Tag Archives: Equality

Unveiling a Parallel

By Alice Ilgenfritz Jones and Ella Merchant, published 1893.

Once again I find myself adding a book review to my Christian themed blog, before I add it to my book review blog. I add it here because of the comparisons Unveiling A Parallel draws with Christianity.

Unveiling A Parallel is billed as a romance. Some might say it is science fiction, as it is set on the planet Mars. Some would call it feminist literature, if the term “feminist” existed in 1893. I describe Unveiling A Parallel as social-science fiction, that just happens to be set on another planet.

Remember as you continue that Unveiling a Parallel was published more than a century ago. The society in which the protagonist finds himself is still a stratified society, in which there are rich and poor, servants and masters, characteristic of the era in which the story was written.

The reader is not told at any point the protagonist’s name, or how he comes to be on Mars. The story begins at his arrival on the red planet.  It goes on to recount his experiences with the “Marsians” whilst amongst the people.

The Marsian people are humans, who have evolved entirely independently of the humans of our planet Earth. The differences between the peoples are in intellects and social orders, not in any physical aspect that defines a human being.

The traveller’s male pre-conceptions, of how a society should function, based on his patriarchal Earth background in a male dominated society, are challenged from soon after his arrival on Mars.  As he begins to get to know Mars’ people, he finds an egalitarian, equal society where the female of the species is the equal of the male socially and morally, without needing legislation to achieve it.

It is also interesting to see the protagonist’s observations on religion, specifically Christianity, as he begins to come to terms with the “Marsian” society in which he finds himself.

Unveiling A Parallel is not SciFi in the form that readers of such as Asimov, E E Doc Smith or Larry Niven would probably appreciate. It is, to a greater extent, commentary on the differences between societies, that have evolved in different places, under different conditions and traditions.

“You worship the man – the God, if you will, –
instead of that for which he stood.”: – Severnius.

Jesus And Women

Did He treat them fairly?

Magdalen with the Smoking Flame, by Georges de La Tour (c.1640)

By modern day standards Jesus probably would be thought of as being unfair to women but he was much, much fairer to them than anyone else of His time. Jesus wasn’t merely righteous, He was intelligent. He realised that in that era if He elevated womens’ position too far, there might be a backlash that could end up with them being in a worse position than they were to begin with.

It is certainly true that the 12 disciples our Lord chose were all men. In those times, women had a lower status in society and so would not have had such authority when they spoke, as men would have been perceived to have. Jesus understood this and He needed people who would be heard to to get the message out, so He picked those people most likely to be considered credible to, to carry his message and teaching; men.

There were not any female Disciples; or were there? In strict biblical terms probably not, however the dictionary of today defines a disciple as ‘one who embraces and assists the spreading of the teaching of another’. Although Jesus’ Disciples number just 12 in the Bible text, He had other followers too some of whom were women, who clearly could fit the definition of Disciple.

Jesus needed people to carry his word to the world, so He needed people that would be listened to with credibility. In his time, it had to be men but nevertheless he treated women far, far better than probably anyone else of that time. So could Jesus have been fairer to women? Maybe, but perhaps only in private not publicly.

If Jesus were here today, I think He would treat women fully as equals. As a man of his time, albeit radical for that time, he treated them with as much respect as he could in that culture and society.  So could Jesus have been fairer to women? Probably not at that time but maybe you think otherwise.