Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member Latest Breaking News Editorials & Other Articles General Discussion The DU Lounge All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search


(10,371 posts)
Sun Apr 21, 2024, 01:35 PM Apr 21

Looking for role models among the spiritual leaders of history? Look to the women in their lives

Sometimes I think the entire point of religion is to help men behave more like women.

Members of a religious community are supposed to get along with each other, even if they don’t like each other. But women don’t need religious rules to teach them social graces. From birth, we are socialised to prioritise the needs of the collective above our own.

Most of the world’s major religions recognise men as their founders. For example, Christianity was founded by Jesus, Buddhism by Siddhartha Gautama and Islam by Muhammad. They were men who did not have to find time for their spirituality between cooking dinners and attending work meetings. But I want a spiritual role model who would have understood how to avert a meltdown at school pickup every day. So who are the women spiritual leaders?

Because of my Christian upbringing, my natural starting point is Mary, the mother of Jesus. Christians believe that Jesus was god incarnate. To retain her son’s deity status, early Church theologians described Mary as a virtuous virgin who conceived Jesus “immaculately,” no body fluids required.

Rather than fall at the feet of a woman with a magical womb, I am drawn to her lesser-known cousin Elizabeth. A pregnant and unmarried Mary travelled into the hill country to seek Elizabeth’s advice. Elizabeth was an older woman who had believed herself unable to conceive, but was six months pregnant when Mary arrived at her door. I imagine Elizabeth hearing Mary’s news, and shouting poetry at her cousin, helping her to believe that Mary’s baby, no matter how legitimate, was a miracle.


And it continues. Fascinating perspective. I like it.

Latest Discussions»Alliance Forums»Interfaith Group»Looking for role models a...