1. What conflicting pictures of womanhood emerge from the central female figures of the Christian New Testament? How can we reconcile these differing views?
In the New Testament, female members of the society are encouraged to be submissive to their husbands. They are urged to follow their husbands and to be makers of their families. Women are seen as heroes who can liberate the people. For instance, when Jesus resurrected, women were the first people to be notified. Although they are important, the bible still says that they should be sufficiently submissive to their spouses and be intelligent for their families. While they are urged to be intelligent, they are also told to follow what their husbands and other male members of their families said. A female member who did not have a male spouse did not have any opinion in the society (Ozorak 25). We can reconcile these views by understanding where they should be applied and where just to ignore some and implement some.
2. How are we to understand Paul’s characterization of women? Does a single picture emerge? Should we expect one too?
Paul depicts women to be of strong character and able to influence their husbands to do the right thing or wrong thing. He claims that women can either build or break a person through their actions. He claimed that a woman could tempt a man to do something wrong. He also said that women are strong people and should be able to support their husbands. Paul does not have a single view of women, and no Christian should expect women to have only one character or one description from Paul (Sointu 265). Women are depicted as both very strong characters who can lead masses and at the same time are depicted as weak characters who need to have guidance from their husbands.
3. Is God beyond gender for Christians?
God is beyond gender in Christians. There are no laws that are specific for women, and there are no laws for men. Both men and ladies are judged in the same way. Both are responsible for the sins that they commit and the faith that they have in God. Although women were created to be helpers for men, they are still responsible for what they do and how they conduct themselves. The story of Adam and eve depicts how women are powerful in convincing men (Heelas 52). However, the punishments were issued to both the man and a woman for disobeying God. No one was safe from the wrath of God.
4. Is the Virgin Mary divine? How has the Church dealt with this question over history?
The Virgin Mary remains divine. She was selected by God so that she could give birth to Christ, who would in turn save mankind. At the time that she was approached, she was still a virgin and not married. It is paramount to note that even though it was unheard of and shameful for women to get pregnant before they were married, she accepted the challenge wholeheartedly without any questions and with so much grace (Sointu 262). The church has dealt with this by believing in her cause and ensuring that she is respected within the church. In this way, people are reminded of what she did. It is obvious that very few human beings would find it very hard to accept to do so.
5. Do you think a cloistered, celibate life might have been an attractive option for women in the middle Ages? Why or why not?
The celibate was not an attractive option for women in the middle ages. It is because women at this time did not have a say over much in the society, and they were discriminated against. They did not possess the capacity to do anything by themselves and thus required to have husbands so that they could be respected in the society. Marriage was the goals of every woman and every girl who could not get a husband was considered an outcast and was not respected among the people. They could not acquire any property or even in some cases go to the churches if they were not married (Ozorak 20).
6. What are some of the means that the social institution of the Church exercises control over women’s bodies? How do various denominations differ in these approaches?
The church controls the way that women dresses by having dress codes for women to enter the church. For instance, some churches do not allow women to enter the church wearing trousers or by wearing tight clothes. Other require that women cover their hair when they are going to church while others require that women do not even enter places of worship. For instance, Muslim women have to cover their heads whenever they are going to public places (Sointu 267). They claim that only a husband should experience the beauty of a woman. Catholic nuns have a specific type of clothing where they do not become objects of lust.
7. What impact did the concepts of sola fides and sola scriptura have on women during the Protestant Reformation?
During the reformation, women were given the opportunity to become just like men. The sola fides relied on the faith of the people where they believed that a person acted in accordance to their faith and that their faith would be able to save them. Sola scriptura relied on the bible for the foundation of Christianity and faith and therefore people had to read the bible regardless of their genders so that they could attain eternity (Christ 160). Women were freed from the umbrella of men, and they were able to do things on their own and did not have to wait for men to do things for them.
8. How are some feminist Christian women reconciling their faith with their political views on gender equality?
They say that a woman was meant to help men to become greater. They claim that they are, in all ways, equal to men and therefore they need to have the same opportunities as men. They say that they can do what men can do, and thus they should never be discriminated against neither should they watch as men walk all over them. They claim that men have absconded their responsibilities or taking advantage of women so that they can make things better for themselves and therefore, they have seen the need to come with ways to protect themselves against injustice (Christ 60). They have even some examples of how influential women can be and thus earning them a place in the political world.
9. Was Muhammad a feminist? Explain.
Muhammad was not a feminist. However, he recognized the influence that the women had in the society and understood that women had their divine power. Mohammed recognized women’s rights and freedom and completed this by supporting them to experience justice. He insisted on the place of women in the society and ensured the roles the women played in the families made them happy and responsible. Mohammed could have shown that he had no respect for women but the actions he carried out like marrying several women were just to promote justice. In a case where a woman was widowed, Muhammad would marry the woman so that the children would meet their needs. Women and men are said to have the same rights in Islam. Men however have more importance than women and that is why they have to labor in order to be the providers.
10. Trace some of the arguments surrounding the veil in Islam. Where do you stand on this issue?
The veil in Islam is used to portray the purity of a woman. The major role of a woman should be to please the husband and to ensure that the husband is satisfied at all times. A woman who fails to satisfy the husband sexually mentally and physically is said to have failed in their wifely duties (Long 507). The husband should be the only person who should see the beauty of their wives. It should not be the property of the entire world to see so that they can lust after her. In my view, however, whatever people will think or do will never be affected by the veil that a woman wears but rather it will be affected by what is in their hearts.
Christ, Carol P. "“Embodied Embedded Mysticism: Affirming The Self and Others in a Radically Interdependent World." Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, (2008): 160. Document.
Heelas, Paul. The New Age Movement: The celebration of the self and the sacralization of modernity. Oxford: Blackwell, 1996. Book.
Long, Jeffrey. "Jainism: Key Themes." Religion Compass (2011): 501-510. Document.
Ozorak, Elizabeth Weiss. "“The Power, but not the Glory: How Women Empower Themselves Through Religion." Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion (1996): 17-29. Document.
Sointu, Eeva and Linda Woodhead. "“Spirituality, Gender, and Expressive." Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion (2008): 259-276. Document.