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Can you reconcile Christianity with feminism? - Page 2

post #21 of 195
I can reconcile feminism with Christianity, but not all denominations. Christianity does not necessarily equal wifely submission, prescribed gender roles, etc.
post #22 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by MittensKittens View Post
I hope to get your thoughts on this issue, as it is something I have been struggling with. I was raised in an atheist home, but have been exploring my spirituality over the last couple of years and attending Church services I feel very comfortable with and at home in (Serbian Orthodox Church). I do have to stressed that I have remained at the exploration stage very much. I categorically reject the notion that women are less than men, have to subject to their husbands, and similar ideas, and identify as a feminist.

I would love to hear from anyone who has any angle on this.
I guess for me it would depend on my view of feminism and of Christianity. No, I personally could not reconcile it within the context of a Christian church which believes in the Bible literalism or inerrancy (and I have no idea if your church would fall in that category). The churches I have attended and the ones I grew up in were very theologically liberal and approached the Bible as a collection of parables, as incomplete and written and interpretted through a patriarchal cultural filter. The Bible was used as a springpad of sorts for a personal relationship with God.

I personally think that many Christian sects use the bible as a way of continuing patriarchal power and it is one of the reasons I have moved away from Christianity. I still believe there is much to learn in the lessons of Jesus but I question whether those lessons are really the basis for today's version of the Christian church - but that is another topic I guess.

I no longer attend Christian churches. Our family now attends a UU church which fits far more with my values and with what I want to teach my children.

There are a couple of books I have enjoyed reading on this topic.

Sue Monk Kidd's Dance of the Disident Daughter follows the author's journey from conservative Christian through a search for ways to incorporate Feminist theology into her own spiritual truth. I was reading this at the same time I was reading The Red Tent which was an interesting combo.

The Feminime Face of God

At the Root of this Longing: Reconciling a Spritual Hunger and Feminist Thirst. by Carol Flinders


And this one I have just put on hold looks interesting: A God Who Looks Like Me

hth
Karen
post #23 of 195
Here is a link to another book, Chasing Sophia: Reclaiming the Lost Wisdom of Jesus. You won't be able to read all of it there but it will be enough to see if you're interested in reading all of it.
post #24 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by magstphil View Post
I still believe in equality of the sexes and that women are just as important just as intelligent just as capable but in my mind I can see now that we have fallen into the trap of expecting sameness from women. We have confused sameness and equality and that took away from the importance of "women's work". If we didn't view "women's work" as lowly as we do I don't think we'd be having this discussion, ykwim? It's no longer desirable or honorable to be a woman and mother as traditionally defined. Our lawyers and doctors are way more important than the moms who raised them and stayed home cooking meals and doing dishes.

...

I also am for women in general. I am for the choice to fulfill traditional roles being more accepted and more respected. The pendulum has swung- now the women who leave home are respected and those who choose not to are looked down on. I want women exercising their choice to always be a beautiful thing.
and

Quote:
Originally Posted by BaBaBa View Post
I think some where along the line 'feminism' took a wrong turn. It seems that mainstream feminists don't want anything to do with you unless you support their liberal, pro choice agenda. The current feminist movement has failed miserably to support and respect the spiritual choices of so many women. It doesn't even attempt to understand them and that's a real shame.
nak - ITA and refuse to identify myself as a feminist because i think they are actually hurting women more by demanding sameness instead of equality. they have hurt us by making women think they HAVE to work to be valued and we are NOT all capable of or interested in that. i think God made us unique and wonderful, and not the same for obvious reasons.

as for the leadership in the home - i do believe too many cooks spoil the stew and constant jockeying for position is bad for the harmony of the home. God makes it easy for us - we attend to our role and our husbands do theirs! simple!!!!
post #25 of 195
I'm sure I could reconcile Christianity with a type of feminism, but my questions are a) should I have to? and b) do I want to?

I don't feel I have to reconcile Christianity with feminism because my worldview is Christianity, not feminism. I don't believe in 'Christianity as long as it conforms to the prevailing paradigm of secular humanism'; I believe in Christianity. As such, I don't feel like I need to contort or tailor Christianity to any other worldviews (feminism as a worldview or sub-worldview included); Christianity doesn't owe anything to them. In other words, if my baseline was feminism I would feel the need to interpret Christianity according to the feminist paradigm; but that would make me ultimately a feminist, not a Christian. I do it the other way round, interpreting feminism according to the paradigm of Christianity; and if some of feminism gets lost or must be tailored or reinterpreted in the process, so be it.

Whether I want to be able to reconcile feminism with Christianity is a stickier one. I've heard MDC feminist mothers often lament that everyone thinks feminism is XYZ when it's really ABC, and that 'all feminism is' is believing that women are people/women are as good or worthy of respect as men. Therefore, they say, anyone who believes these basic statements is a feminist whether she will or she nill, and if she denies the label because of any other connotations of feminism she is simply perpetuating a stereotype.

And I do indeed believe that women are people, and 'as good as' men (not at everything, bell curves, weight-lifting-but-long-distance-swimming, yadda yadda but in terms of personal worth), and certainly as worthy of respect. But no, I don't identify with the label 'feminist'. The label simply has too many negative connotations, and those connotations tend to be about things I feel strongly about. The abortion issue is the biggie for me. No, not all feminists are pro-choice, but I don't think abortion and feminism are completely separate views either (as I've heard some feminists claim - along the same lines as "Some Christians keep hens, but not because they're Christians"). One pro-choice argument is definitely based in feminist principles - that because a man can choose not to 'have' a baby when he creates one, a woman should be able to likewise choose not to 'have' the baby. Such an argument is not a necessary conclusion from feminist principles, but it is not divorced from them either.

So I keep away from feminism largely because of its associations with abortion and so on. I'm sure some people will say that it's my civic duty as a woman (or whatever) to seek to redefine the title rather than allowing the stereotypes to continue. But then, once I've removed everything I find objectionable about feminism from feminism, I find it already has a name: Biblical Christianity. Which of course is a term with its own immense baggage, but given that I believe Christianity saves souls and feminism doesn't, I'd rather put my energy into reclaiming the real meaning of that term.
post #26 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
I'm sure I could reconcile Christianity with a type of feminism, but my questions are a) should I have to? and b) do I want to?

I don't feel I have to reconcile Christianity with feminism because my worldview is Christianity, not feminism. I don't believe in 'Christianity as long as it conforms to the prevailing paradigm of secular humanism'; I believe in Christianity. As such, I don't feel like I need to contort or tailor Christianity to any other worldviews (feminism as a worldview or sub-worldview included); Christianity doesn't owe anything to them. In other words, if my baseline was feminism I would feel the need to interpret Christianity according to the feminist paradigm; but that would make me ultimately a feminist, not a Christian.
I wanted to say something along these lines but didn't know how to.

Basically I once defined feminism and women's rights more along the lines of demanding exact sameness. I was in the "get out and work" category where if you were a SAHM you were weak and under the thumb of a man and so on. I didn't even take DH's last name (only married him for the tax benefits I thought you got BTW now I hyphenate). Over time I started asking myself if my view of feminism was more important than other things in my life. I was literally forced to stay home when I was on bed rest with DD2. When I found that I preferred that I was at a loss.

What I'm trying to say is where, depending on your definition of both, you don't have to choose I think you need to ask yourself truly where your beliefs lie...

So if you just can't believe in a God who would, for example, deny women the Priesthood then there ya go you don't believe in that God but if you do believe in that God and just can't reconcile the 2 which is more important- your world view or God's word? Sometimes it's a wake up call (ie: "guess I don't really believe that so I'm not religion X") and sometimes it's a dose of humility (your world view vs. God and choosing to follow God). Either you find a sense of understanding and peace in your religion (or church) or you change your religion (or church).

For me I both came to a different understanding of feminism and Mormonism. I hadn't fully understood the function of the Priesthood and on top of that I had a much more narrow definition of feminism. But then life happened and I had babies and realized how important mothers are and yaddy yadda yadda
post #27 of 195
I really liked the Motherhood and Priesthood analogy.
It makes sense, esp since women cannot be ordained. We each have our roles, and we were designed for those roles.
post #28 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by PatienceAndLove View Post
I really liked the Motherhood and Priesthood analogy.
It makes sense, esp since women cannot be ordained. We each have our roles, and we were designed for those roles.
I guess this cuts to the heart of the matter for me.
Why can women not be ordained though?
What makes a woman inherrently unworthy or unable to fulfill that role?
Because a man dictates it? Because the Bible says it is so? (And does it really? - I honestly don't know of a passage that says that and have read that Pontifical Biblical Commission determined more than 30 years ago that there were no scriptural reasons preventing women’s ordination.)
I was just listening to an interview a few days ago with female Catholic priests who were ordained in the United Church of Canada because the Catholic church refuses to acknowledge them and has excommunicated them.


Clearly I don't see feminism in the way that many who have answered here do. I believe it has lead to more choices, not fewer for women and men, and that it addresses equality rather than "sameness". At it's core for me feminism is the belief that women should have equal political, social, sexual, intellectual and economic rights to men. How women choose to exercise those rights is a matter of personal choice but they shouldn't be denied based solely on gender - which many sects of the Christian church do. Thirty five years ago, my mother was denied having her tubes tied by a doctor in a public hospital until her husband (who she had separated from) and/or her minister approved. Feminism is what ensured we had the right to make our own medical decisons about our body, rather than having men or the male church do that.
post #29 of 195
The short answer is that no, I can't reconcile the two. That's one (of many) reasons I no longer consider myself a Christian.
post #30 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karenwith4 View Post
I guess this cuts to the heart of the matter for me.
Why can women not be ordained though?
What makes a woman inherrently unworthy or unable to fulfill that role?
The point I was trying to make (and I'm not sure if anyone else is in agreement here though I know in my faith there is an agreement) women are fully capable of it and worthy. If we needed to we could. We don't have to have it, though. We already have a job.

And that ties into my problem with other brands of feminism- the belief that for a woman to be of worth she has to be able to do the same exact job as a man. That cuts down women, IMO.
post #31 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karenwith4 View Post
I guess this cuts to the heart of the matter for me.
Why can women not be ordained though?
What makes a woman inherrently unworthy or unable to fulfill that role?
Because a man dictates it? Because the Bible says it is so? (And does it really? - I honestly don't know of a passage that says that and have read that Pontifical Biblical Commission determined more than 30 years ago that there were no scriptural reasons preventing women’s ordination.)
I was just listening to an interview a few days ago with female Catholic priests who were ordained in the United Church of Canada because the Catholic church refuses to acknowledge them and has excommunicated them.
For the same reason men cannot be mothers. It was not the job God designed them for.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karenwith4 View Post
Clearly I don't see feminism in the way that many who have answered here do. I believe it has lead to more choices, not fewer for women and men, and that it addresses equality rather than "sameness". At it's core for me feminism is the belief that women should have equal political, social, sexual, intellectual and economic rights to men. How women choose to exercise those rights is a matter of personal choice but they shouldn't be denied based solely on gender - which many sects of the Christian church do. Thirty five years ago, my mother was denied having her tubes tied by a doctor in a public hospital until her husband (who she had separated from) and/or her minister approved. Feminism is what ensured we had the right to make our own medical decisons about our body, rather than having men or the male church do that.
Pushing for women's ordination is pushing for sameness, rather than looking at what God gave women.
post #32 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by magstphil View Post
The point I was trying to make (and I'm not sure if anyone else is in agreement here though I know in my faith there is an agreement) women are fully capable of it and worthy. If we needed to we could. We don't have to have it, though. We already have a job.

And that ties into my problem with other brands of feminism- the belief that for a woman to be of worth she has to be able to do the same exact job as a man. That cuts down women, IMO.
Exactly!
post #33 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by annethcz View Post
The short answer is that no, I can't reconcile the two. That's one (of many) reasons I no longer consider myself a Christian.
Why can't you reconcile them?
post #34 of 195
Oh and I completely agree with this. Completely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karenwith4 View Post
At it's core for me feminism is the belief that women should have equal political, social, sexual, intellectual and economic rights to men.
Also I am angered for your mother. An LDS friend of mine grandmother had a similar situation- her husband died in the war leaving her pregnant and a after she gave birth her "Christian" doctor took it upon himself to sterilize her believing her to be an unwed mother.

Quote:
How women choose to exercise those rights is a matter of personal choice but they shouldn't be denied based solely on gender - which many sects of the Christian church do. Thirty five years ago, my mother was denied having her tubes tied by a doctor in a public hospital until her husband (who she had separated from) and/or her minister approved. Feminism is what ensured we had the right to make our own medical decisons about our body, rather than having men or the male church do that.
But then again you have to accept that some women make the choice to follow a doctrine they believe to be from God. Whether you believe it is from God or some man being a chauvinist invented it doesn't matter in any way. They have made that choice for themselves based on their beliefs. Of course men should never have the right to force us on a social/legal level but when a woman makes the choice to submit to her husband or her God or whatever than it is still no different then her making a conscious choice. The tricky thing about standing for choice and freedom is if you don't stand for the freedom to choose even those things you don't agree with then you don't really believe in choice and you become no better than the forceful men we women have been fighting on a social level for hundreds of years. Not to say you are this at all!! I am just rambling now...
post #35 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by magstphil View Post
The point I was trying to make (and I'm not sure if anyone else is in agreement here though I know in my faith there is an agreement) women are fully capable of it and worthy. If we needed to we could. We don't have to have it, though. We already have a job.

And that ties into my problem with other brands of feminism- the belief that for a woman to be of worth she has to be able to do the same exact job as a man. That cuts down women, IMO.
But what about those who do see a need to (be a priest)? or want to? or believe they are called to?
For me it isn't that a woman has worth because she is able to do the same job as a man. It's that because she has inherent worth that she can (and should if she chooses) be able to do that job. Her worth isn't defined by her gender or her equality with men, it's defined by her ability and her choices. If someone else makes those choices for her, they define her.
post #36 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by PatienceAndLove View Post
For the same reason men cannot be mothers. It was not the job God designed them for.

Pushing for women's ordination is pushing for sameness, rather than looking at what God gave women.
I'm sorry, I'm not understanding your point.
What biological reason is there for women being unable to perform the duties of a priest?
If you believe in this theory, God designed women and men differently biologically, but gave us all a range of skills and gifts, many of which overlap and with the exception of biological skills are not determined by gender. What skills/gifts/qualities allow some men to be priests but no women to be priests?
post #37 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by PatienceAndLove View Post
women cannot be ordained.
Not yet, anyway.

There's hope on the horizon, though.
post #38 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karenwith4 View Post
But what about those who do see a need to (be a priest)? or want to?
For me it isn't that a woman has worth because she is able to do the same job as a man. It's that because she has inherent worth that she can (and should if she chooses) be able to do that job. Her worth isn't defined by her gender or her equality with men, it's defined by her ability and her choices. If someone else makes those choices for her, they define her.
The thing is we are defined by our sex, like it or not. By nature (by God, by the Universe, whatever!) we already have a certain definition and I believe in embracing that.

Also women have other chances to serve. I can't really get into other faiths as I am LDS and we work a little differently but women in my faith still give talks on Sundays, still hold callings (one of which is the Relief Society president which is an enormous job I'm not sure I would want ), and so on. I know for other faiths it's different (the LDS church doesn't have paid clergy so it's not seen as a job but a calling and service) but again I think when we expect women to want to be a Priest or whatever we aren't understanding the importance of who they are. I guess to any woman who would want to be a Priesthood holder I'd ask why out of curiosity. I use to be there but not anymore with my understanding. Again, because I don't have to be.

I feel like I am going all over the place and not making sense. If a woman wants to be a Priest/Bishop/Pastor she is more than welcome to in another faith/church if her current isn't accepting of that. I agree with that choice BTW. I think it's important we have so many religious beliefs and churches in the world. So again I think women who desire that need to evaluate their beliefs surrounding the hole issue and if they choose to move on because this particular path isn't for them great! More power to them! The good Lord gave us choice for a reason. But one doesn't have to be a Priest/Bishop/Pastor/etc to act according to that calling. Everyone has that in them, IMO.

How's that for pulling you around in a tangled mess? : Sorry I couldn't be more articulate.
post #39 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by spero View Post
Not yet, anyway.
Well technically they can in some faiths/sects, right?
post #40 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karenwith4 View Post
I'm sorry, I'm not understanding your point.
What biological reason is there for women being unable to perform the duties of a priest?
If you believe in this theory, God designed women and men differently biologically, but gave us all a range of skills and gifts, many of which overlap and with the exception of biological skills are not determined by gender. What skills/gifts/qualities allow some men to be priests but no women to be priests?
My belief, and the belief that the Catholic Church has, is that God designed women for Motherhood, not for the Priesthood. It's just the way it is. Can I break it down more? Sure... but it's one of the things I take by Faith. It's one of the issues I see that I take pride in- that God gave women one ability that men cannot have and gave men one ability that women cannot have.
Additionally- Tradition and Scripture do not tell us of female priests. Those chosen by God were men. The orders of priests were to come from the male parts of families. Yes- women acted as Judges, but not as Priests.
Lastly- the Church has already said that it does not have the power to ordain women. I cannot argue with that.
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