August 16, 2011


Barbara G. Walker, author of “The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets” (1983) has written a new book entitled “Man Made God.” It examines the charges raised against women by the three major religions. Apparently, the prejudices of the past continue to exist, even if the expression is muted. Walker acknowledges that women are no longer burned at the stake as they were during the Inquisition, where 85 percent of the victims were women, but she does note that  even today the myth of a woman’s inferiority exists as a given:

              “…the Catholic Encyclopedia says ‘the female sex is in some respects inferior to the male sex, both as regards body and soul.”

(Gustave Dore: “Adam and Eve Driven Out of the Garden”)

Walker’s new book catalogues not only the historic but current outrages sanctioned against women by Christianity, Judaism and Islam, noting they all agree that Eve was the original source of all sin and because of it every woman is doomed to be punished in ways beyond the “sorrow” of childbirth. While some church leaders now say the Garden of Eden was a parable, many of the faithful don’t agree. Either way, I don’t see how the story, parable or truth, puts women in a good light. According to the story, Eve’s sin brought death into the world and therefore rape, beatings, starvation and mutilation are still sanctioned forms of punishment in some religions. 

One hates to contradict myth with science, but women did not bring death into the world. The mother of us all was a single cell, the amoeba, which gave life by dividing and replicating endlessly. Death did not exist until cells began to specialize. When the X chromosome (female) mutated into a Y (male), for example, life on the planet changed forever. Think about it.