Women v. Religion: The Case Against Faith and for Freedom BOOK REVIEW by Katie M. Deaver

In the book, Women v. Religion: The Case Against Faith and for Freedom, editor Karen L. Garst puts together the voices of women from a variety of backgrounds in an effort to present a case against faith.

While the introduction to the full volume suggests that women ought to turn away from all forms of religion the majority of the individual pieces that the book features focus on the Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  The included pieces are written from a variety of disciplines and viewpoints, some feature historical facts and timelines, while others are the raw and difficult personal stories of women struggling to leave the religions they were raised within.

Most of the articles dig into many of the traditional critiques of religion.  For example that the Abrahamic faiths are inherently patriarchal, and cannot be redeemed for women.  Others take these traditional arguments against religion a step further and argue that in addition to religion being a tool for female subjugation, religion has in fact inhibited Western progression and is a key reason why the United States has not yet had a female president, and why women continue to have to fight for their bodily and human rights.

Continue reading “Women v. Religion: The Case Against Faith and for Freedom BOOK REVIEW by Katie M. Deaver”

Grief Beyond Belief and Rebecca Hensler by Kile Jones

Kile Jones, atheistIn my last post, “A Pro-Science, Skeptical Woman Speaks” I interviewed a woman with whom I share many views in common.  One of my goals here at Feminism and Religion is to introduce different secular, atheistic, liberal feminists who share many of the same ethical views as regular contributors and readers, but not the same “religious” or “spiritual” ideas.  In this post I examine an online support network for unbelievers, Grief Beyond Belief, and ask a few questions to its founder, Rebecca Hensler.

I met Rebecca in February in San Francisco while on a visit I made to meet with the Unitarian Universalist Association in regards to my ordination.  My girlfriend and I met Rebecca in North Beach, San Francisco for dinner and drinks.  I experienced her as a compassionate, friendly, and genuine person.  Her experiences and insights inspired me to think more about the role of grief and pain among unbelievers.  I mean, atheists cry, agnostics experience loss, skeptics lose family members, and we do it all without a “God” or “spirit” to help us.  And if we were to meet C.S. Lewis, we would make

sure to exclaim, “No…pain is not some megaphone for God to rouse a deaf world.”

R Hensler

Why did you start Grief Beyond Belief?

The original idea was born of my own grief.  After my son died, I found a group in which to share comfort and compassion with other grieving parents: The Compassionate Friends, a mainstream parental grief support organization with a strong online presence.  It was so close to exactly what I needed, but I frequently felt alienated by the religious and spiritual content — not just the offers of comfort that depended on beliefs I do not hold, but the assumption that everyone there held some sort of belief in life after death. And the assumption, so common in mainstream grief support, that even if I am not the same religion as you are, I have a religion, and I believe in some sort of afterlife was equally alienating and hurtful. Continue reading “Grief Beyond Belief and Rebecca Hensler by Kile Jones”

A Pro-Science, Skeptical Woman Speaks by Kile Jones

Kile Jones, atheistIn my last post, “Feminism and Religion: Where Do I stand?” I talked about how I support an atheistic, secular, and liberal feminism that criticizes organized religion and certain religious beliefs.  After reading the comments and responding to them, I figured that having a brief interview with a woman who holds these sorts of views would be a good way to introduce them to this blog.  I met Anondah Saide at a course at Claremont Graduate University titled, “Evolution, Economics, and the Brain,” taught by the Executive Director of the Skeptics Society and Founding Publisher of Skeptic Magazine, Dr. Michael Shermer.  Anondah was the TA for the course, and I found her comments in class to promote science, reason, and skepticism towards religious and spiritual claims of all kinds.  So without further ado, here is the interview: Continue reading “A Pro-Science, Skeptical Woman Speaks by Kile Jones”

Feminism and Religion: Where Do I Stand? by Kile Jones

Kile JonesHaving recently become a “regular contributor” to this blog, I feel that my first post should be about how I situate myself and my beliefs in this environment. One of the first things I noticed about this blog, is that is has many Catholic, liberal Protestant, and pagan/nature religion/Goddess-followers who contribute (a journal I edit has an excellent article on Thealogy and worship of the Goddess). There are also a few Buddhist, Mormon, and New-Age contributors. In this eclectic mix, I stick out quite a bit. Not only am I a primarily white (my Abuelita was born in Chihuahua) heterosexual man, but I am also a secular humanist and an atheist. In an earlier post I wrote a piece titled “Reformer, Revolutionary, and Rationalist: Three Types of Feminism,” in which I find myself at home with the cultural critiques of the revolutionary and the logical critiques of the rationalist. As somebody who will be contributing my voice, here is where I am situated. Continue reading “Feminism and Religion: Where Do I Stand? by Kile Jones”

The Solace of Another Woman’s Story by Yvonne Augustine

This week, I read an excellent, gripping, poignant blog post by Feminist Philosopher Leanne Dedrick entitled “Things That Make Me Cry: The Practice of Unbelief.” The purpose of the piece was Leanne’s desire to address a misperception by some non-atheists that atheists are devoid of emotion, violently hostile to anything associated with faith, and unable to deal honestly with the Divine. She also corrects the erroneous assumption that atheists seek to “hide from, or purposefully turn […] away from, the ‘saving grace’ of religion.” In the post, she wrote specifically about her own journey from ultra-conservative Christianity to atheism. Continue reading “The Solace of Another Woman’s Story by Yvonne Augustine”

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