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Can you reconcile Christianity with feminism? - Page 5

post #81 of 195
Thread Starter 
WOW! I have been offline for a day and there have been soooooo many replies. I have read only the first two pages so far! This thread is getting really interesting and there is so much to think about! Once I have read everything, I hope you don't mind me spamming with lots of replies ! Thanks for all the answers, it is really useful to me.
post #82 of 195
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karenwith4 View Post
My definition of feminism doesn't include submitting to sexism, which is how personally I would define the above scenario.

Others will make different interpretations of the situation and will therefore make other choices which is wonderful for them. I do find it interesting though that most who have responded to this thread either don't identify as feminists or don't identify as Christians. So perhaps that is a clue to the answer for the OP.
I agree with you totally. Yet, if it is the Church itself that is, by tradition, and by current decisions that are controlled by men, sexist, should that stop me from identifying as a Christian? The basic problem I have with that would be my belief in God . Also, someone else pointe out that the Bible is indeed full of strong women, fulfilling important roles. There are also many claims that women even played far more important roles around the time of Jesus then is now admitted. I haven't researched this, but it is quite possible. Then, should male chauvinists force me away from God, because I happen to believe that I am not less than them? Why should they "define" what Christianity is, because they are in a position of power?
post #83 of 195
Thread Starter 
I don't think there is anything wrong with submission. I have no problem with submitting to God - neither to anything or anyone I see as an authority. But I *do* have a problem with submitting to a man, because he is a man, and because of that only.

I would also like to hear views and interpretations of the Christian idea about women who choose not to marry. What can and should their role in society be? the same question has already been asked about those who do not wish to be mothers, but I would like to know your thoughts about this as well.
post #84 of 195
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by magstphil View Post
On the flip side (the more "worldly" side) I'm for choice. I'm for women being able to leave home if they want and go to school and get a job and so on. But some things are just going to be separate and I am ok with that too. I think that we can't expect everything in life to treat men and women exactly the same.

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.
I totally agree with that. Men and woman are not biologically the same, and that is something we cannot do anything about. Those are differences though, and not inequalities - those are created not by biology but by humans, IMO.

Choice is the most important issue here, I think, and that choice should be respected regardless of what that choice happens to be. If you choose to live in a way where your husband is the "head of thew household" and you feel happy and fulfilled living that way, I see no problem with that. I have a problem if those who do not choose to live like that are condemned though, I that is the issue for me.
post #85 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by MittensKittens View Post
I agree with you totally. Yet, if it is the Church itself that is, by tradition, and by current decisions that are controlled by men, sexist, should that stop me from identifying as a Christian? The basic problem I have with that would be my belief in God . Also, someone else pointe out that the Bible is indeed full of strong women, fulfilling important roles. There are also many claims that women even played far more important roles around the time of Jesus then is now admitted. I haven't researched this, but it is quite possible. Then, should male chauvinists force me away from God, because I happen to believe that I am not less than them? Why should they "define" what Christianity is, because they are in a position of power?
Should males chauvenists be able to define Christianity? No
Do they? I think so - at least in some sects.

Assuming feminism is a core component of your world view, I think the question becomes which option is most palatable to you? Do you find a church that has a liberal view of theology, where woman are treated as equals and that that attitude is incorporated in their interpretation of the Bible?
Or do you find a church whose traditions speak to you and work towards making your corner of it more suitable and inline with your feminist values (assuming that is something you can or want to do).
Or do you remove the influence of the church from your spiritual journey and develop your relationship with God outside the confines of institutional definitions of who you can or should be? If you do that, does it matter to you which church you worship in (if you choose to worship in a church at all). We attend a UU church in part because I believe spirituality is a deeply personal journey which can not and should not be defined by an institution if it is to be authentic. But I also appreciate being in an environment with other people who are on a spiritual journey, who are wanting to be stretched and supported in that, and who create a community around those beliefs.

Thank you for starting this discussion.
It's been very interesting and has sparked a number of conversations with my friends and my children.
Karen
post #86 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by MittensKittens View Post
I don't think there is anything wrong with submission. I have no problem with submitting to God - neither to anything or anyone I see as an authority. But I *do* have a problem with submitting to a man, because he is a man, and because of that only.

I would also like to hear views and interpretations of the Christian idea about women who choose not to marry. What can and should their role in society be? the same question has already been asked about those who do not wish to be mothers, but I would like to know your thoughts about this as well.
This is IMO part and parcel of a larger question, what does God want for anyone who chooses not to marry?

I think God gives us a fair amount of leeway when we choose our career or vocation, most of the time. We can look at our talents, or preferences, and what happens to be required in the world around us. Of course we can't choose something that would go aginst what it is to be a Christian.

For women specifically; historically in the church there have been many roles filled by single women, or by widows. As Smokering pointed out Paul says to be single is very good, as one can serve Christ without having the needs of a family to consider. There are lots of examples in the Bible of women in many roles, including leadership roles in the church. There have been many nuns historically that led movements and were fine teachers, and some who who great scholars.

Generally, I don't see the place of single women being much different than the place of single men, except that they can't be priests (well, in my church they can but I am not sure that was a great decision.) But everyone is part of relationships involving authority and is called to submit appropriately in those relationships.
post #87 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by purplestraws View Post
There is nothing unBiblical about a woman being in the spotlight, dealing with big problems and shouldering responsibility. However, a woman can do ALL of those things without having to be in the top leadership role in her church or family.
What about divorced and single mamas, who are pretty much forced into the leadership role in their family? Are they supposed to just reject it? Go out and find another man to provide?

There's a lot of gray area to consider here. And look at the Proverbs 31 chick. It certainly sounds like she was rockin' a career and a family, and she certainly wasn't a shrinking violet.

I have to mention that I hate that the whole "fall of Adam" thing gets pinned squarely on Eve. They were both equally to blame. I just took a 3-part course (Catholic) in the Hebrew Scriptures, and this point was stressed right away.

Quote:
Originally Posted by purplestraws View Post
I, personally, don't think there's anything inherently sinful about a woman remaining single and having a career...as long as they're truly seeking God's will for their lives and not pursing that path for selfish reasons. (i.e. - what THEY want and desire vs. what God may want for them.)
So what if a woman discerns that God's will is for her to pursue a leadership role in her church?


Quote:
Originally Posted by MittensKittens View Post
the Bible is indeed full of strong women, fulfilling important roles. There are also many claims that women even played far more important roles around the time of Jesus then is now admitted.
It's not only admitted, it is being formally taught. Especially in regard to Mary Magdalene.
post #88 of 195
Quote:
No I don't think women are lesser, which is why I don't think men should define them, or their roles in society, in the church or in the family.
I think you misunderstood me. I know you don't think women are lesser.

I was asking about the *roles*. You seem to object to women being limited to certain roles because *you* consider those roles less than the ones men are given. Am I wrong there?
post #89 of 195
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post
I think you misunderstood me. I know you don't think women are lesser.

I was asking about the *roles*. You seem to object to women being limited to certain roles because *you* consider those roles less than the ones men are given. Am I wrong there?
I don't think the point is that those roles being lesser. I think that the point is a lack of choice, or more specifically those roles being *forced* upon women. Indeed those roles are generally seen as less important by society as a whole, although I don't think that is accurate.
post #90 of 195
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by spero View Post
What about divorced and single mamas, who are pretty much forced into the leadership role in their family? Are they supposed to just reject it? Go out and find another man to provide?
I didn't mention this, because I want to keep the discussion more general, but I am a single mom myself - though I don't particularly like that term because of the prejudices that are attached to it in some parts of society. I am a solo mom. I choose to parent on my own. I used donor insemination to create my two children. Interestingly enough, I have received nothing but praise for that particular choice from "my" priest, although I know there would be many more to condemn that choice. Some might view that as a sin. I guess that is another discussion though
post #91 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post
I think you misunderstood me. I know you don't think women are lesser.

I was asking about the *roles*. You seem to object to women being limited to certain roles because *you* consider those roles less than the ones men are given. Am I wrong there?
No I don't consider or women to be of less value than men, nor do I think the roles women have traditionally played to be of less value than the roles men have traditionally played. I think some sects of the Christian church do believe that women are "less" and that the Bible and church tradition is often used to keep women from rising to positions where they can affect change in that mindset.

I don't think that there is a need to define non-biological specific roles along gender lines. To me there is nothing inherent in a man's biological make up that makes him more able to be a priest (to continue to the example) or even the "head of the household", just as there is nothing inherent in a woman's biological makeup which should allow society (or specifically a church/religion) to predetermine where or how she uses her gifts.
post #92 of 195
If it's a matter of force, then it's equally bad that men's roles are forced on them, no? So it's not simply oppression of women, but a bad rule all around.

I don't agree with that perspective, but I understand why people would feel that way.

Quote:
To me there is nothing inherent in a man's biological make up that makes him more able to be a priest (to continue to the example) or even the "head of the household", just as there is nothing inherent in a woman's biological makeup which should allow society (or specifically a church/religion) to predetermine where or how she uses her gifts.
I don't think men are generally "more able" to be priests than women. I don't believe all men are able or called to be priests. I do believe God has set up roles and called us to fill them with the talents and abilities he has given us. And it doesn't look exactly the same for everyone either. I also believe that ultimately, I am to be obedient to Him, even when I don't understand exactly why he has set things up the way he has. Dh and I have very different personalities and abilities, but both of us are *able*. I could lead a family. I might even be good at leading a church. But that's not my calling. It has nothing to do with my ability, intelligence, or worth, and everything to do with obeying God.

But, like I said, there are plenty of women within Christianity who are actively trying to break down gender roles both in the home and in the church, precisely because they feel the way you do about it.
post #93 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post
there are plenty of women within Christianity who are actively trying to break down gender roles both in the home and in the church, precisely because they feel the way you do about it.
And why might this not be God's will, for some women?
post #94 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by purplestraws View Post
I definitely agree with what Smokering said.

Being single is actually considered a blessing as it provides a unique opportunity for individuals to go deeper in their service to Christ.

I, personally, don't think there's anything inherently sinful about a woman remaining single and having a career...as long as they're truly seeking God's will for their lives and not pursing that path for selfish reasons. (i.e. - what THEY want and desire vs. what God may want for them.)
OK, but now to take it one step further, what about a woman who is married? Is it okay for her to have a high-powered career while her hubby stays at home with the kids? Let's assume that she feels that it is God's will that she be in that high-powered position -- Sarah Palin, for example.

And as others have mentioned, what about the married woman who feels called to ministry? Specifically, to lead a church, not some traditionally "female" ministry?

I am asking these questions not to be difficult, really! I think your answer about unmarried women makes sense, so I want to know how your worldview deals with other situations.
post #95 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by MittensKittens View Post
I don't think the point is that those roles being lesser. I think that the point is a lack of choice, or more specifically those roles being *forced* upon women. Indeed those roles are generally seen as less important by society as a whole, although I don't think that is accurate.

MK, I think it would be awful if you felt you had to give up your faith in God because of this. There really are plenty of Christian denominations that interpret the Bible in a less literal way. Actually almost all Christian denominations interpret certain Biblical injunctions as "cultural" -- that's why headcovering is not a widespread Christian practice, even though Paul commanded it. So it is nothing radical when some churches interpret Paul's injunctions about women's submission as being restricted to that time and place.

And if social justice/eglatarianism is important to you, the Christian church has certainly been a force for social justice throughout history. Think of the underground railroad, liberation theology, and the civil rights movement. I don't know how much diversity of denominations there is there in Serbia, but I don't think that Chrisitanity in general is uniformly a sexist institution.
post #96 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post
I do believe God has set up roles and called us to fill them with the talents and abilities he has given us.
But the Catholic church has said there is no scriptural reason for women not to be priests (continuing with this example). So why then if women feel called by God to be priests, and there is no word of God that says they shouldn't be, why limit them based on gender?

And extending that line of thought, how do we know that the churches' interpretation(s) of the role of women is truly reflective of God's intent? Much of the bible was assembled, and written "after the fact" and was selectively edited and published (for lack of a better word - lol). I don't believe much of this evidence presented that God wants us to align ourselves with gender based roles is anything more than the remenants of a patriachal society. Why would s/he have given us so many of the same kinds of gifts and skills to both men and women if s/he didn't want us to use them to their full potential - and not a potential defined and limited by man. It seems inherrently presumptious to me to believe that any person, or institution knows better about what God would want for us than we would know ourselves (assuming mindful reflectiveness on the issues).

Karen
post #97 of 195
I honestly cannot reconcile the bible with feminism. Since Christianity is based on that book, I cannot do so for it either. I can see that some have, based on their method of bible interpretation. In my opinion it is time for the spiritual to be redefined, and not to be based on an ancient book with such an overarching bias.

This is one of the many reasons I am no longer any brand of Christian.
post #98 of 195
One important note on wifely submission is that the wife is to CHOOSE to be submissive. There is no Biblical authority or example of it being ok for a husband, or anyone else to force a woman into that role. If it is Biblically sound, it is the woman's choice to choose that role. And the mutual respect thing is very key as well. A man who is not honoring his wife and loving her as Christ loved the Church is not fulfilling his Biblical role and is living in sin. I don't see how a woman who feels the Bible calls her to such a role and CHOOSES that role for herself could be considered unequal.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BaBaBa View Post
You may find it helpful to reexamine what 'feminism' means to you.

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.
ITA. I'm tired of being told I'm doing women a disservice because I CHOOSE to stay home with my children and honor my husband. Isn't feminism about women having the freedom to CHOOSE what they want? So I'm choosing, I feel that I'm following what God wants for my life, and I'm happy, end of story.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TefferTWH View Post
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.
Ditto!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
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.
Well said.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
Today's culture is very much about rights, what the world owes us, whether anyone's getting a better deal than us. The Bible isn't. Heck it says to submit - willingly - to slavery, torture and death if necessary, for the sake of Christ. And the whole thing is exemplified by Christ, who did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing (Phil 2:6-7).
I totally agree that the focus of today's culture is very much selfishness. And I think some very radical feminism definitely stems from this. "Why can't I do xxx just because I want to" or the "I deserve xxxx" type of deal. The Bible teaches us to not be selfish, to give to others, to focus on Christ and God and not the world. If our culture were less selfish as a whole we'd be a whole lot better off, regardless of feminism, because people would help one another when one had a need. There are examples in the Bible, of men and women alike, selling their possessions and giving to the poor. Who actually does this now-a-days? Christian or not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thao View Post
OK, but now to take it one step further, what about a woman who is married? Is it okay for her to have a high-powered career while her hubby stays at home with the kids? Let's assume that she feels that it is God's will that she be in that high-powered position -- Sarah Palin, for example.
I think that the woman and her husband should look at Biblical example and decide for themselves. While I would disagree with this choice for myself, I don't feel that I can force this decision on someone else. It's between them and God. And on a complete side note, I do not feel that it's God's Will Sarah Palin be in a high powered position, it seems obvious to me that she's lousy at it! JMHO.


So to sum it up, if feminism means that women should have a choice in how they live their lives or not, then yes, it is reconcileable with Christianity. A woman can choose to study the Bible and interpret it however she wants to live her life. After all, she ultimately answers to God and if she feels what she is doing is right in his eyes what does it matter to anyone else? If feminism means that women shouldn't ever choose to subject themselves to traditional gender roles because it demeans other women, even if she feels that's what the Bible tells her to do, then it's not reconcilable. It think it comes down to the freedom of choice without coercion or prohibition to accept or reject the things taught by Christianity on your own. And you can find a sect of Christianity that will support just about any interpretation of the scriptures you make. But ultimately, all that matters is if you're right with God. And that is a very personal thing that is only between you and God.


I had more but i.e. crashed on me. Guess because I was long-winded enough!
post #99 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karenwith4 View Post
But the Catholic church has said there is no scriptural reason for women not to be priests (continuing with this example). So why then if women feel called by God to be priests, and there is no word of God that says they shouldn't be, why limit them based on gender?
Do we know for sure that it is God? Satan can appear to be an Angel of Light.
post #100 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by PatienceAndLove View Post
Do we know for sure that it is God? Satan can appear to be an Angel of Light.
How do we know it isn't Satan calling women to be submissive wives?
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