Apparently, Nigerian Christian feminists are calling for Pastor Chris Oyakhilome’s head because of the statement he made below which they claim misrepresents the Bible: “Husband does not mean the male partner in a marriage, husband means master. The reason for most problems in Christian marriages is the fact that women . . . believe they are equal partners. In marriage, you have the man who is the head of that union and because he’s the head of that union, it is important to understand him.
You think he’s the one that needs to understand his wife and that is where you are wrong. He will eventually but you have to know the type of man you are married to and his needs. When you say you are marrying a man, you are coming under his authority. The Bible says, the man is the head of the woman, so when you marry him you come under his authority; you are not authority-sharers even though you are both heirs to the kingdom of God. When you decide not to subject yourself to that authority, you are a rebel and God is not going to accept what you are doing because you are not functioning correctly.
Making woman was not God’s original plan because after God created Adam and before He made Eve, He said in Genesis 1:31 “Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good.” God made woman because of man, so the woman was not His original idea. This is the reality. Genesis 2:18a “And the Lord God said, “For it is not good for a man to be alone.” The Bible didn’t say “lonely” but “alone.” There is a big difference. The man wasn’t lonely but alone. Genesis 2:18b “…I will make him an help meet”. He didn’t say a partner or a supervisor or a special advisor or someone to tell him what to do. I will make him someone to help him. God gave man a responsibility, so woman was made to help man achieve that responsibility. If this is understood in every home, then you won’t have problems.
Let me tell you; no husband wants another mother; he has had one all his life. He doesn’t want an older sister; he’s probably had one. Your secret is in obedience, your secret is in listening to your husband, and your secret is in doing the things that please him. When you don’t do the things that please him, you take the role of a mother or of an older sister. A man loves the one he serves (God) and the one that serves him (a good wife). He fights the one that wants to be at the same level with him (a rebellious wife).
A wise woman will always be an influence on her husband; the foolish one will always annoy the husband, make him mad, make him angry and when you make him angry, you will be the victim.” ~ Pastor Chris Oyakhilome
In my view, his statement is wholly compatible with the biblical creation story. According to the story, an all-knowing God created all animals in both sexes, but when it came to humans, He only created the man. Only later did he realize it was not good for the man to be alone, an observation that calls into question the notion that He is omniscient. In any case, He put Adam to sleep and carved Eve out of Adam’s rib.
This does not suggest the woman featured in God’s original plan. Evidently, she was created as an afterthought to help the man.
Further down in Exodus 20:17, God issues the Ten Commandments and lists women as men’s properties along with oxen, donkeys, and servants: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
Unfortunately, the New Testament does not say anything uplifting about the status of women. In 1 Timothy 2:11-14, the Bible orders women to be silent in the church and lays the blame for the Fall on Eve: “A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not 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.”
This is corroborated by 1 Corinthians 14:34-35: “. . . Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says, If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.”
The Bible states in no unmistakable term in 1 Corinthians 11:8-9 that women were created for men: “For a man is the image and glory of God, but a woman is the glory of man. For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman but woman for man.”
Despite coming 500 years after Christianity, Islam does not improve on the situation of women. In Koran 4:34, Allah admonishes Muslim men to beat their disobedient wives – a clear endorsement of domestic violence against women. I am amused when apologists say the beating is not supposed to leave a mark on the woman’s body, and that it must not be enforced until an attempt to “convince them (wives), and forsake them in bed” has been unsuccessful. Let us even grant that the Koran specifies the beating must be light and not leave a mark; these people ought to be told there is simply no justification for beating one’s spouse. One expects a perfect God to have known this!
From all indication, the only women in Allah’s heaven are the virgins whose sole purpose is to satisfy the sexual lusts of the men there.
According to Sahih Bukhari 2:29, women make up the majority of the people in hell. A weak Hadith, Kanz al-`ummal, 22:10, even suggests that 99% of women go to Hell. According to one Hadith, women have a deficiency in intelligence, and a man’s testimony is worth those of two women: “[Muhammad] said, ‘Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?’ They replied in the affirmative. He said, ‘This is the deficiency in her intelligence.’ ” Sahih Bukhari (6:301). The Hadith continues: “[Muhammad said] ‘isn’t it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses?’ The women replied in the affirmative. He said, ‘This is the deficiency in her religion.’”
And, here are the words of Muhammad’s favorite wife regarding the role assigned to women in Islam: “A’isha said [to Muhammad]: ‘ You have made us equal to the dogs and the asses’ ” Sahih Muslim (4:1039).
The notion that an omnibenevolent God who cares about human welfare exists in the Bible or the Koran is a myth. Let us ask a simple question to test this: which of these is a problem to human society – eating pork, marrying children or slavery? Would it surprise the reader to know that the God(s) of the Bible and Koran scored zero in this test? Prophet Muhammad married a six-year-old girl when he was in his fifties, and according to some accounts, he consummated the marriage when she was nine! This practice might have been commonplace at the time the prophet lived, but one would expect an all-knowing God (who supposedly spoke to Muhammad) to know that a child does not have the mental capacity to give consent for sex. He should have known that this practice would be frowned upon in the future (and rightly so) and would come to be known as pedophilia. How then can a man that had the choice between outlawing the consumption of pork and marrying a child but who banned the eating of pork and took a child-bride for himself be considered an excellent example of conduct? We cannot end the marriage to children in many Islamic societies because Muslims want to follow his example.
Modern interpreters can try, but there is little doubt about the position of women in relation to men in the Abrahamic holy books.
Pastor Oyakhilome cannot be blamed for misrepresenting the Bible on this occasion. Whether he is in the best position to give another person a marriage tutorial is quite another matter. Every time believers try to dissociate themselves from the verses above or suggest that the Old Testament verses no longer apply (even though they quote from the same place to support tithing) they prove they have better morals than the God(s) who put those nasty verses in the scriptures. Relying on the Bible and the Koran for moral guidance is like submitting your brain to be operated upon by a caveman rather than a modern neurosurgeon.
Without a doubt, that is a recipe for disaster. It cannot be right that one-half of the human population insists it is their God-given right to subjugate the other half of the human race. We saw a clear demonstration of this earlier in the year when zealous Christian and Muslim lawmakers in the National Assembly quoted passages from their holy scriptures to justify their opposition to a bill that would end discrimination against women in Nigerian society.
We live in the age of reason, science, and best evidence – these should guide our morality in the 21st century, not archaic texts were written by superstitious, desert goat-herders. Modern families see marriage as a partnership, and not a master-slave relationship. As a humanist and someone who puts human welfare and progress at the forefront of their consciousness, I am concerned about the retrogressive and harmful sermons preached by our religious leaders. These people are influential and are accountable for the corruption in the way a generation of Nigerians thinks, and we can no longer afford to let what they preach go unchallenged. It is dangerous not to act because of our survival as a nation, but also as a negroid people, requires a radical change of mindset.
Ijabla is a medical doctor and a humanist, and he writes from the UK. Contact him at: [email protected]
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