Clearly you have misunderstood my argument. It doesn't excuse anything. I was pointing out that, from the perspective of a non-religious person, religion cannot be seen as something outside of or greater than human culture (which would be the default religious view). So, it follows that religion - at least to a rational atheist, must be seen as part of human culture. It's also highly likely - I would say inevitable - that human culture pre-dated religion. Given that religion came from human culture, it is likely to reflect the culture of the era it came from.
Religions are usually evolutionary, not revolutionary, which is why they seem to endlessly recycle ideas - the story of the resurrection, for example, which was passed down from religion to religion until it reached the Romans. It seems logical to claim that religion is a formalised and coded representation of the dominant culture, and develops alongside it.
Of course, religion is also highly political; the Roman invention of Christianity is perhaps the most obvious example; also Muhammed's convenient 'revelations' whenever he needed to justify the behaviour of himself or his criminal gang. But politics is also part of culture, and new political movements, like new religions, tend to reflect changes in the wider culture, in which case putting the blame for the treatment of women on religion is putting the cart before the horse.
Even in cases where religion is revolutionary - perhaps Buddhism or Islam (?), the mechanism is similar, with a small group of people coming up with a 'new' theology, which then spreads to the wider culture. This is only likely to happen if the wider culture is in some sense prepared for it. So, for example, protestantism caught on because the wider society was already disgusted by the way the Catholic Church was carrying on - cultural change had made the society ready for the new religious ideas.
Where, however, we can blame religion itself, is that, by formalising cultural rules and fixing them on an everlasting omnipotent creator, it slows down a society's willingness to make social changes - it's a way of effectively fossilising a culture - as we have seen with modern Islam which is still managing to keep some parts of the world in a medieval state, and has even managed to reverse social development in some countries.
If you really think religion created culture, then I'm curious to know where you think religion came from in the first place. God? Nature? Space aliens? Where exactly did St paul's or Muhammed's ideas come from? Or L Ron Hubbard's for that matter? And why did their followers get hooked in? I would suggest that the cultural landscape played a big part in forming these faiths. And that includes attitudes towards gender and sexuality.
One way round the problem is to have a religion like the C of E, which believes mainly in tea, and keeps all other doctrine as vague as possible, which means it can quite easily change its mind about stuff and does not interfere much with cultural progress.
If you want to find the main culprit for gender and any other kind of inequality, I'd probably start by looking at agriculture, not religion, although even pre-agriculture, any 'equality' probably did not extend towards people from outside one's own tribe or social group, and genetic strategies no doubt played a big part in determining how an individual was treated within the group. To get true equality, you need philosophy and ethics - two recent inventions that grew and developed in highly religious societies.
Quote from Profane Jane on August 3, 2013, 10:02
Quote from AdamZain on August 3, 2013, 05:00
Well, I'd argue that this backs up the point I was making in another thread; that religion does not create these social ideas, but reflects the cultural ideologies and traditions of the time.
This is the time hounoured excuse used by religious apologists.
Nothing is ever the fault of religion, they always shuffle it off onto 'culture' without considering what creates culture.
Religionists do not seem to understand that religious preaching and teaching, its doctrines and scriptures have created and dominated male supremacist cultures all over the world for three thousand years.
I am getting the feeling of deja vu on the last two issues on which I have posted. Have I been here before?