A woman is not subhuman

Culture, traditionally adopted to shape the behaviour of races, tribes, or families, is often seen as one of humanity’s greatest adversaries. We are products of our culture, much like our physical traits have been ancestrally inherited. The reasons behind our specific behaviours in social interactions remain largely unknown. It is crucial to analyze one of the elements of humanity that is not innately conditioned by creation.

Every human is born into a world where the forces of nature evoke fear. A newborn child quickly becomes aware of various physical constraints that prevent acting on pure preference. The child learns that he is subject to the laws of a physical universe made of matter, energy, space, and time. For instance, jumping from a high tower poses a risk of injury. Climbing a mountain requires negotiation and effort, not a simple, effortless leap to the peak.

A child cannot occupy a space already taken by another individual. All actions must be considered, concerning conditions and other elements within the physical universe. Ignoring physical laws can lead to consequences such as vulnerability to injuries, snake bites, crocodile attacks, or even drowning. Similarly, improper handling of fire without following safety guidelines can result in severe burns.

Certain items, though potentially hazardous, are essential for ecological equilibrium. Take snakes, for instance: they are vital in keeping rodent populations in check, despite their generally feared status. Snake charmers, trained in these reptiles’ handling, can interact with them safely. This demonstrates that fear often arises from not knowing how to handle a situation.

Similarly, an automobile can be extremely dangerous for those untrained in driving. One can feel at ease with anything in this world, provided there is proper education on its handling. Fear usually indicates a lack of knowledge about how to manage something effectively. As spiritual entities, humans should not be overwhelmed by fear but rather overcome it by becoming acquainted with the relevant subjects.

The simplest method to gain knowledge is by leveraging the experiences of those who are knowledgeable in the relevant subject. Naturally, we emulate the behaviour of others when we perceive benefits to our well-being. However, the acquisition of knowledge necessitates a step-by-step progression through the learning processes until mastery is achieved.

People often show admiration for individuals who display a higher level of knowledge, leading to selective respect within humanity. A knowledgeable person naturally commands respect, which can overshadow those perceived as less knowledgeable. For instance, Jesus surprised many when he demonstrated profound insights into life’s matters despite seeming uneducated. Traditionally, a well-documented profile is required for one’s authenticity to be recognized.

Then He went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him. And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, “Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands! Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” So they were offended by Him.

But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honour except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.” Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marvelled because of their unbelief. Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching (Mark 6:1-6 NKJV)

Jesus’ demonstration of wisdom questioned established customs. Traditionally, respect was accorded to the scholarly elite, not to individuals lacking formal qualifications. These customs, not of divine origin, stemmed from fear, beyond the common people’s influence. Leaders frequently receive acknowledgement for their assumed superior knowledge.

The human agreement even if baseless, leads to the creation of traditions and norms that typically dictate behaviour at local, national, or international levels. These often go beyond the established rules that facilitate communication.

Lacking etiquette can lead to alienation and communication breakdowns within one’s community. Jesus possessed knowledge meant to enlighten his listeners. Yet, he departed from those who saw his actions as a breach of their established traditions. Their fear was not based on anything concrete but stemmed from ingrained customs dictating human conduct.

Throughout history, women have faced oppression. To gain respect, they must stand out and be deemed exceptional by a society that has been subdued. The primary stigma driving such trends is fear, stemming from ignorance about human origins. There is absolutely no justification for demeaning women. The tendency to belittle women is often rooted in cultural norms, established out of fear.

Knowledge is the world’s most valuable asset, as it dispels fear. The crucifixion of Jesus was an act of cowardice, born from ignorance. An individual armed with knowledge fears nothing and has the power to manage what they comprehend. However, the question remains: how costly is the pursuit of knowledge? Jesus illustrated through a parable that knowledge is invaluable and worth sacrificing everything to obtain.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it” (Matthew 13:44-46 NKJV).

Greater is the individual who realizes that knowledge surpasses all. Women are often made to feel inferior due to a lack of understanding of human origins. Similarly, men may treat women as lesser beings due to this same ignorance. Jesus subtly hinted at the status of women, even when addressing different matters in His teachings.

Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven. But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead but of the living.” And when the multitudes heard this, they were astonished at His teaching (Matthew 22:29-33 NKJV).

The scripture mentioned challenges all forms of tradition, steeped in fear. It’s difficult to accept when hindered by a lack of faith. According to Jesus, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are alive. Yet, how credible is this to those who read such scriptures? Being bound to the physical universe, many find Jesus’ statement beyond belief. This is understandable for those unaware of human origins.

Lacking this knowledge, many cannot fathom women in positions of authority within God’s Kingdom. In certain Christian denominations, women are even barred from the pulpit, reserved for male chauvinists. These practices reflect a reluctance to let women manifest their spiritual identities.

Jesus’ profound knowledge disconcerted the general populace. Instead of challenging the truth of his teachings, they became preoccupied with his lack of formal credentials. Their unease would likely have been lessened had Jesus hailed from a renowned academic institution.

“For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:27-29 NKJV).

Those who are considered unbelievers often do not recognize the significance of Scripture. Regular participation in worship does not equate to belief if the importance of Scripture is not acknowledged. True belief involves embracing not just the persona of Jesus but all of His teachings. Selectivity in accepting the teachings of Jesus does not align with being a believer.

The core tenet of Christianity suggests that merit is not determined by gender. This understanding should instil confidence in all Christians, regardless of being male or female. Their actions are not swayed by gender; rather, they are guided by higher principles, just as Jesus was, making them no different from Him.

“No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. By this, we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God and God in him. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the Day of Judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us” (John 4:12-19 NKJV).

John emphasizes that love is not associated with fear. Fear arises among those who believe they would be practising love. The individuals who crucified Jesus thought they were acting out of love, and committed to preserving their traditions. Their fear led them to view these traditions as inviolable.

The concept of a stable datum is persuasive in survival situations. Traditions, rooted in fear, give rise to idolatry. Fear makes it challenging for humans to love their enemies. A lack of knowledge can lead someone to commit evil acts under the guise of practising love. Traditions that undermine women’s equality are not essential for human survival.

In the eyes of God, all humans are equal, regardless of gender. Jesus founded a new society with his twelve disciples, advocating that true greatness lies in servitude. While traditional views equate being served with greatness, Jesus taught that serving others is a noble virtue. He challenged the comfort that comes with authority.

“But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:8-12 NKJV).

The term “brethren” encompasses both men and women. The choice of solely male disciples probably reflects the societal norms of that era. Jesus began His ministry at the level of understanding of the people, intending to elevate it later. His core teachings emphasized the equality of all humans, created in the image of God. While Jesus’ early ministry conformed to the cultural norms of the time, a full understanding of His teachings goes beyond any such societal constraints.

Oppression might compel individuals into submission, but their potential remains intact, nevertheless. Fear might render people seemingly helpless, yet they retain the capacity for greater accomplishments. A deficiency in knowledge might hinder their abilities, yet they possess the potential for noteworthy achievements. Traditionally, individuals who behave differently are marginalized. True Christianity seeks to broaden people’s comprehension rather than insisting on being understood.

An individual who endeavours to understand others, without seeking to be understood in return, exhibits true nobility. Being able to grasp divine principles is a gift from God, as illustrated in Matthew 16:12-20. A person who values truth should not be disturbed by the misconceptions of others. The idea of dominating those who ought to be enlightened by God, assuming to be more knowledgeable than them, is not the place of any rational individual.

Such a person strives to provide accurate answers, leaving the depth of understanding to God, who bestows wisdom according to His will. It is not within the human capacity to enlighten others. Jesus drew people by attempting to understand them, and even when His teachings were not entirely understood. He still connected with them at their level of understanding.

Jesus bore crucial insights about God’s Kingdom. Had the people been earnest, they could have benefited from His teachings. Yet, most were unwilling to heed Jesus, despite His attentiveness to them. Those fixated on their own priorities failed to listen. It is recommended that men listen to women without presuming that God omits women from His dialogue with mankind.

Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. Most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope, in a simple conversational tone.

The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99

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