New grounds are being broken for women in this century. Women are being ordained as ministers and priests and a new tone is being set for women that seek to lead congregations.
Some people believe that these women are carrying women’s liberation to far and are defying traditions that have been excluding women since the beginning. They believe that these women are being radical and disbanding away from the roots that our ancestors have instilled in America today. There have been many notions that have challenged that women may have been more “liberated” earlier in life than they are today. How did Christian women reguard their own status in what was frequently called the Jesus movement? Earlier in time before the Christian Church and theology people met informally to discuss and share their feelings on their faith.
Many churchs were based in peoples homes during this time and this gave women more freedom to speak. Christianity remained a underground religion because followers refused to worship their leader. Eventually it became a grounded religion when the Roman Emperor, Constantine made Christianity the state religion. Greeks were converted to Christianity by missionaries and much of the world where these women lived were the first to accept Christianity in large numbers. When did the hatred for women in the church officially start? The question remains were women made in the likeliness of God or merely as in the image. Do women actually have souls? A Christian Church Council debated this matter and the Roman Catholic priesthood barred women from the pulpit by using an argument introduced by Saint Thomas Aquinas.
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Karen L. King presents the Argument that “yes” Christianity did liberate women. Karen is a leading authority on women in ancient Christianity. She gives evidence from the bible that indicates the role Christianity played in womens lives during earlier times and states opinions on how this liberation played a key role as women became disciples and other roles that they put towards the church. King gives key examples of women’s roles in early Christianity and how they played different roles in the bible. Her first topic is women in the first century of Christianity. She portrays women after the death of Christ and how they played prominent roles after the movement King also tells the story of Mary Magdalene who was one of the most prominent women in the ancient church. She tells of other Christian women that include: The apostle, Thecia who was a virgin matyr converted by Paul, the Corinthian women, Phillips daughters and many more. King also gives a detailed account on early Christian women’s theology King states,” It needs to be inphasized that the formal elimination of women from official rules of institutional leadership did not eliminate women’s actual presence and importance to the Christian tradition although it certainly seriously damaged their capacity to contribute fully” (pg. 105) The evidence that she puts forward clearly brings her point across.
Karen Armstrong presents the argument that “no” Christianity did not liberate women. Karen is a professor of religion and she studies and believes that the Christian church was hostile towards women because of the fear of their sexual leadership within the church. She gives the negative argument and cultural attitudes toward women. Armstrong believes the downfall of women’s liberation started with the first woman of the bible Eve. Armstrong gives examples from the bible and states of things that are happening now that would lead her to believe that Christianity did not liberate women.
I believe that Christianity did liberate women. Christianity brought upon more ways that women could state their opinions freely and voice their view on secular things that were happening within the church. Christianity gave women more opportunities as ministers and head authorities in the church and allowed women to feel as if they could do everything a man could do and sometimes depends on the situation do it better.
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