You Can’t Ignore Poison

There are plenty of religious and spiritual traditions which teach downright harmful things about womanhood and gender.  In fact, I’d say that the rarity of traditions which don’t embrace some policy or concept which is either based on or reinforces patriarchal ideas is a big reason why religion itself is falling in popularity.

But I think an important question for our time is whether it’s possible to “fix” religious traditions built on patriarchy and white supremacy or if those traditions simply need to die off.  Can you strip away the harmful elements of a tradition or alter them to be inclusive and supportive of everyone without destroying those spiritual systems?  Is there anything left when you change those things or is it something new at that point?

I suppose it comes down to the nature of the religion.  For many these concepts are so deeply a part of the theology that it’s exceedingly difficult to bring about change.

For instance, when I was briefly Catholic, I tried to exist in this spiritual space where I embraced the core teachings yet stood in opposition to many specific policies.  I tried keeping the parts I liked and ignoring a lot of the doctrines on sex, sexuality, and the role of women.

In the end, it didn’t work.   And I’m not sure it ever does.



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