The paper is aimed to examine two issues: Feminist theology and Christian relationships with other religions. While the examination of the first topic is partly reflecting the in-depth process of changing attitude towards women, the second is the attempt to apply the paradigm of completions in religion to Christianity.
Feminist theology exists for over last 35 years, and when it first appeared, it was regarded as something “radical” and was criticized widely. It was then when the feminist theology became the part of feminist conception and reflected another part of women’s lives. The beginning of the movement was put by Valerie Saiving (Goldstein)’s article “The Human Situation: A Feminine View,” in 1960 (Plaskow, 1980). The article suggested that the approach to the traditional story of the creation of human beings should be reviewed. In her opinion, it was necessary to teach about the sin as the will to power or pride proved to be shared from women’s experience.
It was only the beginning for some improvements that took place since that time. Every decade brought new and new trends in the feminist theology finding supporter among African-American women and other races. Nowadays, a vast command of concepts and views has formed on the issue.
Social and Physical contest
In fact, the development of feminist theology, as well as feminism in general, is nothing but the reflection of the experience of injustice and double standards applied to women by the patriarch society.
The necessity of the development of the concept where the woman plays a significant role was dictated by the general developments in the society. The liberalization of view and will for equality became the source of the new trends. Since women were suppressed in their rights for a long time, the concept developed rather rapidly. As a result, women started to stand for their rights in all fields of life – political, social and religious. The liberalization in social life started first but in required some support to be strengthened and to be able to survive. This led to the strengthening of women’s positions in political life. However, the process would have been a week, ill and incomplete if there were no religious support that could give the background for the unification never mind the color of the skin or other believes. Religion was perfect for this goal(New Catholic Woman, 1985).
It was found that there was no women presence in the field of fundamental theological studies and this resulted in the forming of one-sided ill approach to the role of women in religion and the events that are described by the Holly Book. In the course of time, such scientists appeared developing the theories that proclaim the grate and important role of woman in development of the entire religion and historical events.
One should note that those theories are finding broader and broader support among modern, educated and successful women. It is well known that for many people faith is an important source of support and live energy. This fact makes feminist concepts of religion very important for the feminist part of the society.
However, it is fair to note that there are some more radical approaches to the question. For example, some groups do believe that God is a woman or that Jesus was a woman. Of cause both of those points of view have a right to exist (in fact, if for the second one there are some avoidances that contradict is, the second one is absolutely as good as the one that claims that God in muscular), but they are absolutely not acceptable from the point of view of the traditional religious beliefs.
Feminist theology is nothing but the attempt to reestimate the role of women in religion and history. Its development is logical and necessary part of the development of the entire society. One can easily note that there was a gradual change in the attitude of the entire society towards the issue.
It is the sign of increasing liberalization, democracy and freedom for all members of society. It also means that the process is so deep and powerful that even such conservative aspects of social life like religion go through drastic and irresistible changes.
It is very likely that in the course of time, there will be no difference between conventional and feminist theological approaches since they will become too integrated not to coincide.
Christianity and other religions
It is interesting to note, how the attitude of Christians towards other religions changed in the course of time. First of all, in the very beginning, Christianity as the entirely new religion had to fight for the followers and was suppressed by the existing religions. At the later stages, it became the instrument of power for the governors of medieval countries that determined domestic and foreign policy to the large extent.
Since the religion was playing a big role in the execution of power and social life, it had to be preserved and strengthened to keep the society in peace and the country in prosperity. For the same reason, the religion competed for the control of the other religion, since they were a part of state power too (like Muslim religion for example). As a result, the Western World witnessed numerous wars and bloody battles that had religion as the main reason (Stump).
Later, the Western world entered the era of relative “religious peace.” The clashes still existed but took another form. At the same time, one should note that until the second half of the eighteen century no studies of many other religions did existed. The discovery of those religions had a major influence on the attitude of Christians towards other faiths. However, it is worth saying that the major impact on that attitude had globalization.
Many reasons of relations between religions
Several reasons that influence relations of Christianity (as well as any other religion, probably, except Buddhism) with other religions can be outlined:
Competition is the natural order of things; it exists everywhere in nature and human society. Religion is not the exception. Even being the major religion in the Western World it still has to compete with other religions since many Muslim, Judaism, Buddhist, and other communities exist within any developed society. It can be compared to the market where one monopoly and several smaller actors are present.
Faith is probably the main factor that determines the relationship between Christianity and other religions. It is well known that some facts from the bible are proved by other holy books of other religions (for example Muslims also believe in Jesus as in the great prophet), however, that is interpreted by the Christians as the proof of their universal rightness, not as the prove of the right of other religions for their opinion. The thing is that now matter how many Christian or any other priests can talk about tolerance and acceptance, not of them will ever accept the point of view that the other priest’s god does exist. Otherwise, the religion just won’t survive.
Christianity is still a major source of power in the U.S. While in Europe the church lost its positions in the social and political life, the U.S. Christian church is still strong and is making every attempt to preserve its dominating status (Alamdari, 2004).
And of the cause, since the Christianity as an old and developed religion, it created the system of value typical for the follower. This system of beliefs determines the attitude towards other points of view and, of the cause, according to that point of view all the other religions are wrong.
It is obvious that despite in most of the cases there is no hostility and in some cases, there are even tolerance and acceptance between Christianity and other religions, the real “peace” will never be established. The main reason for it lies not in cultural and traditional differences but the deep belief in the universal truth of one idea and falseness of the others.
The relations between different churches can be best illustrated in the example of the market economy. Many companies are in the market, they execute different market strategies and have a different philosophy of business but they are still competitors.
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