The source of male dominance in society has remained a focal point of debate for a very long time. Although modernization is slowly bringing a shift in power relations between the two genders, man has continued to enjoy a dominant status, often conferred upon him by cultural myths and superstitions that are hard to debunk. Traces of popular beliefs, value systems, and perceptions that are not informed by any scientific rigor continue to shape societal relations, effectively influencing fundamental cultural orientations on how individuals relate to each other (Anderson, 1996). Some myths of the male divine have been used to demonize women as inferior and weak beings as opposed to their male counterparts. For example, medieval art tried to depict the biblical serpent in the Garden of Eden as a female though it was assumed that the serpent was indeed male (Caputi, 2004).
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According to many of these myths, the Supreme Being vests all authority in males. The subjects of this authority mainly made up of women and children are not supposed to revolt against it as doing so amounts to a direct revolt against God. In essence, the fear of the Supreme Being restrains any manifested impulses to initiate a revolt on the part of the ruled (Walston, 2009). Due to the myths, many cultures across the world view the man as the father who is sorely responsible for bringing forth a child. Biology is relegated to the backseat and the role of women in procreation is rubbished by these myths. Indeed, the ideal man is viewed as the owner of everything that exists in society, including women and children. This explains why many traditional societies viewed women and children as properties of the divine man. Also, these myths have privileged the male status in society while stereotyping the roles of women. In some communities, the status of a man is equal to that of a god or a deity. Women, just like children, are only supposed to play passive roles.
Cultural roles and behaviors are often shaped around these myths of the male divine. Man can assume the roles of the keeper and punisher of society since he derives his authority from God. Accordingly, these myths have validated men’s subjugation of women (Binns, 1997). These myths of paternity are still strong in some cultures in this day and age. In some cultures, women cannot stand in the pulpit and preach due to these myths. Some cultures even go-ahead to give examples of how Jesus chose his disciples from males, ignoring women in totality.
The issue of whether we can reasonably and logically claim to know of God’s existence remains a matter of debate. Nearly all civilizations in history have been known to rely on a supernatural deity for assistance and spiritual nourishment. However, knowledge about God can at best be based on individual beliefs and cultures since no evidence can be derived from facts or logical reasoning. We can only know about God by first setting our belief systems and personal philosophies to accommodate the idea that a supernatural deity exists outside of our natural environment and realm (“Does God Exist,” 2009). This is the uncaused cause. We can know about God’s existence through a critical evaluation of things that surround us in the universe. Myths and superstitions, daily experiences, discoveries in astronomy, advances in molecular biology, the orderliness of the natural laws governing the universe, and others, increasingly point to the fact that there must have been a beginning and a cause to everything that happens around us. This is where the connection of a supernatural power comes in.
Much of the understanding and conceptions that we hold regarding a supernatural deity are based more on our cultural understanding than on evidence or logical reasoning. Through our understanding, we refer to God as ‘He’ and ‘father.’ There are other cultures that refer to the deity as ‘mother nature.’ Such descriptions are only based on our subjective values and belief systems, which are not supported by any scientific method (“Does God Exist,” 2009).
Different cultures around the world have been relating to God in terms of gender as observed above. In the bible, the word ‘Father’ has been used numerous times to refer to God. Notably, the word ‘mother’ has not been used even once when referring to God. The patriarchal gender assigned to God has seen special privileges extended to males at the expense of females. This does not help matters in society as it prevents women from enjoying some inherent privileges, not to mention the fact that such an arrangement has only served to block women from accessing their God-given opportunities. God is spirit (Laney, 2009).
- Anderson, P. (1996). “Myths, Mimeses, and Multiple Identities: Feminist Tools for Transforming Theology.” Literature and Theology. 10(2):112-130
- Binns, C. (1997). The myths of women and the reality of men’s actions. Web.
- Does God Exist – The big questions. Web.
- Laney, M. (2009). Is it correct to think of God as a purely masculine figure? Web.
- Walston, S.F. (2009). Overcoming the Myths.