Modern researchers are unanimous that traditional religions grade female experience of Belief and needs of women like for religious self-expression.
Nowadays, in each of global or national religions the whole system of the sights belittling Female role day is kept as tradition: from menstrual taboo according to which the woman is considered as “dirty” in the certain days (up to that she is expelled in a special hut – in archaic societies or she is not admitted in church – in Christianity) to verbal invectives about sinfulness and “secondariness” of the woman (because of her “origin” from the rib of Adam), interdictions on studying of sacred texts by women, teaching of theology and attending service.
Interpretation of the Female Body as “ vessel of a sin ”, then the man’s “purity” is called in a counterbalance, not only alienates the woman from legal channels of spirituality, but also potentially justifies “Victimization” policy which privately existing in a society female and which Mary Dali, the classic of American feminism has named like “sado-masochistic ritual ”. The symbolics such “ a cultural sado-masochism ” ratified on the basis of religious imperatives, within many centuries was embodied by Indian sati, African chliteroctomia with the Chinese foot deformation, the Japanese pulling of a breast and etc.
At the same time, the religious history contains indications that among the first Christians were women who took a significant place in the pages of the Holy Writ, e. g. Maria Magdalena, who as four evangelists narrate, was one of the most devoted follower of Christ. She was the first to whom the first time he was arrived (Mt 27, 28; Mk 15, 16; Lc 8, 24; In 19, 20). Other Maria, the wife of Cliop and the mother of Jacob, was present at revival of Christ (Mt 27, 28; Mk 15, 16).
And Peter comes to Maria, the mother of John, after rescue from a dungeon and finds there people praying about him that is the description of one of the first prayful assemblies fixed in the text (Lc 24; In 19; Acts 12). Lydia other known woman from the Bible, who was trader and rich entrepreneur on concepts of that time, independently conducting trading affairs after death of the husband. She accepts a christening from Paul and becomes the head of the first European Christian community (Acts 16, 40). The similar situation is in other institutional religions.
Hinduism unequivocally formulates the women’s applicability, as spouse and mother who don’t have any rights to study Veda, which main virtue is strict obedience to the husband. It is well-known, that women played the important role at the first stages of the Islam formation, about it creation of a cult of the nearest associates of Mohammed testifies: Amina who was his mother and Fatima the favorite daughter, and there is in the classical Arabian literature the image of ” the heroic woman” who participates in fights and political life of the state level with the husband and other men is popular.
However modern Moslem women opportunities are deprived to participate in spiritual self-expression on equal with men. It is known, the role of the Jewish women in rescue of Jewish people and Judaic spirituality preservation during the period of more two-thousand-year dispersion of Jews on the world is really great. Miriam which is mentioned in the Old Testament, is known for her standing at sources of clearing of Jews from the four hundred Egyptian captivity and she was prophet and has led out women in a dry bottom during their transition through the Black sea.
She also known as the performer of the most ancient national hymns, for example, a hymn “Sing to God! ” (Ref. 15, 2; C. 12, 10, 20, 26; T. 24, M. 6). Why so high merits of women before people, religion and the state have been forgotten by the theologians of all faiths and for many years carried out so frankly sexist policy? This problem, which verbalized as a result of consciousness development of a women’s movement, has allowed the most active and educated women to transform a personal pain of not come true spiritual needs into a source of regular criticism of the most odious arguments in the sexist plan of Church.
Women, referring on examples from the Bible, opposed the double standard of morals in aspect of belief. Theological reformatory movement has reached the greatest scope in the Christian world and it is possible to explain it by the greater activity of public leaders and the organizations in the countries of the West. The big and doubtless achievement of this promotion became the admission of women in church hierarchy, though number of women – priests is not proportionally to amount of men.
From the middle of XX century the part of most radical disposed feminists, having found that “soft”, gradual reforms are unpromising, have put forward the idea of creation own “ feministic religion ” where the Belief and Spirituality are based on female experience. Among its qualitative characteristics it is necessary to allocate the Integrity, United existence, Ecoconfession which are opposed to patriarchal (Christian) dichotomism (Spirit and corpus), Hierarchy (Rational and Emotional), and Fallocentrism.
The concept of “feministic spiritualism” unites theorists of matriarchal futurism, lesbo radicals which are “worshipping the Goddess”, supporters of shamanism, mystical and witch practices, in other words, any forms of the belief, capable to be adequate to female spirituality and to carry the harmony in the world.
The significant contribution to creation of a “feministic spiritualism” discourse and belief was brought by Mary Dali, Judit Plaskow, Rebecca Shop, Julia Kristeva, Susan Griffin, Andrietta Rich, Rossmari Roucher, Lucy Irigarei, which researches have enriched global feministic and philosophical idea, and promoted creation of female consciousness in such spheres like Spirituality and relations with the supreme “? ” which within many centuries were considered as a prerogative of exclusively “man’s” consciousness.
Up to the middle of XIX century the overwhelming part of scientific and theological researches was conducted with prefeministic positions basing on statement that female experience has no relations to intellectual and spiritual spheres which are the world of men “closed” for women. The Bible, the Koran, Veda, Torah and other sacred texts were created by narrators (men) in system of patriarchal representations and reflected patriarchal sights and directives in which canonization of citations, revelations, representations, etc.
promoted rooting of patriarchy in culture and its justification from the positions of spiritual authority. The Holy Wirt was as substantiation to an existing inequality of women, without dependence on what kind of women they were – black, white, Moslem, Judaic or Christian. Traditional religions of the different countries have played an important role in formation of the gender stereotypes which are discriminating Female on a Man’s background.
Transcultural symbolization of sexual distinctions in mythologies of ancient and their projection to a reality of the global order are not independent and primary, they do not only classify the world in terms of biological dichotomy, but also give the valuable status to object, depending on its belonging to “man’s” or “female”, and also create collateral subordination hierarchy. Since 30-40 years of XX century feministic theorists have begun radical exposure of sexism in Christianity.
Two most powerful directions in Christian criticism have been submitted: in liberal reforming of existing rituals and texts of the Bible, and in utopian ideas of creation of essentially new symbols and practices of Churches. The feminist did not refuse belief, however they demanded inclusion of female experience in traditional andocentric divinity. Elizabeth Kedi Stenton probably has made the first significant contribution to the concept of transformation of religion by “the Female Bible” book.
The “soft feminism” representative of the end of XIX – the beginnings of XX century, E. K. Stenton trusted, that the Bible is the main source of inspiration for women and as the text accomplished in the knowledge, contains, at least, two points of view on a problem of women: sexist and antisexist which should be found out. Mary Dali, the representative of a radical direction in feminism, remains the brightest figure of feministic divinity.
As Dali thinks the legitimating of sado-masochism is the central idea of Christianity and consequently she sees necessity for creation of special “gynomorphical” language reflecting the process of development of female consciousness and positive identification in XX century. In her opinion, female characters in mythologies as objects of aggression, personify in man’s culture as an image “Another like the Enemy” at a gender and sexual level, thus, strengthening the principles of patriarchal authorities.
The Christianity widely used cults of female goddesses, having entered them in own mythology, however, having rethought it from positions of fallocentic ideologies. In “Outside the God-Father” work of Mari Dali, who was using fukian “archeology of knowledge”, consistently studied stages of tearing away of female experience from official Church and formation of a category of persons, who passed in the status of religious marginal on the sexual basis: witches, midwives, rural hysterical women with stigmas, heretics, asserting the right on own understanding of spirituality.
Judaism is the first monotheistic system which has come to change pagan and matriarchal cults, which legalized the patriarchal authority in spiritual sphere. Julia Kristeva in “About the Chinese women” essay specified, that the monotheistic religious paradigm which has replaced matriarchal cults, marked the beginning of female experience repression of plural identity by the statement of the God-father as the Ego – ideal which is not allowing the woman to identify with Absolute. Traditional Judaism forbids the woman to be engaged in social activities, refuses them in the civil rights.
According to one of sexist implications to the Old Testament, God created Eva “not from the head of Adam that she was not too clever; not from eyes that she did not peep; not from an ear that she did not overhear; not from lips that she did not chatter; not from heart that she did not envy; but from “ the latent”, from an rib that she was modest, hardworking and imperceptible; “ Be modest, be modest ” – sentenced antiquated Jehovah, when he was creating a female body (Bershit Raaba, VIII, 3).
The sexist attitude to the woman is concentrated in the Judaic doctrine demanding separate presence of women and men in a synagogue because men should “protect” themselves from sexual temptations of women. The majority of representatives of modern Jewish feminism consider the necessary correction of historical traditions for the women’s benefit. E. Pegels when he was examining Judaism in a count of other ancient religions of the Near East asked: why as against modern to him beliefs, the God of Israel anywhere do not share authority with a female society?
It can be described differently, but always by man’s epithets: Tsar, the Lord, God, the Judge, Father which is daily repeated in prays. Developed in frameworks of Judaism, the Islam and Christianity have adopted this andocentric conception, trying to compensate it by Maria worshipping (in Christianity) who acts as the mother of God but the same time is not equal to the God-father. The example of a creative deconstruction of an ancient myth about an origin of the woman is work of Judit Plaskow “Lilit arrival: To the creation of feministic theology”.
Other attempt to transform excessively masculinized religion by the search in it the female symbolic and images of the ancient goddesses who have influenced on Judaism, was the appearance of outstanding feminist – theologian Naomi Goldenberg. Feministic criticics of religion assert that sexist traditions can and should be transformed, however for this purpose it is necessary to revision all conceptual apparatus of Judaic divinity, due to it the consciousness of women and understanding them of spiritual experience grows up.
In spite of the fact that women frequently act as the central characters of a bible history, in the Bible they refer to by name much less often, than men. Feministic theologians-reformists are in a process of reconsidering of “Female histories” in the Old Testament, transferring accent from masculinized-centric positions – on a gender neutral.
The Judaism follower Rita Gross emphasizes the necessity of detection of both masculinized and female aspects of the God and using of feminist symbolic at references to the God, like in a phrase: “our Father and Mother”. She thinks that inclusion of female goddesses in Judaic tradition is even more important than formation of a modern language, and is productive, in her point of view, to loan of female figures from the outside the Jewish tradition.
The important sphere of the appendix of feministic interests is the deconstruction of a religious history of Israel and a place of the woman in it. Revolutionary current in Judaism has developed own concept of the God in which he appears not as the person, but as impersonal force, energy, the power which is not having a sex and gender neutral, which image should promote the development of egalitarism and non hierarchical attitudes in family and society.