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Unmasking the Systemic Problem of Evil in Theology: A Feminist Critique

McIntosh, Esther ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1819-8353 (2022) Unmasking the Systemic Problem of Evil in Theology: A Feminist Critique. In: T&T Clark Handbook of Suffering and the Problem of Evil. Bloomsbury (In Press)

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Abstract

In the wake of #MeToo and the related #ChurchToo, it is all too apparent that the personal is still political. Christian theology has yet to free itself from sexism, racism, homophobia and transphobia. Admittedly, there have been some gains: in 2019 Rose Hudson-Wilkin became the first Black female bishop in the Church of England, and yet the continued use of Provincial Episcopal Visitors (a.k.a. ‘flying bishops’) to appease those who oppose the ordination of women is a barrier to gender equality. Similarly, while the 2020 toppling of the Edward Colston statue in Bristol marked a significant milestone in turning the tide on the celebration of a slave trader as ‘one of the most virtuous and wise sons of their city’, Rhodes did not fall in Oxford. Moreover, Archbishop Justin Welby proposed forgiving ‘the “trespasses” of people immortalised in the form of statues, rather than tearing them down’ (The Guardian, 26 June 2020), thereby weakening his attempts at solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Mainstream (a.k.a. ‘malestream’) theology has been written by and for White men; it is imbued with heteropatriarchy. On the contrary, decades of alternative theologies provide opportunities for the expansion of the field. In this paper, I take theodicies to be one example of the ahistorical reasoning that is entrenched in systematic and philosophical theology, and I argue that suffering is understood differently when considered from the lived experience of the subjugated rather than the dominant class. Furthermore, I conclude that contemporary analytic theology, by wilfully and deliberately ignoring or dismissing feminist and womanist theologies, continues to construct theology from the perspective of the privileged, thereby perpetuating a moral evil.

Item Type: Book Section
Status: In Press
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
School/Department: School of Humanities
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/7234

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