However radical the changes that Jesus and his disciples made to Old Testament theology, they did little to modify or improve the patriarchs’ most neurotic anxieties and destructive biases against women.
The Taliban’s demonic and demonizing attitude toward women represents merely the most current extreme manifestation of the grotesque misogyny fostered throughout history by religion and patriarchal tribal culture.
What man wouldn’t have more confidence moving through the world with a submissive wife or wives shuffling like ducklings behind him? Conversely, any indication that the woman is catching up to walk alongside or, worse yet, ahead, inspires even in decent men a frenzy of maddened, injurious activity, as if one’s own masculinity and the fragile social structure that masculinity has created will survive or shatter depending on whether or not a man continues to win that race. Such fears must feed the perpetual worry that one is sharing his bed with an enemy, an inferior, a repellent but necessary specimen of an alien species. And how useful religion is in helping us sort all that out!
Kill a man, and you are an assassin. Kill millions of men, and you are a conqueror. Kill everyone, and you are a god.
—Jean Rostand, 1939