That's why atheism is not a "rejection" of God, but a lack of belief.
It's very easy to lack belief in every possible conception of God, including ones you've never heard of. Just like it's possible for you to have lacked belief in the red-and-blue striped monkeys that live in our asteroid belt and offer the power of invisibility to anyone who worships them by burning cauliflower as a sacrifice...even though you've never heard of them until just now.
societal ideal of a long-term, co-housed relationship with a man, often involving children. And as you say, any such relationship, whether formalized or not, will involve exploitation to a greater or lesser degree depending on the individuals involved. So in such instances, especially when there are children, at least marriage provides some protection, however minor.
For example, when my parents divorced, our single-mom family was quite poor, but our circumstances were not as desparate as those of the never-married, single-mom families in our neighborhood. If nothing else, a man who wants a divorce has to show up for court proceedings that will also determine his child support responsibility. Not so for the dad of my best friend growing up, who skipped town the moment her mom told him she was pregnant, and could never be found to secure a child support judgement against.
I think the answer is not to do away with marriage, but to work harder on the second half of that stalled revolution, as Hochschild argued in The Second Shift - to change cultural attitudes so that men are equal participants in the life of the home, so that women and children are not expected to take the man's name, etc., etc. To make all of those things you list as "personal variations" and "exceptions to the rule", and work harder to make them the norm.
And you know what is currently a primary mover in that direction in our culture? Same-sex marriage. When both partners are men, or both women, the gendered expectations no longer apply, and new paradigms are created. Yes, some same-sex marriages ape traditional marriage, with one partner assuming primary responsibility for the home, freeing the other to achieve greater earning power. But unlike heterosexual marriage, where the majority of women have primary responsibility for the home regardless of their work outside it, relationships of this nature are not the majority of same-sex marriages. Simply by virtue of both partners having gender privilege, or both partners lacking it, same-sex relationships have greater income equality on average, and similarly have greater equality in dividing the day-to-day, mundane stuff of life, the stuff that in a heterosexual relationship, tends to fall mostly on the woman.
And you know what? The conservative freakshows KNOW it. That's why they harp on about same-sex marriage destroying the institution of marriage. What they mean is, same-sex marriage threatens their cherished concept of marriage as "I get someone to bear my children and cater to my needs while I go out and chase success".
And especially when they talk about kids...oh, boy. They cite studies done on single-parent families, and go on and on about how the results mean that children need both a mother and a father. No, the results mean that children do better in homes where two loving adults are caring for them, looking out for them, teaching them. So why do the conservatives insist on using that specific, inaccurate talking point, that "children need a mother and a father"? Because they are super-invested in traditional gender roles, and they're scared shitless that the gendered expectations currently built into marriage will fall quickly by the wayside if kids are raised in homes that don't model these roles as The Way It Works.
And once again...I think they're RIGHT.
From what I can see here, I'd agree that it's crap. If she wanted to write an article critiquing the sexism of "New Atheism", all she'd have to do is look at the personal views of Dawkins and Hitchens. No need for the wild speculation that begins the excerpt.
Both of the women-authored books she mentions are more of a "history of non-belief" than a systematic takedown of arguments for theism. As you say, "The God Delusion" is really what vaulted Dawkins to the front of the "movement", so to speak. And "God Is Not Great" is really the work that popularized Hitchens. Histories are less controversial, harder to find offensive.
I agree with you that feminism is generally down on organized religion, for the simple fact that organized religion is largely down on women. Most self-identified feminists who haven't decided to turn a blind eye to the faith they grew up in (which many do), are either without religion or into some sort of vague paganistic Mother Earth/Gaia/Goddess sort of spirituality.
Also, while author is arguing that women are - what? - more conciliatory? - less anti-establishment?...she is overlooking probably the single most confrontational public atheist out there - Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Maybe it's because Ali's main target is Islam instead of Christianity, I don't know. But I do know that you'll never see Dawkins publicly calling Christianity "a destructive, nihilistic cult of death (that) legitimates murder." She does NOT hold back!
whom posted multiple OPs a day. If you'd like it to be a place for believers of any stripe to discuss religion, start threads along those lines, and keep starting them. The rare threads of that nature that were posted in RT were treated respectfully. I'm specifically remembering one member's post about being unsure whether the baptism they received as an infant in one Christian denomination was sufficient now that they were joining another denomination as an adult.
Now, it won't ONLY be a place for that type of discussion, because there is a genuine need for a place to discuss religious hegemony in politics and public life, and the admins decided long ago to relegate all such threads to R-T/R instead of GD/Soapbox.
But I think it's a place where both can co-exist.
After all the War on Christmas brouhaha, I have to admit, this was one I'd never come across before.
On another message board I frequent, a woman complained bitterly about "these non-Christians who claim to celebrate Christmas". I explained to her the basic history of solstice/Yule/Saturnalia celebrations, that the timing of Christmas was originally chosen to capitalize on existing mid-winter festivals, and that most non-Christians who celebrate just think of it as a time to focus on friends, family and charity.
She came back and said that would be like if she chose to celebrate Passover or Diwali as a time with friends and family, that she still didn't see the point.
I said that Christmas is nearly ubiquitous in American culture, and most of us grew up celebrating it, and may still have family who are religious and celebrate the holiday with that in mind -- family who would be disappointed if we stayed home. I said if she had grown up Jewish but no longer believed, she might indeed still attend her family's seder to spend time with them, or even host her own to teach her children about their heritage, if not any religious beliefs.
I said that ultimately, for me, I celebrate the solstice and don't have a problem with calling it Christmas, because after all, the common English name for the holiday where Christians celebrate the resurrection is Easter, after a pagan fertility goddess.
She pretty much ignored that, and continued to insist that we had no right to the name "Christmas", because after all, "CHRISTmas", yada yada... I gave up at that point.
I'm thoroughly confused. Folks like this want all cashiers and bank tellers and waitstaff they encounter in December to ONLY say "Merry Christmas"...but apparently no one is allowed to celebrate Christmas unless they believe in the literal truth of the nativity?
As others have said:
- George RR Martin, though be prepared for sex, violence, and death.
- Rowling is among the best in YA fantasy.
- Suzanne Collins' "Hunger Games" trilogy is also great, but I don't know if that's really fantasy...seems more speculative/dystopic fiction. Unless there are some elements I'm forgetting.
- Marion Zimmer Bradley is amazing. I haven't read any of the Darkover novels yet, but she has two books that are female-centered takes on classic legends, and both are amazing - "Mists of Avalon" which is Arthurian legend from Morgan le Fay's POV, and "The Firebrand", which is "The Iliad" from Cassandra's POV.
A few others that haven't been mentioned yet:
- Jacqueline Carey: I love the religion she created for her Kushiel/Naamah series. The first trilogy is in this series is excellent - the subsquent books get a little weaker, IMO, but are still entertaining. She also wrote a duology called The Sundering which is basically Lord of the Rings from the POV of Sauron and his crew...very intriguing. It reminded me a lot of Brust's "To Reign In Hell".
- Robin Hobb has a set of eleven books that take place in the same inter-related world. To me, the best are the Liveship Traders trilogy, though the others are decent. Stay away from her unrelated Soldier's Son trilogy though...it has the most whiny, least relatable main character I've ever seen.
- Naomi Novik's Temeraire series is a little thinly written, but still fun. Basically Horatio Hornblower plus dragons.