Christianity in the West just keeps on giving, if not as spiritual solace to a secularized population, then at least as some sort of comic relief.
Recently, the Church of England’s higher authorities found it appropriate to say that they don’t even know what a woman is.
The Telegraph reports the issue of defining what a woman is came up when Adam Kendry, a lay member of the General Synod, the church’s legislative body, and a representative of the Royal Navy, asked: “What is the Church of England’s definition of a woman?”
The question reflects the ongoing push by LGBTQ activists on British politics and society, an agenda that is also unfolding on a broad scale in the U.S. as well.
In his written response, Dr. Robert Innes, the church’s Bishop in Europe since 2014, said: “There is no official definition, which reflects the fact that until fairly recently definitions of this kind were thought to be self-evident, as reflected in the marriage liturgy.”
But Innes added that there are now “complexities associated with gender identity” and pointed to the need for “additional care” even though the church continues its opposition to same-sex weddings. As CBN News has previously reported, the Church of England has allowed women to serve as bishops since 2014.
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CBN News assumes its nature as a Christian website, and thus it counters such agnosticism about the very definition of a woman through its own Christian rhetoric.
But as usual, we’ll be going beyond just what’s in the news. Instead, we’ll be looking at the more civilizational trends and patterns here: How Western Christianity succumbing to the crypto-feminist agenda has come at the cost of its very existence within the Western public sphere.
Secularization: A Feminine Phenomenon
There have been many “secularization theories,” or explanations trying to make sense of the demise of Christianity, particularly in Europe but also the West in general.
Arguably, the most famous theory is that of German sociologist Max Weber: He posited that it was due to the “rationalization” introduced by modernity, or how individuals—rather than thinking in purely religious terms—began to think in terms of rationalist calculations.
A classic example is found in the case of marriage. The religious individual favors it because of his religion. The rationalist however, will do a cost-benefit analysis and refuse it if, for instance, the economic conditions aren’t optimal (as is the case in much of the postmodern West).
This individual rationalism is preceded by the rationalization of society itself, with the “bureaucratic” approach in government, schools, etc., and this whole rationalization process goes back to the Protestant Reformation (especially through the Calvinists), the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution.
Yet not everyone agrees with Weber’s thesis.
Callum G. Brown, a contemporary Scottish historian, in fact opposes it directly in his book The Death of Christian Britain: Understanding Secularisation, 1800-2000.
He says that far from erasing Christianity, the Industrial Revolution gave it a sort of new life through what we’d call “capitalistic piety” (or what he calls “salvation economy”) with a complete “salvation industry” including a proliferation of lay preachers, congregations and religious literature.
For us such “privatization of faith,” as he terms it, would obviously be problematic already as it introduces capitalistic and individualistic impulses which would obviously destroy the faith, if not immediately then at a later stage.
Yet the Industrial Revolution didn’t destroy Christianity.
What was problematic, though, was what he calls the feminization of piety, which for instance is seen in the traditional representation of angels. This is yet another result of the Shirk within Christianity!
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He writes on pp. 58-59:
One of the great mythic transformations of the early nineteenth century was the feminisation of angels. Until the 1790s, British art and prose portrayed the angel as masculine or, at most, bisexual – characteristically muscular, strong and even displaying male genitalia, and a free divine spirit inhabiting the chasms of sky and space. But by the early Victorian period angels were virtuously feminine in form and increasingly shown in domestic confinement, no longer free to fly. Woman had become divine, but an angel now confined to the house. (…)
Until 1800, masculinity lay at the core of representations of piety, whilst femininity lacked exemplars and was constructed as a religious problematic.
But around 1800, these polarities were dramatically reversed. This was a gender shift in the centre of religiosity which laid the cornerstone for the discursive power of Christian religion in Britain (as well as in Western Europe and North America) for 150 years. The feminisation of piety in late eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain and America is now a key concept in feminist historiography (…) such space and functions within the ‘religious sphere’ provided a seedbed for feminism through a collaborative tension between women’s purity and suffrage movements and their notionally oppositional discourses.
Basically, creating a feminized “religious sphere” ultimately led to the later feminist narratives.
He then studies such feminized religious narratives among Protestants; the Evangelicals in particular.
And guess what the feminization of religious discourse naturally led to?
You guessed it right: The demonization of male religiosity!
He writes on p. 88:
As femininity and piety became conjoined in discourse after 1800, the spectre arose of masculinity as the antithesis of religiosity. From the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries, a wife’s femininity was perceived as a threat to piety and household, and a husband established his moral status by controlling her. From 1800 to 1950, by contrast, it was a husband’s susceptibility to masculine temptations that was perceived as a threat to piety and household, and the wife established a family’s respectability by curbing him. Exemplars of piety changed sex, from being overwhelmingly male to being overwhelmingly female, and the route to family harmony no longer lay in the taming of the Elizabethan shrew but in the bridling of the Victorian rake, drunkard, gambler and abuser.
And as with the previous chapter on the feminization of piety, he provides plenty of examples of what such demonization of masculine piety meant. For instance, even “holy men” weren’t spared…
Doesn’t this remind you of “Muslim feminists” who have problems with the “patriarchal interpretations” of classical ‘ulama? Some even go as far as attacking prophets such as Ibrahim (‘alayhissalam) as being supposedly “misogynistic”!
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After studying this whole historical sequence of 1800-1950, Brown also destroys another myth. While we perceive post-WWII Christianity in the West as either on the decline, or at the very least having lost its steam, Brown demonstrates that the fact is: it was never really that alive to begin with.
It was mainly due to WWII itself. The destruction it brought required reconstruction, which is itself based on traditional societal norms including gender roles and strong families.
He writes on p. 172:
Traditional values of family, home and piety were suddenly back on the agenda between the end of war and 1960. The churches benefited immediately. During the late 1940s and first half of the 1950s, organised Christianity experienced the greatest per annum growth in church membership, Sunday school enrolment, Anglican confirmations and presbyterian recruitment of its baptised constituency since the eighteenth century.
The author says that the real decline began as late as the ’60s, characterized by its counter-culture based on sexual permissiveness, the legalization of homosexuality, and abortion; or pop-culture celebrating female rebellion.
But the Church, rather than affirming religion for women in opposition to such ideologies, basically completely abandoned the entire narrative regarding feminine piety.
We read on pp. 179-180:
Pop music’s impact upon girls, enforced by magazines like Jackie, was critical. Women had previously been the heart of family piety, the moral restraint upon men and children. By the mid1960s, domestic ideology was assailed on many fronts, putting the cultural revolution in collision with not just the Christian churches but with Christianity as a whole. The loss of domestic ideology to youth culture from c. 1958 meant that piety ‘lost’ its discursive home within femininity (…) the reconstruction of female identity within work, sexual relations and new recreational opportunities from the late 1960s, put not just feminism but female identity in collision with the Christian construction of femininity. (…)
Many Christian congregations in Britain tried to compromise with the new age of youth in the late 1960s, developing new forms of religious worship using guitars and penny whistles, modern dress and a ‘happyclappy’ atmosphere in an attempt to mimic the forms of youth culture. Churches continued to try to absorb rock bands and the new-fangled discotheques within their premises. In Edinburgh, large numbers of fourteen- to seventeen-year-olds (including the author) were members of a considerable ‘church-hall’ circuit of rock dances and discos, but this had largely collapsed by 1970 as it was shut down by congregations unable to countenance the increasing loudness of the music, the arrival of soft drugs, the visits of the police and, above all, the brazen nature of teenagers’ casual sexual liaisons. A hundred and ninety years after Sunday schools first opened, the salvation industry was shutting its doors to an entire generation of youngsters who no longer subscribed to religious discourses of moral identity. Secularisation was now well under way.
Brown says that what he writes about the UK can of course also be extrapolated to the West as a whole.
Doesn’t that remind you of something else?
Not just the Church of England, which keeps digging its own grave through its compliance with feminist discourses and “gender identity” magic (as if their ’60s “compromise” with “youth culture” was any help).
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But also “our” very own Compassionate Imams. Like the myopic Western Church leaders of the past, they’re at the forefront of mainstreaming the crypto-feminists, or “Muslim feminists,” in their perpetual quest for an “alliance” with the political Left.
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Whether directly or indirectly, they also participate in the feminization of piety, which is then delegitimized through cultural liberalism. After all, a “strong Muslim woman” has a “career” and a “high-paying job” (ideally higher than her husband’s—if she has one that is).
This “strong Muslim woman” will of course be in the office, under the seas or on the moon. Anywhere but home. The same way ’60s counterculture embedded into the minds of Christians that domestic life is a form of alienation for women.
And thus you simultaneously destroy the family unit and commence the process of secularization. Killing two birds with one stone (the only kind of stoning to death that they would support).
Anyway, are the Compassionate Imams and their crypto-feminist allies—the so-called “Muslim feminists”—assuming their role in trying to kill off Islam in the West?
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“Until 1800, masculinity lay at the core of representations of piety, whilst femininity lacked exemplars…”
Leon J. Podles in his book “The Church Impotent the Feminization of Christianity” situates it much earlier…namely in the middle ages.
Callum Brown has another book which goes in even more detail on this particular subject: Religion and the Demographic Revolution: Women and Secularisation in Canada, Ireland, UK and USA since the 1960s.
I wish the Muslim Skeptic would do more articles on Orthodox Christianity. Compared to Catholicism and Protestantism, Orthodoxy is less discussed. Muslims of Bosnia suffered horribly in the nineties thanks to Orthodoxy mainly (although Catholics/Croats are no less responsible, the crimes from the Orthodox/Serb side in terms of sheer magnitude is way more). Orthodoxy also caused problems for Muslims in the Ottoman Empire as a whole.