Did Paul Call for Women’s Silence? (Series Part 3, Finale)

There is yet another problematic passage in the Corinthian correspondence besides the 1 Corinthians 11 passage that we have considered. It is the passage people have used to argue that Paul sanctions an exclusively male church leadership: 1 Corinthians 14:33 – 36, reproduced below:

For God is not a God of disorder but of peace – as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people. Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. If they want to enquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church. Or did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached?

Scholars have observed that this passage gives off a First-Century Jewish synagogue undertone, and, of course, Christianity was essentially a sect of Judaism at the time. A typical synagogue meeting would have men and women seated in different sections, and women were not allowed to speak in those services. Married women could not even ask questions of their husbands during service because of the seating arrangement; apparently, they had to wait until they got home. 

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Spiritually Gifted Men Were the Problem (Series Part 2)

Paul Quotes the Corinthians

As emphasized earlier, we have much-needed data missing from the Corinthian correspondence. Scholars have presented several possible explanations, but not one satisfactorily answers the text’s questions. Each explanatory schema answers a few questions while neglecting the rest. In truth, we may only be able to fully understand the text if archaeology comes to the rescue once more.

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Man is the “Head” of the Woman? (Series Part 1)


First Corinthians 11 is one of those Bible passages that no reader can forget about in a hurry. It is the kind of passage you read and wonder about afterward. The chapter is significant not just for the challenging issues it raises for scholars but also for the impact it continues to have in churches. After all, the passage is full of apostolic pronouncements for the global church. First Corinthians 11 is the famous chapter about hair covering and the claim that “neither was man created for woman, but woman for man” —a passage that the church has subsequently used to treat churchgoing women as “others.” Of course, the othering of women, based on this passage and other similar ones, would not be problematic if, indeed, that is the kind of thing Paul had in mind. 

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What’s Natural Theology? The Example of the Moral Argument

Natural Theology is the branch of theology that seeks to argue for God (or theism) solely from observed facts and experiences. A natural theologian may reference the bible in her work without assuming special knowledge or revelation. She may cite a bible passage but only like any other book. It is worth reiterating that natural theology is a natural enterprise. It is a human endeavor that seeks to employ reason to argue for God’s existence. To that end, two points are worth accentuating here.

First, the arguments of natural theology are not infallible or immutable. A natural theologian does not take a theistic argument to be on the level of a divinely inspired text. Theistic arguments rely on observed facts and experiences. As facts change, relevant theistic arguments must accommodate the changes to remain valid. Indeed, original arguments, such as the Leibnizian Cosmological Argument and the Ontological Argument of Saint Anselm, might be easily refuted today without appropriate modifications. Second, an unconvinced person, theist or otherwise, may reject a theistic argument. Once again, the deliverances of natural theology do not claim divine inspiration. Besides, it is difficult to imagine how one may affirm an argument that one does not adequately understand. (Of course, one’s inability to understand an argument does not count against it.) I once had such an experience.

The Moral Argument is one of the more popular theistic arguments around. One form of the argument goes like this:

  1. If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.
  2. Objective moral values and duties do exist.
  3. Therefore, God exists.

For several years, I could not get down with this argument. I knew it was a logically airtight argument—the conclusion can’t be wrong if the premises are correct. But I felt like the first premise was contrived, nonetheless. Indeed, I thought the premise was as flawed as saying, “if the moon is made of Amala, then God exists.” It was not until I studied the work of the systematic theologian and philosopher William Lane Craig that I finally could grasp what was going on with the argument. (Interestingly, William Craig himself also had a similar reservation about this argument and was helped by the work of another philosopher.) It turns out that the argument is not defective. Premise one posits an explanation for objective morality, and I was somewhat slow to grasp it. Even with a good understanding of the argument, someone may still find grounds to reject it, as we shall see.

Moral duties have to do with something right or wrong, while moral values have to do with good or bad. The difference is not trivial—something may be good for you but not right for you. Here is an example to explain what “objective” means. It is not only wrong to torture babies for fun or rape someone; it is objectively wrong to do so. By that, I mean there never was, and never will be, a time when it was not wrong to rape or torture babies. Of course, this does not mean that some people or cultures have not thought it right to do these things. Also, this is not a holier-than-thou statement that seeks to enforce my personal view on everyone else. Instead, it would still be wrong to rape or torture babies even if I did not exist. Hence, “objective,” as used here, really means “regardless of what people say or think.”

Most people grant that objective morality exists. Indeed, it is the underlying basis of ethical theories—however, each ethical theory handles moral problems differently. For instance, utilitarianism, the moral theory that urges us to seek the greatest happiness for the maximum number of people, presupposes objective morality. Suppose there was no objective morality binding on all. In that case, one might ask why we should care about anyone else’s happiness. Similarly, the Kantian ethical theory that forbids us from using people as a means to an end also presupposes objective reality. Again, one might otherwise ask why one should not use people as a means to an end, especially if one can.

However, a minority of people deny the existence of objective moral values and duties. To some of them, morality is subjective. That is, it is people-dependent. One culture may have reasons to normalize rape, for instance. And it would be arrogant for another culture that sees rape as wrong to consider the other culture as being wrong. Essentially, morality is what a culture decides it to be for these people. While we may refute this position, the point, for now, is that some people, a tiny minority, deny the existence of objective moral values and duties. And for such people, the moral argument fails. The apologist may need to resort to other arguments–and there are about thirty of them.

As demonstrated, natural theology uses reason alone to argue for the theistic God, with no appeals to special knowledge or divine revelation. To this end, natural theology is a branch of philosophy. It is worth noting that the arguments of natural theology do not pick out a specific deity—Olodumare, Yahweh, Allah, or whoever. They seek to establish, in a general sense, that some transcendent God exists. Perhaps, more importantly, the deliverances of natural theology make it uneasy for someone to dismiss religion. Gone are the days when intellectuals could dismiss religion without engaging with the truth claims. A non-theist would have to interact with the arguments to be intellectually respectable today.

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Crowther’s Critics’ Cardinal Error (Series Part 3, Finale)

We have told the story of Bishop Ajayi’s early life. The teenage Ajayi was captured by his compatriots and sold into slavery. But for the interception of a British squadron, Ajayi would have been sold in the trans-Atlantic slave trade and might never have been known—just like the innumerable millions who perished in that grand evil scheme. It is hard to imagine that Ajayi, especially as he would later have learned about what could have been, would not have felt like he owed his life to Britain. Not only was he saved by British sailors, but he was also educated and introduced to Christianity by British missionaries. Considering the history of Britain at the time, we may assume that racist and hegemonic inclinations tainted the Christian education he received. So, it should not be shocking if we find vestiges of eurocentrism in Crowther’s works. What should be more critical is what Crowther willfully believed and defended.

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Èṣù Ẹlẹ́gbara and the Evolution of Satan (Series Part 2)

Èṣù in Yoruba Metaphysics: A Brief Note

Traditionally, Yoruba conceives of the world as an interconnected three-tiered cosmos: Ọ̀run (meaning, heaven), Aiyé (meaning, the earth) Ilẹ̀ (meaning, underground; netherworld). Ọlọ́run (literally, “heaven’s owner”) inhabits Orun with the over four hundred gods in the Yoruba pantheon, many of whom walked the earth as humans with supernatural abilities. Ọlọ́run, also known as Ẹlẹ́dàá (literally, “the creator”), is the supreme being. Aiyé is the world of humans, and Ilẹ̀ is the world of departed souls, especially of ancestors. The dividing wall between Ọ̀run and Ilẹ̀, especially regarding deified souls, is quite ethereal.

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Bishop Ajayi Crowther and the Yorùbá Bible (Series Part 1)


Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther’s contributions to African Christianity are well attested in the Christian world, especially in the Global South. In his native land, however, the Bishop is mainly seen as a villain than a hero. He is seen as an able instrument of colonialism used to undermine Yoruba metaphysics. His significant achievement, a Yoruba version of the Bible, is critically described as a courier of “Euro-Christian ideas, beliefs, and cultural logics” (Adefarakan, 45) written in the Yoruba language. Among the adherents of the traditional Yoruba religion, Bishop Crowther is a traitor who willfully allowed himself to be used in the corruption of what he once held dear.

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Adam Could Have Existed 6,000 Years Ago (Series Part 4)


If the Copernican revolution defended by Galileo Galilei displaced humans from the center of the universe, the Darwinian revolution completed what was left by stripping humans of any sense of unique worth. Whereas people had embraced the idea of being created by some supreme being as the science of human origin, Darwinism offered a radically different narrative in which a human is no more special than a SARS-CoV-2 particle. Indeed, the former owes its existence to viruses which are her genetic ancestors. While not challenging the Gospel of Jesus, the Darwinian idea seeing 32ly invalidates the message of the first few pages of the Bible. For the theologically minded persons, those were very trying times. Theologians and skeptical scientists levied critiques against Darwinism—a not unusual development; new scientific ideas always benefit from reviews. These critiques helped refine the Darwinian thesis. Today, Darwin-inspired evolutionary science is the scientific consensus—even if substantive debates continue about various aspects of the dogma. All in all, theology yielded grounds to the unstoppable mighty Darwinian force in all of this.

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Galileo’s Trial Was NOT a Case of Anti-Science Church (Series Part 3)

An Everlasting Myth

Every schoolchild knows something about Galileo Galilei. She may not know that the 16th-century Italian scientist studied at the University of Pisa or designed telescopes that he later used to observe mountains on the earth’s moon. But she knows that Galileo was a bold scientist who stood up against the Pope and the Catholic Church with his scientific findings and got severely punished for so doing. Indeed, even today, people continue to formulate Galileo’s friction with the Church as an archetype of science versus religion or reason versus faith. In many people’s minds, religion is just the sort of thing that hinders scientific progress, as the story of Galileo showed. This story is a myth, an untruth, as I shall show below.

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Science and Religion as Social Programs (Series Part 2)

The Big Human Factor

It is no news that science and religion often make claims concerning the same things. Sometimes they concur in their proclamations; other times, they do not. For instance, for some 2000 years while science, under the influence of Aristotelianism, maintained that the universe was eternal even though the first page of the Bible vehemently disagrees, proclaiming that the universe had a finite past. Similarly, Galileo, a Christian and scientist, knew about the church’s teaching that the earth was the center of the universe when he proposed heliocentrism. These observations need not be surprising. Whatever else one may think about religion and science, this is true: humans play considerable roles in both endeavors and do so with their messy humanness. 

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