Papers

Amber Woodford
Jessica DeVega
Women and Religion
September 14, 2009
Throughout the first few weeks we have looked at many views on women in society and in religion. The one thing I really find interesting and really want to know is why women are oppressed, especially in so many religions. This is something that has always struck me because even though I myself am a woman I find it odd and a sort of unbalanced when I see female ministers. Why is this? From our readings and my own beliefs I think I may have come to a better realization of why it is that everyone, not always just men, find it hard to see women as authorities in religious aspects. I feel women are oppressed in religion and over all because men are threatened by the nurturing and more intuitive ways of women.
After reading Beyond God the Father I really liked Mary Daly’s why of thinking when it came to women and religion. Daly describes a sexual hierarchy where men dominate. This social caste where all men even men of color are deemed as higher up and better than women. This is a very big statement considering the time in which Daly wrote Beyond God the Father. Why is this social class put into place, especially so much in religion? In the article The Economy of Love in Religious Commitment: The Deconversion of Women from Nontraditional Religious Movements, Janet Jacobs talks a lot about the importance of a love in religion. Jacobs states that many people feel that love, understanding, and caring are the most significant aspects to religion. She goes on to say that for females the significance of love and its association with devotion is particularly important as women are denied access to spiritual fulfillment, other than through allegiance to the male leadership. Men, on the other hand, have access to positions of power and leadership which provide an alternative mean for bonding and sustaining group affiliation. Thus, it appears that men are more incline to assess their spirituality on the dimensions of both affliction and power, while women are focused more exclusively on love and emotional involvement. (Jacobs)
This statement by Jacobs makes me think that men actually find this threatening. The fact that they are not capable of connecting to religion in an emotional way like women can. In order to keep this from being a huge problem they make sure women do not hold any position of importance in religious instances. How can this not be true when in the article by Elizabeth Weiss Ozorak, The Power but not the Glory: How Women Empower Themselves through Religion, she states that women of all ages are more religious than men. They are more likely to be affiliated with the church, to have a positive view of their church, to pray frequently, and to feel close to God. Ozorak also says that men experience faith differently than women; they focus more on God’s power and judgment while women have more of a personal relationship with God and see him as loving and forgiving. Women I see, tend to have a better relationship and overall feeling about God and religion. They are more emotionally connected to God and have a better understanding of religion. This can be threatening to men because if women truly do have a stronger relationship with God and a better understanding on religion as a whole then that there makes women in a religious aspect superior to men. This superiority in religion could lead than to women dominated society so men throughout all existence have made sure that religion has always been patriarchal in its language, beliefs, practices, and sacred images.
Men over the years have used religion to keep the authority, and authority that they have no place in taking because they truly feel threatened and inadequate when comparing themselves to women and religion. Looking through all of these things I feel it is safe to say that men are, if I may so boldly say, jealous of women’s nurturing and intuitive traits that allow them to have a better feeling and understanding of religion. This may be one reason why women have been oppressed religiously and socially for so long.
So after realizing this how do we fix it, if we even can? Is it just too hard for people, women included, to see women as superior? When it comes to religion we obviously have the upper hand but as I said before it’s odd or seems out of place to see a female minister. The world since the beginning of time has always been ruled by men. I think the only way to change this and really for the betterment of everyone is for women to realize and use the power they have in their relationship in God and religion.

Works Cited
Daly, Mary. Beyond God the Father toward a philosophy of women's liberation. Boston: Beacon, 1985. Print.
Fishman, S. B., and Mary Daly. Beyond God the Father Toward a Philosophy of Women's Liberation. New York: Beacon, 1993. Print.
Jacobs, Janet. "The Economy of Love in Religious Commitment: The Deconversion of Women from Nontraditional Religious Movements." The Journal of Scientific Studies of Religion 2nd ser. 23 (1984): 155-71. Print.
Weiss Ozorak, Elizabeth. "The Power, but Not the Glory: How Women Empower Themselves Through Religion." The Journal of Scientific Studies of Religion 1st ser. 35 (1996): 17-29. Print.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License