RESEARCH PAPER: FINAL SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS
Write the Research Paper using the Topic and Proposal you submitted. Your paper must have a thesis statement (this is not a survey of material). Your paper must be thoroughly documented and not contain your opinion. The Conclusion section should be based on the research provided in the body of your paper.
Your paper must include the following (according to the Turabian style format):
â€¢ Title page
â€¢ Thesis Statement: it is a sentence or two that captures the focus of your research and inform your reader about the purpose of the paper and previews its main ideas.
â€¢ Table of Contents: should show a clearly defined outline that will also be visible throughout the paper. Include these â€œsection headingsâ€ in the body of your paper (See Turabian, pp. 397-98 for section heading use and formats).
â€¢ Introduction: strong paragraph that introduces your topic and clearly reveals what you intend to show to the reader (should include the substance of your thesis statement, purpose and brief overview of your paper).
â€¢ Body: its structured development should mirror your outline. This is where you prove your point while honestly interacting with opposing views and major objections. Make sure to include transitional sentences to insure a flow and sense of unity from paragraph to paragraph.
â€¢ Conclusion: it should not be a mere the restatement of your thesis. Instead, your conclusion should be a synthesis of the information presented in the body. It should bring the reader to the full level of understanding of your topic that you have yourself reached.
â€¢ Selected Bibliography (including at least 10 sources–not counting the Bible or â€Requiredâ€ textbooks).
The format guidelines for this paper are according to the most recent Turabian edition and are as follows:
1. Footnotes are to be used to document research in the body of your paper (no in-text citations or endnotes). This paper should have a minimum of 20 to 25 footnotes.
2. The body of the paper (Introduction to Conclusion) must be a minimum of 10 full pages in length and not exceed 12 pages.
3. The completed paper must encompass all 7 sections above and be written in proper Turabian format (see the Turabian manual).
4. Text should be double-spaced and written in 12 pt. Times New Roman font. Use a recent version of Microsoft Word in which to write your paper.
5. Misspellings, grammatical errors, poor syntax, excessive use of the first person, or failure to comply with all structural/content criteria will count against your grade.
Your completed Research Paper must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Friday of Module/Week 8. See the Research Paper: Final Submission Rubric and note how your paper will be graded.
A Word about Sources
In order to gather sources for a research paper of this magnitude, one might be tempted to go to an internet search engine like Google, type a keyword related to oneâ€™s topic and collect sources from the first 20 to 30 hits displayed. You must resist such temptation (since we know that temptation is not from God). As a rule, the internet is not an acceptable resource for research papers (there are very few exceptions). Instead, we recommend that you primarily use the following type of sources* while making sure that you cite all works used in your research paper and that you include only work cited in your bibliography.
â€¢ Scholarly journal articles: These are useful for their survey of the critical issues related to the subject and their bibliography, which could give you useful leads on the top scholars and works in the field.
â€¢ Primary sources: These must take precedence over secondary sources. A primary source is firsthand account or direct evidence concerning a subject matter under examination while secondary source present an assessment or a interpretation of primary sources (i.e. Augustineâ€™s own work City of God is a primary source about Augustineâ€™s view of the struggle between good and evil; while Augustine of Hippo: A Biography by Peter Brown is a secondary source)
â€¢ Scholarly works: These include books, monographs, serial, manuscripts written by experts in the field as opposed to dubious works whose value cannot be ascertained (ask yourself if the critic’s credentials and works suggest that he/she is qualified)
*This list is not intended to be exhaustive. You may use other types of sources including secondary sources, but the student must make every effort to reference only those works that document the subject matter faithfully and accurately.
If you need assistance in locating any of the above listed sources, please use the Online Student Library Services (www.liberty.edu/informationservices/ilrc/library/) website. You may also email the Liberty University Online Librarian at [email protected] for further information.
Feminist theology is a major part of modern feminism. It intentionally hopes to change theological narrative that has traditionally created an environment that acts more than oppressive to women. Liberation of feminist theology does not in anyway seek to change or refute the religious doctrine of any religion, but seeks to arrive at a better understanding and interpretation of the religious texts with an aim of making sure that the interpretation of the religious texts does not end up oppressing the women. The doctrine behind it is that God did not and would never intend for women to be oppressed and that the religious element would be better off if all humans, regardless of gender, were treated the same and given the same power and opportunities. Unfortunately, this is never the case in sot religious setups and women have suffered a lot in most religions due to the interpretations that seem to favour males over females. While feminist theology has been there for a while, it has not been established to what extent women understand what it is about.
Liberation theology has different aspects. One of the aspects is feminist theology. It examines how religion has been used to oppress women. According to this theory, the bible and other religious books have been interpreted to suit men while disregarding women. It argues that the basis of libration is not to oppress a specific group but to liberate humanity. It therefore aims to interpret religious books from a woman’s perspective.
Although numerous research have been done to establish the history of religious oppression and how to liberate women, studies have not been conducted to show how women understand this kind of oppression, efforts of liberation and the meaning and importance of the whole process to them. The study aims to establish whether religious oppression affects women from different backgrounds and religious affiliations, and whether they are aware of it and any action to eradicate it.
A sample group will be chosen using systematic sampling technique. The sample group will contain women from lower, middle and upper classes. This will help in identifying whether there are differences among socioeconomic classes with regard to how women understand and embrace feminist theology. The sample will also come from different religious persuasions in order to also identify whether there is a difference in the way women from different religious affiliation and persuasions are able to understand and even embrace liberation theology. The sample will be composed through a probabilistic sampling method. To arrive to the most feasible results possible, it will also be necessary to make sure that the sample is as wide as possible in order to have participants from different social classes as well as from different religious persuasions. After the sampling, the participants will then be classified into socioeconomic classes based on their income brackets. They will also be classified based on religious and cultural backgrounds such as Christians, Muslims and Chicanos. This will help to identify how social class affects the way a woman understands and even embraces the concept of feminist theology.
The design used will be descriptive. Due to the large sample size and aim of the research, a survey will be carried out.2 The sample group will then be given the same questionnaire to fill. The questionnaire will contain questions that seek to answer the understanding of the person on religious oppression, attempts at liberation and the effect of the same in their lives. Participants from different backgrounds will give a more generalizable outcome.
Women from all walks of life face difficulties in their life based on their gender. To further this problem, the religion texts in their religions have also played a role in proliferating this discrimination and oppression of women based on gender. Liberation theology also known as feminism theology has been there for some time as a way to try to help women with regard to freeing themselves from their oppression in terms of how the religious tests of their religion defined them and their roles. In almost all, if not all, the religious texts, there are two gender related issues that affect women not only in their religion institutions, but also in their lives. First, there is the issue of the fact that God is always represented as a male in all religions. This continues to proliferate the ideas that males are better, more powerful and more privileged better than women, by the very virtue of sharing the same gender as a God. This could have started as a result of the male dominance in all cultures across the world, right from the early times. The second issue emanates from this first issue. To begin with, the fact that god is repressed as a male, it means that males are better and more important than the females and the results has been that women are left out in most leadership positions in their respective religious institution. In Christianity for example, there is the issue of the fact that women are no allowed to become leaders and to have certain positions in church. Women from all walks lf life have tried to deal with this is in different ways. For some, they decide to stick with their religious organizations, hoping to slowly change things from the outside and hopefully, eventually change the system. Others decide to start their own religious organization, such as starting their women churches when they can have a voice and can expend their talent as leaders and as important people in the society. Others however, have decide to leave the church, or whatever religious organization they may belong to, in order o focus on other maters while at the same time retaining their religious identity.
However, as Schussler and Continuum says, it may seem that despite the fact that liberation theology has been there for a long time, most women are not aware of it, or are too shy to engage. Som and Ranjan on the other side disagrees and argues that the biggest problem is that most women are too stuck in the traditional interpretations of the religious texts and books that they find it hard to adopt to new paradigm. In this regard, Tandon argues that the implementation of the liberation/feminist theology is intertwined with the sociology of society in which case most women are bound by their social contract to society to adhere to the definitions of theory roles as interpreted as minor and subordinate to their male counterparts. This then questions the role of feminist theology in many ways. As  says, biggest issue with how women are able to embrace liberation theology lies in the understanding of what this theology is all about. For most, the main issue is with regard to whether the liberation theology is in ling with the doctrines of their religion, or is a way to deviate from the doctrine and therefore to go against the will of God. Most women misunderstand liberation theology and therefore reject by considering it as a means of rebellion against God. For most of them, regardless of the religious persuasion they belong to, the issue of concern is which this is deviating from the original doctrine. Instead of considering it as a new modernist interpretation that will help them to be even better in their faith, they consider it as a way to deviate from the doctrine and therefore are careful as to how they relate to it. However, as Schüssler found out in her study, it the level of awareness and the willingness to embrace the concept of the liberation of theology is determined by three major factors. For example, the first issue is the social class. She found out that the higher the social class the more likely the women can understand and embrace the liberation theology. The second factor according to Braidotti is the religious affiliation. Due to the fact that the religious faiths apply the religious texts with different levels of fidelity, women from these different religious persuasions are also likely to be affected differently. At the same time, as Russell says, different regions have different texts that have different level of radicalism with regard to the way they regard women. In Christianity for example, the text is not so radical and women are given more opportunity, as compared to other religions such Islam. The third factor is the society, which acts as an important issue with regard to how a woman is able to not only understand but also embrace the religion of liberation, or rather, the liberation theology.
However, as Rosi says, the most important issue is the issue of whether these women understand the meaning and the reason for feminist or liberation theology. As Gottlieb says, if women can get the point and understand that the role of liberation theology is not to counter the will of God but to understand religious texts in a way that does not oppress them, they would be more willing to engage the liberation theology. According to Amin, women would be better off if they understood that God did not, or could never, intend to create a society that is less inclusive of them or any other human beings. To really understand feminists theology and its role and importance, Leonardo and Boff, argue that one would have to understand feminism at large. Although most people, including women themselves tend to think that feminism is about making women better than men, feminist is about the equality of all human beings and not just women. Unfortunately, most people tend to think that feminism is about empowering women. Although this is one of the principle roles and intensions of feminism, it is necessary to note that feminism goes beyond empowering women, and covers the issue of all sorts of equality with regard to gender, race, ethnicity or even economic class. Definitely, this is a noble attitude and this concept is carried over to the issue of feminist theology. In this regard, feminist theology is about and includes religious outlook that does not leave out women, but includes them and protects them from oppression.
The results indicate that those in the lower socioeconomic classes are more likely to be ignorant of the principles of feminist theology which then means that they are not able to embrace it. At the same time, even in cases where the women are aware of the feminist theology, they tend to be shier than those in the upper socioeconomic classes. They prefer to adhere to the direct translations of religious texts, not only because they are worried about how the society will judge them, but also because they are worried that the new interpretation of the religious texts will be like a rebellion towards God. Those in the higher socioeconomic classes are not only more likely to be aware of feminist theology, but are also likely to have the right mindset to adhere to the principles of these theology. For instance, they are likely to be comfortable with the new interpretations of the religious texts, which always leads to personal liberations.
The results also indicate that there is difference among different religious faiths such as between Muslims and Christianity. This means that women from one faith persuasion are likely to be more aware of, and embrace the principles, of the modern feminist theology, than others of a different faith. For instance, Muslim women, regardless of socioeconomic class are more likely to feel the fear of embracing this new type of theology.
From the results, one issue of importance that came up was the fact that women of lower socioeconomic classes are not only more likely to be ignorant of feminist theology, but are also more likely to be more reluctant to embrace it even if they were aware of it. This brings in two major issues. First, the fact that these make the majority means that until they joint he bandwagon, it is not possible for women to be liberated. Secondly, it means that these women need to be liberated in other ways in order for them to be ale to embrace the feminist theology. This causes a bottleneck in that liberation theology is supposed to be the one that gives them the ultimate freedom. The idea of liberation theology is that if women can be liberated from the religious chains hat tie them and therefore deny them the opportunities that their male counterparts have, they will eventually be liberated economically, socially and even politically. Unfortunately, this study indicated that it is harder for these women to be liberated through the liberation theology wile they are still in social and economic oppression. This means that although the liberation theology has the potential to liberate this women, it should not be considered as a prerequisite for economic and social liberation of women, but should be used as a compliment to other channels of liberation for women.
The results also indicated that women from certain religious faiths are more likely to embrace this liberation theology. For instance, Muslim women are less likely to embrace the liberation theology as opposed to Christians. This ay be as a result of the fact that the Islam religious texts are more radical with regard to the way they have addressed women. The history of Christianity is a little, or even a lot more, different from Islam. Unlike the Islam religious texts such as the Koran, Christian text are mainly divided into two major texts. The first is the old testament which is more radical and the second one is the new testament that came after the first coming of Christ. The New Testament is less radical and women are given way more space. Unlike the Old Testament, the New Testament gives more opportunities that helps women to be more empowered. This has a twofold impact as to how Christian women are more able to embrace the new interpretation of religious text with regard to women empowerment. First, the New Testament, being less radical with regard to how women should be regarded and treated in the society gives a channel for feminists. Secondly, the fact that the new testament lightened the burden for women is a clear indication that the religious texts can be interested to mean something that has always been known to the ultimate truth. In fact, in the New Testament, it is not only the feminist issues that were addressed, it was also other texts in the old testament. Jesus himself was often introducing a new interpretation of the Old Testament and this always landed him in trouble when he was accused of corrupting the scriptures. However, his response was that he did not come to break or weaken the scriptures, but only to strengthen it. In other words, it was proof that the religious texts could be interpreted to bring a new meaning, without necessary breaking the principle. This may help Christian women to be able to embrace the new interpretation of the bible according to the feminist theology. Muslim women however do not have this luxury in their exposure and this may explain why it is harder for them to be able to embrace the perspectives of the feminist theology to understand their place in the society. In this regard, the are more likely to adhere to the traditional interpretation of their religious texts. At the same time, of major consideration is the fact that Christianity in general has moved towards not adhering too much to the reliogoious texts and always embrace the inclusion of contemporary issues in the society. In comparison, the Muslim community is more adherent to their original religious texts.
The issue that however affected all women from all the religious faiths however was the issue of fearing to be excommunicated, or regarded as outcasts if they embrace the new interpretation of the bible. To most of them, even though they did agree to the fact that the direct interpretation of religious texts has led to the discrimination and oppression of women in general, they were more concerned about how the community in which they live in would judge them if they did not adhere to the traditional interpretation of the religious texts. This shows that the religion of oppression still plays a major part in making sure that the oppression of women still continues to thrive.
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