David Marshall's Challenge About Women Under Christianity

Recently I was reminded that Marshall has challenged me to debate whether Christianity has helped or hurt women:
Resolved: That the Gospel of Jesus has done more to help more women than any other teaching in the history of Planet Earth. I challenge you, John. I issue this challenge assuming that John is sincere, and because millions of other people agree with him that Christianity has harmed women terribly. LINK.
Marshall sounds just like Muslim apologists for their terrible track record against women though. I don't have to rehearse that record since Marshall agrees with me about it. But lookee here at a Muslim apologist for Women in Islam. As an outsider I see no difference between them in that both are attempting to whitewash away the facts.
Loftus also recommended three feminist books about how terrible the Bible was to me. But that's a lame response. My argument is historical, not primarily exegetical: that the Gospel of Jesus has in historical fact improved life for billions of women around the world.
Notice first, Marshall thinks that providing book references to read on this issue is lame. I'm at a loss to know what to think of this. If I were to engage him in this debate I'd be quoting from them. So why not just read them? Why is a debate needed when I can provide book references where those arguments are made by people who know the issue better than I do? Second, Marshall said these references were written by feminists, as if that discredits them as not being objective about the issue. In truth, these references come from biblical scholars and/or theologians. Third, Marshall wants to focus on Jesus in the Gospels rather than the whole of biblical revelation, or so it seems clear to me. Why exclude the Old Testament or the writings of Paul?

Fourth, Marshall says his argument is a historical one rather than an exegetical one. In other words, he really doesn't want to discuss the relevant passages in the Bible but rather to argue that church teachings on women have helped more women than any other teachings in history. Marshall represents those apologists who fallaciously argue that Christianity is responsible for such things as the origins of science, democracy, the end of slavery and the witch hunts (which *surprise* are still being carried on in parts of Africa by conservative Christians right now). My anthologies have destroyed those claims. In the future, if Christians can still control the minds of millions, they will claim to have ended the stigmatization and hatred of LGBTI people too. My point is that even if Christianity has done some good for women, the bad it has done toward them must be explained, not explained away. If a man rescues a child from a burning car (the greater deed) then kicks that child in the teeth afterward (the lesser deed) we would still demand an explanation for why he kicked the child in the teeth afterward, nor would we grant him any special leniency in court when charged with child abuse and/or battery. It's that simple! Fifth, Marshall admits that millions of people agree with me that Christianity has terribly harmed women. Well then, I'm not alone.

Marshall's views are disputed by people on his own side, lots of them. If he wants to read of women in the history of the Catholic Church (the only church that existed for centuries) I asked him to look at Uta Ranke-Heinemann's book Eunuchs For The Kingdom Of Heaven.She studied under Rudolf Bultmann and was the first woman in the world to hold a chair of Catholic theology at the University of Essen.

Consider what retired Anglican Bishop John Shelby Spong wrote:
"One of the most sexist institutions in the Western world is the Christians church. Its sexism is deep, pervasive and quite destructive." -- The Sins of Scripture. (p. 79)See Section 3 in his book with five chapters on the Bible and women.
But no, Marshall still disagrees. Has he even read them? He has had the time by now!

Consider also a few others: Michael Coogan, God and Sex: What the Bible Really Says.I wrote a brief review of his book right here. [Read this review, young grasshopper].

Carol A. Newsom, Sharon H. Ringe and Jacqueline E. Lapsley, eds., Women's Bible Commentary, Third Edition: Revised and Updated.

Phyllis Trible, Texts of Terror: Literary-Feminist Readings of Biblical Narratives.

Susanne Scholz, Sacred Witness: Rape in the Hebrew Bible.

But no, my response was lame. Well, who knew Marshall couldn't read! He issued this challenge to me on Tuesday, May 31, 2011. That's three and a half years ago. He's had time to read those books I suggested. Has he? That's the question. If he wants a debate then he should read and interact with these books.

Other resources:

Annie Laurie Gaylor's chapter in my anthology "Christianity is Not Great" subtitled, "Christianity's War Against Women."

Valerie Tarico: 15 biblical texts revealing God's war with Women.

Ed Babinski's list of the top sixteen ways to get a woman according to the Bible. [This post is one of the top ten hit getters here at DC!]

Harry McCall wrote a post on Paul's influence in the NT and the church titled, Eternally Unforgiven: St. Paul’s View of Women and Its Influence on the Rest of the New Testament.

See also Harry McCall's post, Why Women Especially Should Reject Christianity.

Here's one from the website "Religious Criticism" I thought was well-said:
Any honest, thinking person reading through the bible cannot ignore the blatant misogyny and barbarity towards women, but most Christians are bible illiterates – they only hear the palatable verses from the pulpit and blindly accept that the bible emanates goodness.

The simple fact is, it doesn’t. Certainly, when you go to church, all you will hear is the message of love. And sure, those verses are in the Bible, but so are a litany of examples of intolerance – sexism, racism, homophobia and cruelty – that reflect the Hebrew society of that time.

Which begs the question, why take your moral code from only parts of the Bible? If you don’t agree that wives should submit to their husbands, women should be silent and dress modestly, or that the pain of childbirth is punishment for Eve’s original sin, (let alone, all of the sexual abuse) why hold the Bible in such high esteem. Surely, there are more modern works that better reflect your own moral code? Or perhaps, just perhaps, you already know what’s right and wrong, and don’t need a book to tell you that at all…

Put your pre-conceived notions aside for a moment, and read through the following list. Whether there is a god or not, is the Bible really a book you want to take literally? [List follows] LINK.
The question for Marshall is whether he is an "honest, thinking person." He certainly has read the Bible, hasn't he?