Wednesday, September 14, 2011

God Does Not Hate Women

I was tripping over at the blog of the atheist that left a comment on my God is Love post here.

He used Judges 19 and 1 Tim 2:12 to show how the God of the Bible is a woman hater.

Judges 19 and I think Judges 20 are two of the most terrible (because of the sin they describe) chapters in the Bible telling of the reality of sin, of evil, of cowardice, of the absence of all that is good, noble and loving.

You may or may not have seen the commentary that points out the significance of the first line:
(following is from
"'There was no king in Israel': This set the stage for the terrible story in the following chapters. No king in Israel meant more than the absence of a political monarch; it also meant that they refused to recognize God’s leadership over them."

The chapter and I would argue the one following "shows the depths of the depravity to which many sink apart from the grace of God.”

God does NOT hate women.  I know that personally, although I'm sure that would be easy for an atheist to dismiss.

1 Tim 2:12 is not the easiest verse to accept silently or quietly if you are a woman, and I also know that personally because I wasn't happy the first time I read it:
But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.

Scott Hahn helps take away the sting when he explains in the commentary from the Ignatius Study Bible on 1 Tim 2:12
"Not an absolute prohibition that applies to all circumstances, but one that excludes women from the teaching ministry exercised by ordained clergymen (1 Cor 14:34-35). Paul is not denying the equal dignity of men and women in Christ (Gal 3:28) or the propriety of women in praying and prophesying within the context of worship (1 Cor 11:5). Women perform an invaluable service when they teach the faith in other contexts by their words and Christian example (Titus 2:3-4)."

I had problems myself reading the OT, using a Catholic RSV version of the one year Bible about 15 years ago.  I was really struggling with all the killing going on in the OT, not just of the armies, but of the children and livestock too.  It didn't make much sense to me, so I didn't finish.  I favor the books of Psalms, Proverbs, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosiah, Daniel, Tobiah, and 2 Maccabees.  2 Maccabees is better than Lord of the Rings. 

I have read all of the New Testament.   I won't be dishonest with you, I had problems with other of Paul's statements too.  I was advised to keep a scripture journal and when something bothered me to copy the passage down and pray about it seeking to understand it more.  About 50% of these I came to have a better understanding, usually from good commentary resources, but sometimes it would happen that I would hear the particular passage explained by several different people (one of our Parish priests, maybe a preacher on the radio or on TV) within a short period, maybe 2 weeks to a year after I prayed to understand it better.

Some passages, like when in 2 Kings 2:24, Elisha has two she-bears devour the 42 children that made fun of his baldness, I haven't yet found something to help me understand.  Elisha was a great miracle working prophet of God.  Why would some name-calling lead him to have some children killed? Atheists cite this passage frequently when they leave trolling comments on Christians' blogs.

I started using the second half of the journal to write down the verses that deeply touched me.  That half of my journal overran into the first part of the journal such that I only had about 20 pages of problems, and then 100+ and onto other journals of Bible Passages that deeply touch me and are meaningful to me.

I'm not a Fundamentalist.  I believe God created the heavens and the earth and that they didn't evolve magically.  I would put my life on the line for Christ, but not for the belief that the world was created in 6 24 hour days.  I'll leave open that I might come to believe that, but I don't believe that as strongly as I do that God's Son left the glory of heaven to become a man, to atone for our sins, so that we might have life within us now, and eternal life with God, all the angels and saints in heaven.

I also have problems with Ephesians 5:24, but not with Eph: 5:22.  My problem with 5:24 is it adds "in everything" after "wives should submit to their husbands".  Even fundamentalists when they teach this today say so long as it is moral and isn't against God's commands, but still, Paul wrote "everything".  That's where I go to God does breathe on the words, and the words are inspired, but the words were still put to paper (unlike the Ten Commandments to stone) by the hand of man.  I hope this isn't pride in me, but it might be.

I am not a scripture scholar as is obvious.  This post started as a comment that overran the character limit for comments over at the atheist's blog.

I would like to persuade that God does breathe on the words and God does use the words of Scripture to teach, strengthen, comfort, and mold us.  There is so much that is important to how we are to live now, and hereafter in the Word of God, and especially in coming to know the Word of God that became flesh.

Often God's touching us through Scripture is miraculous.  I've mentioned before how even though I am just reading Fr. Bartunek's meditations sequentially in The Better Part, I have been struck by how the brief passage and teachings speak to me about what I am experiencing, and challenged with that day or week.  I wrote before about how a friend said the scripture passages for the first Sunday she decided to go to a Catholic Church, after 18 years or so, spoke directly to her heart (Isaiah 49:15-16 especially), and during lunch today she said that is continuing to happen.

One of my problem verses was right after the Parable of the Sower, when it said that Jesus continued to speak in parables to the crowds, but secretly explained things to his Disciples, his followers.   I don't think I understood that verse until tonight.  It used to really bother me.  If God loves all his children and wills that all would be saved, why only speak to the crowds in parables and only explain the meaning to the disciples in private?

Fr. Bartunek says this is why prayer life is so important.  God wants us to communicate with him.  This explaining happens in private when we are seeking first the Kingdom of God, and to follow Christ as his disciples.

What I've learned from reading more about Mary and the Holy Spirit from Fr. Chris O'Donnell's book:
  • We do need to be docile to the Holy Spirit, just like Mary was.  
  • We do need to ponder things we don't understand, just like Mary did when Jesus gave her a pretty short explanation in the Finding in the Temple.  
  • Most of all, we do need to be humble like Mary was, and still is, always pointing us and leading us to adoration of her Son.
    • When we are humble and get past some of the self-absorption, self-love, and rationalizations we have more room for grace.
I was just thinking that Mary was so humble that she was FULL of Grace, but think this is where my theological weakness and lack of understanding of the magnitude of the Immaculate Conception is apparent to those that have a better understanding of this dogma.

I don't think a person with intellectual pride is going to get past the obstacles that are there in the scriptures.  Instead the enemy will use these to boost the pride and distract the person from the light.  Really, as Fr. John Bartunek points out, it is no different from the Pharisees and Scribes that would see Jesus's miracles and still close their hearts and minds to him.  It grieved Jesus that they would not believe.

If someone has humility, patience, and the desire to ask God to help, even if it is couched in terms like "if you are real", then there is at least the ounce of free will and openness to the light and grace of God.  I love Elizabeth Malou's conversion story at

Also, it does make sense that a passionate atheist isn't going to be persuaded by a comment I might leave on his blog, and I've left a couple, nor by this post.  I don't know if I will regret that, but I couldn't resist.

My current belief is that light and grace can break through the darkness and blindness of pride, and sometimes like in Elizabeth's story it comes when you become a little vulnerable to someone else, a friend, or in her case it was a co-worker.  I think this vulnerability is a small opening in the stone wall built around the soul.

This is similar to Jen Fulwhiler's coming to belief when she fell in love with her husband.  Since he was super smart and had degrees from top schools, she couldn't dismiss him as she had others, as an intellectually unsound individual.  It opened her to find out more and led her eventually to the Catholic Church.  Her most recent audio post tells this story:


  1. Colleen,
    You are not the only one who has had difficulty with some of St. Paul's words - St. Teresa of Avila said this:
    "About the injunction of the apostle Paul that women should keep silent in church? Don't go by one text only." :)
    I have read Elizabeth's book, Blest Atheist. Hers is an amazing conversion story and the book was excellent!

  2. Thanks for reading and commenting Mary. I know it was a long post. I got a little worked up while doing this one last night.