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It Is A Commonly Held View That Buddhism Has Been Less Misogynistic Than Other Major World Religions. Assess This View Whilst Also Explaining How And Why Is Has Differed.

2437 words - 10 pages

Traditionally the majority of major world religious organisations have been androcentric in nature. Women have faced the problem of being members of sometimes misogynistic, frequently sexist and patriarchal, and male-dominated religious traditions. However, it is a commonly held view that Buddhism has been less misogynistic then other faiths, such as Christianity, Islam and Baha'i.In such religious traditions, the establishment of scriptures, practices, and ethical spiritual authority codes of conduct for both lay and monastic existences lay with men. Almost all of the significant spiritual leaders or "heroes"- the Buddha included - are male, and women are often accorded an inferior status, particularly in regard to their assessed capabilities for spiritual progress. Masculine religions tend to view the world as essentially impure or corrupt, at least to the human spirit. If the world is corrupt then women, being both the bearers of future generations and the seductresses of men, are the greatest impediment to male liberation. Therefore, most masculine religions, in the East and West are misogynistic.Countless feminist critics argue that the majority of global creeds are a constant reminder of a phallocentric focus. However, this factor in various religious traditions raises the question as to what extent Buddhism is misogynistic, and when contrasted to other religions how it differs? The position of women within Buddhism has traditionally been relative to specific cultures. Within traditional Buddhism we find both misogynistic attitudes, and strong powerful female role models.A religion that is often labelled as misogynistic is Christianity. In Christianity, fundamental doctrines marginalise women based on patriarchal interpretations of scripture - not necessarily supporting the Bible. "While the theological tradition supporting women's subordination has dominated the history of Christian theology, it has not been the only tradition," writes the Rev. Scovill, a minister in the Disciples of Christ church. Equally, St Paul states: "There is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus." This statement suggests gender equality in Christianity.However, there are clear examples of Christian misogynism, including a letter from Paul's to the church. In this Paul states: "Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home; for it is a shame for women to speak in the church." This statement at face value is androcentric in its portrayal of the role of women.Christianity, presents women as subordinate to men and in some instances, men appear, according to the Bible as the owners of women, as they are in the same category as animals. Bible commandments suggest that a man could sell his daughter as a slave or give her in marriage. This subordination of women to...

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