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Biblical Interpretations on Violence Against Women and Inequality PPDVP Regional symposium 7 th to 11 th April 2014 Tevita Seruilumi.

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Presentation on theme: "Biblical Interpretations on Violence Against Women and Inequality PPDVP Regional symposium 7 th to 11 th April 2014 Tevita Seruilumi."— Presentation transcript:

1 Biblical Interpretations on Violence Against Women and Inequality PPDVP Regional symposium 7 th to 11 th April 2014 Tevita Seruilumi

2 Note This presentation does not disrespect any religion or Christian denomination The following presentation is to encourage discussion about biblical interpretations Religion and for this session in particular - Christianity is an integral part of our identity and this session is about self assessing how its teachings are used to respond to VAW and gender inequality.

3 Session Outline Discuss some of the arguments used to give impunity to domestic violence. Understand how the bible can be interpreted to support the work against domestic violence. Discuss some of the arguments to justify Inequality. Understand how the bible can be interpreted from a rights based approach.

4 Domestic Violence Physical Sexual Emotional / Psychological Financial Coercive control POWER and CONTROL

5 Domestic Violence More than often, the Church does not take action against or mention domestic violence. Some churches still see it as a private matter. The message of forgiveness can be misinterpreted to discourage women from accessing support services.

6 Duty to Help The parable of the Good Samaritan – doing good to others. (Luke 10: 25-37) Bible speaks of respecting authority – lawful governments, existing laws and polices. Violence against women is a crime. There are laws to protect women and promote their rights. As Christians should encourage women’s access to justice and other support services.

7 Forgive and keep forgiving How many times must a woman suffer from violence and abuse? Often some churches speak about forgiveness or RECONCILIATION to women who have been victims/survivors of violence without looking into the pain, suffering and abuse that a woman faces. Forgiveness is also about repentance. A person who has wronged you must repent and never do the same to you again.

8 Marriage Certain churches have a stand against divorce. Women’s rights groups are often blamed for breaking up families.

9 Violence is not a part of a marriage or partnership Good and the Bad times Many times a woman is told to keep forgiving her husband or partner and that this is all part of the marriage… the bad times. Marriage vows are often used to keep women in violent relationships. What about the husband’s vows? Does he not have an oath before God not to harm the woman in any way. The bible does not refer to bad times as domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, intimidation, fear.

10 Till Death Do Us Part What Christ has put together let no man take apart. (Mark 10:9) Christ puts together, respect, kindness, love, understanding, peace…. NOT domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, humiliation and abuse. In fact it is the perpetrator who are taking apart the plan and purpose of God. He is pulling apart what God has put together. It is never the purpose of Christianity for a woman to die as a result of violence or be subject to violence and inhumane treatment. Women’s rights isn’t about breaking up families. Often women’ rights organizations are blamed for this – BUT for many women a divorce is the only way out of a life or cycle of violence.

11 All forms of domestic violence “There is no fear in love; perfect love drives out all fear. So then, love has not been made perfect in anyone who is afraid, because fear has to do with punishment”. (1 John 4:18)

12 Group Discussion From your own experiences, discuss and try to identify biblical scriptures or interpretations that make mention to inequality and women’s submissive roles.

13 Gender Relations Gender – Socially constructed/expectations. Expectations: Religion/Culture/Tradition/Media and Entertainment. Expectations, roles and identities for women and girls are subordinate – cause inequality.

14 Inequality Inequality is the cause and consequence of violence against women. Addressing domestic violence is a good step, but we have to address inequality. Inequality ranges from partner relations to structural inequality.

15 The Creation Story Used to justify inequality. Adam was created first. Eve caused Adam to Sin.

16 In the Beginning: GENISIS We were created in the image of God. Both men and women. Men and women were to have dominion over the earth NOT over each other “Helper” has been misinterpreted to such an extend that we use the creation story to justify how we treat women rather than focus on the immense depth, wonder and beauty of creation and how God created all of us in his image. The word helper in the original context is about equal responsibility and not about mastery or slavery.

17 The First Sin Many blame women for the first sin and for casing Adam to sin. But Christ has died for all (women, children and men) and therefore all sins are forgiven. Therefore we go back to the first family – in the Garden where we are all equal- men and women. Dominion of everything else – except for over each other.

18 Biblical Commandments Biblical teachings are used to shape behaviour and human relations 10 Commandments were written by the hand of God Commandments were also reiterate by Christ

19 10 Commandments Exodus 20: 1-17 Says nothing about men being superior or women being subordinate. In fact it says that children are to respect both parents. There is no emphasis on the father alone. Clearly means that both mother and father deserve equal respect.

20 2 Greatest Commandments Christ said that the 2 greatest commandments are: “Love your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength”. “Love your neighbor as you love yourself”.

21 Wives to submit… “Wives submit to your husband for he is the head of the family…”

22 Men to Love like Christ Yet many do choose to ignore the continuation of the so called submission verse: Eph 5: 22 “…women should submit to her husband for he is the head of the house hold… husband should love his wife just as Christ loved the church…”

23 Christ’s Love He came NOT so that others may serve him, but he came to serve. Jesus said if any one wants to be first he should make himself last of all and servant of all. Christ gave his life for us – selfless. Christ said that greater love has no one than someone who lay down their life for a friend (John 15:13)

24 A marriage sermon: “…Marriage should transform, as husband and wife make one another their work of art. It is possible to transform so long as we do not harbor ambitions to reform our partner. There must be no coercion if the Spirit is to flow; each must give the other space and freedom…” "Whan maistrie [mastery] comth, the God of Love anon, Beteth his wynges, and farewell, he is gon."

25 Women’s role in the Church Many women are told that they can not hold leadership positions within the church

26 Women’s role in the church? 1 Cor. 14:33-36 “As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches…” It was a letter from Paul to Timothy for that context. Should not be interpreted as a mandatory requirement.

27 Women’s role from Christ Christ himself after his resurrection authorized women to go and spread the good news. Mathew 28: 8 "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers...” “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers." Having accepted Christ into their hearts, they never once doubted Him, as some of his closest apostles did. Recall the apostle who demanded to see Him and to put his finger into Christ's side, only then saying, "My Lord and my God!" (Matthew 28:8-10)

28 Why emphasize on inequality? Galatians 3:28 “ There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”. Luke 17:21 “The Kingdom of God is in all of us” (All girls, all women, all men and all boys)

29 Common Accusation Some accuse such interpretations - you are trying to twist the bible. … and that we should not do this and take the bible word for word.

30 So why not word for word for: Mathew 18 “ 8 If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away….” Mark 9 “43 If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell… 45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off… 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes…”

31 Greatest gift of all 1 Corinthians 13: LOVE Love is treating others with respect, dignity and equality. Love does not promote inequality.

32 A living document The bible is a living document and should be interpreted to bring empowerment, peace, justice, freedom and life for all persons. The bible can be used to promote human rights and equality for all women, men and children.

33 Main Messages in the Bible about human relations We were created in the image of God Love your neighbor as you love yourself Human dignity for all Both parents are to be respected If you want to be first you should be the last Do unto others as you want others to do to you Humility, kindness Justice, peace, fairness Love Equality

34 Challenge Why continue to promote and interpret the few verse of inequality when there is so much of the bible which talks about equality, respect, justice and peace?

35 Christianity The bible is the fundamental document in Christianity and it is about interpreting it to bring spiritual enlightenment to all persons. Christianity can be used to promote equality for all and to end all forms of oppression and violence against women and girls. The bible does not excuse any kind of violent or controlling behavior within a relationship.

36 Thank you for listening


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