Feminist theology

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Feminist theology is a movement found in several religions, including Christianity, Judaism, and New Thought, to reconsider the traditions, practices, scriptures, and theologies of those religions from a feminist perspective. Some of the goals of feminist theology include increasing the role of women among the clergy and religious authorities, reinterpreting male-dominated imagery and language about God, determining women's place in relation to career and motherhood, and studying images of women in the religion's sacred texts.

Feminists have attempted to counter perceptions of women as morally or spiritually inferior to men; as a source of sexual temptation; as dedicated to childbearing, their homes, and husbands; and as having a lesser role in religious ritual or leadership because of such inferiority or dedication.


[edit] Methodology

Feminist theology attempts to consider every aspect of religious practice and thought. Some of the questions feminist theologians ask are:

  • How do we do theology? The basic question of how theologians may go about creating systems of thought is currently being reinterpreted by feminist theologians. Many feminist theologians assert that personal experience can be an important component of insight into the divine, along with the more traditional sources of holy books or received tradition. (The relevance of personal experience to the policies of groups of people is a familiar notion to veterans of the feminist movement.)
  • Who is God? Feminist theologians have supported the use of non- or multi-gendered language for God, arguing that language powerfully impacts belief about the behavior and essence of God.
  • Where are women in religious history? Feminist historical theologians study the roles of women in periods throughout history that have impacted religion: the Biblical period, the early Christian era, medieval Europe, and any period of import to a particular religion. They study individual women who influenced their religion or whose religious faith led them to impact their culture. The work of these scholars has helped feminist theologians claim historical figures as their predecessors in feminist theology. For example, Sojourner Truth's "Ain't I a Woman?" speech pointed out, "Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman. Man had nothing to do with him!" Elizabeth Cady Stanton produced The Woman's Bible, excising the traditional Christian text of all references she thought contradicted the positions of women's rights.

[edit] Bahá'í Faith

The Bahá'í Faith has as one of its main teachings the principle of the equality of men and women.[1] The Bahá'í teachings suggest that for humanity to advance, that each gender, though not identical in function, must work in unison with each other and allow the healthy functioning of society. The Bahá'í teachings state that gender equality has positive results for everyone, not only women, and require the same academic and spiritual education for both girls and boys.[2]

[edit] Christianity

[edit] Islam

[edit] Judaism

[edit] New Thought movement

New Thought as a movement had no single origin, but was rather propelled along by a number of spiritual thinkers and philosophers and emerged through a variety of religious denominations and churches, particularly the Unity Church, Religious Science, and Church of Divine Science.[3] It was a feminist movement in that most of its teachers and students were women; notable among the founders of the movement were Emma Curtis Hopkins, known as the "teacher of teachers" Myrtle Fillmore, Malinda Cramer, and Nona L. Brooks;[3] with its churches and community centers mostly lead by women, from the 1880s to today.[4][5]

[edit] Christian Science

Founder: Mary Baker Eddy

[edit] Other religions

In the latter part of the 20th Century, feminism was influential in the rise of Neopaganism in the United States, and particularly the Dianic tradition. Some feminists find the worship of a goddess, rather than a god, to be consonant with their views. Others are polytheists, and worship a number of goddesses. The collective set of beliefs associated with this is sometimes known as thealogy and sometimes referred to as the Goddess movement. See also Dianic Wicca.

[edit] Gender and God

Others who practice feminist spirituality may instead adhere to a feminist re-interpretation of Western monotheistic traditions. In those cases, the notion of God as having a male gender is rejected, and God is not referred to using male pronouns. Feminist spirituality may also object to images of God that they perceive as authoritarian, parental, or disciplinarian, instead emphasizing "maternal" attributes such as nurturing, acceptance, and creativity.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ Shoffstall, Veronica (1999-10). "Advancement of Women: A Baha'i Perspective, by Janet and Peter Khan: Transforming the roles of women and men, a Review". One Country (New York: Baha'i International Community) 10 (3). ISSN 1018-9300. http://bahai-library.com/?file=shoffstall_khan_advancement_women. 
  2. ^ Kuzyk, Leslie William (2003). "Gender Equality". Social Justice, Wealth Equity and Gender Equality: Bahá'ís and non-Bahá'ís of Alberta. Calgary: University of Calgary (Alberta), Faculty of Graduate Studies. http://bahai-library.com/?file=kuzyk_social_justice_alberta#_Toc47346941. 
  3. ^ a b Lewis, James R.; J. Gordon Melton (1992). Perspectives on the New Age. SUNY Press. pp. pp16–18. ISBN 079141213X. 
  4. ^ Harley, Gail M.; Danny L. Jorgensen (2002). Emma Curtis Hopkins: Forgotten Founder of New Thought. Syracuse University Press. pp. 79. ISBN 0815629338. 
  5. ^ Bednarowski, Mary Farrell (1999). The Religious Imagination of American Women. Indiana University Press. pp. 81. ISBN 025321338X. 
  • Pamela Sue Anderson, A feminist philosophy of religion: the rationality and myths of religious belief (Oxford; Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 1998)
  • Pamela Sue Anderson and Beverley Clack, eds., Feminist philosophy of religion: critical readings (London: Routledge, 2004)

[edit] External links

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