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Religion and Women: Empowering or Exploiting?

February 28, 2007
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

The Sweet House
254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

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Organized by:
Jeff Seaver
Phone: (616) 892-9300
Email: jeff@cfimichigan.org


In the Judeo-Christian tradition, it is written, in the beginning, after the Lord’s creation of the Universe, Adam and Eve wondered freely in an earthly paradise, without a want or need until she was tempted by the serpent to eat from the tree of knowledge. This action by a woman leads Adam, and all of humankind, to the fall from the grace of God. This and similar stories in other religious systems have been used by priest and politician alike to place women in a lower caste than their male counterparts. How do women find their place in religious tradition, especially in these deeply patriarchal systems? Dr. Falk’s presentation will explore what she considers a central paradox in a woman’s relationship to religion — how many of the world’s best-known religious traditions have promoted male dominance over women while at the same time many women have enthusiastically embraced these traditions and find personal empowerment. How can this be and how can religious traditions go beyond the standard patriarchal patterns of the past? Dr. Falk’s discussion is based largely upon a collection of essays called “Unspoken Worlds” she co-edited with friend Rita Gross and her own research into women’s religious practice and roles in India.

After the meeting, join us at Vitale’s Restaurant, 834 Leonard NE, Grand Rapids, MI to socialize. View Map

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About Nancy Falk, Ph.D.

Professor of Comparative Religion, Western Michigan University

author of Women and Religion in India, and Unspoken Words: Women’s Religious Lives