Men should keep silent – my will! – updated

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Introduction

This post was published on: Mar 15, 2018. Now I updated it.

I am tired to hear men’s voices in the church at JW meetings. I loved to listen to a woman at the Lutheran church in Sweden. I love female voices but not only because of their voice but also because of their way to talk and think.

I personally can not regard everything in the Bible as being words and commands of God. Some parts in the Bible look to be written by men not “inspired by God“.  Maybe were these men even inspired by the devil.  We are all humans, Jesus like Adam were tempted by the devil so maybe also Paul. I say this thinking about the damage some parts have created as I write about in “Consequences of Genesis

I probably met a fundangelical literalist last week at the JW “Sala del regno” in Lipari I had a discussion with a Jehovah Witness in Lipari.

( Image source: noreligionblog.wordpress.com  )

I am not a JW but I am attending JW (Jehovah witnesses) meetings as they are very helpful and talented in finding different parts of the Bible, even better than the catholic priests I talk with. And their jw app is a great tool for those who want to know more about what is written in the Bible.

As it looks like JW regards the whole Bible as the word of God, “inspired by God” using the words of 2Timothy 3:16.  I asked, therefore, a  Italian JW brother:

“Is the sentence of Paul

let the women keep silent in the congregations”

a sentence/order made by God?

He couldn’t answer, tried to deviate, starting to talk about other parts of The Gospel. I asked again the same question asking him for a yes or no or I don’t know, but invane.

A Witness sister had another approach telling me about other parts of Pauls’s letter where Pauls talked about women active in Rome (see the women leaders in my article below).  But that wasn’t an answer neither to my question. I made, however, thanks to her, my own research both in NT and OT. I came to the conclusion that Paul with his sentence, contradicted himself, the NT and OT. He had a blasphemous moment distracted by stress or the sentence was added later by others in the CAtholic church. I found a blog where Swedish Richard  Cruz discusses this issue. His articles are the main sources of information I used in this article.

Index

 

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Word inspired by God 

I think it has no sense to discuss which are the Words inspired by God without having any definition or criteria about what are “Words inspired by God”.

Paul wrote this about the Bible Timothy  in Ephesos in 2-Timothy 3:16

“All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight,* for disciplining in righteousness, so that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.”

As I have not found any criteria bout this,  I use my own criteria when I read the Muslim Quran, the Buddhist PaleCanon, the Zoroastrian Gatha, The Christian Bible.

These are:

Words may be inspired by God if …

  1. I find the same moral rules and principles in several holy books.
    good thoughts, good words, good deeds. the world's most beautiful country: IranThis is e.g. the case of Jesus rules and the Buddhist 8- fold path to enlightenment and the Zoroastrian Gathas Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds
  2. the sentences I read follow:
    1.  Jesus rules (my ethical ground rules)
    2. the Golden rule
    3. Love your next, your enemie (e.g. rivals), your neighbor
    4. Do not count the times you forgive ( Mat 18:22
    5. never betray a confidence 
      A talebearer reveals secrets, But he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter. ” (  Proverbs 11:13 NKJV  )
  3. A rule is not contradictory to other parts of the same book
  4. If modern science support
  5. a moral rule  leads to improvements, good constructive results 

The word of God is discussed in noreligionblog.wordpress.com/

As a pluralist, I am of course not a fundangelical, as is explained by  www.extremelysmart.com

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Paulus words

“let the women keep silent in the congregations, for it is not permitted for them to speak. Rather, let them be in subjection, as the Law also says.   If they want to learn something, let them ask their husbands at home, for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the congregation”   (  Cor 14:34 )

This is confirmed in  Thimothy 2:12 that says “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man, but she is to remain silent”

he comes to these conclusions with the Genesis as he says in 1-Timothy 2:13-15 :

“For Adam was formed first, then Eve. Also, Adam was not deceived, but the woman was thoroughly deceived and became a transgressor.  However, she will be kept safe through childbearing.”

Maybe JW doesn’t regard these as words of and orders by God as JW women are allowed to speak in the congregation but because of 1-Timothy 2:13-15 they never lead the assemblies.

In any case, the sentence “women keep silent” goes against Paul himself and the Bible

Read the thoughts about this verse by

www.rickardcruz.se 

this is another part that I hardly see as God’s word. How can the appearance of hair be that important for God?

In the Vatican and the Dome of Milan, women are not allowed to enter without covering the hair. But men can enter even with long hair.

These verses are according to me written by men who think they are superior to women.

The woman is man’s glory, not Gods?

( 1 )  ” But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered shames her head, for it is one and the same as if she were a woman with a shaved head. For if a woman does not cover herself, she should have her hair cut off but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or shaved, she should be covered.  For a man should not have his head covered, as he is God’s image and glory, but the woman is man’s glory.” (  Cor 11:5-7  )

This reminds of the Muslim people that require women to cover their hair. And a woman as man’s glory? typically written by a man with no self-confidence at all that has not learned that the last on Earth is first in Heaven. Paul, sometimes should men keep their mouth shut.

JW women seem not to follow this so these sentences may not be seen as words of God?

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Biblical arguments against “the women keep silent”

If it were heretical for women to speak in congregations, Jesus would not have asked Mary to tell what she saw and Jesus told her, to the brothers as is written in  John 20:16-18  :

( 1 )  “She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.”

In this text there is no distinction between women and men:

 ( 1 ” a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.”

( 1 )   So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.”  (  Col 3:11 -13 )

( 1 )   The women should not be silent in the congregation as is written in  ( Psalms 68:11  )

The Lord gives the command; The women who proclaim the good tidings are a great host

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Women Leaders in the early church
I found very useful information in my translation from  www.rickardcruz.se

Three women followed Jesus and are mentioned several times in the Gospels. At one point it says that Jesus was with the twelve disciples – and these three women. Why there were only men among the twelve were probably because they traveled, lived, stayed overnight, and went extremely close together for three years and that it had been very difficult to do that with a mixed group in that society. Translated from  www.rickardcruz.se

Mary, Joanna, and Susanna and many others( 1

 ” After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out;  Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means” ( Luke 8: 1-3 )

Mary from Magdala 
Mary from Magdala had a life-changing encounter with Jesus when he liberated her from seven evil spirits. She became one of Jesus’ followers and sometimes traveled with him. She was just like the other disciples, following Jesus and received his teaching.
She was present at the two most important events in Jesus’ life: the crucifixion and the resurrection. She is mentioned at least twelve times in the four Gospels, which is more than most of the male disciples. Jesus chose to allow Mary to be the first to prove himself in his resurrection as I wrote about above. He also sent her to be the first witness of the resurrection of the other disciples. This is contrary to the prevailing system in the Jewish society where women were not considered credible as witnesses. My translation from  www.rickardcruz.se

Philippus four unmarried daughters
 We do not know their names or if they were considered prophets but they prophesied according to   ( Acts 21:8-9 ): ( 1 )   “Leaving the next day, we reached Caesarea and stayed at the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the Seven. He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied.”

Phoebe – Co-worker of Paul who served the church in Cenchreae, We do not know which service/gift she had but that she was now traveling to Rome with Paul’s recommendations may very well suggest she was a traveling serviceman.

( 1 )   “I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church in Cenchreae.”

(Romans 16: 1)

My translation from  www.rickardcruz.se

Maria
– Workers in the Assembly of Rome. She was a congregation worker and leader who had made a big difference to the church in Rome. (

Greet Mary, who worked very hard for you. “  ( Romans 16: 6 )

My translation from  www.rickardcruz.se

Junia
– according to Paul, she was a highly regarded apostle. For centuries, the female apostle Junia has been the headache of the male church hierarchy. Many have tried to claim that Junia was actually a man but there is no proof of anything other than that she was actually a woman.

( 1 )   “Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was.” ( Romans 16: 7 )

Hypatia

I wrote about her in a separate post.

My translation from  www.rickardcruz.se

Tryphena and Tryphosa

Their names make it likely that they were either slaves or former slaves. My translation from  www.rickardcruz.se

( 1 )   ” Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, those women who work hard in the Lord. Greet my dear friend Persis, another woman who has worked very hard in the Lord” ( Romans 16:12 )

Priska / Priscilla

“Greet Priscilla and (ed. Priscillas husband) Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus.  They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them.”

Priska and her husband traveled and moved several times. In Ephesus, Corinth and Rome. Probably she and her husband served as the noblest / community leader. She and her husband met Apollos early in his service and taught him thoroughly. He is later referred to as an apostle. (Acts 18: 2-3, 18, 26, Romans 16: 3-4, 1 Corinthians 16:19, 2 Tim 4:19)

My translation from  www.rickardcruz.se

Euodia and Syntyche

( 1 )   ” I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.”  ( Phil 4: 2-3 )

Friends, Leaders and Employees of Paul in the Gospel Service in the Philippi Assembly. 

My translation from  www.rickardcruz.se

 

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Consequences of verses in Genesis

I would like to analyze the consequences of some verses in Genesis regarding the Roles of Adam and Eve. 

It is important to know that both Muslims and Christians believe in the same story and roles of Adam (deceived by Eve) and Eve (the deceiver) 

As you will see the story of Genesis led to a chain reaction (Domino effect)

Effect 1.

Paul who thought that all scripture in the  Bible (Genesis included) were inspired by God ( 2 Timothy 3:15 ) red and interpreted  Genesis in  1-Timothy 2:13-15 as I wrote above, like this :

“For Adam was formed first, then Eve. Also, Adam was not deceived, but the woman was thoroughly deceived and became a transgressor.  However, she will be kept safe through childbearing.”

(ed. “kept safe” from being stupidly deceived by the Devil or commit more crimes? Only the Bible contains such a statement, the Quran doesn’t, even though many Muslims think that women should not study nor work but instead take care of the children and the home. )

Pauls conclusion after reading Genesis was, therefore:

  Effect 1a.” However, she will be kept safe through childbearing.”

  Effect 1b.“I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man, but she is to remain silent” ( Thimothy 2:12 )

Effect 2. With the support of Pauls  verses  above ( (Effect 1b in 1 Tim. 2:12-15).),  Brian Allison like many priests, states in http://www.bibleword.com/wwsnbp.htm: “The second reason why women are not to be pastors or elders is that the Scriptures (ed. Pauls letter to Timotheus is regarded as Gods law) specifically prohibit such action.”

As is described in http://www.womenpriests.org/jesus-empowered-women/

In the Middle Ages, everyone took for granted that only men were present at the Last Supper.” This led to the conclusion by the Church that only men should be allowed to perform the Eucharist in his name.

This is maybe changing as  “faithful Catholics  show why the exclusion of women from the priesthood is wrong”. Read more inn http://www.womenpriests.org/

Among those who welcomed Francis during his visit in Sweden was Lutheran Archbishop Antje Jackelen of Uppsala. Jackelen is the primate of the Church of Sweden and a woman.  See photo above from www.ncronline.org.

On the question ‘Who is more important in the theology or in the spirituality of the church: the apostles or Mary, on the day of Pentecost?’ ” Pope Francis answered: “It is Mary!”

However, the Pope said that the ban is going on that direction ( ed. an everlasting ban ) in the Catholic church.  Read more in  www.ncronline.org

This everlasting ban is one of the consequences of the story of Adam and Eve. Maybe this ban was only of one of many.

One can speculate about other consequences  of Genesis like 

Who loosed most from the story of Genesis? The women.

Who won power with the story of Genesis? The men.

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Bible scripts, Jesus did not accept

I discuss here a few parts that Jesus did not accept and whose rules he changed triggering the wrath of the priests of his time. 

  1. Did God say “Defeat your enemy and put aside the clothes of a pleasant woman prisoners in your home and make her your wife?”

These verses tell you how God will help you defeat your enemie and how a man can have sex with an attractive prisoner woman. 

( 1 )  “When you go to war against your enemies and the Lord your God delivers them into your hands and you take captives, 11 if you notice among the captives a beautiful woman and are attracted to her, you may take her as your wife. 12 Bring her into your home and have her shave her head, trim her nails 13, and put aside the clothes she was wearing when captured. After she has lived in your house and mourned her father and mother for a full month, then you may go to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife. 14 If you are not pleased with her, let her go wherever she wishes. You must not sell her or treat her as a slave since you have dishonored her”  (  Deuteronomy 21:10-14  )

What Jesus said years later

(You heard that it was said: ‘You heard that it was said: ‘You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy.  However, I say to you: Continue to love your enemies and to pray for those who persecute you,” ( Matt 5:43-44 )

Jesus said “it is said”  He didn’t say, “God said”. So Jesus may be indirectly said that Deuteronomy 21:10-14 :  is not the word of God. It is superfluous to talk about aberrant instruction to use a pleasant prisoner woman. 

  1. No, the word of God is this intelligent and constructive statement:

“love your enemie and persecutor”

2a. Did God order you to Stone your stubborn son?

These verses of  Deuteronomy 2:8-25 are also very questionable:

( 1 )   “If someone has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him,  his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. They shall say to the elders, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a glutton and a drunkard.” Then all the men of his town are to stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid.”

Sons should show respect to the parents but stubbornness we know of today may have other causes than being evil. Maybe the son has some trauma from bad experiences or simply, the parents are not behaving as good parents. A God should know this and that elders may not be able to judge in a correct way. I can not see these verses as inspired by God.

2b. Did God order you in case of adultery to  Stone your daughter in front of your house?

This is what God commands according to the Bible: 

( 1 )  “If, however, the charge is true  (ed. the woman is found not to be virgin and no proof of the young woman’s virginity can be found,  she shall be brought to the door of her father’s house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death. She has done an outrageous thing in Israel by being promiscuous while still in her father’s house. You must purge the evil from among you.” ( Deuteronomy 22:20-21 )

More can be read about this in https://carm.org/bible-difficulties

How can you p4roove that a woman is virgin? Not all women loose blood after the first intercourse.  God would have known that.

What Jesus said years later

 “Read these verses of John 3:1-11

( 1 )  “As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.  “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery.The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” 
They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger.  They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!”  Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.
When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman.10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?  “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

Jesus the one who has never sinned, did not ask for witnesses and proves  nor did he stone her. Even if he  clearly said “you shall not commit adultery”  (  Matthew 5:27-28 ) he let her go telling her “sin no more”

This behaviour of Jesus is in total agreement with the no judge  law Jesus himself proclaimed:

2. God said this intelligent and life-changing advice

( 1 )  “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. luke 6:37 )

We have to judge in today’s society but have developed a system for that to minimize risks for mistakes. many countries are against death sentences for the same reason. We must protect the victims. while respecting humans right, giving criminals possibilities to start a new life without crimes.

3. Did God at request from Elisha, order young children to be torn   to pieces by “shebears”?

Read 2 Kings 2:23-24 that tells about what young boys made to Elisha and what God made at his request:

“He went up from there to Bethel. As he was going along the way, some young boys came out from the city and began to jeer at him, and they kept saying to him: “Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!”   
Finally he turned around and looked at them and cursed them in the name of Jehovah. Then two she-bears came out of the forest and tore 42 of the children to pieces

Do you  believe that God had this happen? Is this the truth? I am in doubt of that.

3. No. God said this intelligent and life-changing advice about how many times you should forgive:

up to 77 times” ( Mat 18:21-22 )

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Conclusion

 about that Paul with his sentence contradicted himself, the NT (Jesus himself), and OT (Psalms 68:11). He had a blasphemous moment distracted by stress or the sentence was added later by others in the Catholic church.

That God gives instructions on how humans should dress (  see verses in  Cor 11:5-7  ) is like the Muslim God that in the Quran instructs about heritage amounts ( 4-Al-Nisa ). This seems to me, not to be an issue for a God to spend precious time with.  Especially not when the main message is to love your next and enemie ( enemies that maybe women challengeing you.

I can not find any other conclusion that the story of Genesis was written by men led by their own instincts and absolutely not “inspired by God”.

If there is a God (I am agnostic as you may understand) and a  God per definition should be all-knowing, a God would have understood the weakness of Adam, that Adam in the presence of a beautiful woman like probably Eve was, were to become simply stupid. Not forgetting that Eve was of the same body of Adam and therefore like a twin brother.

God should have sent the message instead, that men should sometimes keep silent and not get to much powers being to much driven by instincts and heir hormones.

For me it seems obvious that some parts of the Bible are the word of men and not inspired by God, words of men who in part  either

  •  erroneously translated their messenger
  • or misinterpreted their messenger
  • or overinterpreted what they heard adding their own fantasies to make their story more interesting or readable (like parts in the  Genesis, as using the word day instead of millennia and with “God rested the seventh day”  or blaming the woman for the man’s failures

There is also a hypothesis that Pauls  “Women shall keep silent ” has been added after his death, maybe by the same people who argued that Pauls Junia was a man.

The same can be seen in the Quran were “fight” has been translated to kill in contradiction of Moses law “you shall not kill” a translation that led many youth to go to ISIS.

like the Catholic church does not accept women to be priests because of Pauls’s “Women should keep silent.” and many women in Sicily have suffered as hey couldn’t prove their virginity after the first marriage night, one has to read the Bible with listening and thinking mind. Not to forget that several texts were created 6000 years ago, transmitted orally and written down hundreds of years later, like the books of Moses.

That the Genesis said the Paradise was created down here on Earth (as the translations sound like) is one of my doubts. Even if geniously written, I think the Creation message in Genesis has been greatly simplified and misinterpreted downgrading God to a magician and artists. If Genesis really originated from God, then God shows great humility with this account of the Creation.

I prefer however the more mystical Muslim version where Paradise with Adam is created in Heaven (like Jesus was before everything) and Adam was sent down to Earth as a punishment for disobedience, incarnated in a human beings body, like I wrote about in my Unified creation theory.

Words inspired by God or by the devil? 

About the suggestions of the evil ones will be the issue for the next post.

 

Footnotes

(1) About texts from the Bible in this article. If you are reading Bible text in the English version and using the Google translate option, you must know that the Google translation may not be an approved translation. We recommend you to open the approved text  in your chosen language here in Biblia or here in jw.org.