Am I Really the Only One?

I am rather nervous being the first to write on this topic in this forum.  I'm afraid I'll say something thoughtless that will put off anyone who might be curious.  Perhaps I just didn't state the experience properly?

Well, read on in the secure knowledge that I'm not interested in offending your beliefs, but rather just wondered if anyone else feels as I do.

I was raised in a Christian home, so my perspective was and still is (kind of)  biased in that way.  The denominations changed over time, as I grew to question practices in each, until finally, I just stopped attending any service.

I thought, I'd just read the Bible myself.  I though I'd take something out of it that I'd missed hearing from priests, pastors, and reverends.  But that just got my mind wondering, who wrote this stuff?

So, for a while I was reading histories of the Bible and its different translations.  You know, what was the political scene during this translation?  Who was in power during this compilation?  The only thing I came away with is that I will never, in this time, read a true untampered-with word in that book. 

Now, some may think that I lost my faith with that discovery, but I feel that I only lost my faith in that book, not in the divine.   So, I figure I'm not a Christian if I disbelieve every last word in the manual.

I investigated older religions, but found that the same things might also be said of their sacred texts, so I didn't embrace them.  I did find that many other religions represent a much different perspective on the female state. 

I hadn't really noticed in all those Christian years that women in the Bible seemed only to be respected as wives and mothers, and only those as foot notes in their husbands' and sons' stories.   

The only other women mentioned at all in the Bible are prostitutes, and they are reviled until made clean by the Holy Father.  Hmm, I don't feel like a virgin or a *****, so where are the stories that speak to me?

It all started to sound like a political idea rather than a spiritual ideal,to me, once I noticed that women in other texts (yes, even the Koran) had other stories to tell.  I'm not saying that those stories are any less political, because I found them to be.  I only mean that they were there.

So, I started to try to make my new perspective mesh with some of the values I will probably never shake from how I was raised. 

I know that if we were created by a higher power (even if it took evolution to achieve us), that we (and most of the world's other species) can somewhat reliably reflect our maker. So,  if so many of us on this planet need a male and a female to procreate, why must I assume that my maker is only one or the other. 

And, really, I can't logically give any serious credence to a gender-neutral deity for that same reason.  Why make two different but necessary equals if the original need not be?  What would posses a gender-neutral deity to think..."Well producing more on your own is a rather lonely business.  I think I should prefer that this one fit nicely into that thing over there, and, oh yes, what a lovely place to grow the new ones!

  If you had to come up with sex,  having nothing to get you started on the idea, would you design it quite this way?  Nope, I don't think it was an original idea.  I think it was based on the originals.

You know, there was a lot more to it, but some of you will already have nodded off. 

I now pray to my Mother and my Father, though that's my hang up.  They could be a couple of kids, but I like them as Mother and Father.

 I haven't figured anything else out yet, but it just feels right. 

It would feel wonderful to not be the only one, and no,  I'm not Wiccan...that's a little too much girl power.  I'm looking for a natural, logical balance, not world domination.

Is anyone else?  

 

Mikki Mikki
31-35, F
45 Responses May 17, 2007

hey these are good points, learning things like that sure opens the eyes and makes you think deeper. I have yet to read the whole bible. And its very hard to decipher its meanings. But I agree with you on those parts that it seems more political then spiritual. This was a good read, blessed be!

you should be fair.. you are wrong about women in Islam<br />
<br />
Introduction:<br />
The issue of gender equity is important, relevant, and current. Debates and writings on the subject are increasing and are diverse in their perspectives. The Islamic perspective on the issue is the least understood and most misrepresented by non-Muslims and some Muslims as well. This article is intended to provide a brief and authentic exposition of what Islam stands for in this regard.<br />
<br />
Women in Ancient Civilizations:<br />
One major ob<x>jective of this article is to provide a fair evaluation of what Islam contributed toward the restoration of woman’s dignity and rights. In order to achieve this ob<x>jective, it may be useful to review briefly how women were treated in general in previous civilizations and religions, especially those which preceded Islam (before 610 AD). Part of the information provided here, however, describes the status of woman as late as this century, more than 13 centuries after Islam.<br />
<br />
(1) Describing the status of the Indian woman, The Encyclopedia Britannica, 1911, states: “In India, subjection was a cardinal principle. Day and night must women be held by their protectors in a state of dependence says Manu. The rule of inheritance was agnatic, that is descent traced through males to the exclusion of females.” In Hindu sc<x>riptures, the desc<x>ription of a good wife is as follows: “a woman whose mind, speech and body are kept in subjection, acquires high renown in this world, and, in the next, the same abode with her husband.” (Mace, Marriage East and West).<br />
<br />
(2) In Athens, women were not better off than either the Indian or the Roman women: “Athenian women were always minors, subject to some male - to their father, to their brother, or to some of their male kin.” (Allen, E. A., History of Civilization). Her consent in marriage was not generally thought to be necessary and “she was obliged to submit to the wishes of her parents, and receive from them her husband and her lord, even though he were stranger to her.” (Previous Source)<br />
<br />
(3) A Roman wife was described by a historian as: “a babe, a minor, a ward, a person incapable of doing or acting anything according to her own individual taste, a person continually under the tutelage and guardianship of her husband.” (Previous Source). In The Encyclopedia Britannica, 1911, we find a summary of the legal status of women in the Roman civilization: “In Roman Law a woman was even in historic times completely dependent. If married she and her property passed into the power of her husband . . . the wife was the purchased property of her husband, and like a slave acquired only for his benefit. A woman could not exercise any civil or public office . . . could not be a witness, surety, tutor, or curator; she could not adopt or be adopted, or make will or contract.”<br />
<br />
(4) Among the Scandinavian races women were: “under perpetual tutelage, whether married or unmarried. As late as the Code of Christian V, at the end of the 17th Century, it was enacted that if a woman married without the consent of her tutor he might have, if he wished, administration and usufruct of her goods during her life.” (The Encyclopedia Britannica, 1911).<br />
<br />
(5) In Britain, the right of married women to own property was not recognized until the late 19th Century, “By a series of acts starting with the Married Women’s Property Act in 1870, amended in 1882 and 1887, married women achieved the right to own property and to enter into contracts on a par with spinsters, widows, and divorcees.” (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1968). In France, it was not until 1938 that the French Law was amended so as to recognize the eligibility of women to contract. A married woman, however, was still required to secure her husband’s permission before she could dispense with her private property.<br />
<br />
(6) In the Mosaic (Jewish) Law, the wife was betrothed. Explaining this concept, the Encyclopedia Biblica, 1902, states: “To betroth a wife to oneself meant simply to acquire possession of her by payment of the purchase money; the betrothed is a girl for whom the purchase money has been paid.” From the legal point of view, the consent of the girl was not necessary for the validation of her marriage. “The girl’s consent is unnecessary and the need for it is nowhere suggested in the Law.” (Previous Source). As to the right of divorce, we read in the Encyclopedia Biblica: “The woman being man’s property, his right to divorce her follows as a matter of course.” The right to divorce was held only by man, The Encyclopedia Britannica, 1911, states: “In the Mosaic Law divorce was a privilege of the husband only...”<br />
<br />
(7) The position of the Christian Church until recent centuries seems to have been influenced by both the Mosaic Law and by the streams of thought that were dominant in its contemporary cultures. In their book, Marriage East and West, David and Vera Mace wrote: “Let no one suppose, either, that our Christian heritage is free of such slighting judgments. It would be hard to find anywhere a collection of more degrading references to the female sex than the early Church Fathers provide. Lecky, the famous historian, speaks of ‘these fierce incentives which form so conspicuous and so grotesque a portion of the writing of the Fathers . . . woman was represented as the door of hell, as the mother of all human ills. She should be ashamed at the very thought that she is a woman. She should live in continual penance on account of the curses she has brought upon the world. She should be ashamed of her dress, for it is the memorial of her fall. She should be especially ashamed of her beauty, for it is the most potent instrument of the devil.’ One of the most scathing of these attacks on woman is that of Tertullian: ‘Do you know that you are each an Eve? The sentence of God on this sex of yours lives in this age; the guilt must of necessity live too. You are the devil’s gateway; you are the unsealer of that forbidden tree; you are the first deserters of the divine law; you are she who persuades him whom the devil was not valiant enough to attack.’ Not only did the church affirm the inferior status of woman, it deprived her of legal rights she had previously enjoyed.”<br />
<br />
Foundations of Spiritual and Human Equity in Islam:<br />
In the midst of the darkness that engulfed the world, the divine revelation echoed in the wide desert of Arabia in the seventh Century with a fresh, noble, and universal message to humanity, described below.<br />
<br />
(1) According to the Holy Quran, men and women have the same human spiritual nature:<br />
<br />
O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women... (Quran, 4:1, see also 7:189, 42:11, 16:72, 32:9, and 15:29).<br />
<br />
(2) God has invested both genders with inherent dignity and has made men and women, collectively, the trustees of God on earth (see the Quran 17:70 and 2:30).<br />
<br />
(3) The Quran does not blame woman for the “fall of man,” nor does it view pregnancy and childbirth as punishments for “eating from the forbidden tree.” On the contrary, the Quran depicts Adam and Eve as equally responsible for their sin in the Garden, never singling out Eve for blame. Both repented, and both were forgiven (see the Quran 2:36-37 and 7:19-27). In fact, in one verse (Quran 20:121) Adam specifically was blamed. The Quran also esteems pregnancy and childbirth as sufficient reasons for the love and respect due to mothers from their children (Quran 31:14 and 46:15).<br />
<br />
(4) Men and women have the same religious and moral duties and responsibilities. Each human being shall face the consequences of his or her deeds:<br />
<br />
And their Lord responded to them (saying): Never will I allow to be lost the work of (any) worker among you, whether male or female; you are of one another... (Quran, 3:195, see also 74:38, 16:97, 4:124, 33:35, and 57:12).<br />
<br />
(5) The Quran is quite clear about the issue of the claimed superiority or inferiority of any human, male or female. The sole basis for superiority of any person over another is piety and righteousness not gender, color, or nationality (see the Quran 49:13).<br />
<br />
The Economic Aspect of Women in Islam:<br />
(1) The Right to Possess Personal Property: Islam decreed a right of which woman was deprived both before Islam and after it (even as late as this century), the right of independent ownership. The Islamic Law recognizes the full property rights of women before and after marriage. They may buy, sell, or lease any or all of their properties at will. For this reason, Muslim women may keep (and in fact they have traditionally kept) their maiden names after marriage, an indication of their independent property rights as legal entities.<br />
<br />
(2) Financial Security and Inheritance Laws: Financial security is assured for women. They are entitled to receive marital gifts without limit and to keep present and future properties and income for their own security, even after marriage. No married woman is required to spend any amount at all from her property and income on the household. The woman is entitled also to full financial support during marriage and during the “waiting period” (iddah) in case of divorce or widowhood. Some jurists require, in addition, one year’s support for divorce and widowhood (or until they remarry, if remarriage takes place before the year is over). A woman who bears a child in marriage is entitled to child support from the child’s father. Generally, a Muslim woman is guaranteed support in all stages of her life, as a daughter, wife, mother, or sister. The financial advantages accorded to women and not to men in marriage and in family have a social counterpart in the provisions that the Quran lays down in the laws of inheritance, which afford the male, in most cases, twice the inheritance of a female. Males inherit more but ultimately they are financially responsible for their female relatives: their wives, daughters, mothers, and sisters. Females inherit less but retain their share for investment and financial security, without any legal obligation to spend any part of it, even for their own sustenance (food, clothing, housing, medication, etc). It should be noted that before Islam, women themselves were sometimes ob<x>jects of inheritance (see the Quran 4:19). In some western countries, even after the advent of Islam, the whole estate of the deceased was given to his/her eldest son. The Quran, however, made it clear that both men and women are entitled to a specified share of the estate of their deceased parents or close relatives. God has said:<br />
<br />
For men is a share of what the parents and close relatives leave, and for women is a share of what the parents and close relatives leave, be it little or much, an obligatory share. (Quran, 4:7)<br />
<br />
(3) Employment: With regard to the woman’s right to seek employment, it should be stated first that Islam regards her role in society as a mother and a wife as her most sacred and essential one. Neither maids nor baby sitters can possibly take the mother’s place as the educator of an upright, complex-free, and carefully-reared child. Such a noble and vital role, which largely shapes the future of nations, cannot be regarded as idleness. However, there is no decree in Islam that forbids women from seeking employment whenever there is a necessity for it, especially in positions which fit her nature best and in which society needs her most. Examples of these professions are nursing, teaching (especially children), medicine, and social and charitable work.<br />
<br />
The Social Aspect of Women in Islam:<br />
A) As a Daughter:<br />
<br />
(1) The Quran ended the cruel practice of female infanticide, which was before Islam. God has said:<br />
<br />
And when the girl (who was) buried alive is asked, for what sin she was killed. (Quran, 81:8-9)<br />
<br />
(2) The Quran went further to rebuke the unwelcoming attitude of some parents upon hearing the news of the birth of a baby girl, instead of a baby boy. God has said:<br />
<br />
And when one of them is informed of (the birth of) a female, his face becomes dark, and he suppresses grief. He hides himself from the people because of the ill of which he has been informed. Should he keep it in humiliation or bury it in the ground? Certainly, evil is what they decide. (Quran 16:58-59)<br />
<br />
(3) Parents are duty-bound to support and show kindness and justice to their daughters. The Prophet Muhammad said: {Whosoever supports two daughters until they mature, he and I will come on the Day of Judgment as this (and he pointed with his fingers held together).}<br />
<br />
(4) A crucial aspect in the upbringing of daughters that greatly influences their future is education. Education is not only a right but a responsibility for all males and females. The Prophet Muhammad said: {Seeking knowledge is mandatory for every Muslim.} The word “Muslim” here is inclusive of both males and females.<br />
<br />
(5) Islam neither requires nor encourages female circumcision. And while it is maybe practiced by some Muslims in certain parts of Africa, it is also practiced by other peoples, including Christians, in those places, a reflection merely of the local customs and practices there.<br />
<br />
B) As a Wife:<br />
<br />
(1) Marriage in Islam is ba<x>sed on mutual peace, love, and compassion, and not just the mere satisfying of human sexual desire. Among the most impressive verses in the Quran about marriage is the following:<br />
<br />
And of His signs is: that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought. (Quran, 30:21, see also 42:11 and 2:228)<br />
<br />
(2) The female has the right to accept or reject marriage proposals. According to the Islamic Law, women cannot be forced to marry anyone without their consent.<br />
<br />
(3) The husband is responsible for the maintenance, protection, and overall leadership of the family, within the fr<x>amework of consultation (see the Quran 2:233) and kindness (see the Quran 4:19). The mutuality and complementarity of husband and wife does not mean subservience by either party to the other. The Prophet Muhammad instructed Muslims regarding women: {I commend you to be good to women.} And {The best among you are those who are best to their wives.} The Quran urges husbands to be kind and considerate to their wives, even if a wife falls out of favor with her husband or disinclination for her arises within him:<br />
<br />
...And live with them in kindness. For if you dislike them, perhaps you dislike a thing and God makes therein much good. (Quran, 4:19)<br />
<br />
It also outlawed the Arabian practice before Islam whereby the stepson of the deceased father was allowed to take possession of his father’s widow(s) (inherit them) as if they were part of the estate of the deceased (see the Quran 4:19).<br />
<br />
(4) Should marital disputes arise, the Quran encourages couples to resolve them privately in a spirit of fairness and probity. Indeed, the Quran outlines an enlightened step and wise approach for the husband and wife to resolve persistent conflict in their marital life. In the event that dispute cannot be resolved equitably between husband and wife, the Quran prescribes mediation between the parties through family intervention on behalf of both spouses (see the Quran 4:35).<br />
<br />
(5) Divorce is a last resort, permissible but not encouraged, for the Quran esteems the preservation of faith and the individual’s right -male and female alike- to felicity. Forms of marriage dissolution include an enactment ba<x>sed upon mutual agreement, the husband’s initiative, the wife’s initiative (if part of her marital contract), the court’s decision on a wife’s initiative (for a legitimate reason), and the wife’s initiative without a cause, provided that she returns her marital gift to her husband. When the continuation of the marriage relationship is impossible for any reason, men are still taught to seek a gracious end for it. The Quran states about such cases:<br />
<br />
And when you divorce women and they have fulfilled their term (i.e. waiting period), either keep them in kindness or release them in kindness, and do not keep them, intending harm, to transgress (against them). (Quran, 2:231, see also 2:229 and 33:49).<br />
<br />
(6) Associating polygyny with Islam, as if it was introduced by it or is the norm according to its teachings, is one of the most persistent myths perpetuated in Western literature and media. Polygyny existed in almost all nations and was even sanctioned by Judaism and Christianity until recent centuries. Islam did not outlaw polygyny, as did many peoples and religious communities; rather, it regulated and restricted it. It is not required but simply permitted with conditions (see the Quran 4:3). Spirit of law, including timing of revelation, is to deal with individual and collective contingencies that may arise from time to time (e.g. imbalances between the number of males and females created by wars) and to provide a moral, practical, and humane solution for the problems of widows and orphans.<br />
<br />
C) As a Mother:<br />
<br />
(1) The Quran elevates kindness to parents (especially mothers) to a status second to the worship of God:<br />
<br />
Your Lord has commanded that you worship none but Him, and that you be kind to your parents. If one of them or both of them reach old age with you, do not say to them a word of disrespect, or scold them, but say a generous word to them. And act humbly to them in mercy, and say, “My Lord, have mercy on them, since they cared for me when I was small.” (Quran, 17:23-24, see also 31:14, 46:15, and 29:8) <br />
<br />
(2) Naturally, the Prophet Muhammad specified this behavior for his followers, rendering to mothers an unequalled status in human relationships. A man came to the Prophet Muhammad and said, “O Messenger of God! Who among the people is the most worthy of my good companionship?” The Prophet said: {Your mother.} The man said, “Then who?” The Prophet said: {Then your mother.} The man further asked, “Then who?” The Prophet said: {Then your mother.} The man asked again, “Then who?” The Prophet said: {Then your father.}<br />
<br />
D) As a Sister in Faith (In General):<br />
<br />
(1) According to the Prophet Muhammad’s sayings: {women are but shaqa’iq (twin halves or sisters) of men.} This saying is a profound statement that directly relates to the issue of human equality between the genders. If the first meaning of the Arabic word shaqa’iq, “twin halves,” is adopted, it means that the male is worth one half (of society), while the female is worth the other half. If the second meaning, “sisters,” is adopted, it implies the same.<br />
<br />
(2) The Prophet Muhammad taught kindness, care, and respect toward women in general: {I commend you to be good to women.} It is significant that such instruction of the Prophet was among his final instructions and reminders in the farewell pilgrimage address given shortly before his passing away.<br />
<br />
(3) Modesty and social interaction: The parameters of proper modesty for males and females (dress and behavior) are ba<x>sed on revelatory sources (the Quran and prophetic sayings) and, as such, are regarded by believing men and women as divinely-ba<x>sed guidelines with legitimate aims and divine wisdom behind them. They are not male-imposed or socially imposed restrictions. It is interesting to know that even the Bible encourages women to cover their head: “If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut or shaved off, she should cover her head.” (1 Corinthians 11:6).<br />
<br />
The Legal and Political Aspect of Women in Islam:<br />
(1) Equality before the Law: Both genders are entitled to equality before the Law and courts of Law. Justice is genderless (see the Quran 5:38, 24:2, and 5:45). Women do possess an independent legal entity in financial and other matters.<br />
<br />
(2) Participation in Social and Political Life: The general rule in social and political life is participation and collaboration of males and females in public affairs (see the Quran 9:71). There is sufficient historical evidence of participation by Muslim women in the choice of rulers, in public issues, in Law making, in administrative positions, in scholarship and teaching, and even in the battlefield. Such involvement in social and political affairs was conducted without the participants’ losing sight of the complementary priorities of both genders and without violating Islamic guidelines of modesty and virtue.<br />
<br />
Conclusion:<br />
The status which non-Muslim women reached during the present era was not achieved due to the kindness of men or due to natural progress. It was rather achieved through a long struggle and sacrifice on woman’s part and only when society needed her contribution and work, more especially during the two world wars, and due to the escalation of technological change. While in Islam such compassionate and dignified status was decreed, not because it reflects the environment of the seventh century, nor under the threat or pressure of women and their organizations, but rather because of its intrinsic truthfulness.<br />
<br />
If this indicates anything, it would demonstrate the Divine origin of the Quran and the truthfulness of the message of Islam, which, unlike human philosophies and ideologies, was far from proceeding from its human environment; a message which established such humane principles that neither grew obsolete during the course of time, nor can become obsolete in the future. After all, this is the message of the All-Wise and All-Knowing God whose wisdom and knowledge are far beyond the ultimate in human thought and progress.<br />
<br />
please visit website:<br />
http://www.womeninislam.ws/en/<br />
http://www.islamfortoday.com/women.htm<br />
http://www.islam-guide.com/

you should be fair.. you are wrong about women in Islam<br />
<br />
Introduction:<br />
The issue of gender equity is important, relevant, and current. Debates and writings on the subject are increasing and are diverse in their perspectives. The Islamic perspective on the issue is the least understood and most misrepresented by non-Muslims and some Muslims as well. This article is intended to provide a brief and authentic exposition of what Islam stands for in this regard.<br />
<br />
Women in Ancient Civilizations:<br />
One major ob<x>jective of this article is to provide a fair evaluation of what Islam contributed toward the restoration of woman’s dignity and rights. In order to achieve this ob<x>jective, it may be useful to review briefly how women were treated in general in previous civilizations and religions, especially those which preceded Islam (before 610 AD). Part of the information provided here, however, describes the status of woman as late as this century, more than 13 centuries after Islam.<br />
<br />
(1) Describing the status of the Indian woman, The Encyclopedia Britannica, 1911, states: “In India, subjection was a cardinal principle. Day and night must women be held by their protectors in a state of dependence says Manu. The rule of inheritance was agnatic, that is descent traced through males to the exclusion of females.” In Hindu sc<x>riptures, the desc<x>ription of a good wife is as follows: “a woman whose mind, speech and body are kept in subjection, acquires high renown in this world, and, in the next, the same abode with her husband.” (Mace, Marriage East and West).<br />
<br />
(2) In Athens, women were not better off than either the Indian or the Roman women: “Athenian women were always minors, subject to some male - to their father, to their brother, or to some of their male kin.” (Allen, E. A., History of Civilization). Her consent in marriage was not generally thought to be necessary and “she was obliged to submit to the wishes of her parents, and receive from them her husband and her lord, even though he were stranger to her.” (Previous Source)<br />
<br />
(3) A Roman wife was described by a historian as: “a babe, a minor, a ward, a person incapable of doing or acting anything according to her own individual taste, a person continually under the tutelage and guardianship of her husband.” (Previous Source). In The Encyclopedia Britannica, 1911, we find a summary of the legal status of women in the Roman civilization: “In Roman Law a woman was even in historic times completely dependent. If married she and her property passed into the power of her husband . . . the wife was the purchased property of her husband, and like a slave acquired only for his benefit. A woman could not exercise any civil or public office . . . could not be a witness, surety, tutor, or curator; she could not adopt or be adopted, or make will or contract.”<br />
<br />
(4) Among the Scandinavian races women were: “under perpetual tutelage, whether married or unmarried. As late as the Code of Christian V, at the end of the 17th Century, it was enacted that if a woman married without the consent of her tutor he might have, if he wished, administration and usufruct of her goods during her life.” (The Encyclopedia Britannica, 1911).<br />
<br />
(5) In Britain, the right of married women to own property was not recognized until the late 19th Century, “By a series of acts starting with the Married Women’s Property Act in 1870, amended in 1882 and 1887, married women achieved the right to own property and to enter into contracts on a par with spinsters, widows, and divorcees.” (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1968). In France, it was not until 1938 that the French Law was amended so as to recognize the eligibility of women to contract. A married woman, however, was still required to secure her husband’s permission before she could dispense with her private property.<br />
<br />
(6) In the Mosaic (Jewish) Law, the wife was betrothed. Explaining this concept, the Encyclopedia Biblica, 1902, states: “To betroth a wife to oneself meant simply to acquire possession of her by payment of the purchase money; the betrothed is a girl for whom the purchase money has been paid.” From the legal point of view, the consent of the girl was not necessary for the validation of her marriage. “The girl’s consent is unnecessary and the need for it is nowhere suggested in the Law.” (Previous Source). As to the right of divorce, we read in the Encyclopedia Biblica: “The woman being man’s property, his right to divorce her follows as a matter of course.” The right to divorce was held only by man, The Encyclopedia Britannica, 1911, states: “In the Mosaic Law divorce was a privilege of the husband only...”<br />
<br />
(7) The position of the Christian Church until recent centuries seems to have been influenced by both the Mosaic Law and by the streams of thought that were dominant in its contemporary cultures. In their book, Marriage East and West, David and Vera Mace wrote: “Let no one suppose, either, that our Christian heritage is free of such slighting judgments. It would be hard to find anywhere a collection of more degrading references to the female sex than the early Church Fathers provide. Lecky, the famous historian, speaks of ‘these fierce incentives which form so conspicuous and so grotesque a portion of the writing of the Fathers . . . woman was represented as the door of hell, as the mother of all human ills. She should be ashamed at the very thought that she is a woman. She should live in continual penance on account of the curses she has brought upon the world. She should be ashamed of her dress, for it is the memorial of her fall. She should be especially ashamed of her beauty, for it is the most potent instrument of the devil.’ One of the most scathing of these attacks on woman is that of Tertullian: ‘Do you know that you are each an Eve? The sentence of God on this sex of yours lives in this age; the guilt must of necessity live too. You are the devil’s gateway; you are the unsealer of that forbidden tree; you are the first deserters of the divine law; you are she who persuades him whom the devil was not valiant enough to attack.’ Not only did the church affirm the inferior status of woman, it deprived her of legal rights she had previously enjoyed.”<br />
<br />
Foundations of Spiritual and Human Equity in Islam:<br />
In the midst of the darkness that engulfed the world, the divine revelation echoed in the wide desert of Arabia in the seventh Century with a fresh, noble, and universal message to humanity, described below.<br />
<br />
(1) According to the Holy Quran, men and women have the same human spiritual nature:<br />
<br />
O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women... (Quran, 4:1, see also 7:189, 42:11, 16:72, 32:9, and 15:29).<br />
<br />
(2) God has invested both genders with inherent dignity and has made men and women, collectively, the trustees of God on earth (see the Quran 17:70 and 2:30).<br />
<br />
(3) The Quran does not blame woman for the “fall of man,” nor does it view pregnancy and childbirth as punishments for “eating from the forbidden tree.” On the contrary, the Quran depicts Adam and Eve as equally responsible for their sin in the Garden, never singling out Eve for blame. Both repented, and both were forgiven (see the Quran 2:36-37 and 7:19-27). In fact, in one verse (Quran 20:121) Adam specifically was blamed. The Quran also esteems pregnancy and childbirth as sufficient reasons for the love and respect due to mothers from their children (Quran 31:14 and 46:15).<br />
<br />
(4) Men and women have the same religious and moral duties and responsibilities. Each human being shall face the consequences of his or her deeds:<br />
<br />
And their Lord responded to them (saying): Never will I allow to be lost the work of (any) worker among you, whether male or female; you are of one another... (Quran, 3:195, see also 74:38, 16:97, 4:124, 33:35, and 57:12).<br />
<br />
(5) The Quran is quite clear about the issue of the claimed superiority or inferiority of any human, male or female. The sole basis for superiority of any person over another is piety and righteousness not gender, color, or nationality (see the Quran 49:13).<br />
<br />
The Economic Aspect of Women in Islam:<br />
(1) The Right to Possess Personal Property: Islam decreed a right of which woman was deprived both before Islam and after it (even as late as this century), the right of independent ownership. The Islamic Law recognizes the full property rights of women before and after marriage. They may buy, sell, or lease any or all of their properties at will. For this reason, Muslim women may keep (and in fact they have traditionally kept) their maiden names after marriage, an indication of their independent property rights as legal entities.<br />
<br />
(2) Financial Security and Inheritance Laws: Financial security is assured for women. They are entitled to receive marital gifts without limit and to keep present and future properties and income for their own security, even after marriage. No married woman is required to spend any amount at all from her property and income on the household. The woman is entitled also to full financial support during marriage and during the “waiting period” (iddah) in case of divorce or widowhood. Some jurists require, in addition, one year’s support for divorce and widowhood (or until they remarry, if remarriage takes place before the year is over). A woman who bears a child in marriage is entitled to child support from the child’s father. Generally, a Muslim woman is guaranteed support in all stages of her life, as a daughter, wife, mother, or sister. The financial advantages accorded to women and not to men in marriage and in family have a social counterpart in the provisions that the Quran lays down in the laws of inheritance, which afford the male, in most cases, twice the inheritance of a female. Males inherit more but ultimately they are financially responsible for their female relatives: their wives, daughters, mothers, and sisters. Females inherit less but retain their share for investment and financial security, without any legal obligation to spend any part of it, even for their own sustenance (food, clothing, housing, medication, etc). It should be noted that before Islam, women themselves were sometimes ob<x>jects of inheritance (see the Quran 4:19). In some western countries, even after the advent of Islam, the whole estate of the deceased was given to his/her eldest son. The Quran, however, made it clear that both men and women are entitled to a specified share of the estate of their deceased parents or close relatives. God has said:<br />
<br />
For men is a share of what the parents and close relatives leave, and for women is a share of what the parents and close relatives leave, be it little or much, an obligatory share. (Quran, 4:7)<br />
<br />
(3) Employment: With regard to the woman’s right to seek employment, it should be stated first that Islam regards her role in society as a mother and a wife as her most sacred and essential one. Neither maids nor baby sitters can possibly take the mother’s place as the educator of an upright, complex-free, and carefully-reared child. Such a noble and vital role, which largely shapes the future of nations, cannot be regarded as idleness. However, there is no decree in Islam that forbids women from seeking employment whenever there is a necessity for it, especially in positions which fit her nature best and in which society needs her most. Examples of these professions are nursing, teaching (especially children), medicine, and social and charitable work.<br />
<br />
The Social Aspect of Women in Islam:<br />
A) As a Daughter:<br />
<br />
(1) The Quran ended the cruel practice of female infanticide, which was before Islam. God has said:<br />
<br />
And when the girl (who was) buried alive is asked, for what sin she was killed. (Quran, 81:8-9)<br />
<br />
(2) The Quran went further to rebuke the unwelcoming attitude of some parents upon hearing the news of the birth of a baby girl, instead of a baby boy. God has said:<br />
<br />
And when one of them is informed of (the birth of) a female, his face becomes dark, and he suppresses grief. He hides himself from the people because of the ill of which he has been informed. Should he keep it in humiliation or bury it in the ground? Certainly, evil is what they decide. (Quran 16:58-59)<br />
<br />
(3) Parents are duty-bound to support and show kindness and justice to their daughters. The Prophet Muhammad said: {Whosoever supports two daughters until they mature, he and I will come on the Day of Judgment as this (and he pointed with his fingers held together).}<br />
<br />
(4) A crucial aspect in the upbringing of daughters that greatly influences their future is education. Education is not only a right but a responsibility for all males and females. The Prophet Muhammad said: {Seeking knowledge is mandatory for every Muslim.} The word “Muslim” here is inclusive of both males and females.<br />
<br />
(5) Islam neither requires nor encourages female circumcision. And while it is maybe practiced by some Muslims in certain parts of Africa, it is also practiced by other peoples, including Christians, in those places, a reflection merely of the local customs and practices there.<br />
<br />
B) As a Wife:<br />
<br />
(1) Marriage in Islam is ba<x>sed on mutual peace, love, and compassion, and not just the mere satisfying of human sexual desire. Among the most impressive verses in the Quran about marriage is the following:<br />
<br />
And of His signs is: that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought. (Quran, 30:21, see also 42:11 and 2:228)<br />
<br />
(2) The female has the right to accept or reject marriage proposals. According to the Islamic Law, women cannot be forced to marry anyone without their consent.<br />
<br />
(3) The husband is responsible for the maintenance, protection, and overall leadership of the family, within the fr<x>amework of consultation (see the Quran 2:233) and kindness (see the Quran 4:19). The mutuality and complementarity of husband and wife does not mean subservience by either party to the other. The Prophet Muhammad instructed Muslims regarding women: {I commend you to be good to women.} And {The best among you are those who are best to their wives.} The Quran urges husbands to be kind and considerate to their wives, even if a wife falls out of favor with her husband or disinclination for her arises within him:<br />
<br />
...And live with them in kindness. For if you dislike them, perhaps you dislike a thing and God makes therein much good. (Quran, 4:19)<br />
<br />
It also outlawed the Arabian practice before Islam whereby the stepson of the deceased father was allowed to take possession of his father’s widow(s) (inherit them) as if they were part of the estate of the deceased (see the Quran 4:19).<br />
<br />
(4) Should marital disputes arise, the Quran encourages couples to resolve them privately in a spirit of fairness and probity. Indeed, the Quran outlines an enlightened step and wise approach for the husband and wife to resolve persistent conflict in their marital life. In the event that dispute cannot be resolved equitably between husband and wife, the Quran prescribes mediation between the parties through family intervention on behalf of both spouses (see the Quran 4:35).<br />
<br />
(5) Divorce is a last resort, permissible but not encouraged, for the Quran esteems the preservation of faith and the individual’s right -male and female alike- to felicity. Forms of marriage dissolution include an enactment ba<x>sed upon mutual agreement, the husband’s initiative, the wife’s initiative (if part of her marital contract), the court’s decision on a wife’s initiative (for a legitimate reason), and the wife’s initiative without a cause, provided that she returns her marital gift to her husband. When the continuation of the marriage relationship is impossible for any reason, men are still taught to seek a gracious end for it. The Quran states about such cases:<br />
<br />
And when you divorce women and they have fulfilled their term (i.e. waiting period), either keep them in kindness or release them in kindness, and do not keep them, intending harm, to transgress (against them). (Quran, 2:231, see also 2:229 and 33:49).<br />
<br />
(6) Associating polygyny with Islam, as if it was introduced by it or is the norm according to its teachings, is one of the most persistent myths perpetuated in Western literature and media. Polygyny existed in almost all nations and was even sanctioned by Judaism and Christianity until recent centuries. Islam did not outlaw polygyny, as did many peoples and religious communities; rather, it regulated and restricted it. It is not required but simply permitted with conditions (see the Quran 4:3). Spirit of law, including timing of revelation, is to deal with individual and collective contingencies that may arise from time to time (e.g. imbalances between the number of males and females created by wars) and to provide a moral, practical, and humane solution for the problems of widows and orphans.<br />
<br />
C) As a Mother:<br />
<br />
(1) The Quran elevates kindness to parents (especially mothers) to a status second to the worship of God:<br />
<br />
Your Lord has commanded that you worship none but Him, and that you be kind to your parents. If one of them or both of them reach old age with you, do not say to them a word of disrespect, or scold them, but say a generous word to them. And act humbly to them in mercy, and say, “My Lord, have mercy on them, since they cared for me when I was small.” (Quran, 17:23-24, see also 31:14, 46:15, and 29:8) <br />
<br />
(2) Naturally, the Prophet Muhammad specified this behavior for his followers, rendering to mothers an unequalled status in human relationships. A man came to the Prophet Muhammad and said, “O Messenger of God! Who among the people is the most worthy of my good companionship?” The Prophet said: {Your mother.} The man said, “Then who?” The Prophet said: {Then your mother.} The man further asked, “Then who?” The Prophet said: {Then your mother.} The man asked again, “Then who?” The Prophet said: {Then your father.}<br />
<br />
D) As a Sister in Faith (In General):<br />
<br />
(1) According to the Prophet Muhammad’s sayings: {women are but shaqa’iq (twin halves or sisters) of men.} This saying is a profound statement that directly relates to the issue of human equality between the genders. If the first meaning of the Arabic word shaqa’iq, “twin halves,” is adopted, it means that the male is worth one half (of society), while the female is worth the other half. If the second meaning, “sisters,” is adopted, it implies the same.<br />
<br />
(2) The Prophet Muhammad taught kindness, care, and respect toward women in general: {I commend you to be good to women.} It is significant that such instruction of the Prophet was among his final instructions and reminders in the farewell pilgrimage address given shortly before his passing away.<br />
<br />
(3) Modesty and social interaction: The parameters of proper modesty for males and females (dress and behavior) are ba<x>sed on revelatory sources (the Quran and prophetic sayings) and, as such, are regarded by believing men and women as divinely-ba<x>sed guidelines with legitimate aims and divine wisdom behind them. They are not male-imposed or socially imposed restrictions. It is interesting to know that even the Bible encourages women to cover their head: “If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut or shaved off, she should cover her head.” (1 Corinthians 11:6).<br />
<br />
The Legal and Political Aspect of Women in Islam:<br />
(1) Equality before the Law: Both genders are entitled to equality before the Law and courts of Law. Justice is genderless (see the Quran 5:38, 24:2, and 5:45). Women do possess an independent legal entity in financial and other matters.<br />
<br />
(2) Participation in Social and Political Life: The general rule in social and political life is participation and collaboration of males and females in public affairs (see the Quran 9:71). There is sufficient historical evidence of participation by Muslim women in the choice of rulers, in public issues, in Law making, in administrative positions, in scholarship and teaching, and even in the battlefield. Such involvement in social and political affairs was conducted without the participants’ losing sight of the complementary priorities of both genders and without violating Islamic guidelines of modesty and virtue.<br />
<br />
Conclusion:<br />
The status which non-Muslim women reached during the present era was not achieved due to the kindness of men or due to natural progress. It was rather achieved through a long struggle and sacrifice on woman’s part and only when society needed her contribution and work, more especially during the two world wars, and due to the escalation of technological change. While in Islam such compassionate and dignified status was decreed, not because it reflects the environment of the seventh century, nor under the threat or pressure of women and their organizations, but rather because of its intrinsic truthfulness.<br />
<br />
If this indicates anything, it would demonstrate the Divine origin of the Quran and the truthfulness of the message of Islam, which, unlike human philosophies and ideologies, was far from proceeding from its human environment; a message which established such humane principles that neither grew obsolete during the course of time, nor can become obsolete in the future. After all, this is the message of the All-Wise and All-Knowing God whose wisdom and knowledge are far beyond the ultimate in human thought and progress.<br />
<br />
please visit website:<br />
http://www.womeninislam.ws/en/<br />
http://www.islamfortoday.com/women.htm<br />
http://www.islam-guide.com/

you should be fair.. you are wrong about women in Islam<br />
<br />
Introduction:<br />
The issue of gender equity is important, relevant, and current. Debates and writings on the subject are increasing and are diverse in their perspectives. The Islamic perspective on the issue is the least understood and most misrepresented by non-Muslims and some Muslims as well. This article is intended to provide a brief and authentic exposition of what Islam stands for in this regard.<br />
<br />
please visit website:<br />
http://www.womeninislam.ws/en/<br />
http://www.islamfortoday.com/women.htm<br />
http://www.islam-guide.com/<br />
<br />
Women in Ancient Civilizations:<br />
One major ob<x>jective of this article is to provide a fair evaluation of what Islam contributed toward the restoration of woman’s dignity and rights. In order to achieve this ob<x>jective, it may be useful to review briefly how women were treated in general in previous civilizations and religions, especially those which preceded Islam (before 610 AD). Part of the information provided here, however, describes the status of woman as late as this century, more than 13 centuries after Islam.<br />
<br />
(1) Describing the status of the Indian woman, The Encyclopedia Britannica, 1911, states: “In India, subjection was a cardinal principle. Day and night must women be held by their protectors in a state of dependence says Manu. The rule of inheritance was agnatic, that is descent traced through males to the exclusion of females.” In Hindu sc<x>riptures, the desc<x>ription of a good wife is as follows: “a woman whose mind, speech and body are kept in subjection, acquires high renown in this world, and, in the next, the same abode with her husband.” (Mace, Marriage East and West).<br />
<br />
(2) In Athens, women were not better off than either the Indian or the Roman women: “Athenian women were always minors, subject to some male - to their father, to their brother, or to some of their male kin.” (Allen, E. A., History of Civilization). Her consent in marriage was not generally thought to be necessary and “she was obliged to submit to the wishes of her parents, and receive from them her husband and her lord, even though he were stranger to her.” (Previous Source)<br />
<br />
(3) A Roman wife was described by a historian as: “a babe, a minor, a ward, a person incapable of doing or acting anything according to her own individual taste, a person continually under the tutelage and guardianship of her husband.” (Previous Source). In The Encyclopedia Britannica, 1911, we find a summary of the legal status of women in the Roman civilization: “In Roman Law a woman was even in historic times completely dependent. If married she and her property passed into the power of her husband . . . the wife was the purchased property of her husband, and like a slave acquired only for his benefit. A woman could not exercise any civil or public office . . . could not be a witness, surety, tutor, or curator; she could not adopt or be adopted, or make will or contract.”<br />
<br />
(4) Among the Scandinavian races women were: “under perpetual tutelage, whether married or unmarried. As late as the Code of Christian V, at the end of the 17th Century, it was enacted that if a woman married without the consent of her tutor he might have, if he wished, administration and usufruct of her goods during her life.” (The Encyclopedia Britannica, 1911).<br />
<br />
(5) In Britain, the right of married women to own property was not recognized until the late 19th Century, “By a series of acts starting with the Married Women’s Property Act in 1870, amended in 1882 and 1887, married women achieved the right to own property and to enter into contracts on a par with spinsters, widows, and divorcees.” (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1968). In France, it was not until 1938 that the French Law was amended so as to recognize the eligibility of women to contract. A married woman, however, was still required to secure her husband’s permission before she could dispense with her private property.<br />
<br />
(6) In the Mosaic (Jewish) Law, the wife was betrothed. Explaining this concept, the Encyclopedia Biblica, 1902, states: “To betroth a wife to oneself meant simply to acquire possession of her by payment of the purchase money; the betrothed is a girl for whom the purchase money has been paid.” From the legal point of view, the consent of the girl was not necessary for the validation of her marriage. “The girl’s consent is unnecessary and the need for it is nowhere suggested in the Law.” (Previous Source). As to the right of divorce, we read in the Encyclopedia Biblica: “The woman being man’s property, his right to divorce her follows as a matter of course.” The right to divorce was held only by man, The Encyclopedia Britannica, 1911, states: “In the Mosaic Law divorce was a privilege of the husband only...”<br />
<br />
(7) The position of the Christian Church until recent centuries seems to have been influenced by both the Mosaic Law and by the streams of thought that were dominant in its contemporary cultures. In their book, Marriage East and West, David and Vera Mace wrote: “Let no one suppose, either, that our Christian heritage is free of such slighting judgments. It would be hard to find anywhere a collection of more degrading references to the female sex than the early Church Fathers provide. Lecky, the famous historian, speaks of ‘these fierce incentives which form so conspicuous and so grotesque a portion of the writing of the Fathers . . . woman was represented as the door of hell, as the mother of all human ills. She should be ashamed at the very thought that she is a woman. She should live in continual penance on account of the curses she has brought upon the world. She should be ashamed of her dress, for it is the memorial of her fall. She should be especially ashamed of her beauty, for it is the most potent instrument of the devil.’ One of the most scathing of these attacks on woman is that of Tertullian: ‘Do you know that you are each an Eve? The sentence of God on this sex of yours lives in this age; the guilt must of necessity live too. You are the devil’s gateway; you are the unsealer of that forbidden tree; you are the first deserters of the divine law; you are she who persuades him whom the devil was not valiant enough to attack.’ Not only did the church affirm the inferior status of woman, it deprived her of legal rights she had previously enjoyed.”<br />
<br />
Foundations of Spiritual and Human Equity in Islam:<br />
In the midst of the darkness that engulfed the world, the divine revelation echoed in the wide desert of Arabia in the seventh Century with a fresh, noble, and universal message to humanity, described below.<br />
<br />
(1) According to the Holy Quran, men and women have the same human spiritual nature:<br />
<br />
O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women... (Quran, 4:1, see also 7:189, 42:11, 16:72, 32:9, and 15:29).<br />
<br />
(2) God has invested both genders with inherent dignity and has made men and women, collectively, the trustees of God on earth (see the Quran 17:70 and 2:30).<br />
<br />
(3) The Quran does not blame woman for the “fall of man,” nor does it view pregnancy and childbirth as punishments for “eating from the forbidden tree.” On the contrary, the Quran depicts Adam and Eve as equally responsible for their sin in the Garden, never singling out Eve for blame. Both repented, and both were forgiven (see the Quran 2:36-37 and 7:19-27). In fact, in one verse (Quran 20:121) Adam specifically was blamed. The Quran also esteems pregnancy and childbirth as sufficient reasons for the love and respect due to mothers from their children (Quran 31:14 and 46:15).<br />
<br />
(4) Men and women have the same religious and moral duties and responsibilities. Each human being shall face the consequences of his or her deeds:<br />
<br />
And their Lord responded to them (saying): Never will I allow to be lost the work of (any) worker among you, whether male or female; you are of one another... (Quran, 3:195, see also 74:38, 16:97, 4:124, 33:35, and 57:12).<br />
<br />
(5) The Quran is quite clear about the issue of the claimed superiority or inferiority of any human, male or female. The sole basis for superiority of any person over another is piety and righteousness not gender, color, or nationality (see the Quran 49:13).<br />
<br />
The Economic Aspect of Women in Islam:<br />
(1) The Right to Possess Personal Property: Islam decreed a right of which woman was deprived both before Islam and after it (even as late as this century), the right of independent ownership. The Islamic Law recognizes the full property rights of women before and after marriage. They may buy, sell, or lease any or all of their properties at will. For this reason, Muslim women may keep (and in fact they have traditionally kept) their maiden names after marriage, an indication of their independent property rights as legal entities.<br />
<br />
(2) Financial Security and Inheritance Laws: Financial security is assured for women. They are entitled to receive marital gifts without limit and to keep present and future properties and income for their own security, even after marriage. No married woman is required to spend any amount at all from her property and income on the household. The woman is entitled also to full financial support during marriage and during the “waiting period” (iddah) in case of divorce or widowhood. Some jurists require, in addition, one year’s support for divorce and widowhood (or until they remarry, if remarriage takes place before the year is over). A woman who bears a child in marriage is entitled to child support from the child’s father. Generally, a Muslim woman is guaranteed support in all stages of her life, as a daughter, wife, mother, or sister. The financial advantages accorded to women and not to men in marriage and in family have a social counterpart in the provisions that the Quran lays down in the laws of inheritance, which afford the male, in most cases, twice the inheritance of a female. Males inherit more but ultimately they are financially responsible for their female relatives: their wives, daughters, mothers, and sisters. Females inherit less but retain their share for investment and financial security, without any legal obligation to spend any part of it, even for their own sustenance (food, clothing, housing, medication, etc). It should be noted that before Islam, women themselves were sometimes ob<x>jects of inheritance (see the Quran 4:19). In some western countries, even after the advent of Islam, the whole estate of the deceased was given to his/her eldest son. The Quran, however, made it clear that both men and women are entitled to a specified share of the estate of their deceased parents or close relatives. God has said:<br />
<br />
For men is a share of what the parents and close relatives leave, and for women is a share of what the parents and close relatives leave, be it little or much, an obligatory share. (Quran, 4:7)<br />
<br />
(3) Employment: With regard to the woman’s right to seek employment, it should be stated first that Islam regards her role in society as a mother and a wife as her most sacred and essential one. Neither maids nor baby sitters can possibly take the mother’s place as the educator of an upright, complex-free, and carefully-reared child. Such a noble and vital role, which largely shapes the future of nations, cannot be regarded as idleness. However, there is no decree in Islam that forbids women from seeking employment whenever there is a necessity for it, especially in positions which fit her nature best and in which society needs her most. Examples of these professions are nursing, teaching (especially children), medicine, and social and charitable work.<br />
<br />
The Social Aspect of Women in Islam:<br />
A) As a Daughter:<br />
<br />
(1) The Quran ended the cruel practice of female infanticide, which was before Islam. God has said:<br />
<br />
And when the girl (who was) buried alive is asked, for what sin she was killed. (Quran, 81:8-9)<br />
<br />
(2) The Quran went further to rebuke the unwelcoming attitude of some parents upon hearing the news of the birth of a baby girl, instead of a baby boy. God has said:<br />
<br />
And when one of them is informed of (the birth of) a female, his face becomes dark, and he suppresses grief. He hides himself from the people because of the ill of which he has been informed. Should he keep it in humiliation or bury it in the ground? Certainly, evil is what they decide. (Quran 16:58-59)<br />
<br />
(3) Parents are duty-bound to support and show kindness and justice to their daughters. The Prophet Muhammad said: {Whosoever supports two daughters until they mature, he and I will come on the Day of Judgment as this (and he pointed with his fingers held together).}<br />
<br />
(4) A crucial aspect in the upbringing of daughters that greatly influences their future is education. Education is not only a right but a responsibility for all males and females. The Prophet Muhammad said: {Seeking knowledge is mandatory for every Muslim.} The word “Muslim” here is inclusive of both males and females.<br />
<br />
(5) Islam neither requires nor encourages female circumcision. And while it is maybe practiced by some Muslims in certain parts of Africa, it is also practiced by other peoples, including Christians, in those places, a reflection merely of the local customs and practices there.<br />
<br />
B) As a Wife:<br />
<br />
(1) Marriage in Islam is ba<x>sed on mutual peace, love, and compassion, and not just the mere satisfying of human sexual desire. Among the most impressive verses in the Quran about marriage is the following:<br />
<br />
And of His signs is: that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought. (Quran, 30:21, see also 42:11 and 2:228)<br />
<br />
(2) The female has the right to accept or reject marriage proposals. According to the Islamic Law, women cannot be forced to marry anyone without their consent.<br />
<br />
(3) The husband is responsible for the maintenance, protection, and overall leadership of the family, within the fr<x>amework of consultation (see the Quran 2:233) and kindness (see the Quran 4:19). The mutuality and complementarity of husband and wife does not mean subservience by either party to the other. The Prophet Muhammad instructed Muslims regarding women: {I commend you to be good to women.} And {The best among you are those who are best to their wives.} The Quran urges husbands to be kind and considerate to their wives, even if a wife falls out of favor with her husband or disinclination for her arises within him:<br />
<br />
...And live with them in kindness. For if you dislike them, perhaps you dislike a thing and God makes therein much good. (Quran, 4:19)<br />
<br />
It also outlawed the Arabian practice before Islam whereby the stepson of the deceased father was allowed to take possession of his father’s widow(s) (inherit them) as if they were part of the estate of the deceased (see the Quran 4:19).<br />
<br />
(4) Should marital disputes arise, the Quran encourages couples to resolve them privately in a spirit of fairness and probity. Indeed, the Quran outlines an enlightened step and wise approach for the husband and wife to resolve persistent conflict in their marital life. In the event that dispute cannot be resolved equitably between husband and wife, the Quran prescribes mediation between the parties through family intervention on behalf of both spouses (see the Quran 4:35).<br />
<br />
(5) Divorce is a last resort, permissible but not encouraged, for the Quran esteems the preservation of faith and the individual’s right -male and female alike- to felicity. Forms of marriage dissolution include an enactment ba<x>sed upon mutual agreement, the husband’s initiative, the wife’s initiative (if part of her marital contract), the court’s decision on a wife’s initiative (for a legitimate reason), and the wife’s initiative without a cause, provided that she returns her marital gift to her husband. When the continuation of the marriage relationship is impossible for any reason, men are still taught to seek a gracious end for it. The Quran states about such cases:<br />
<br />
And when you divorce women and they have fulfilled their term (i.e. waiting period), either keep them in kindness or release them in kindness, and do not keep them, intending harm, to transgress (against them). (Quran, 2:231, see also 2:229 and 33:49).<br />
<br />
(6) Associating polygyny with Islam, as if it was introduced by it or is the norm according to its teachings, is one of the most persistent myths perpetuated in Western literature and media. Polygyny existed in almost all nations and was even sanctioned by Judaism and Christianity until recent centuries. Islam did not outlaw polygyny, as did many peoples and religious communities; rather, it regulated and restricted it. It is not required but simply permitted with conditions (see the Quran 4:3). Spirit of law, including timing of revelation, is to deal with individual and collective contingencies that may arise from time to time (e.g. imbalances between the number of males and females created by wars) and to provide a moral, practical, and humane solution for the problems of widows and orphans.<br />
<br />
C) As a Mother:<br />
<br />
(1) The Quran elevates kindness to parents (especially mothers) to a status second to the worship of God:<br />
<br />
Your Lord has commanded that you worship none but Him, and that you be kind to your parents. If one of them or both of them reach old age with you, do not say to them a word of disrespect, or scold them, but say a generous word to them. And act humbly to them in mercy, and say, “My Lord, have mercy on them, since they cared for me when I was small.” (Quran, 17:23-24, see also 31:14, 46:15, and 29:8) <br />
<br />
(2) Naturally, the Prophet Muhammad specified this behavior for his followers, rendering to mothers an unequalled status in human relationships. A man came to the Prophet Muhammad and said, “O Messenger of God! Who among the people is the most worthy of my good companionship?” The Prophet said: {Your mother.} The man said, “Then who?” The Prophet said: {Then your mother.} The man further asked, “Then who?” The Prophet said: {Then your mother.} The man asked again, “Then who?” The Prophet said: {Then your father.}<br />
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D) As a Sister in Faith (In General):<br />
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(1) According to the Prophet Muhammad’s sayings: {women are but shaqa’iq (twin halves or sisters) of men.} This saying is a profound statement that directly relates to the issue of human equality between the genders. If the first meaning of the Arabic word shaqa’iq, “twin halves,” is adopted, it means that the male is worth one half (of society), while the female is worth the other half. If the second meaning, “sisters,” is adopted, it implies the same.<br />
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(2) The Prophet Muhammad taught kindness, care, and respect toward women in general: {I commend you to be good to women.} It is significant that such instruction of the Prophet was among his final instructions and reminders in the farewell pilgrimage address given shortly before his passing away.<br />
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(3) Modesty and social interaction: The parameters of proper modesty for males and females (dress and behavior) are ba<x>sed on revelatory sources (the Quran and prophetic sayings) and, as such, are regarded by believing men and women as divinely-ba<x>sed guidelines with legitimate aims and divine wisdom behind them. They are not male-imposed or socially imposed restrictions. It is interesting to know that even the Bible encourages women to cover their head: “If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut or shaved off, she should cover her head.” (1 Corinthians 11:6).<br />
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The Legal and Political Aspect of Women in Islam:<br />
(1) Equality before the Law: Both genders are entitled to equality before the Law and courts of Law. Justice is genderless (see the Quran 5:38, 24:2, and 5:45). Women do possess an independent legal entity in financial and other matters.<br />
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(2) Participation in Social and Political Life: The general rule in social and political life is participation and collaboration of males and females in public affairs (see the Quran 9:71). There is sufficient historical evidence of participation by Muslim women in the choice of rulers, in public issues, in Law making, in administrative positions, in scholarship and teaching, and even in the battlefield. Such involvement in social and political affairs was conducted without the participants’ losing sight of the complementary priorities of both genders and without violating Islamic guidelines of modesty and virtue.<br />
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Conclusion:<br />
The status which non-Muslim women reached during the present era was not achieved due to the kindness of men or due to natural progress. It was rather achieved through a long struggle and sacrifice on woman’s part and only when society needed her contribution and work, more especially during the two world wars, and due to the escalation of technological change. While in Islam such compassionate and dignified status was decreed, not because it reflects the environment of the seventh century, nor under the threat or pressure of women and their organizations, but rather because of its intrinsic truthfulness.<br />
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If this indicates anything, it would demonstrate the Divine origin of the Quran and the truthfulness of the message of Islam, which, unlike human philosophies and ideologies, was far from proceeding from its human environment; a message which established such humane principles that neither grew obsolete during the course of time, nor can become obsolete in the future. After all, this is the message of the All-Wise and All-Knowing God whose wisdom and knowledge are far beyond the ultimate in human thought and progress.

I think you hooked me in. I've been seaching for something and this might be it.

Having a Mormon background the idea of a mother in heaven is doctrinal and essential if I am indeed a "child" of God.

Well I am not far from you on your ideas. I had never thought about that one, there being a partner for God. However, like you i was raised up christian going to church and everything and then I too eventually stopped going to church because I found flaws in pretty much every religion, all of them claiming to be the right one. So i too figured that I also would read the bible for myself.<br />
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I too like you have come to the same conclusion that it was tampered with. Things were left out. My angle on this started with the whole Adam eve thing. The bible says that god made Adam first. but I have to wonder about that. They both ate the fruit but Eve was the one that got the brutal punishment. Pain at child birth, specifically stated that we will be ruled by our husbands. Now why specifically state that...you will be ruled by your husbands. That made me think a bit.....maybe it wasn't always that way.<br />
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When Adam was questioned about it, he pointed his finger to eve..."she made me do it!" kinda sounds like a younger sibling trying to weasel his way out of punishment by pointing the finger at the older sibling who should have known better.<br />
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To me the bible doesn't flow, i mean what happened to Adam and eve after they were kicked out of the garden. I mean there must have been some tale of their struggle to survive without God's help. I could go on about all my unanswered questions.<br />
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Please don't think that I am an atheist because I very much believe in God, but the bible was translated by man. Things could have been left out that they did not think the rest of the world should know, to control the population? maintain power? who knows what the reasons are?<br />
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I too believe that I will never read a version that has never been "tampered".

of course ur not the only one. Most of humanity for all time before organized religion believed in both. It just logical.<br />
I hope this term does not turn u off, but paganism in the general sense is any spirituality that believes in the divine in all things including both sexes. In that sense many sub-religions fit into that category including a lot of buddhist traditions. Many groups only have this belief as their defining concept.<br />
I suggest u look into paganism in the broad sense not just wicca, and you will probably find a tradition or a group that u can align with. Also the Unitarian tradition has no doctrine or defining beliefs. They believe that all spiritual believes are "right" and that people need a place to connect with others spiritually. So that might be something to look into as well.<br />
Thanx for sharing this. I had a similar process being raised christian as well

Tzech thank you for mentioning that Wicca has both male and female deity. Gbox I really liked your question! Which one indeed? Having often wondered myself if G-d was like a flower in that he had both male and female parts in order to reproduce and yet I guess I have always felt he could speak a being into existence with his omnipotent power. Whacko and Moisomething bring up ideas that science fiction are made of and yet art imitates life. What if there was a race from another planet breeding with humans at the same time Moses is following "G-d" around in the dessert for 40 years? Did you know the "human" race has gotten progressively larger and taller since archaeologists have found ancient remains?

The idea that God created man in his own image is logically flawed. A violin does not resemble a violin maker, a pot does not resemble a potter. <br />
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But a sculpture can resemble the sculptor, and painting can resemble the painter. So I am assuming that your idea is logically flawed. lol. <br />
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As far as God and women go, God created man first, and then he made woman for man because he was lonely, not man for the woman. But who brought Jesus into the world? Mary right. We are all one in the eyes of God.

The idea that God created man in his own image is logically flawed. A violin does not resemble a violin maker, a pot does not resemble the potter.<br />
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But a sculpture can resemble the sculptor, and a painting can resemble the painter. So I am assuming that your idea is logically flawed. lol. <br />
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As far as God and women go, God created man first, and then he made woman for man because he was lonely, not man for the woman. But who brought Jesus into the world? Mary right. We are all one in the eyes of God. And there is only one God.

The idea that God created man in his own image is logically flawed. A violin does not resemble a violin maker, a pot does not resemble a potter. <br />
<br />
But a sculpture can resemble the sculptor, and painting can resemble the painter. So I am assuming that your idea is logically flawed. lol. <br />
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As far as God and women go, God created man first, and then he made woman for man because he was lonely, not man for the woman. But who brought Jesus into the world? Mary right. We are all one in the eyes of God.

Actually you might have not read enough about Wicca. The most popular-gardnerian wicca actually worship a God and Goddess. Its Dianic wicca that worships only the Godess and only women are allowed to follow it or something. A good book to learn about Wicca and easy to read is Scott Cunninghams Wicca for the solitary practitioner. Good Luck!

Very interesting story ...and just so you know getting the answer to these questions is just a part of your journey in this life..be true to yourself ..Thanks for your story... hope you enjoy mine( Born with a Valentine Birthmark over my Heart)

They say confusion is the first step to enlightenment, as it opens your mind to new and different ideas. I have just recently started a similar path.

there are many different paths to God. i do not believe in a personal God or a human God i believe in a Universal Consciouss, a Higher Consiousness. i too have read other scread text, the common thread that binds them is the Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. THe bible was written 300yrs after Jesus, by men because they could read and write in that time period women did not know how to write or read, in fact they had no rights at all. I believe in the Sermon on the Mount as the true words of Jesus. we all believe in a way that makes us comfortable. there is no religion better than the other, so believe anyway you want as long as its in the light we know whats right and we know whats wrong. we have the freedom of choice. <br />
Jesus is the Son of God, so are we all sons and daughers of God.

I enjoyed reading your story. I like you am Christian, and have my moments of doubts, especially like you, of the Bible. I started to read in once, but could not continue, as like you, the woman comes in as a "second". I would like to believe that most that the Bible is true. But as you say, who was there to really know? I came to the conclusion that I believe in God, the Saints, the Virgin and the 10 Commandments, and some other parts. The rest...

there are different paths that people take and that is fine we are believe in what makes us comfortable, i would be proud to be your friend. Iam a spiritualist.

I too do not believe in "man made" religions. They create wars and misery. And I believe that most religions are used by people as "crutches". Don't get me werong. I believe in "God" because how else did this planet and everything on it and around it come into being? I just do not think man should be so arrogant as to try and "take over the business" for his own ends! <br />
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Man made religion is indeed the "opiate of the masses". True religion should be a personal and private matter between a man or woman and the "Creator". Therefore, there should not be any need to go to churches and temples to worship, as "God" should be within us all and is with us all the time. <br />
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I hate to put these big organisations out of business but what purpose do they serve except to control peoples thoughts, take their money and ruin their lives with misguided advice?<br />
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I am praying to God right now and he is listening and directing every single stroke of this comment.<br />
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Why don't more people "cut out these middle men"? After all think of all the money they'd save not having to drive to church every week!

All that has been said is very interesting. I don't know a lot about any particular religion, but I do know that religion is not all that it is made out to be. And I believe that religion was completely created by man as a means to govern him/herself. <br />
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I grew up as a Christian and I no longer consider myself that. I consider myself a "Child of God". I believe that there is a God, and that God is the One and the Only God. <br />
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Many years ago I chose not to follow religion any longer because of the many discrepancies in it. I understand that science cannot explain how God or many of God's creations came to be, so that alone makes me believe in a higher power than mankind. <br />
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Science and religion tries very hard to duplicate many things, including us, but no one had gotten any of their creations as perfect as what God has created. <br />
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Yes, the Bible is a manual that speaks many stories told by mankind (through inspiration of God), and I believe that its ultimate purpose was to show mankind just how imperfect we are in our choices. <br />
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Once upon a time when God walked with and spoke with man, God was unappreciated. And it still is true today, even though God doesn't utter a word to us. <br />
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Man consistently made the wrong choices in those days as we still do today. History does repeat itself and the Bible is one of God's tools that prove it. <br />
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They warred then and we war now. Nothing has changed. They sinned then and we sin now. Nothing has changed. I believe that one day things will change... but only in God's time. <br />
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Ok, you don't believe in religion... neither do I, but why not believe in God? <br />
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Can you create a planet to live on? Can you create the heavens above it? Can you create human beings and animals and all of the other numerous living creatures that God has through spiritual means? <br />
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I know that these things did not scientifically appear, because if they did, then science would be able to recreate them. <br />
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So if you pray to mankind or the things created by mankind, then you are seriously flawed in your belief. <br />
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God is the only one that I reverend. I put no man or thing before God.

Grin... no, you're not the only one. although i do have a question...wicca=girl power?,,, i've been happily wiccan for 30 years and never noticed anything but the duality you speak of...the balance of male and female. yes it can seem to "goddess" worship and some sects do become maternalistic. but... we have the lord and lady, the triune goddess of maiden, mther, crone.<br />
But the last time I checked...there's day and night, dark and light, good and evil, right and left, male and female. <br />
prayr, or invocation to the mother and father is perfectly normal tome.<br />
Also on an historical note...the text of the bible you speak of has been edited you are correct....but because it is 'holy writ' the other books have not been destroyed. they simply weren't included in canon. When it was directed that the scholars define canon and build an inclusive book that would be used by all (as opposed to traveling priests looking like encyclopedia salesmen) the time constraints were such that a lot had to be set aside because they all could not be read. some others were set aside because they raised too many questions (that are still being debated) and others for baser reasons such as they were being read and approved by men who (were still following cultural mores) dismissed the notion of wmen in religious leadership roles.<br />
slowly but surely the study of these documents is bringing the original writers words not only to light in the general public but also into familiar discourse within the leadership of the churches.<br />
namaste...and always keep studying..for in learning you find truth.

Why 'be' anything? I grew up church of England. Not really sure why! My parents have no religion as such although I know my mother's view which happens to be the same as mine and my daughter's.<br />
I went to a church of England primary school, and oh yes, I can well remember it all these years on..The school from hell...I won't go there! I did go through a phase of going to church when I wwas 16 due to the influence of someone, and I'm not knocking it, it was actually a very nice laid back one. But it was just a phase. As I grew up I began to question many things as we all do and I have found that all I need is what is inside myself. I don't need a church service. It would leave me cold personally. But, when I go out for a long walk in the countryside, I feel at one with all around me, with nature in it's entireity, I feel very spiritual. Just ths same as when I walk by the sea, or gaze into rockpools, or into my garden pond, or just gardening. I find it hard to comprehend of a 'God' out there somewhere and the one in the bible? no, I don't think so. God is a belief, not a fact. If it were, we would all believe in the same one wouldn't we? I believe in evolution, but I also think there is 'something' out there. A conciousness, something. I am very open minded, not bigoted at all. Let and let live I say and if I had to choose an organizes religion, I would be Budhist. I read the Tibetan book of Living and Dying when my 20yr old nephew was dying of cancer last year, and that book made so much sense and gave a lot of comfort. I think that if we all believed in re-birth as they do that we would all take a lot more care of our planet.

I think many old eastern religions have goddesses in one form or another and Hinduism even has a concept of god being female as all life come from female. Actually it even has a concept of Shiva being Shiv+Shakti (male+female) but its too complex for me to understand it fully. May be reading about some of it would help. In my opinion God is just a concept and everyone should be free to pray to god in any form they can relate to. I should point out that I am not religious but consider myself to be spiritual.

Wow. This has got to be the most interesting thread that I have seen on EP. Mikki, you seem to more than on the right path, you seem to have found the end of it: Declare your own answers and build your own faith, no one else need follow but you. That is what life should be, lots of diversity and understanding. The reptilian ancestors? Gods trapped under glasses? OMG, but whatever. At least somewhere, here at EP, these conversations can be had, and no one is harmed. I wish that I heard more talk of religion and spirituality while waiting in line at the grocery store, instead of Britney Spears and Fox news hype. Maybe then the world would be the place our OWN mothers and fathers wanted it to be for us.<br />
AMEN ; )

I really like how you put that. noone else has really come as close to exactly how I think about it, lately. wanna start a religion ? :)

I suugest you check www.thehappyheretic.com - a monthly column by Judith Hayes then read her books: "The Happy Heretic" and "In God we Trust, but which one?"

God is actually an idea, a relationship with the outside and inside. It will give a mental balance if God is worshipped as feminine as well as male. The Ahrahamic religions have offered only the male form of God to be worshipped. Adam was a male, Kingdom of Father and relegated the female to a less important role. U come to eastern religions and find the Gods and Goddesses in plenty each suiting to ur inborn nature. I am hindu and even though Supreme Bhraman is infinite and finite fromless and with form with eords and withoutwords We humans sometimes need a Human form to worship. So Vishnu with Lakshmi, Shiva with Parvathi, Bhrama with Saraswathi all have relevonce in the Hindu way of life. U may select one if U r attracted. There is no compulsion in Hinduism that only Hindus can pray to their Gods. Even while remaining Christian u may pray to our Gods. Our Gods are too liberal and too inclusive for everybody. <br />
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Welcome to study the Feminine Goddesses of Hinduism.

Your story, Mikka, has helped me understand your point of view. It's a belief I once tried on, but was never able to really say that it was a perfect fit. If I believed we were intelligently designed, I would probably share your beliefs.

you are not the only one who feels this way. I was raised in a Christian home, but while I still hold the belief in God, I also lean toward the pagan way of the Goddess... I've actually heard it to be called:<br />
Christian Pagan...but I don't think I belong in any category.<br />
don't be ashamed of what you believe in.

I'm on the same page as Moxiesurvivor in my search for things spiritual. In my understanding, Buddhist teachings suggest that the existence of polar opposites creates innate conflict and that indicates samsara, or illusory experience. So, in my mind, your inclusion of both male and female in your belief system indicates you're seeking the balancing of polar opposites, which seems like a healthy step.<br />
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I'm guessing that if there is an entity or unified power behind all the drama and gorgeousness of our universe, it is gender-neutral; or rather, gender is irrelevant when considering it. I think we tend to identify 'gods' as male or female because of the limitations of our own minds; it's the most instinctive way to visualize them...within the context of our own experience. In a way, we make 'god' in OUR image...adapt the idea of a god in a way that we can grasp and get some use from it. We're all doing the best we can.<br />
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Best wishes to you - <br />
N

the pope is a satan worshipper!

Type your comment here...

We must look way...way back into history to gfind out that the true meaning of religion is about multiple "gods"..or what at te time seemes as "gods"...if you study closlely the ancient Mayans and Edgyptian principles you will find out that there were "visitors" here long before we had prophets and scholars. These peopel were and are also mentuioned in our modern day bible...as "nephilim"..or Giants that ruled the earth, they are decendants of "NIBIRU"..a 10 th planet that circles our solar sytem in conjunction with our suns "dwarf star"...these "sub reptilian" beings are mentioned in ancient scripture and dipicted on Pharos walls..they are mentioned in the "david goliath sotry"..about the giant Nephlim who was killed by davids stone...the "reptilian" race as we speak is trying to take over the world in the NEW WORLD ORDER AGENDA"..you see..we were off springs of the giants because in the bbile it states "the angels and giants of heaven mated with the women of the earth"/that is why there is no link between the Apes and man...we are missing a 'cromozone"....now you must understand and study the fact that the decendants of royaly..the bilderberg group. the rockerfellers, and the bush family are "reptlian" decendants and are to use man as slaves again in the upcoming apocalypse...In 2012 NIBIRU will return as predicted in the Mayan calender....SATAN or the leader of the NEPHLIM will return to rise to power with the help of the reptilian race(George BUsh< Hillary and BIll Clinton, just some of them)..the monetary syatem and banks are controled by these people...the human scarifice that the reptilians need is the wars they have started, they are fufilling thier agenda in syncronization of the coming NIBIRU bypass!....these "beings".want world dominance again but the governments know this .NASA knows this!...CHRIST is a time traveller and will help us fight back the dominance of the world..the ZIONIST Jews are being helped by the Reptilians also!..Satab will set up his kingdom in Isreal and there will be war with RUSSIA!...at the same time as the war JESUS will repell the Russians, Satan will think he has done this deed and the world shall worship HIM..the deception shall begin, those who do not worship Satan will be tortured or killed as an example...the so called "good aliens " and "bad aliens" are prime example of what we call "angels"...study and research this NOW!..im the messenger . not the prophet......yet!

I'm agnostic, but I think you have a good idea. If I ever start believing in a higher being again, I hope I'll believe in something like yours.

Imagine if people were allowed to choose what they believe, as in not be raised with any religious fairy-tales at all, the world would be a better place. Let the kids be 18, then they can pick up a religious text and see if it calls to them, or if thousands of years of scientific theory calls to them. What a world that would be.

The idea that God created Man in his own image is logically flawed. A violin does not resemble a violin maker, a pot does not resemble a potter. Logic does start to kick in when you imagine that Man created God in his own image. The Bible is a collection of stories, told and retold over centuries, by many different people, (all of whom had an agenda), and translated innumerable times. To expect it to hang together in some coherent way is wildly unrealistic - indeed, it seems to never stop contradicting itself. Far more troubling, as Mikki points out, is the depiction of women, who are marginalized at best and more frequently demonized. From Eve and the snake right on down the line, women are always associated with the dark forces of nature, temptation, and sin. Were I female I would consider "The Bible" to be my enemy.

Hello <br />
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I pray to my divine mother and father :)<br />
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I try to stay away from religions and any belief system. I like to learn through direct experience. It's a wonderful thing to know and not just believe. <br />
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www.gnosticweb.com<br />
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Good site :)

Can you imagine a world where acceptance like Soozie's is the norm, and where all people are allowed to choose what to believe? I'm sure whomever is watching us is smiling on Sooozie!

This is an extremely interesting, and well-thought perspective. I don't think you have anything to worry about...you have done your research, and while I don't subscribe to your beliefs, your reasoning sounds like it makes you happy, and that's what matters.

This story is about diety; a he and a she. So, dear reader, with you I must (gently) disagree.<br />
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I'm feeling rhymey:)

What a beautiful story you tell here! I'm not a Christian or a Wiccan, but i always thought the same way you do. I think the first hebrew/jewish religion(s) (which now became the Kabbalah) believed in the existence of equally powered God and Goddess. Her name was Shekinah.<br />
I am a witch, though i'm not wiccan (it's different), but i can say i know wicca well and believe me, there's not too much girl power :P Their Gods are as well equally powered, but separately reverenced: women mostly worship the Goddess, men mostly worship the God. That why it seems so much girl power, worshipping the God is men's task :P Both the sexes worship both the Gods in ceremonies that honour the union of the two Gods, like the Sabbat Beltane.<br />
Be fine

I have not read Ramayana or the Bhagavd Gita, maybe I will try to track one of them down. I will say I read Siddhartha in my early teens and I think it had a significant influence on how I view spirituality.

I feel about like moxiesurvivor does. I am not comfortable with "organized" religions, too many hypocrits and quest for power.Many people have been, and are being, killed in the name of religion. The God/Higher Power I know doen't want that, he/she is not vengeful and egotistic.<br />
I would like to suggest a book that, when I read it, I felt such an overwhelming sense of relief. Why? Because the ideals expressed were things I had known in my heart since I was a child, I couldn't say why I felt certain things to be true, I couldn't point to a holy book and say, "See, here it is!", but my heart knew them.<br />
When I began to read about these things I had felt all along it allowed me to let go of any lingering guilt I felt about not going to church, not taking the Bible literally. I was at peace.<br />
The book is by Neale Donald Walsch and it is titled "Conversations With God, Book 1"

I tend to agree with you, although my version of a plausible god is someone that I am able to understand by explaining their history...<br />
The idea of a sky-hook as written by Stephen Dawkins is that the longer you answer questions with an answer like "god did it" the less the plausible the answer begins to sound. (His example being Gulliver’s travels, where the big city glides along and the longer you ride it, the less realistic it begins to seem.)<br />
My god would have to have resulted from something…anything…even a black hole that suddenly realised it could think and decided to create life for fun, at least it’s an explanation. <br />
This is an idea I have explored often in my Novel, where the characters are simulated (across a multitude of simulated worlds) and have various experiences with the ‘real’ people in the ‘prime world’. Within my Novel’s universe, you can try and study the psychology of the millions of game-playing gods (Think sim-city extreme) by seeing how they have influenced and altered their earth through its development, so a disturbed child is very likely to run a hell for his citizens, while a happy observer will leave the earth alone to develop at its own pace.<br />
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Anyway, God is a pretty unlikely thing, so there would be an unlikely series of events that may have created him, then the big question is transferred to…<br />
“What created god?”<br />
At the moment, I am atheist because it seems equally unlikely that any of the religious ‘gods’ exist, but that doesn’t mean I do not hold out for the possibility of a very powerful being with all the abilities we have given Gods, but I’m sure that being could explain its past (if we couldn’t).<br />
I have shifting opinions about religion, so many variable experiences of it …but I’ve written a few very opinionated blogs and stories about religion…feel free to look.

I think you are on a good trail. I studied comparative religions in college and came to the conclusion that I don't believe in organized religion. I now have my own spiritual path - it leans toward Buddhism. But, I take all of the "religions" of the world and if you get down to the nitty gritty of all of them - they point in the same direction with different words is all. Personally I think religion was invented to exert power over people with knowledge and suspicion. And on another personal note - I was soooo depressed when I tried to be religious and measure up to someones idea of what God wants.