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Justice and Equality

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Introduction

Justice and Equality RE COURSEWORK Introduction The Bible has, over the centuries been treated either as the "Gospel Truth" or a topical collection of parables. In the following pages I will attempt to analyse the way some contentious issues are treated by various denominations, using quotations from the Bible to illustrate my arguments. Throughout my work I will compare the views of fundamentalist, conservative and liberal Christians in order to include the various views within the religion, rather than make a generalisation. The main topic of this piece of coursework is women and their role in Christianity, with particular regard to equality of the sexes and the ordination of women. PART A 1. i) All Christians believe that the Bible is the 'Word of God'. What do they mean by this? The Bible is interpreted in many different ways; some Christians believe the Bible must be taken literally, while others believe it is made up of symbolic stories and contains morals, but should not necessarily be taken word for word. These basic attitudes can be summed up simply as fundamentalist, conservative and liberal. Fundamentalist Christians believe that the Bible is not the words of men, but literally the Word of God. They believe the Bible contains no errors, and any parts where it appears that a mistake has been made can be explained. The fundamentalist attitude to science is that if science contradicts the Bible (for example, the theory of evolution versus the story of creation) then the Bible is right. These contradictions are also seen as a way of testing one's faith, therefore the Bible must be followed word for word, which means that fundamentalists find it harder to accept change in the church. ...read more.

Middle

The social standing of women in modern times is completely different and it is imperative to take this into consideration when looking at different attitudes, as society plays a great part in personal opinion. Some Christians might hold a strong opinion on this matter while others may believe that neither gender is more important, and although men and women have different duties and obligations in life, these need not be taken to extremes. PART B Women 2. "I do not permit a woman to teach or have authority over a man." Explain the arguments for and against the ordination of women. The ordination of women is a strongly debated issue within some churches. There are different views on this matter within different denominations. For example, the Roman Catholic Church has consistently refused to ordain women, either as priests or as deacons. The Pope has said that it is not because the church is unwilling to ordain women, but that they do not feel it has the authority to do so. The Church of England, however, voted for women's ordination in 1992. The response to this was both positive and negative; negative in the respect that many male ministers resigned in protest and some of the first female priests suffered abuse. One of the main arguments against the ordination of women is simply that it goes against the teachings of the Bible. For example, the Bible says, "The women should keep silence in the churches..." (1 Corinthians 14:33-37) and "Women should learn in silence and all humility. I do not permit a woman to teach or have authority over a man." ...read more.

Conclusion

There are societies, such as Rotary International, which are made up of well-off businesspeople trying to give back to the community by doing charity work. This is a direct example of the relevance of Christian teaching; the people in these societies are using their money and business skills for a good cause. Coming back to the Christian teaching on equality of the sexes, the view that men and women are equal but have different attributes is still relevant today, but only to a certain extent. Over the generations, women have gained equal rights. In the last 30 years especially, they have become more and more powerful. The women's movement of the 60s and 70s influenced many women to take a stand, both in eliminating sexism in the job world and also in fighting gender stereotypes. In 1979, Margaret Thatcher led the way for women in politics when she became Britain's first female prime minister. Although there are obvious biological differences between men and women, the social differences and stereotypes need not be so obvious. When it comes to parenthood and society (obviously not including giving birth), men and women have basically interchangeable roles; in some cultures, e.g. Scandinavia, often it is the fathers who stay home with the children while the mothers work. I think that the Christian teaching on equality of the sexes is not completely irrelevant, but perhaps some of it should be updated. Society must move on as a whole, rather than leaving some vital parts behind. What I mean by this is that if society has managed to move on and accept that the roles of men and women are not fixed, Christianity should also do so. Religion should reflect changes in the wider world. ...read more.

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