Reconcilling the Values of Christianity, Jesus, Feminism and Women’s Rights
Thinking about sexual freedom in terms of doing anything I want with my body is best for me as a human being belies what we know from every other area of our life.
- Environmental freedom isn’t created by dumping all forms of chemicals on trees, bushes, and gardens. There are principles and guardrails in place for specific kinds of chemicals.
- Nutrition isn’t found by picking whatever you want at the vending machine or fast food joint.
- Bodily health isn’t doing whatever. There are rules and principles for living out these principles that are well worn and test. There is accumulated wisdom on these questions in terms of the health aspects.
The call for absolute sexual freedom without the context of responsibility is a fools errand.
- Responsible use of freedom of speech is important.
Responsible use of cars is important.
- Responsible use of the environment is necessary to save that.
- Responsible parenting is necessary to raise good kids and families.
- Responsible use of our resources is necessary to save the environment.
- Responsible use of all of our freedoms is important.
Unfortunately or fortunately, buying into sexual freedom outside of responsibility results in intense emotional blowback, as women’s sexual involvement link them to relationship more than men.
Its precisely the problems of relationships as disposable and throw away that women complain about as the problems of modern day society. Only extending these relationships further gives up the goose (quite literally). Its quite true that if you can get the sex for free (without commitment), there is no reason for a man.
Expecting more from men in terms of responsibility—requires a new relational social contract—one that acknowledges freedom beyond hyper-individualism.
Women claim that women are sexual objects. Christians agree its just a question of how to best resolve that. Traditionally most “feminist” groups have called for sexual liberation in terms of having more sex. That only turns women into sexual objects more, not less. They become objects in male sexual objects.
I would think a more in depth case would point to the importance of context, family, hyper-individualism is hardly an answer for women (especially when most feminists take a few of freedom that critiques that individualism and points to an ethic of care.) Its precisely a more robust. We need an understanding of liberation that is more robust and less oriented toward objectification, and that understands women as complex, multi-dimensional beings.
Jesus Was the Greatest Force for Feminism and its Values:
Its amazing how much this seems consistent with the life of Christ and his model of living:
Ethics of Care was developed mainly bywriters (e.g. Annette Baier) in the second half of the 20th Century, and was motivated by the idea that men think inmasculine terms such as justice and autonomy, whereas woman think in feminineterms such as caring. It calls for a change in how we view morality and the virtues, shifting towards virtues exemplified by women, such as taking care of others, patience, the ability to nurture, self-sacrifice, etc, which have been marginalizedbecause society has not adequately valued the contributions of women. It emphasizes the importance of solidarity, community and relationships rather than universal standards and impartiality. It argues that instead of doing the right thing even if it requires personal cost or sacrificing the interest of family or community members (as the traditional and approaches suggest), we can, and indeed should, put the interests of those who are close to us above the interests of complete strangers.
Thats everything that Jesus stood for. It was about seeing life beyond individuals and rights—communities and relationships were important. We aren’t just abstract rights bearers—we are lovers, mothers, fathers, parents, sons, and daughters. Our communities make a real difference in our identity as well as our understandings of meaning and purpose.
Jesus lived out the ethic of care every day of his life. Thats what his movement stands for. Ultimately Jesus was about caring, patience, self-sacrifice, caring for strangers and family.
If this was the basis of all relationships, it would undermine patriarchy, improve relationships, and help empower women more than any political move in the history of government:
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
The above list is known as the Fruits of the Spirit, which is a key Christian principle of living found in the book of Galatians.
Reflect on that and let it wash over you. Meditate on the ways in which virtue would fundamentally transform relationships forever and for all ways in ways that Google, Facebook, and YouTube can only dream of—by making relationships, well relational. Not on exploitation or conquest, but based on love, respect, and care.
Consequently, the Principles of the Bible live out feminism better than feminism does. Here’s a quick video which has a dialog between a Christian and feminist that helps highlight some of the principles above (it does quote scripture in a way that should help illuminate the values, principles, and conflicts at the heart of this issue):