THRS 114-Intro to Catholic Theology
Professor Rafael Reyes
May 24, 2017
Biblical Patriarchy in the Christian Church
Over the course of human history, it has been a nearly universal norm for men to hold a dominant role in society. This system of society is known as patriarchy, and it is characterized by the supremacy of the father in the family in both domestic and religious functions, the legal dependence of the wife and children, and the preferral of descent and inheritance in the male line. This long existing societal system produced cultures filled with misogyny, male aggression, and various tragedies that have befallen women throughout history. One of the many reasons why patriarchy has persisted for so long is the fact that many different religions and their various organizations have the system embedded into them. Many who criticize religious organizations often like to point out that their respective texts, such as the Bible, contain ideologies that support the oppression of women and the superiority of men. On the other hand, followers who advocate the patriarchal system also tend to use their respective texts as a basis to support the dominance of men and their role in society. So, the question here is: Is there actually Biblical support for the patriarchal system in Christianity or is it a dangerous distortion of the truth that is not truly fundamental to life as a Christian follower? My argument for this paper is that the patriarchal system is not supported by the Bible, but rather it was a result of the influence of secular society and its past relationship with Christianity.
To discern whether my argument is valid or not, I must first explain the Biblical Patriarchy and what followers of this ideology believe. In short, Biblical Patriarchy is the belief that God has ordained that a family should have a specific order, and that it must be followed. This belief has two significant aspects, the first being the importance of male authority and leadership, and the second aspect is that men and women have significantly different roles to play within society and the family.
The first aspect, male authority, holds to the concept that a woman must never be independent of a male’s authority and that they must always be subordinate to that authority no matter what. This begins all the way from the beginning of a woman’s life. When a girl is born, they are under the authority and leadership of her father and when the girl marries, the authority is transferred from father to husband and then the cycle begins anew. Many contemporary members of the Christian Church hold the belief that male authority is simply figurative and in the spiritual sense, however in Biblical Patriarchy, absolute obedience to the male authority in all things is required. The general outline of this concept is that all women each have their own male authority in their lives, and the man has Jesus Christ as his authority in all things. The woman obeys the man,...