In this coursework assignment I am going to look at religion and gender by trying to prove that my hypothesis: ‘Women have a higher profile and feel more equal to men in Christianity than in Islam’ is either true or false. I will be doing this by firstly providing background information on the religions of Christianity and Islam, then by looking at and analysing six sources I will come to a conclusion on whether my hypothesis is true or false along with evaluating my investigation. I have chosen to do this hypothesis as for centuries males have always been the dominant figures of society and everyday life while woman have been pushed into the background and their feelings have been stereotyped. By choosing this hypothesis I hope to get a balanced view of what it’s like for women in these two religions and how differently women are treated from men.Leading on Christianity is a religion which was derived from the teaching of Jesus during the first third of the 1st century. It is divided into denominations that differ in some areas of belief and practices, its main divisions are the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant churches.
Christians believe in one God with three aspects: God the father, Jesus the son, and God the Holy Spirit, who is the power of God working in the world. The main beliefs of Christians are:* In the beginning God created the Earth and he created the whole universe and everything in it.* Jesus is the son of God and took human form being born as a baby in Bethlehem. He then died on a cross to save us form our sins.
* The Holy Spirit is a guide who guides us through our lives so that we can do what is right and it acts as a comforter; helping us through life, staying with us all the time.* The Bible is the book containing Jesus’ stories and miracles and God’s teachings, and is followed by Christians.Furthermore modern day Christianity is very open and Christians can choose to pray in a church/cathedral or at home or where they are peaceful. It is thought that 33% of people in the world are Christian and 71.6% of people in England and Wales are Christian. In the past priests and vicars were strictly for men only but since only 1994 woman are allowed to be vicars too, but this is still mot allowed in the Roman Catholics churches. Christians also believe that if they live a good life and don’t sin or become evil; when they die they will be given eternal life and go to be with God in Heaven. To live a good life Christians are thought to follow the Ten Commandments given to Moses by God; however very few Christians follow all Ten Commandments today.
The Ten Commandments are:1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
3. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain.4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work.5. Honour thy father and thy mother.
6. Thou shalt not kill.7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.8. Thou shalt not steal.
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house; thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.Leading on Islam is a religion that was founded in the Arab peninsula in the early 7th century.
It emphasizes the oneness of Allah (The one God), his omnipotence, beneficence and inscrutability. There are two main Muslim sects which are the Sunni and the Shi’ite. Muslim is a very strict religion and you are either Muslim or you’re not Muslim.
At the moment about 22% of the world is Muslim and about 2.7% of England and Wales is Muslim but it is predicted by 2025 a third of the worlds population will be Muslim. They believe in Jesus but only as a prophet.
Their God is called Allah and when you say his name you must say ‘peace be upon him’ and his son who came to earth is called Muhammad. They follow the five pillars of Islam which are:* Iman or Faith – “There is none worthy of worship except God and Muhammad is the messenger of God.” This declaration of faith is called the Shahadah, a simple formula that all the faithful pronounce.* Salah or Prayer – Salah is the name for the obligatory prayers that are performed five times a day, and are a direct link between the worshipper and God. Prayers are said at dawn, mid-day, late-afternoon, sunset and nightfall, and thus determine the rhythm of the entire day.* Zakah. The financial obligation upon Muslims – The word zakah means both “purification” and “growth.
“. Each Muslim calculates his or her own zakah individually. This involves the annual payment of a fortieth of one’s capital, excluding such items as primary residence, car and professional tools.* Sawm or Fasting – Every year in the month of Ramada-n, all Muslims fast from dawn until sundown–abstaining from food, drink, and sexual relations with their spouses.
* Hajj or Pilgrimage – The pilgrimage to Makkah (the hajj) is an obligation only for those who are physically and financially able to do so. The annual hajj begins in the twelfth month of the Islamic year. Pilgrims wear special clothes: simple garments that strip away distinctions of class and culture, so that all stand equal before Allah.Muslims follow the teachings of Allah which were told to Muhammad who put them in the Quran which is the equivalent to the Bible. The Quran contains 114 chapters and different chapters focus on different things. Muslim Children have to learn how to read the Quran and how to speak Arabic, no matter where they live.
Now I am going to look at six sources which I have researched from the Internet, library and newspapers.Source oneThis source was taken from the Bible, in Genesis chapter 3:16-17, the story of Adam and Eve when God punished Adam and Eve for eating the forbidden fruit. This text is basically saying because the woman picked the fruit she will suffer the most pain and will have to be the underdog in the relationship and take orders from her husband; however, because the man didn’t pick the fruit he will only suffer a little bit of pain.
As you can see the woman is getting most of the blame for picking the fruit which she was tricked into by the snake/serpent this makes you think that women are stupid which is wrong.I think this text is slightly biased as it was written one of Jesus’ disciples who was a man and would have written it in their own view from what Jesus had told him, long after Jesus died. Because of this he could have forgotten bits and added his own views into it. This relates to my hypothesis as it shows that in Christianity at this time woman were looked upon lowly and were very apart from men and this is the opposite to my hypothesis.Source twoThis source was taken from a newspaper in the daily telegraph dated on Thursday the 15th of November, 2001. It was written by Saleha Islam and the article was called ‘Mrs Islam – modern Muslim’.
This text is describing that by keeping your head covered isn’t a bad thing and even though they are covered up they can still be individual and have choice about what they wear or look like.This would have been in the Daily telegraph – which is a well known factual paper that is usually quite reliable – as it is describing what we assume about Muslim women to be wrong and is correcting our assumptions. I think that Saleha Islam would of written this because western people assume that Muslim women have a bad life, have no choice and are treated badly while they are actually happy because men can appreciate women for themselves and not as sex objects.
It also makes you think that Islam women have as much choice as Christian women which is what Saleha was trying to prove by writing this. This relates to my hypothesis as it shows that women in Islam are happy with their life.Source threeWomen and Men Religious: 1945-20001945196519852000Change1965-2000Religious Priests12,41321,78120,44815,143-30%Religious Brothers7,00313,15210,2268,448-36%Religious Sisters122,159173,865118,84079,876-54%Catholics (millions)Catholics Per:21.941.552.360.847%Religious Priest1,7671,9072,5584,013110%Religious Brother3,1323,1575,1147,194128%Religious Sister180239440761218%This source is about Roman Catholic (a denomination of Christianity) men and women in statistical perspective.
It was taken from Catholicism USA which was produced in 2001 by the centre for applied research in the Apostolate, Georgetown University in Washington DC, USA. It can be found on the website: http://cara.georgetown.edu/bulletin/RelStatistics.html. The religious brothers are abbots and fathers who are all men, the religious sisters are nuns who are women and the religious priests are priests which are all men.This source is very biased because it shows more statistics for men than women and shows up the fact that women can’t be priests.
In Roman Catholicism women can’t be priests or abbots, only nuns. This relates to my hypothesis as it shows that men are better thought of in Roman Catholicism than women. I think the meaning of this source was to show the changes in percentage of religious men and women from 1945 to 2000. but was mainly aimed at men which is sexist and biased.Source fourThis source is from a report on the BBC news website on Muslim girls struggling for an education and was featured on Wednesday the 24th of September, 2003 written up by Safa Faisal. It can be found on the website: http://news.bbc.
co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3130234.stmThe meaning of this source is that Arab parents want to give their son an education but don’t want their daughter to be educated as they believe it is more important for women to be a house wife. This actually contradicts with their Islam religion as Muslims – men and women – are supposed to seek knowledge and how can women do this if their parents deprive them of an education. These relates to my hypothesis as this source is saying that in Islam women have low profiles and are far from equal to men and aggress with my hypothesis. I don’t think this would be too biased as this was featured in a news report or news article where a lot of information would have gone into it; however, it could have been tainted up to make it more interesting and to help it sell. This source would have been featured as it’s proving what the people in the west assume is correct.
I think this source is quite reliable as you see evidence of its quote from various sources like the news and articles and fifty years ago there was the exactly same problem for women in Christianity as well. Although men and women are treated more fairly in recent years in Christianity.Source fiveThis source is taken from a text book on sexism of gender roles in religion. It is a picture of Moses presenting the Ten Commandments to the people in the desert about how to live a good life in the eyes of God. It shows a women’s hand coming out of heaven with the 11th commandment ‘Thou shalt respect the rights of women” and Moses looks very embarrassed that he forgot it.I would think that this was published/printed to make a certain point stand out in the text it was in about sexism in Christianity. I think it’s not reliable as it’s a cartoon that was made to make a big thing out of a small point which is the purpose of a cartoon. I think it would have been featured to add a little humour also as it was mainly aimed at secondary school students and to capture their attention but at the same time put across how women feel about their rights not being cared about or mentioned in the Ten Commandments.
It’s putting the point across that at the time Moses received the Ten Commandments from God, women’s rights weren’t considered. This fits in with my hypothesis as it shows that around the time the commandments were created women were thought of as less equal to men. I chose this source as it puts the rights and feelings of Christian women in a good perspective.Source 6This source is a quote from the Quran that was featured in an article called ‘Women in the Quran and the Sunna’ which was written by Professor Abdur Rahman; who, is a professor and director in the centre for Islamic legal studies in Zaira, Nigeria.I have chosen this source as it talks about men and women playing an equal role in their religion, in the eyes of Allah in their religion. This relates to my hypothesis as it refers to men and women being equal and that they lead the same path in their religion to please Allah. I think this source is quite reliable as it was taken from the Quran but then again it was written thousands of years ago and the Muslims concept of life then is very different to what it has become today. This means that the religion could have changed in this aspect and so it’s no longer reliable.
I think it could have been used or featured in a biased text as being Muslim, the professor is going to try and promote Islam and of course make it sound good.To come to a conclusion I have looked at six sources which I tried to vary as much as possible. The sources I chose came from quotes from the Bible and the Quran, religious statistics on the internet, newspaper articles and a book on sexism in religion. I chose the sources I did because they all had some relevance to my hypothesis and provided information that could prove that my hypothesis was right or wrong. I also decided to spilt the sources up fairly so I had three sources for Islam (sources 2, 4 and 6) and three source for Christianity (sources 1, 3 and 5). I found my sources by looking through text books that were relevant to gender issues in religion, the holy books of both religions as they provide information for people in those religions on how to live their lives, and by looking at religious websites on the internet.
I tried to make them varied but I still think I could have spent more time looking up more sources top get some more varied sources like photographs and/or more statistics more aimed at my hypothesis.When I was analysing my sources I found out that sources 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 disagreed with a part of my hypothesis while source 4 agreed with my whole hypothesis. This tells me that source 4 was the most effective source as it agreed with the whole of my hypothesis while the five sources that disagreed with my hypothesis only disagreed with a certain part of the hypothesis. I think I could have improves my investigation by finding more sources as to judge whether my hypothesis is right or wrong I would have to look at thousands of sources. I think I could have improved it by getting a balanced amount of sources that agree and disagree with my hypothesis for both religions. I also could have got a balanced amount of sources for both religions of old sources and modern sources. This is because I found that most of my sources were either written a long time ago or in the last decade and only a couple of my sources were very recent. I think that if I had done this I would have seen how the equality between men and women have changed over time in both religions which could have made a big impact in whether my hypothesis is true or false.
I have come to the conclusion that my hypothesis is neither true nor false because by looking at my sources and considering what I hear from the media about both religions I think that Women feel less equal to men in both Christianity and Islam. This is because even though in recent years actions have been taken to let women be treated the same as men in Christianity, denominations such as the Roman Catholics still only let men be priests and vicars. Also for years males have always been the most dominant figures of the Christianity religion and when we see pictures of vicars they are always men and the same goes for the Islamic religion. When you think about it there is no great difference between men and women just their sexuality and body structure (men have a slightly bigger structure than women) so I don’t see why they should be treated as differently as they do or why men are more dominant.In Islam although it says in the Quran that men and women are equal in the eyes of Allah only men can pray in the temples and woman have to pray from a height where they can only watch. The question here is to ask why? Why are men treated more superior in the first case to woman, it was probably because some person in the beginning said God/Allah is a man so men are superior to women and gender socialisation and modern days socialism has been built upon that. Therefore because women are treated less equally to men in both the religions Christianity and Islam I can not say that women feel more equal in one religion than the other one when they are treated unfairly in the same ways, but in different aspects in both religions and agree or disagree with my hypothesis.
However if I ever did have to come to a final conclusion where I had to agree or disagree with my hypothesis I would chose to agree with my hypothesis. This is because with information form my 4th source Muslim men and Muslim parents are contradicting their faith by depriving their daughters of an education when it is a Muslims duty to seek knowledge. There used to be the same problem in Christianity but it has now been sorted out and it is not a Christian’s duty to seek knowledge. Also in Islam there are such things as ‘honour killings’ where if someone feels a women has put shame on their family they can kill them to save their honour and such things do not happen in Christianity.
This is because murdering is wrong and it is not within a Christian’s faith to murder a woman because of this. Therefore If I had to chose whether I agree or disagree I would chose to agree with my hypothesis.