuns. Many of the women saints mentioned two paragraphs above were virgins. Since Christianity allows women to be celibate to devote themselves completely to God, his Church, and all people, it obviously does not teach that women only exist to bear children.
Rebuttals to Sherif Abdel Azeem
Articles on Women in Islam and Christianity
Articles by Anthony Wales
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