Mary Daly has attacked patriarchal values where they originated and where they remain most entrenched, in the religious institutions of our society . Daly blasted the church's anti-feminism six years ago in her widely-read book The Church and the Second Sex. Now she has criticized the theological assumptions that underlie those anti-feminine practices. More than that, in Beyond God the Father (Beacon Press, 1973) she has promised to move beyond criticism to begin a reconstruction of theology. She will give equal validity to both male and female experience in order to make a new spiritual revolution. As one who is struggling to answer the question, "Can you become a feminist and remain a Christian?" I was eager to see where Daly would take us.
Daly's views are angry and radical. She isn't interested in tampering with the details, with chauvinist hymns or male-centered Scriptural passages. Daly sees that the basis of Jewish and Christian traditions is patriarchy, and she strips away the symbols of these traditions accordingly. God as Father must go, Christ as male incarnation of God is out, the male-controlled church cannot be salvaged. The presuppositions of theology, a malecreated discipline, must be turned inside-out before they can be used to rebuild religious thinking. In the process of uprooting these time-honored pillars of the spiritual world, she exposes the sexism that underlies the thinking of many modern theologians: Karl Barth, Teilhard de Chardin, the Berrigan brothers, among others. She is equally critical of Judaism, Protestantism, and her own Roman Catholicism. In fact, she appears to reject the Judea-Christian tradition totally. Yet she still speaks of "God," and all her ideas react to the old theology. She does not make it clear exactly where she stands now; perhaps no woman who is in process of leaving the old world-view behind can do so yet.