This is a guest post by Shanna Babilonia who is the publisher of myiobi.com, a secular personal development website focusing on internal and external improvement and empowerment. You can read more of her work at www.myiobi.com. Thank you Shanna!
For thousands of years women have been defined only in correlation to their relationship to men. They have been kept hidden, prohibited from speaking, forced into submission and treated as the “unclean” gender whose existence is that of mental and physical servitude to her human counterpart. Why has so much emphasis been placed upon the mind and actions of women? What does organized religion fear about the mind of an educated and logically-thinking woman?
Here are 5 reasons why organized religion fears educated women:
- The loss of patriarchal control.
The three largest religions on our planet are all patriarchal religious establishments. They were created by men, for the benefit of men. This has created a human imbalance for nearly every society on earth. But, there are some who insist on maintaining that imbalance by putting man in the place of a god-like being, while ascribing an inferior role to women.
The problem is, these patriarchies are not just part of religious organizations, but in many cases, the entire basis for national laws in some countries. If women were to become more educated and think logically and critically about the position that has been religiously consigned to them in this life and work to change that standard, the disruption would not only occur at a religious level, but at a national level. Although most free-thinking and educated people understand that this change is critical for our own human advancement, it remains a perceived threat to those religious followers and leaders who don’t want to see such change occur in their churches, synagogues, and countries.
- Conflicting influence over children and family life.
Women play an enormous role in the lives of their children and the daily functioning of their household. When women become more educated and are capable of thinking logically about their environment and the ideas that their children will become exposed to, they are more cautious about what they choose to introduce into the minds of their offspring. Additionally, they are more watchful about where they as a family spend their time and the types of ideas that will dominate the mental theme of their household.
An educated, logically-thinking woman is more likely to spend time teaching her children about concepts that have nothing to do with religion and more to do with subjects that will expand her child’s mind and abilities, rather than focusing on religious emotional dependence. This is a threat to religion because that child will not have the same tendency toward the religion as a child of a mother who desperately clings to religious dogma. For religion to disseminate in each generation, it must begin in childhood and it must be presented as a necessity that the child understands to be just a compulsory as food or water. An educated woman capable of thinking critically about religious ideas will not influence her child to cleave to religious ideology in this way; she will teach them the opposite. She will teach them to think for themselves, which in turn, breaks the cycle of religious dependence that is essential for religious continuance.
- Depleting the ranks.
It is a widely-known fact that the more educated and financially stable a woman becomes, the more likely she is to practice family-planning and have her children at a later age. Educated women are also more likely to have fewer children than their uneducated and impoverished female counterparts.
Furthermore, educated women are more likely to cultivate their own worldview, rather than simply following their traditional familiar teachings; and may contribute no followers to a religion when they do finally decide to start a family.
This is a problem for religion because women who choose the timing and size of their household don’t typically contribute the same amount of future-followers to a religion as those women who are restricted from pursuing an education and career. If a woman leaves the religion altogether as a direct result of becoming well-informed and financially stable and no longer needs the “comforts” that her religion once provided, she has not only removed herself from the ranks, but her children as well. For religion to perpetuate itself, it must have followers, or it ceases to exist.
- The decline of poverty.
In many countries around the world, girls are prevented from attending school and obtaining an education – education that directly contributes to national and global income and labor force capabilities. Educating women improves the welfare of families as they become empowered to contribute to the financial success of their household—which in turn creates more opportunities and resources available for their children. When their children have better access to education and prospects to lead a more productive and financially stable lifestyle, this threatens religion because well-educated people are less likely to fall prey to religious dogma and persuasive religious propaganda.
The poor and undereducated represent a huge portion of religious followers. Without poverty, religion is incapable of maintaining its stronghold on societies. This is easily observable in countries where women are free to pursue education, critical-thought and open expression as the amount of serious religious cohorts is greatly diminished as a society includes women in its educational and employment opportunities. Conversely, the ill-effects of poverty are easily observed in countries where women are restricted from education, free-thought and financial resources beyond that of a male family member.
It is a threat to religion when women are educated because it decreases poverty-levels and as a result decreases religious dependence by those whose only outlet for comfort and hope is that of a religious organization, however misleading that “hope” may be. When women (and people in general) are capable of creating their own hope and security through the lifestyle and resources education and opportunity creates for them, religion often becomes completely irrelevant.
- Loss of financial contributions
When women become educated and learn to think critically about religious concepts, it affects the ideas that develop in the minds of their children, and often their entire household. It enables their family to experience greater financial stability when their education affords them better opportunities to contribute to household expenses, which decreases poverty and empowers children to experience greater resources to succeed as well when they grow into their adult lives. This is all a threat to religion, because without followers who contribute (tithe) to the religion, the religion ultimately suffers a financial loss. It can no longer depend on its followers to contribute to its functioning.
Patriarchal religious organizations have engaged in a human mental trap for millennia that attempts to keep humankind dependent on its doctrines by controlling the minds and actions of women. By controlling women, they are able to keep women from developing their mental capacities, which in turn creates uneducated children who then follow the teachings of their mother and perpetuates a cycle of poverty. These religions don’t seek to empower followers, but to keep them ensnared in a cyclical and desperate lifestyle that preserves itself generation after generation. It all begins in the mind of a girl. A girl who grows into a woman, who has a child who she teaches the only thing she knows—to trust the patriarchal religion that has kept her in mental chains since the moment she was born.
By Shanna Babilonia