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Post-Christian Feminism

August 23, 1987

Dolly Patterson's review of Carol Christ's "Laughter of Aphrodite: Reflections on a Journey to the Goddess" (The Book Review, Aug. 2) is less a review than an attack on Christ's religion. Patterson admits as much when she says, "It's not so much Christ's observations and research that are objectionable . . . it's the conclusions she draws." The conclusions, of course, are that women would be better off without Christianity.

Patterson is a reformist Christian feminist, which means that even while she is quite aware of the profound problems of the Church, she still chooses to believe those things eventually can be corrected. Christ is a post-Christian feminist, which means she believes it is impossible for the Church ever to correct its errors, and has chosen to go elsewhere. Her book is a declaration of what and where an "elsewhere" is.

My own Christian experience is much like Christ's. I, too, am a defector and I know personally that a Christian refugee is a scandal to the ecclesiastical agoraphobics who fill the churches. Because Christians have been so indoctrinated into believing that Christianity is the only legitimate and complete religion in the universe, they simply can't accept the reality that the church can be experienced as a woefully deficient source of spirituality (let alone a destroyer of it!), and that some people feel so enormously deprived that they must leave--or spiritually die.

It is not surprising, then, that Patterson accuses Christ and her book of being "irrational"-- this from a credal Christian who professes belief in factual phenomena such as supernatural conception, virgin birth, and bodily resurrection of the dead! Is Patterson really in a position to assess anyone else's rationality on the basis of their religious beliefs?

How about this: The next time there's a review to be done on a post-Christian book, get a review from someone who won't be scandalized by its basic premise.

LAURIE HALL

Whittier

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