Beyond God the Father

by Mary Daly

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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 293

In Beyond God the Father, Mary Daly offers a radical view of Christianity as being amoral, unethical, and oppressive to women. Thus, one of the main themes in the book is the marginal position of women in western society. Daly believes that the oppression of women has been legitimized in our society, in large part by Christian theology and religious principles that promote a male-dominated view in which a woman’s rightful role is as a supporter to man. Thus, she addresses the failure of institutionalized religion and the hypocrisy behind it. She advances the idea that morality is constructed by men, in large part because traditional moral views have been linked to Christian principles.

In her examination of Christianity and sexism, Daly addresses, above all, the rift between theory and practice. She claims that Christianity presents the illusion of equality. In theory, it idolizes women. However, it advocates practices that relegate them to a lower position than men, and, in effect, keep them subjugated and suppressed. Christian rhetoric, Daly claims, puts women on a pedestal, but, Christian principles encourage passivity in women and promote their submission to men. The idea of the fall of man is one of the main themes in Daly’s book, too, and her perception of the fall is crucial to advancing her theories. She says that woman have accepted the guilt for their original sin and thus resigned themselves to an inferior position.

The power of women is one of the main themes of the book as well, as Daly explains how women can regain their power by rejecting Christian theology and relying on the feminist sisterhood to fulfill the function of religion. She claims that the Church cannot be reformed, and thus women must abandon it.

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