Discrimination in Religion

Since this blog entry is the last entry that I am writing this term, I would like to share my final thoughts about the article that I recently read.

We learnt about the article, “Religion and Gender,” written by Moojan Momen that particularly highlights the position and role of women in religion. With ample number of examples and exhaustive descriptions about the beliefs and thoughts of different religions towards gender, this article provides the idea that women have been discriminated in the aspect of religion as well. Before learning the article, I have never thought that religion could be so discriminating regarding gender. According to the article, almost in all the religions such as Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, and Hinduism, women are considered evils and the root cause of all sins (437-8). After having read the article, I came to realize that religion also practices gender discrimination, which I hadn’t thought before.

I follow Hinduism, a polytheistic religion, in which people worship many gods and goddess. Although there are many devotees of goddess, the main and supreme power is believed to be possessed by the male gods. Moreover, in the hierarchy of religion — priests are given more importance, and usually the religious leaders are men. Besides, religion has also played a vital role to augment the prevailing disparity in gender. Associating men with spirit and women with mere body, religion apparently brings partiality between genders. In my religion as well, women are considered to devote their lives to their husbands and never go against them. In the past, suttee pratha, in which women had to sacrifice their lives in the burning pyre with their husbands, was common in Hinduism. Although it is banned now, it can be said that religion actually sanctioned violence against women. In addition, sons are given priority over daughters to perform any kind of funeral- ritual rights and sons are also given right to inherit the power and property.

Talking about discrimination in religion, I would like to share my experience that had once disappointed me. In my religion, girls are not allowed to perform any ritual rites, or even participate in any kind of occasions and festivals when they are undergoing menstruation cycle. Once I had to face same problem during one of my favorite festivals named Tihar because I was having menstruation. This disappointed me a lot as I was not allowed to enjoy my festival as others did. I thought that my religion has been unfair. It was not my mistake, so why should I have to be “punished”? Why do my brothers not have any restrictions? These kinds of questions rose in my mind. However, I was pacified by my mother, telling me that it is the fate of every Hindu girl.

Thus, these are some views about my religion which I consider to be discriminative.

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