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”

Women Beyond Belief by Karen L. Garst

karen_garst_imgIf you knew about me, you might ask, “Why does a former executive decide to abandon retirement and devote herself to writing a book about women leaving religion?” Of course if you knew me well, you would understand that I must have a worthwhile project. Idleness is not in my nature. But the path that led me to the publication of Women Beyond Belief: Discovering Life without Religion is, hopefully, an interesting one and reveals a shy girl, born in the nation’s hinterland, who matured into an ardent feminist and then moved on to expressing that feminism through writing about women and atheism.

When I mention in interviews that I grew up in Bismarck, North Dakota, most are able to guess that I was likely raised as a Lutheran. And they are correct. Trinity Lutheran Church, at the time a beautiful church with amazing stained glass windows, was the center of my life. Recently, my sister and I, who calls herself an agnostic, sang old hymns together on a road trip. With a 55,000 year history, it is no wonder that music leaves a deep impression on us. With long gowns, we walked down the aisle at Trinity singing “God’s Word is Our Great Heritage” in youth choir. It was a singular experience in my life that has no equal. This ALC church was fairly liberal though at the time there seemed to be a bit of a war going on with Catholics. Why else would I have asked my father at the tender age of seven if it would be okay if I married the Catholic boy who had just walked me home from school? Unpacking why I would think of marriage at seven must be left to another day. Learning Martin Luther’s catechism was arduous. I can honestly say I never understood it at all. Continue reading “Women Beyond Belief by Karen L. Garst”

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