Ella Gibson

1821 - 1901

"Christianity is an insult to the wisdom of the nineteenth century. to place before its progress and development a leader, ruler, king, saviour, god, whose knowledge was less than a modern five-year-old schoolgirl is an outrage upon humanity."

Ella Gibson was an ordained minister and an army chaplain before losing her faith and wrote what appears to be the earliest feminist analysis of the bible - The Godly Women of the Bible by an ungodly Woman of the Nineteenth Century. It was  first published in the 1870s by the Truth Seeker Company and was published continuously for 30 years, today there is only one copy in one university. In it she pens a scathing attack on the bible for the views of women it promotes of which this is but a taste.

She urged of the bible:- "Away with its false teachings, fables, pagan mythology, and abuse of woman, and assist her to free herself from these shackles and to overcome these vile aspersions descending down from the dark ages and settling like a pall over her existence and the existence of the race"

Below is part of the extract printed in Annie Laurie Gaylor's  -Women Without Superstition "No Gods - No Masters"'Collected Writings of Women Freethinkers of the 19th and 20th Centuries.'  Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation -

"Woman's position under Judaism and Christianity as portrayed in the Bible, is unworthy of herself and man today. Then why seek to maintain and perpetuate it by retaining such a book as authority.' The abominable laws respecting her in the Old Testament and in the New, especially those of Paul in 1 Corinthians and elsewhere, are a disgrace to civilization and English literature; and any family which permits such a volume to lie on their parlor-table ought to be ostracized tram all respectable society, unless there under protest. The time will come when King James's Bible (present version) will not be spoken of without a blush of shame tingling the cheek of modesty, or referred to except as a textbook obsolete, superannuated, blasphemous, false, pernicious, corrupt, immodest, obscene, and too immoral to he tolerated, even as a past nuisance, ancient, foreign, and worthless.

Woman, this is your work, to rise in rebellion against the book which promulgates such false and vile opinions in regard to yourselves, which is the origination of such erroneous views relative to your needs, motives, and desires, which in every relation of life, misrepresents your position, aims, and interests; which clouds your hopes, stifles your ambition, circumscribes your opportunities, chains you down to slavish servitude in obedience to its mandates; gives to man, as man and husband, superior rights and privileges, exonerates him from all blame when most to blame, and installs him right or wrong,Lord God over one-half of the human universe and that half his mother, wife, and daughter, making him the fiat to which woman must universally defer, and limiting her education, privileges, possibilities, aspirations, and intuitions to his blind selfishness, controlled by passion, filthy lucre, ignorances and prayer.

These pages have not been penned for pastime, but for a purpose, to call woman to her duties, to show her her responsibilities, to expose her dangers, to reveal her errors, to open her eyes to their origination, viz., the volume called the Word of God, wherein she is Maligned, outraged, victimized, enslaved, chattelized, polygamized, scourged, crushed, brutalized, and even denied the right of immortality, her very name suppressed, or merged with her husband's as unworthy of a place in history, her love trampled under foot, her affections scorned, motives questioned, sincerity doubted, her virginity despoiled, wifehood betrayed, and her very motherhood prostituted."

She later goes on to say, "No estimate can be made of the wrong done to woman by the existence and authority of the Bible, and if done to woman then to man and the race; therefore we implore our brother man to assist woman in discarding this filthy book, its pernicious doctrines, and unjust laws against, it not the better half of humanity, at least that half or portion with which he must cooperate in order to perpetuate the race and reproduce himself." and finishes:-

"On which side, O women, will you be found in this mighty contest? Aiding and abetting your enemy, the Bible, or arrayed against it rendering assistance to your saviour, reason, science, and truth? Oh, choose the latter, and unite with your brother man in exterminating from the earth the greatest scourge of the race, a false and pernicious theology, the doctrines of which are found within and sustained by the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, known as King James's Bible"

see www.workshop3.freeuk.com/Womem Without_Superstition.htm