Confusion about the role of religion in cultivating moral consciousness is equally apparent in popular understanding of its contribution to the shaping of society. Perhaps the most obvious example is the inferior social status most sacred texts assign to women. While the resulting benefits enjoyed by men were no doubt a major factor in consolidating such a conception, moral justification was unquestionably supplied by people’s understanding of the intent of the scriptures themselves. With few exceptions, these texts address themselves to men, assigning to women a supportive and subordinate role in the life of both religion and society. Sadly, such understanding made it deplorably easy to attach primary blame to women for failure in the disciplining of the sexual impulse, a vital feature of moral advancement. In a modern frame of reference, attitudes of this kind are readily recognized as prejudiced and unjust. At the stages of social development at which all of the major faiths came into existence, scriptural guidance sought primarily to civilize, to the extent possible, relationships resulting from intractable historical circumstances. It needs little insight to appreciate that clinging to primitive norms in the present day would defeat the very purpose of religion’s patient cultivation of moral sense.