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From Faith to Facts: Theology to Atheism an Unintended Outcome

When I was a practicing Catholic, I often stretched my imagination by visioning my church not as a global oppressor of women but as a segmented community, “a church with in a church”, that derived its mandate not from the pulpit in Rome but from the roots of liberation theology. I spent many years at the altar of feminist theologians, honoring their articulation of the liberated experience.

Yet despite the appeal of feminist theology I now identify as a secular humanist. So what happened? To put it shortly and succinctly; I could no longer reconcile myself to belief. Instead I embraced the sentiment that I was not losing faith, but gaining reason. Since that time, I have spent many an unfettered hour thinking about religion, its function as a building block of society and how and when it will be retired as product of a bygone era.

Which brings me to this article. Despite religion’s best efforts, things are changing, particularly in the West; with the influence of science a new world of possibilities, free from religion have come into focus. But there is also, in my opinion, another unknowing contributor – theology.

The study and development of theology has become one of the main architects of internal schisms in the Roman Church. Most people in this day and age don’t take notice of who the Vatican is excommunicating or whose book has been banned. In most instances, the person in question is a theologian. Recent examples of theological thinking that has gotten the Church in a tither include the splinter group “Roman Catholic Womanpriest”, an international union of women priests ordained in the apostolic tradition. Also, since the 1970‘s the church has spoken against liberation theologies that it feels focus too much on the emancipate communities of disenfranchised persons seeking justice in areas of political, social, economic and ecological oppression. One of the most vocal of these groups include feminists.

Rosemary Radford Ruether is one of the most influential feminist liberation theologians. Dr. Ruether has written numerous books on women and the church, including Sexism and God Talk: Towards a Feminist Theology. She currently teaches at Claremount School of Theology. She agreed to speak with me in preparation for this article.

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