Jesus did not treat women as sex objects, and that during a time when women who transgressed sexually could be put to death, he preached forgiveness for these women.
Jesus rejected the blood taboo. Hebrew law held that menstruating women were social outcasts, were unclean, and were to be totally separated from society. Jesus accepts and includes these women in his teachings.
Jo Ann McNamara notes in her essay “Matres Patriae/Matres Ecclesiae: Women of the Roman Empire” that women were in fact the largest demographic follower of Christ’s teachings.
Whereas his male followers all tended to be humble and slaves, McNamara shows, his female followers spanned the entire social range, and it is because many of his followers were wealthy females that his ideas were able to be promoted and proliferated both before and after his death. Without the influence, missionary work, political work, and sometimes martyrdom of women, Christ’s ideas might have died out or been eradicated.
The Roman Empire was falling, there had been many men lost in the wars and the remaining ruling population consisted of mostly women
The Greeks and Jews, as the conquered, also lost many men in this war period
Rome ruled with their polytheistic culture, and they began to be infiltrated by Egyptian religions, as well
For 200 years Christians were persecuted until a measure of tolerance was reached, and then finally, about 100 years later, it became official religion.
Temple of Isis, Pompeii
To set themselves apart from the other religions
To recruit members they needed to convince them that they were different than the other cults.
They decided to advocate a greater respect for life;
They decided not to adorn themselves, as many of the materialistic Roman culture did;
They would be more associated with home and family and being peaceful, unlike the Romans who liked to socialize at parties and sporting events.
They decided that their men and women would be sexually restricted. Christians would not participate in orgies or homosexuality, etc. They would be different.
As part of this strategy, they would return to traditional gender roles; they would not liberate their women. Again, as a strategy of survival, this would allow them to differentiate themselves from the other religions, which were seen as too liberal.
Pauline Advice for Women’s Behavior
Women are to be sober and obedient, based on Titus 2:4-5;
to submit to their husbands, as advised in Colossians 3:18;
to accept men as their authority figures, in 1 Corinthians 11:3;
and to be silent in church, as described in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35
Christianity has many branches, including 1.1 billion Roman Catholics, 367 million Protestants in a number of traditions, 216 million Orthodox, 84 million Anglicans, 414 million Independents (unaffiliated with the major streams of Christianity), and 31.7 million "marginals" (Jehovah's Witnesses, Latter Day Saints (Mormons), etc.), these last being denominations which describe themselves as Christian but are not recognized as such by other denominations.
Although Christianity is the largest religion in the world and there are massive missionary efforts under way, its overall rate of growth is slower than that of some other faiths and of the world population as a whole.
The population of the world grows at roughly 1.25% per year, but Christianity is growing at about 1.12% per year.
By contrast, Islam is growing at 1.4% per year. The slow growth can be attributed to most of the Christian population residing in affluent nations where the birth rate is quite low.
Arabic word for “peace” and “surrender”
The peace that comes from the surrender to God
Practioners are Muslims
Dominates the Middle East and North Africa, Pakistan and Bangladesh
1/5 people in the world are Muslims
Born in Mecca in 570 C.E., now Saudi Arabia
Islam is based on his teachings
He is not the son of God but God’s last prophet; he is the last messenger of God
They recognize the Judaic prophets and Christ as God’s prophets
Their text is the Koran; God is Allah
Allah revealed His will to Mohammed
Since Mohammed is last, his word is final, the seal
Therefore, Islam is the one true religion (according to its followers)
After Mohammed’s death in 632 C.E., two religions are formed:
Dominant in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East
Any good man can become a prophet and a religious leader
Dominant in Iran
Only male descendents of Mohammed can be religious leaders
Hussein killed 4,000 people in battle and was martyred: self-sacrifice is hero-ified; the highest you can go is to kill yourself for your religion
Based on the percentages published in the 2003 CIA Factbook, Islam is the second largest religion in the world. Islam is growing faster numerically than any other religion; this growth is attributed mainly to a higher birth rate than other religions, and partly to a high conversion rate.
The Muslim population today comprises a total of 1.48 billion, 22.82% of the world's population.
The world population is growing at about 1.10% per year, but the percentage of Muslim population is increasing by 1.4% per year, mostly due to higher birth rate of African and Asian countries. Birth rates in many Muslim countries have begun to decline, although more slowly than in other nations, which also may be a factor.
Hinduism is one of the oldest major world religions faiths.
Hinduism is characterized by a diverse array of belief systems, practices and scriptures.
It has its origin in the ancient Indo-European Vedic culture at least as far back as 2000 BCE.
It is the third largest religion with approximately 940 million followers worldwide, 96% of whom live in the Indian subcontinent.
In the US alone, 3 million people follow some form of Hinduism.
After including Yoga followers, Hinduism has around 1.05 billion followers worldwide.
Common to all Hindus is belief in Dharma, reincarnation, karma, and moksha (liberation) of every soul through a variety of moral, action-based, and meditative yogas.
More fundamental principles include ahimsa (non-violence), the primacy of the Guru, the Divine Word of OM and the power of mantras, love of Truth in many manifestations as Gods and Goddesses, and an understanding that the essential spark of the Divine (Atman/Brahman) is in every human and living being, thus allowing for many spiritual paths leading to the One Unitary Truth.
Bindis are worn by Hindu women on their forehead to symbolize the opening of their spiritual third eye. Hindus across the board stress meditative insight, an intuition beyond the mind and body, a trait that is often associated with the ascetic god Shiva. Men, too, will bear on their foreheads the equivalent tilak mark, usually on religious occasions, its shape often representing particular devotion to a certain main deity.
Although Hinduism is very diverse, one of the possible things that unites all Hindus is the quest for enlightenment and to free oneself from the cycle of rebirth.
Another major concept is the concept of Ahimsa, which means "non-harm". Through this concept, strict movements of vegetarianism and tolerance grew. Hindus believe that everything in the world is part of the universal spirit, and therefore everything needs to be respected, preserved and protected.
Om, or Aum, is the most sacred syllable and quintessential symbol of Hinduism, representing the first manifestation of the unmanifest Brahman
According to ancient Hindus, the four varnas (literally, 'colors') or castes had equal standing in the society and were based upon the duties to society and worked together towards the welfare of the society. According to this understanding, discrimination by caste is a perversion of dharma's true meaning.
Over a period of time the caste system has become rigid and discriminatory. In spite of centuries of numerous reform movements, notably within Vedanta, Bhatia Yoga and Hindu streams of Tantra, and reformers, with recent stalwarts like Swami Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi, caste based discrimination is so deeply ensconced in the Indian consciousness that even Christian converts have been known to separate church meetings for different castes. A number of Muslim communities have retained caste practices as well.
Caste still plays a significant role in Hindu society; however, post Independence, caste is losing favor in India and caste-based discrimination has been legitimized.
Vaisy, artisans and merchants
Upward mobility through reincarnation is done by being the best possible, making sacrifices, observing religious rituals, having faith . . . leads to moksha.
Woman’s Role within Hinduism
The best a woman can hope for is to come back as a man.
Purpose: To be a good wife to help her husband attain moksha, and to be a good mother to her sons
Good wife treats husband as a god
Virtues: self-sacrifice, submission, patience
Are to behave as good women/wives, have little value as daughters until marriage
When widowed were to follow help ensure their husbands’ ascension by showing their devotion and to provide their own families with generations of good luck by killing themselves on the funeral pyre: Sati
If not Sati, were to give up all their worldly belongings and pray for their husbands’ success in moksha while begging on the streets