Are Women Logical?

Do women think logically? For centuries, it seems, men have had their doubts. But today, amazingly, the old stereotype that women are irrational is being promoted by the feminist movement itself. Listen to feminist scholar Peggy McIntosh. She says logical thinking is just a white male construct. In her definition, masculine thought includes "exact thinking or decisiveness"—or even just "being able to make an argument." None of that for women, McIntosh says. Their style of thinking is "spiritual, relational, and inclusive," stressing "our connectedness with the world." Sounds more like a mystical experience than a new kind of logic. But McIntosh is absolutely convinced reason is a tool wielded by white males to oppress everyone else. Which raises a fascinating question: How did we get to the point where ordinary logic and reason are denounced as means of oppression? Radical feminism is part of a wider movement called postmodernism which rejects reason. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Enlightenment thinkers exalted Reason—often spelling it with a capital "R" as though it were the sum total of truth. But they defined Reason in terms of a particular world view. For the Enlightenment, Reason meant classical science. It meant a world view that sees the entire universe as a vast machine, operating by natural laws. Even human beings were just cogs and gears in the world machine. The world people thought they were living in—a world rich in joy and love, in color and music—was declared unreal, a product of the human mind. The "real" world was hard, cold, and silent, spinning endlessly in space. But people cannot live as though they were cogs in a mechanistic universe—and today we are witnessing a massive revolt. Suddenly, Reason and Science have stopped being heroes and have been recast as villains. So Sandra Harding, a leading feminist scholar, complains that modern science embodies a male-centered view that is "culturally coercive." Feminist Donna Haraway denounces modern science as a product of "White Capitalist Patriarchy." Environmentalists, multiculturalists, and New Agers have all joined in the attack on Reason. This represents a radical cultural shift, and Christians need to understand what is happening. For centuries, the Christian faith was criticized in the name of Reason—with Reason defined as scientific materialism: the universe as a vast, impersonal machine. Since Christianity teaches the existence of a spiritual realm beyond the machine, it was hauled before the tribunal of Reason—and condemned. But today, ironically, Reason itself has been condemned as a tool of oppression. For Christians this is both good news and bad news. Good news because it means many of the old objections to Christianity have faded away—opening the door to a compelling apologetic for the faith. Secular Reason can no longer be set up as the judge of all truth. But rejecting reason is also bad news— because Christianity itself is a rational religion. Will Christianity survive the postmodern era? Tune in tomorrow to learn more about being a Christian in a postmodern world.


Chuck Colson



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