A World Without Men...
A world without men. To some radical feminists, this is a synopsis of utopia. To others, there is an immediate recognition it would not work and nor would we want it to.
Sweden has recently initiated a new Gender Equality Authority. Of course, as the name suggests, the Authority is tasked with achieving a gender equal society. Its aim is to ensure women and men have the same opportunities to shape society and their own lives. This includes issues such as power, influence, finances, education, health, unpaid housework and an end to men’s violence against women.
However, as Sweden’s FriaTider recently reported, the Gender Equality Authority has a leadership consisting of 100% women. That’s right, as ironic as it is, an association formed to promote equality between men and women has zero men on its leadership committee. But worse news was to come. A mere ten months after its inception, an internal report now reveals a work environment so bad that 70% of its employees are distressed enough to be at risk of ill health. In fact, the majority of employees suffer from sleep problems and fatigue. Amongst other things, the women-dominated workplace is characterised by bullying and harassment.
CS Lewis, in his book Mere Christianity, asked: With whom would you rather deal if your dog bit the child next door, the man or woman of the house? Lewis explained that when the man handles what could be called the family’s “foreign policy”, outsiders are more likely to achieve a fairer outcome with the man as the woman’s extreme “family patriotism” often precludes this. Although beneficial in the home, this strong, unyielding desire to protect a family does not translate into the workplace. When that intense passion is turned loose in a competitive workplace, conflict often arises.
We are not robots living in a non-diverse world. Therefore, true equality is simply impossible. The world focuses on inequality between the sexes but inequality also affects same-sex issues. For instance, a 5’2” man will not have the same opportunities to become a star basketball player as a 6’9” man. But from a Christian perspective, the equal worth of men and women (and the equality of their spiritual need) is affirmed in Galatians 3:28-29.
Many point to the Old Testament as proof that Christianity has a low opinion of women. While some passages are complex and deserve careful study, overall many of the laws in the Old Testament regarding the treatment of women had to do with protection of women living in a society in which they did not have as many rights or opportunities as men. Because societies are made up of people who sin, many social laws have to do with mitigating evil.
The Old Testament laws that seem to suggest a lesser status for women are better understood as legal provisions in a society in which women were already treated as lesser. It is not God who sees women and men as unequal, but humans who choose to mistreat one another.
In the end, sinfulness has caused all of the problems mankind faces today – even inequality. It is pride and selfishness that causes us to fear, exclude or mistreat those who are different from us. It is sinfulness that results in our unfair treatment of one another. In short, the root cause of gender inequality, in a meaningful sense of the term, is sin.
The Bible advocates for equal value and worth of all humans but it does not advocate for sameness. Men and women are given different complimentary roles in the family and church. Believers are given different spiritual gifts. The fact that different people have different roles or different gifts is not a testament to inequality. Rather, it is a display of God’s wisdom and creative power. The genders are of equal value before God and should both be treated with dignity and respect.