i'm choosing my confessions

 I'm a godless heathen; a gentile; an infidel.

Over half of the world's population claims one of the three major Abrahmic faiths—Judaism, Christianity and Islam (all variations upon a theme—apologies to musicians), as theirs. I am one of the 10-15% of people who claim to be a convinced atheist.

I find it difficult to take seriously a person's belief in a supernatural being. Belief in an Abrahmic god and their ludicrous founding fables seems as anachronistic to 21st century western life as Norse and Hellenic gods probably seemed to Renaissance Europe. Among numerous objections, are the roles assigned to women by the 'gate-keepers' of the faiths.

In 1990 in Melbourne, ex-President of the United States, the now nonagenarian Jimmy Carter, delivered a speech to the Parliament of World Religions. In it he declared:

The truth is that male religious leaders have had—and still have—an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter.

Numerous inroads have been made in each religion toward greater equality between the sexes. Yet in Islam, for example, women are almost wholly forbidden to lead mixed gender congregations in prayer. Similarly, orthodox Judaism only permits men to be rabbis. And in 2007, the Holy See decreed that the consequences for attempting to ordinate women would be excommunication of all involved parties.

Equality would not, however, make founding texts any less preposterous. As it is, each religion and the cultures developed around them exert any number of prohibitions against women; some with grave consequences. More to come.

Tulip (Tulipa cultivar), from 'Margaret's Garden' (series)

Tulip (Tulipa cultivar), from 'Margaret's Garden' (series)