How Christianity & Early Feminism Messed Up Sex & Marriage

catholic nonsense

 

I took my son to the library to return books & movies and pick out a few for the next week.  We went late, we were rushed, and the library was about to close, but in we went anyway 🙂 against all odds.  We got his new books picked out along with some cartoons, and turned to get Mommy a book for herself.  With my 4 year old starting to tantrum, whining that he couldn’t stay longer (they were about to kick us out), I quickly grabbed the first book that looked interesting to me – A History of the Wife – not even completely aware of what genre I was in.

The best things come about when you’re not looking for them – or when you ironically grab a book you would’ve never chosen to read.  After getting home, eating dinner, and putting my little one to bed, I got to relax and curl up with my book – a little excited that I didn’t know quite what it was that I grabbed.  When I read some of the beginning, I could easily tell this was a book written by a feminist.  She looked down upon the Proverbs 31 woman as a ridiculous model for a good wife, looked down on the biblical theology of Eve coming after Adam, the biblical notion of women submitting to their husbands, etc.  Even though I disagreed with her take on Christianity, I welcomed this chance to read what a feminist really thinks about the role of a wife – how she views history, even biblical history – to help me understand that point of view.

As a whole, her book truly reminded me of why feminism, at one point in time, was very needed and necessary in order to obtain equal rights for women.  However, all throughout history, especially within the last 200 years, I was also reminded of how the feminist ideology is so backwards and often times, overboard with its claims and demands.  It was very intriguing to learn about the very first feminists, their lives, how they viewed their role as a mother or wife, how they treated their children or husband due to their “modern woman” thinking.

These first feminists sometimes left their husbands (or lived apart for years, refusing their husbands’ attempts to get them to live together, in what the author described as a “modern marriage”), they often had children only to resent the responsibility of them, or go as far as to leave them with aunts to raise so that they could focus on their careers (can you believe it – even feminists today usually don’t go so far).  They resented “motherhood,” were adamant in calling even a good marriage “slavery.”  They dominated their husbands (yuck!), purposefully marrying weak men who would let them have their way, and focused solely on their happiness versus any happiness of their husband or children.  It was eye-opening to take in the fact that this isn’t something new in our current society… this “view” of womanhood was brewing 200 years ago from women who were discontent and extremely selfish in their pursuits of marriage and children.

I had always thought that the ideas of “modern thinking” or “modern marriages” really were modern, created recently with the 1970’s… now I understand, from reading many accounts in this book, that true feminism is nothing “modern,” as its been around a couple of centuries, unless you count for the fact that the “modern” view that was different from the centuries before placed aggressive selfishness to be the center-point of what should drive women (not men, only women mind you) in all their decisions of work, life, and family.

Wow!  Talk about an eye-opening book experience for me.  I will write more in the next few weeks on the various of topics that the author reveals.  The first that was striking to me was the clear revelation of when sex and marriage became twisted in Christianity.  Many cultures before had a general understanding of sex in a marriage, however, once Catholicism came onto the scene, an unbiblical model of sexuality was introduced, and created some of the very first “feminists” who rejected their role as wife and mother in order to remain “pure” and sexless.

Virginity was idolized, literally, with the Catholic church setting up Mary as the Queen of Heaven to be worshipped and prayed to, and later on in the 1950’s ascribed to be an Immaculate Conception – claiming that Mary herself, was born without sin (and stayed pure because she was a virgin).  To be fair, this was not found at the very beginning of Catholicism.  In the fourth century, Jovinian and Saint John Chrysostome defended marriage and claimed that a wife wasn’t an “obstacle to salvation, but an aid,” claiming that married life was just as worthy (and holy) as celibate life.  It was later that Saint Jerome and Saint Augustine embraced and put forth the ideas that marriage was merely a necessary evil, and a hindrance to a person’s spiritual life.

Later, I’ll write on the personal stories and examples from past times that explain in depth what these women were going through, and what influenced their decisions to reject traditional marriage.  Its been an interesting journey looking into feminism at its roots, and educating people on where it came from, and how it affected sex & marriage back then (and how we’re still affected today), is going to be hopefully enlightening for anyone interested in these topics.

 

Thank you for reading!

 

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5 thoughts on “How Christianity & Early Feminism Messed Up Sex & Marriage

  1. For most who have to suffer through it celibacy is a curse. However God gave us marriage and the perfect guide on how to conduct ourselves in our marriages. As it happened the Catholic church took something beautiful and a realm they really have no jurisdiction or practical experience with and messed it up. They, with their twisted doctrines, the made sex into something shameful and dirty. That attitude has infiltrated almost every aspect of American sexuality. Its no wonder things are screwed up.

    The Catholics and most protestant churches share the same views as feminism in regards to human sexuality.

    As you know I believe that biblical marriage is dead. What replaced it is a state sanctioned scheme that is nothing like what God ordained marriage to be.

  2. It will get more interesting as I get more into the specific details of each case – I think you’ll like it, and it really sheds light on a subject that no one thinks about (the actual history of feminism). Its amazing to me that in almost every case, its just extreme selfishness played out in the lives of these women. And these are feminism’s founding models! Their lives, to put it lightly, were train-wrecks… and they definitely were not happy about it either. Women in my age group that are really interested in these issues need to know things like this. We’re searching for answers and realizing we don’t want to be feminists, but we’re not always clear on why. We just know its wrong… I want to shed some light on exactly the reasons why.

    The Catholic church is very strange, but they’ve at least made great changes in their views on sexuality. It was actually part of Catholic dogma that sex was only for reproduction – and that any enjoyment of it (especially a woman’s enjoyment of it) was a sin (not just “wrong” mind you… but something that made you less pure or right with God). Full disclosure: The Catholic church now teaches that sex is something to embrace in marriage – its a teaching called “Theology of the Body,” and its very new and popular with millennial Catholics (friends my husband and I know in our age group… under 30). They seem to have really great marriages with the only difficultly in their sex life being the birth control issue (having to use Natural Family Planning which of course, doesn’t always work & can make the woman frigid because she’s terrified of getting pregnant). But overall, its come such a long way.

    I was trying to point out exactly where in history Christianity got sex and marriage so messed up, and not trying to bash Catholicism, the simple truth is that clearly stemmed from there. You’ll be surprised though that Protestants in Luther’s day & later Puritans were more sex-positive than the early Catholic men & women. I always thought Puritans were probably prudish, but it seems otherwise. Lots to come! Thanks for commenting!

  3. Great post! Love your blog and I want to read more of it! I agree with you, and feel like I just found a new friend! Read mine,if you want-https://sailordale.wordpress.com/

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