Saturday, September 25, 2010

Ch. 3 - You've Come a Long Way, Baby!

Confession time. I've been avoiding writing this chapter's review. This chapter makes me angry. Why? Because it's about the "f" word: feminism. Don't get me wrong; Mary Kassian does a beautiful job explaining the foundational beliefs & resulting consequences of feminism. These two things are what make me angry. They're why "feminism" is a four-letter word in our home.

Oh, that I had the time or ability to comprehensively delve into all of those beliefs & consequences. For that, you must read the chapter*; Mary does a far better job than I could ever hope to. But, I will highlight what I think is of utmost importance & point out some truths that I think are foundational for both men & women to understand.

Nowadays, if you denounce feminism, you will be accused of relegating women mute & subservient to the back of the room; I speak from personal experience. But that's a skewed caricature at the least. It is a common (& pervasively perpetuated) belief that men want nothing more than this very thing, even (especially?) Christian men. But did you know that "when the Bible is actually properly taught, history shows that women's status improves" (Radical Womanhood, pg. 38)? Bearing this out is the fact that in Hebrew society - where Scripture was highly valued & taught - women "had a status equal to or greater than the status of many men" (RW, pg. 101). Furthermore, "women were also educated. . . . Because female literacy rates are often a window into the value of women in any given culture or society, it is a reflection of their essential equality in worth & value that Hebrew women were literate & bore the main responsibility for educating their children" (RW, pg. 101). I'm pointing this out because "an adherence to orthodox Christianity leads to oppression of women" is a commonly believed falsehood that must be debunked. As must the belief that women & men who oppose feminism hate women. That's simply not true. We don't hate women; we hate opposition to God.

Feminism is a dominant (if not the predominant) belief held in our culture that has spread its tentacles into every facet of our lives. You see it in the way women live their lives (both professionally & personally), in the way they dress, in the way they speak about & interact with men, in the way they bear & rear children, in the way they relate to God. No area of life remains untouched by this poison. And it's unquestioned by the vast majority of people; it's taken for granted as truth. Therefore, "it's important to understand that feminism encompasses much more than the cultural phenomenon of the women's rights movement. . . . Feminism is a distinct worldview with its own ideologies, values, & ways of thinking" (pg. 56). So, back to the foundations of feminism. Did you know that feminism was born out of one woman's (Simone de Beauvoir) staunch belief that "women needed to get out of the home & intentionally deconstruct Judeo-Christian ideas about marriage, motherhood, & morality" (pg. 58)? Her beliefs were wholeheartedly embraced by Betty Friedan who "suggested that in order to find fulfillment, American women should begin to question, challenge, & rebel against the accepted roles of wife & mother & traditional thoughts about morality" (pg. 59). This was during the 50s, when these predominant "traditional thoughts" were guided by Scripture. It doesn't take much to see that this exhortation to "question, challenge, & rebel" was directed at nothing less than God's holy Word. And her coup de grace, the statement that sums up the core belief of feminism: "We [women] need & trust no other authority than our own personal truth!" (pg. 59)

Some women espouse a "Christian feminism". Read the last paragraph, particularly the last sentence, & tell me if you see anything wrong with that. Feminism is built upon a foundation of tearing down biblically-based beliefs. It's built upon ripping apart Scripture. It has as its main goal the shunning of any authority over our lives save our own. Each individual person decides what is right & wrong, what is truth & error. Not Scripture, not God, not God-ordained human authority. We, & we alone, determine ultimate truth. "What's true for you may not be true for me."  How many times have we heard this?  How many times have we actually believed it ourselves?!  If God's Word is not our guide for marriage, motherhood, & morality, then we are nothing more than rafts at sea sporting a broken sail & bereft of a compass, "tossed to & fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes." (Eph. 4:14) If Scripture isn't our foundation, then we're easily swayed by our own emotions; by the advice of friends; by commercials, TV shows, movies, & magazines; by false prophets who tickle our ears with what we want to hear. There is pure folly in following this path. You will find no wisdom, no truth, no salvation on this road. Sadly, it is the road oft-traveled.

Feminism's stranglehold on society found an initial foothold because there was a legitimate issue. Women were not held equal in society. There was discontentment; women were feeling unfulfilled for a reason. But because the diagnosis was in error, the treatment resulted in death, not healing. Women weren't unfulfilled because they were "trapped" at home. They weren't unfulfilled because they couldn't vote. We know this to be true, because women got everything that feminism promised. . . except that ever elusive fulfillment. We can vote, we can work any job a man can, we make equal wages, we have economic & sexual freedom. And women are even more dissatisfied & discontented (& debased, I might add) than ever. Women were (& are still) unfulfilled because they didn't have a personal, saving relationship with Jesus Christ.

Feminism is a deliberate turning away from God, His Son, & His Holy Spirit toward self-determination & self-reliance. It is a lie from Satan himself. It is the way of death. We need to turn from ourselves, turn from our sin, & cry out to God for salvation that only comes from Him. Only in Him will we finally find true fulfillment.

The thief comes only to steal & kill & destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. ~John 10:10

*For more resources, read The Feminist Mistake & Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild by Mary Kassian; Radical Womanhood by Carolyn McCulley; Lies Women Believe & the Truth That Sets Them Free by Nancy Leigh DeMoss; & Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney.  These are my favorites, but if you know of any others, please let me know.


Elizabeth Davis said...

I recently finished reading a book by Kevin DeYoung (his first book actually) titled "Freedom and Boundaries: A Pastoral Primer on Women in Ministry." It was scriptural and accurate, in my humble opinion. He had one section of it on how feminism (women in churches playing unbiblical roles) has historically led to the false belief in homosexuality being okay in ministry as well. Interesting chapter. Thank you for sharing this blog...I look forward to reading the new entries and like your straight-forward personality.

The Boyds said...

We like DeYoung; Michael visits his blog regularly. We have that book as well, but haven't read it yet. It certainly makes sense - & history has borne out - that there is a domino effect. Thanks for your kind words. I've had to work on that straight-forward thing; it used to just be blunt & tactless. I think I've begun to mellow. ;-)