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13 May 2005 @ 10:04 pm
Interesting thought from a conversation at work today ... do monotheistic religions correlate with patriarchal societies? (Or matriarchal if it's a female One True God of course.)

And a quote that amused me (and everyone else): "The concept of defined gender roles is such a male trait." Dunno where to attribute it, and presumably rather heavily paraphrased.

The rest of the conversations at work were rather less edifying and contained lots of advice on how to work the 'essential' swear words into sentences.
Current Mood: sleepyawake!
Current Music: Simon & Garfunkel "Bridge Over Troubled Water"
(Deleted comment)
Margaretpling on May 13th, 2005 09:39 pm (UTC)
Certainly that's my guess too ... but I don't really know enough about it feel that that's anything other than a guess ...
Onyxonyx_uk on May 14th, 2005 10:20 am (UTC)
That is a very interesting one. I would agree but haven't much to back it up. Although I would say if you look at the typical religions where males are the godly figures then this would stereotypically be the case. Traditional catholic and protestant families are still quite dominated by male figures both in terms of family life and the religion in general, the fact you can not have female reverends, cardinals and popes etc. in the catholic church and the rarity of anything above a vicar in the protestant church would support this. Also within these religions in the UK in the past traditional religious families involve the man providing the money of the house whilst the woman stayed at home. This has changed somewhat but I do not think it has reached a 50:50 stance yet.

The muslum religion is one which has deep routed equality (my understanding of it) however it seems to be interpreted in a different way and more as a protection role where the male dominates both in terms of the relgion itself and in the home life. A religion such as hinduism appears to be a lot more equal in its nature and of course it has female gods.
Meriver_of_ on May 16th, 2005 04:41 pm (UTC)
And hinduism isn't monotheistic...
Meriver_of_ on May 16th, 2005 05:30 pm (UTC)
You might want to screen this...
Quick run down of those I know of (though I'm no religious/society expert and so may be incorrect)... (in order of age of the religion)

Hinduism - Polytheistic - Neither overly patriarchal or matriarchal (though may be slightly more matriarchal)
Ancient Egyptian - Polytheistic (and Monotheistic for two generations) - More patriarchal than matriarchal society
Ancient Greek - Polytheistic - More patriarchal than matriarchal society
Zoroastrianism - Duotheistic - Neither overly patriarchal or matriarchal
Ancient Roman - Polytheistic - More patriarchal than matriarchal society
(T/D)aoism - Non-religious - More patriarchal than matriarchal society
Confusionism - Non-religious - More patriarchal than matriarchal society
Buddhism - No God(s) - Neither overly patriarchal or matriarchal (though may be slightly more patriarchal)
Shinto - Polytheistic (Anamist) - Neither overly patriarchal or matriarchal (though may be slightly more patriarchal)
Judaism - Monotheistic - More patriarchal than matriarchal society
Christianinty - Monotheistic - More patriarchal than matriarchal society
Islam - Monotheistic - More patriarchal than matriarchal society
Sikhism - Monotheistic - Neither overly patriarchal or matriarchal (though may be slightly more patriarchal)

So I'd guess that would be inconclusive (at least if my views are to be believed)... One thing I noticed when I have played with this sort of thing (hence the time ordering) is that "relgions" tend to go from being Polytheistic to Non-religous and along the way reduce the number of Gods they have (or downgrade them to "spirits" (Anamist) but to see this you have to divide the relgions up into the area of their main influence...

In Asia religions have move from being Polytheistic to Duotheisitic to No God(s) to Non-religious - with present day China and Japan et al. being more advanced in this progression than present day India, Pakistan, Afghanistan et al. In Europe/Middle East relgions have gone from being Polytheistic to Duotheistic to Monotheistic to No God(s) to Non-religious (See the growing number of agnostics and atheists/jedi(!) in the UK Census).

I would contend that gaps (especially in the case of Asia) are due to the exceptionally staying power and popularity of existing religions (Hinduism predates the written records but some estiamtes are between 3.5 and 13 thousand years old) leading to a lack of serious uptake in new religions and so they never became well known.

Having Gods at all does seem to lead "religions" to being exclusionary (ie if you follow this faith then you can follow no other) though Atheisim would seem to at least limit freedom of belief (though more by definition than choice). Reincarnation/having a single life is a belief that doesn't seem to correlate to the number of Gods, the Paternalistism/Maternalistism of the founding society or how exclusionary the "religion" is...

I don't know what to make of the last but I would seem to believe that the more "developed" (one of socially/mentally/technologically advanced I guess) a society gets the less the number of Gods it seems to need. This would tend to indicate that Animist religions may be more flexible at dealing with this change and may (or may not) be more advanced socially/mentally than otherwise equally technologically advanced societies whom they may perhaps leave behind to struggle with their religious/technology conflicts... It would also seem to indicate that some natives from all continents may be significantly more advanced socially/mentally than most technologically advanced countries (they being still, in the main, God fearing). Then again exclusionary societies would seem to have a good impetus to become technologically superior than neighbouring societies that follow a different (exclusionary) religion...

Anyway, enough for now :) - I'm sure this is too long already! :)

And my apologies if any of this was offensive, it was not my intention.
Margaretpling on May 16th, 2005 06:16 pm (UTC)
Re: You might want to screen this...
Certainly wasn't offensive to me ... interesting though. Patriarchies seem to be the more common - and matriarchies seem non-existant (pretty much). So probably a tendency towards patriarchal societies just says something about people, rather than their religions.
Meriver_of_ on May 17th, 2005 12:48 pm (UTC)
Re: You might want to screen this...
I think that there are matriarchs in Africa and South America and I think that if techonological prgress outpaces social/mental progress that societies become more patriarchal (and visa versa) so I think that societies will become more matriarchal as religions progress towards having fewer Gods to having none as that will lead to less impetus to drive technology forward which will lead to greater social/mental progress (the drive for equality being helpful in this respect) however a verypartriarchal society may have the ability to sustain its technological bent due to the, generally, more aggressive nature of males and thus of a patriarchal society (and this may be why matriarchal societies are less common, they have been dominated/elminated by more technologically advanced and more agressive patriarchal societies).

In the long term I think there has to be a balance as Patriarchal/technological socities seem to care little about their environment and matriarchal/societal societies may care too much (and lead to a stagnation of advancement) - though the latter is a guess since I can't thinkof any very matriarchal societies that are sufficiently sufficiently advanced society wise to have gotten to this stage, though maybe there are ants and bees, but would they be able to develop technology if they weren't the ultimate matriarch? Possibly not.

Interesting discussion :) - have fun with the thinking :) (and reading of course :)