27 6

A Christian friend of mine tried to justify to me several years ago why men should be the decision-makers. He claimed that the man, when there is a dispute between the husband and wife, is God's surrogate and has God's authority and wisdom to make the final decision. Has anyone else ever heard this particular argument? Or have you heard other arguments used to justify men as the indisputable decision-maker of the family?

resserts 8 Feb 4

Enjoy being online again!

Welcome to the community of good people who base their values on evidence and appreciate civil discourse - the social network you will enjoy.

Create your free account


Feel free to reply to any comment by clicking the "Reply" button.


I believe that is true of all the Abrahamic religions and the Mormons. Personally, I need a strong woman, because l have a strong personality and l don't always make great decisions.


It’s all just an excuse for misogyny. All religions are bullshit, as we know, so all their manmade rules to keep women subservient are just that...manmade bullshit!


Ephesians 5:22-24 ESV
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

As Hitchens used to say sarcastically, "Nothing man made about that at all." In Islam, a man gets 72 virgins, and a woman gets...her husband back. lol

@greyeyed123 Which one though? I mean I have 3 to choose from. πŸ˜‰

@Amisja - All of them πŸ˜›

I just found it so disturbing that my friend, otherwise intelligent and a kind person, would fall back to a misogynist argument (when I truly don't think he is himself a misogynist). The Bible promotes the idea of the husband as the head of the household, but this goes a step further to try to say that it's not just because scripture says so but because the will of God can somehow be expressed through the husband independent of what the husband's desires are. It is just such a cheap argument that ignores how human nature works.

@resserts oh dear

@Envixer Well I don't want the first two


i've never heard a good argument in favor of men, but i can think of a good one in favor of women: god made man, and then he tried again and got it right!



That sounds like some Duggar level bullshit.

Agreed. I was especially disappointed that this argument came from him, because in a lot of ways he's very intelligent and genuinely a good person (from whom I've otherwise seen no indication of misogyny).


Because we're all friends here (smile) I'll admit that I was raised Baptist. And not ''just'' Baptist....but SOUTHERN BAPTIST! As a child, I was told to prepare myself for life as a CHRISTIAN WIFE and that meant submission to my husband first and foremost...and then to my children. I left that group before puberty, so I don't know their attitudes about sexual roles but....I can guess. These women wore no make-up, never spoke out of turn and buttoned their blouses up to the collar. It's not just Mormons, sorry to say.


Yes, I hear it around here all the time. Mostly from single men. They know everything. ?


Christ is the Head of the Church
The Father is the Head of the family

Some bs, can't remember it all.... Not into it.


Oh yeah, I heard that discussion frequently. I even tried to let/force my then husband make some decisions about the household. He didn't like it!!!! The Xian theory is wife is under the husband who is under Jesus, and that makes husband head of household. Sort of like many of the laws in England and the US way back when. All in all, Xianity just likes to treat women like chattel, like mindless children, even though Proverbs 31 talks about a woman making decisions and running a business. It is not a real workable approach in most households/families/lives. It's so bad it is not even archaic.


I've heard a similar argument from muslims...

Is the argument that Allah intercedes, or just that the husband has authority?

Yes, complementarianism is a view that is shared by all the Abrahamic religions.

@resserts - That the husband has the authority


Surprisingly enough, no man I've ever been involved with has ever said that to my face.

Have you ever been involved with a fundamentalist Christian? The general idea seems to be prevalent in that particular group, but this was the only time I'd ever heard anyone make this specific argument about the husband being the surrogate for God to act as a tie-breaker. My friend made it sound like he'd be totally willing and able to put aside his own bias in the dispute in favor of what God wanted. It's a terrible argument, but I don't know exactly where it came from.

@resserts Never got past the occasional one-night stand with any of them.
Don't even get me started on THAT particular bit of hypocrisy. LOL

@KKGator Hahaha! Yeah, I've always been perplexed by the degree of hypocrisy that exists among the devout.


Ephesians 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.

Yes, the Bible certainly promotes the idea, but his was a theological justification beyond "the Bible says so" that I found so utterly idiotic. My friend isn't a bad person, and I don't think he's misogynistic himself, but he was reared in fundamentalist Christianity and despite having done a fair amount of questioning he's always fallen back in line. It's been disheartening to see, because in many ways he's quite intelligent β€” but an argument like "the husband can make a wise decision independent of his own desires because he's God's surrogate" isn't intellectually honest. I found it especially disheartening coming from him.

@resserts I have found that I sometimes project better character onto people than that which they actually have. There have been a half a dozen times in my life where someone has just casually said something EXTREMELY racist, and it hadn't occurred to them in the slightest that I was not of the same mindset. Similarly, many religious people take their beliefs not only seriously, but for granted, even when they are idiotic.

@greyeyed123 I know what you mean, but I don't think that's the case in this instance. Other than bowing to his fundamentalist upbringing, I've never seen any indication that he's been misogynistic in his daily life. This conversation was about justifying religious views, and I think he truly believed what he was saying β€” and I think to some degree it was his way of saying that it wasn't misogynistic because God was stepping in, not just some notion that the husband is in charge. He's questioned his faith and sought truth, even exploring the possibility that there isn't a God or any foundation to his Christian belief. Unfortunately, his wife is part of the reason he stopped questioning; she was frustrated with him and his lack of Christian certitude; she insisted that he be the family leader and head of their marriage (which is slightly ironic, I know, that she bossed him into it). I haven't spoken with him recently, but I gathered from the last time we talked that he was no longer scrutinizing the faith he was brought up in and just accepts it. When he lived locally and we'd talk about religion, I'd see him come with me partway to more moderate ideas, but he'd often snap back to his fundamentalist upbringing when the conversation became too uncomfortable for him. He would retreat to the safety of his religion and repeat the tired talking points he'd heard from preachers his entire life. But we'd talk more and more, and he'd follow me further and further in my reasoning. I just don't think it was ever quite enough to snap him out of the comfort of his religious upbringing.


It's in the bible, and yes, it's a common belief among evangelicals, including the second largest denomination in the U.S. -- In a resolution released in 1998, Southern Baptists believe the husband or man has authority in the marriage (and the final say).

Genesis 3:16 - "Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you."

1 Corinthians 11:9 - "Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man."

1 Timothy 2:13, 14 - β€œA woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.”

Ephesians 5:22, 23 - "Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior."

Even the largest denomination teaches that men are the headship in the marriage. []

As Christopher Hitchens once said, "Men created gods so they could own women."

I grew up Catholic, but in adulthood became a Protestant. It was taught in both that men got their decision making"wisdom" from god almighty.

Someone should tell that to my former step-daughter-in-law. She was one of the only people who made an effort to not have anything to do with Parvin. My late partner complained that it was not so much the wife was concerned but that the husband (her son) wouldn't stand up for his own mother. The son did most of the cooking but the wife controlled the kitchen. She definitely wore the pants in the family and all he wanted to do was to not displease her. I was once talking to him and she came in from another room and said she was not comfortable with the conversation (of which she was not a part) and he quickly changed the subject. She was a life-long S. Baptist born, bred and educated in VA (on their honeymoon he took her to Italy and she about freaked out) and he was a convert. That one situation was the one big grief in her life.

@JackPedigo Bible buffet

@VictoriaNotes So what happens when the men chose one passage and the women another? Is this survival by the strongest.
This made me wonder if marital abuse is stronger with evangelicals.

@JackPedigo "A study published in the Lancet in 2015 analysed data from 66 surveys across 44 countries, covering the experiences of almost half a million women.

It found that the greatest predictor of partner violence was "environments that support male control", especially "norms related to male authority over female behaviour".
Abusive men commonly refer to several different parts of the Bible.
Theology professor Steven Tracy wrote in 2008: "It is widely accepted by abuse experts that (and validated by numerous studies) that evangelical men who sporadically attend church are more likely than men of any other religious group (and more likely than secular men) to assault their wives."



That's addressing physical violence, but the fact that the bible and clergy teach that women are required "by god and the bible" to submit and obey their husbands is emotional abuse, period.

@VictoriaNotes Thank you. Unfortunately, I am not surprised.


After you stopped laughing, and got back up off the floor, maybe you could have referenced Judith, from the babble, who served up a king's head on a platter after she lulled him into a false sense of security using her feminine wiles.......


I grew up in a Christian family but the women in my extended family have always been decision makers, many being successful professionals (mostly in the medical fields).

In my current location, we are in contact with the Hutterites often. They are a sort of Amish type community but they don’t shun technology. The men make the decisions (particularly the Preacher) and the women have no say. They even tell their women who to vote for. I don’t know if the men believe they are god’s surrogates but sounds like they do. A couple of their men came to my house while my SO was out of town. They told me my SO wanted to sell the horses and they came to look at them. Of course that’s ridiculous. I told them they’re my horses and there had been no discussion about selling them. The horses were not for sale. Those men could not understand the concept of a woman making that kind of decision about family property (of course my horses are my children not property). I was furious and sent them away. Ugh.


My x wife's first marriage she tried to open a new account without husband they were SERIOUS why would a married woman open an account without husband??

I've heard of this sort of thing. I'm so glad we don't live like that today (at least in the US).


I've not heard the idea of "God's surrogate" but a different scenario came into my mind from an experience from decades ago:

During an all female baby shower for my former sister-in-law, put on by members of her church (Catholic) the main theme in a speech made by the hostess was a reminder that the needs of the husband always come before the needs of the child.

This directive upset me so much at the time, I had to blurt out my shock and disagreement, in front of everyone there, to the shock and dismay of everyone in attendance. (I'm sure I was the only atheist.)

A thought process like that seems to pave the way for child abuse, incest, neglect and so much more, when worded that way. I grew up in a Catholic household, as did many others, where those things were swept under the rug, because of the belief that the husband's needs and desires come before what's best for the child. The wife had to just ignore and let it go.

For women to perpetuate this idea, seems to be a coping mechanism, for helping them to ignore some of the things they've endured or are enabling in their own families. It only makes sense that a man (perhaps guilty of misusing his imagined "surrogacy" ) might also want to perpetuate.

@ToolGuy I'd believe that in secular circles, but I fear in super religious families, that might not be the case. I think it's natural for a maternal/paternal instinct to kick in automatically as a first response.


My brothers former church, Generations Yuma (they may have changed their name) would promote that men are the ruler of the bedroom. Women must never turn down sex and that God doesn't look in the bedroom. Which was used to encourage the women to be super sluts with their husbands, at the suggestion of male church leaders, no doubt.

Funny thing is that the head preacher was caught cheating on his wife several times. He also delivered a sermon following the legalization of gay marriage; "TWO DUDES" every other sentence.


Yea, I have heard that argument. I have also read in the bible that women are not to be put in places of power or teach within the church - but they like to pick and choose how to follow the bible like it's a buffet.



oh sure. the southern baptists are all about paternalism.


This is called "complemantarianism". []

In theory this is different from male chauvinism in that it uses the slogan "ontologically equal, functionally different" to suggest that women are, in fact equal but have different roles. However you can't get around the fact that if you limit certain roles by something arbitrary like gender, you are actually inherently making the genders unequal.


Lots of times and always by men.


The Mormons believe this, I worked with a girl who was moron and she explained it to me and she really believes men are the right hand of Dog. I sorta laughed and she called me a heathen ever after. A happy ending.
Yeah, I think it is in the buy bull but I could not swear to it since I have not read the whole thing. I like cherry picking the parts that work for me. God is love. John Lennon paraphrased it All You Need is Love or maybe Imagine.


I grew up having Ephesians pounded into me but I'm not sure how much took root even then. Now after being out I observe a lot of my acquaintances that are evangelicals and it's comical. One guy I've known for about 20 years has been slowly getting back into religion and I see this thinking working on him. He was a Democrat but couldn't support Hillary simply because women aren't supposed to tell men what to do. The irony is that although he claims to have a Christian home his wife most emphatically rules the roost.

gearl Level 7 Feb 4, 2019

The argument I remember was basically one of seniority -- men where created first and therefore in charge of everything. No wonder Xtians hate science, it puts that "created first" business down very definitively.

Ah, yes, that's more in line with what I remember, too. From man came woman, so man had dominion over woman. Still a poor argument, of course, but I digress. ?

Write Comment
You can include a link to this post in your posts and comments by including the text q:281526
Agnostic does not evaluate or guarantee the accuracy of any content. Read full disclaimer.