The Feminization of Christianity

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  1. profile image0
    Sooner28posted 8 years ago

    Okay, for those of you who know that I am a militant atheist, you are probably wondering about the title tongue. … ristianity

    Craig is a smart guy in other areas.  Even as an atheist, I can see that.  But this is clearly suspect, and as much as he doesn't want to admit it, his entire analysis is based on the stereotype "women are emotional, men are rational."

    Why can't conservative Christianity purge sexism from its ranks?

    1. profile image0
      Emile Rposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      I read the link. I don't see sexism in his explanation. I'm not suggesting that conservative Christianity isn't sexist, by any means. However, this link does not appear to be a case of it.

      1. profile image0
        Sooner28posted 8 years agoin reply to this


        "Second is my hypothesis that this disparity is to be explained by the fact that men respond more readily to a rational approach, whereas women tend to respond more to relational approaches. Of course, this is just my best suggestion, and if you’ve got a better hypothesis to explain the disparity, Alexandra, I’m open to it. But there has to be an explanation."

        "Please understand that what I’m doing is not stereotyping but generalizing. There’s a difference between a stereotype and a generalization. A generalization admits of exceptions but remains an accurate characterization of most members of a group. Most women do respond better to relational appeals, whereas men tend to like the rational approach. Books on marriage improvement strongly emphasize this difference. In her fascinating book You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation, Deborah Tanner, for example, says that the way men and women communicate is so different that when a man talks to a woman it’s a case of cross-cultural communication!"

        "Third is my claim that the church is becoming increasingly feminized. What I mean by this is that church services and programs are increasingly based on emotional and relational factors that appeal more to women than to men. The problem of the church’s lack of appeal to men has been recognized by men’s movements like Promise Keepers and books like John Eldredge’s Wild at Heart. Nowhere is this feminization more evident than in contemporary worship music. Someone aptly remarked that if you were to replace references to God in many praise songs with “Baby,” they would sound just like romantic songs between a man and a woman! This is not true of classic hymns like “A Mighty Fortress” or “And Can It be?” Talking with young men, I find that many of them are just turned off by these touchy-feely worship services and would rather not go."

        Give me a break.

    2. profile image0
      Rad Manposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      He's not stereotyping he's generalizing.

      I wonder what happens if we generalize about race? It then starts to sound like racism.

      1. profile image0
        Sooner28posted 8 years agoin reply to this

        Yeah because saying women respond to more emotional appears while men respond to more rational appeals is not stereotyping women as emotional and irrational at all.

  2. Thomas Swan profile image96
    Thomas Swanposted 8 years ago

    Christianity, by nature, values traditional views over progressive, mutable views. Christians seem to think that because evolution, relativity, and the Big Bang are theories (that may be amended as new evidence arises), these theories are less important than things that have "stood the test of time". Anyway, the point is that Christians will be more traditional in their thinking regarding the "role of women". Not to mention, the Bible is full of examples in which women are treated like objects to be owned, raped, discarded, and belittled. Just read the story of Lot and his family. I wrote a hub about the 10 craziest stories in the Bible that summarizes it.

    1. profile image0
      Sooner28posted 8 years agoin reply to this

      If conservative Christians would just openly admit it, I could have at least respect their honesty.  But they try to pretend that they aren't sexist.

  3. MizBejabbers profile image88
    MizBejabbersposted 8 years ago

    I went to the website and tried reading as much of that guy's blah blah psychobabble as I could stomach.
    You can't use his analysis to explain masculine Christianity. He is trying to go forty miles to get across the street. It is much more simple than that. I grew up in a fundamentalist church and they taught that women should be subservient to men, men are the heads of the church and the husband is the head of the household. Never mind that he is a stumbling down drunk and gambler and his wife is earning the living. The guilt factor in the church browbeats women into thinking that they are not good Christians and they may go to Hell unless they follow the teachings of the Pauline Christian religion which put men on the thronel. I have since left the church and imagine my surprise to find that Jesus did not teach that women should be subservient to men. Even the Jews and Hebrews had priestesses, and more and more evidence points to the equality of Mary Magdalene with the other apostles. The extreme masculinization of the church came when the church fell under the influence of Rome and did away with the books written closer to the time of Jesus, including the Gospel of Thomas. Today's women have become more independent and therefore we do not have to put up with that inferiority BS. Those who want to stick with organized religion are feminizing it, and the rest of us deserted it. Emotion and rationality have nothing to do with it. In short, we are mad as Hell and we aren't going to take it anymore. Pat Robertson, shove it where the sun don't shine!

    1. profile image0
      Rad Manposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Beautiful. Outstanding. Good for you!!!!!!! We need more people like you in this world.

    2. profile image0
      Sooner28posted 8 years agoin reply to this


      He was trying to dress up his sexism in argument, and he couldn't even do that.

      You can also find out that he condones genocide when God ordains it (reading his answer to the question about the Canaanites).

  4. MelissaBarrett profile image57
    MelissaBarrettposted 8 years ago

    I'm going to get slammed for this, I know I am... but still my opinion.

    In some ways I believe the equalization of men and women is leading to just that... equalization. Meaning men and women are thought of as being exactly the same. Any attempt to point out that there are differences is met with cries of "sexism".

    Men and women AREN'T the same. This isn't biblical, this is thousands of years of evolution leading to gender roles that are clearly defined biologically. We accept these roles in the animal kingdom but we are trying to socially force non-difference in humans.

    Males ARE more aggressive... in almost every species. Does that mean females can't be aggressive? No, but it means that males are more likely to be. Is it a generalization? Yes. But it is a correct generalization. There are all sorts of evolutionary reasons for it... Men are also physically stronger. Is every man stronger than every woman? No... however if you compare the strongest men to the strongest women, the man is going to win.

    Women ARE more nurturing. That's why we have breasts and ovaries. We are the ones that have children. We are the ones physically designed to care for them. All those soft, fuzzy feelings have a purpose. We feel them for a reason. Rationally, there are more personal cons to motherhood than there are pros. We have to be at least somewhat irrational to have children.

    Is that saying that men can't be loving, caring parents? No. It's just saying that women are more biologically designed for it.

    Now, that being said... There is something to be said for reminders that traditional gender roles tend-in general- to be more effective. They are after all, what each gender has been designed for. Should they apply to everybody? No. Should there be a stigma attached to anyone not choosing to follow traditional roles? No. But, should we as a society be advocating an elimination of those roles... an enforced sameness? No, I don't think we should.

    1. profile image0
      Rad Manposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      All very good points and I agree that there are physical, emotional and psychological differences between the sexes. For instance women are better multi-taskers while men are very good at staying focused on the one thing they need to do, but here is the problem with generalizing. It forces us to stereotype. If I'm hiring a person for a job, do I look at wether a man or woman, African or Jew could do the job better or do I look at the individual in front of me?

      1. MelissaBarrett profile image57
        MelissaBarrettposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        Eeek! Here's the part of the conversation where the one nasty little libertarian part of me pops out. Ideally, you hire whoever you like for whatever reason you feel like. (Assuming you own the company) or you hire whoever your superiors feel like for whatever reason they feel like it.

        Now, I honestly DO believe that there are very good reasons why women shouldn't be in traditionally male jobs. My ex-husband works in a mechanic's shop and his boss will not hire women. I got all pissy about that at one point (especially since I could bench press my ex-husband), until he explained the reasons. Even if he hadn't... all it took was me being present there one day when an pretty girl walked in to understand.

        Now, one of these days I'm sure a woman is going to apply for the job. Get turned down and sue. She'll get hired and productivity will drop through the floor. She will have proved her point and the business likely would go under, since it's speed-based and they have a hard time maintaining even under present conditions...

        That was a slight digression, so getting back to the point. Ideally you should hire the person who you think will get the job done with the least amount of drama. Whatever factors go into that change with each job.

        If the job is lifting 100 lb bags of concrete... the 5'1 90 pound woman might not be your best choice.
        If you are packaging bacon, you might not want to hire a devout Jew.
        I'm not sure what job would require a white person instead of a black person... however I'm likely going to steer my red-headed pale child away from construction/road work/life guard lest he burst into flame.

        1. profile image0
          Rad Manposted 8 years agoin reply to this

          Let me tell you a little story, when I was 28 I was hired by a design firm and the first thing I noticed on my first at the office was the 20 young beautiful girls I had to work with. Was it a little distracting? Yes at first, but I can tell you that their production never went down. Little joke there, see what I did?

          Actually what I was getting at was the problem with stereotyping. We all know cops approach people with darker skin differently then whites or asians. The asians in my area can and do go jogging in their slippers and regular cloths, cops don't even look at them. If a while guy did that they'd follow him for a while and ask him if he was okay, a black guy would have his face planted up against the squad car.

          What happens when we use stereotyping when hiring someone? We hire the asian because we assume he's smart and good at math, while the more qualified white or black guy doesn't get the job.

          We hire the man because we assume the women will be an emotional wreck half the month and the more qualified women doesn't get the job.

          It's best not to make assumptions about people we just meet so we don't make the error of thinking the black guy is a drug dealer, the asian guy is anti-social, the white guy is a coke addict and the Jewish guy is super cheap.

    2. wilderness profile image94
      wildernessposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Why would you get slammed?  Only an idiot thinks that men and women are identical, that there are no very basic differences in the anatomy and construction of the two.

      1. MelissaBarrett profile image57
        MelissaBarrettposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        Ultra-feminists and I have issues... on a regular basis. It could be life experience causing me to be paranoid.

        1. wilderness profile image94
          wildernessposted 8 years agoin reply to this

          Actually, so do I.  My response, though, is generally to simply ignore them.  "Only an idiot thinks..." and I don't take well to idiots.

    3. Thomas Swan profile image96
      Thomas Swanposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Agreed, and well said. I once reported on data that shows women are "generally" more religious than men. I got accused of sexism. I kept trying to say that it was a legitimate scientific study; that it doesn't mean all women are religious, or even that it's a bad thing.... but she didn't listen. People like to moralize; they like to condemn others; they like to point fingers. They get a kick out of it. I think it reinforces the pride that people extract from their moral impression of themselves, or it bestows reputational benefits when done publicly. I wrote a hub about this topic too... damn I'm being shameless in my promotions here lol, but it seemed relevant! smile

      1. MizBejabbers profile image88
        MizBejabbersposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        Thomas, I don't think your statement that women are generally more religious than men is sexist. I think I saw the same or a similar report, and I think it is true, probably for the same reasons Melissa stated.  I live in the Bible Belt, and I see plenty of women going to church with their children while their men stay home because they aren't interested. At least that's in my geographical area.

        1. profile image0
          Rad Manposted 8 years agoin reply to this

          Don't you find it odd that it's the women who drag the husband and children to the house that treats them like second class citizens? I know I certainly do.

          1. Thomas Swan profile image96
            Thomas Swanposted 8 years agoin reply to this

            Perhaps that's why the Churches are like that. They take the support of women for granted, and that's why women are taken advantage of.

          2. MizBejabbers profile image88
            MizBejabbersposted 8 years agoin reply to this

            Yeah, I do, just as I find it odd that women of Islam are willing to stand behind their men although they may be raped, beaten, forced into arranged marriages, and subjected to honor killings.

        2. Thomas Swan profile image96
          Thomas Swanposted 8 years agoin reply to this

          Miz, thanks for posting your experiences. Yes, I should have mentioned that it's probably down to the kinds of biological differences Melissa was talking about. I think there are a couple of explanations. The first is that women are more risk-averse. They have to be if they want to bring up a child in a world of aggressive men! This means the comforts of religion will be more appealing. Another explanation is that women are more sociable in groups, meaning the social atmosphere provided by religion will be appealing.

    4. MizBejabbers profile image88
      MizBejabbersposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Melissa, I'm not going to slam you either. In fact I agree with you, but I don't see the relevance between the physiological and psychological differences in men and women and being told that "God doesn't want you to speak out in church. Your place is to serve your husband, never mind that he gambled away his paycheck and left you and the kids hungry".  In fact, I see that as one of the abuses of power that the physically stronger sex holds over women. Women have had to become stronger and more aggressive for their own survival when some of us discovered that we couldn't depend on our men. (Some of us I say, gentlemen, there are plenty of you who are kind, considerate family men.) When we have to "wear the pants in the family" as my mother used to say, we don't want to be told to shut up and "I'm the boss."

      1. MelissaBarrett profile image57
        MelissaBarrettposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        I've never really ran into that in my church, although I go to an exceptionally liberal church, so that might be the reason.

        I am a weird combination of gender roles... My base personality, I believe, would have been the traditional woman's role of staying at home, taking care of the kids and being subservient... I gravitate towards that role naturally and tend to be happiest when fully immersed in it.

        However, I was raised in an almost exclusively male environment and treated very much like one of the guys. I absolutely hated it... every minute of it... but I think I picked up some traits and I know I picked up some traditionally "male" skills. None of which do I use willingly.

        I actually suffer more at the hands of other woman, who seem to think that my life choices and opinions have set the "movement" back by 50 years at least.

        1. MizBejabbers profile image88
          MizBejabbersposted 8 years agoin reply to this

          Really! I lived the same type of environment when I was small and absolutely loved it. All the rivalry between boy cousins and me nearly drove my mother crazy.  My sister, however, was all "lady" and would not have liked it at all. She was several years younger than I.

    5. profile image0
      Sooner28posted 8 years agoin reply to this

      I don't necessarily disagree with all of this.  Men and women are not the same.  Some feminists seem to want us to believe that men and women are exactly the same, aside from the physical differences.  Though, I don't subscribe to rigid gender roles either.

      What annoyed me about Craig is his outright claim that women are generally "less rational" than men.  The head of the PHILOSOPHY department (yes, the same discipline Craig is in) at my university was a woman, and she was known to silence people at conferences with her incisive questioning.

      That's what bugged me the most.

      1. MelissaBarrett profile image57
        MelissaBarrettposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        I don't think that men are more rational... per se. I just think they tend more towards linear thinking. I also think that they tend to strip the softer emotions away when decision making. That doesn't mean that the decision is more rational... just more... hard, I guess the word would be. In some cases I can see an advantage there.

        Although following that logic when pertaining to religion... I hate to say this, but if he's expecting "rational" or "logical" to be a big pull towards the church, I think he might be traveling down the wrong path.

        1. wilderness profile image94
          wildernessposted 8 years agoin reply to this

          Agree with thinking process.  And certainly agree that "rational" and "logic" are not a pull towards church.  Which may be why it seems more women are church goers.

          Or maybe it's because women are traditionally subservient (as you pointed out) and the church wants obedience.  Or maybe just because women outlive men and there are thus more of them.

          1. MelissaBarrett profile image57
            MelissaBarrettposted 8 years agoin reply to this

            Or it could just be that men want to stay home and watch the *insert whatever sport season it happens to be here* game/race/championship.

            We might just be making this a bit more complicated than it needs to be.

            1. wilderness profile image94
              wildernessposted 8 years agoin reply to this

              Probably are, at that.  Might be nothing more than not wanting a rope around their neck for several hours.  Take away the coat and tie you might triple male participation!

              1. MelissaBarrett profile image57
                MelissaBarrettposted 8 years agoin reply to this

                This may be true. There are an equal number of men and women in my church (about) and not a tie to be seen. (Except on my husband... but he is having some trouble adapting).

                Jeans, t-shirts and those ugly brown sandals. That's what the guys look like...

                I think you might have a point.

                1. wilderness profile image94
                  wildernessposted 8 years agoin reply to this

                  Keeps ME out! Of church, weddings, and other formal events.  I never did like being strangled - women just have it SOOO easy!  big_smile

                  1. MelissaBarrett profile image57
                    MelissaBarrettposted 8 years agoin reply to this


                    Yeah buster, try a JcPenny's industrial strength 5-hook bra (beige), control top pantyhose and a pair of heels. Underneath a nylon dress with 1700 buttons (up the back, because women apparently keep a spare pair of arms back there) and a zipper that will either get caught in your hair... or in the rolling top of the afore mentioned pantyhose as the are slowly creeping towards your hips. Don't think you can pull them up without being noticed either.

                    Then complain about the tie.

                    Edit: I think I just effectively proved that men are more rational than women. Sorry girls.

  5. electronician profile image70
    electronicianposted 8 years ago

    Everyone knows that churches are nominally headed up by a man (usually), but actually run by women.

    I don't see anything wrong with the generalization about men and women. We are different, and no amount of wishing it away will change that basic biological fact.

  6. profile image0
    Motown2Chitownposted 8 years ago

    I haven't read through all the responses, but lemme just throw some thoughts out here.  From the point of view of a church ''insider'' for lack of a better description.

    There is plenty of sexism in what Dr. Craig had to say.  And plenty of just plain bull.  He neglects to point out while talking about ''touchy-feely'' worship music that the VAST majority of church music ministry directors are men.  He also neglects to point out that minus the exciting music and drama productions that oodles of more contemporary churches pump out on Sunday, the majority of congregants simply wouldn't show, and if they did, they wouldn't be likely to come back.  Most of the time, people aren't IN CHURCH be spiritually fed - if they were, there would be no need for ANY music, drama, emotional videos to con people into donating to church approved charities.  It's not about feminizing anything - it's about trying to secularize it to make it more acceptable to people.  The Church, as a whole, is learning how to manipulate people like advertisers have always done.  They're not preaching Christianity or teaching Christ - they're trying like hell to SELL the CHURCH!  And not THE Church, but rather their specific brand of it.

    More people are in church as a way to maintain their cultural identity than they are for other reasons.  THAT'S a generalization, not a stereotype. 

    Men are more interested in apologetics than the average Christian woman because they want to know how to WIN - arguments.  Period.  More Christian women, in my opinion, are content and secure enough in their faith, and in their God, to understand that he doesn't need them to defend him.  And, let's be honest here:  apologetics is rarely a true defense of the faith - it's usually a defense of the trillions of ways that we humans have bastardized it over the centuries.

    1. profile image0
      Sooner28posted 8 years agoin reply to this

      This sounds much closer to the truth.

      1. profile image0
        Motown2Chitownposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        I think so, Sooner.

        As to my take on ''just'' the sexism part, I agree with everything Melissa had to say about male/female roles in life and society.

        (Just finished reading through the whole thread)



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