Dalit theology emerged in India before colonialism whereby members of the outcaste were considered outsiders and were not supposed to mingle freely with other individuals in society. In fact, outcastes were oppressed and subjugated because they were expected to perform degrading jobs, such as laborers and cleaners in the village (Oommen, 2000). They were excluded from visiting the temples and were not allowed to use public facilities since they were impure.
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With the advent of Christianity in India, Dalit theology got its way into churches mainly because the poor believers were often discriminated. Dalit theology looks at the ways in which the poor in society could realize their objectives. This is achieved through the fight for human rights and freedom. In India, the Dalits constituted a significant number, which was an approximated two-hundred million people.
Dalit Christians base their faith on the teachings of Luke. In particular, they utilize verse four where Jesus talked about spreading the good news to the disadvantaged in society.
Lutheran Church is one of the churches operating in Africa that supports Dalit theology. Among other countries that support Dalit theology, Sudan and South Africa are the most notable because the oppressed individuals in these countries feel that the society has neglected them for long. In Sudan, the Lutheran Church supports the activities of the Dalits through programs aiming at uplifting the living standards of the poor.
The Sudanese supporting or subscribing to the ideas of Dalit theology oppose the existing social structure because it does not favor them. In South Africa, blacks formed organizations that opposed the colonial rule and the apartheid policy because they were always in the receiving end (Rowland, 2007). Dalit theology supported the beliefs and the struggles of the black people in S. Africa during apartheid regime.
Mary Grey suggested in her works that feminist theology is a form of movement that aims at liberating women from all forms of injustices in society. The movement is present in almost all religions, including Buddhism, Christianity, and Judaism. Feminist theology looks at the ways through which the scriptures could be interpreted to suit the interests of women in society (Rowland, 2007).
For instance, feminist theology construes the scripture in a way that would give both genders equal opportunities to participate actively in the affairs of the church. In many religions, the principles of religion are interpreted to mean that men have dominant positions and roles to play, which is not always the case. In this regard, women are socialized to believe that their role is restricted to motherhood, as well as performing some degrading roles in the church.
In each religion, women have particular concerns, which are contradictory in some instances. In Christianity, the main aim of women is to ensure that both genders are represented in the management of the affairs of the church (Rowland, 2007). Some churches, such as the Catholic Church, do not allow women to play critical roles since they are not even allowed to be ordained as Bishops. However, this trend is changing since some churches, such as the Anglican, are adjusting according.
Feminist theology suggests that God does not favor one gender since he has never suggested that men should control women and exploit them. In Islam, feminists observe that the Quran is very fair since it does not discriminate against any gender. However, the interpretation of the Quran brings problems because men tend to interpret it in their favor. In general, women advocate for social justice when it comes to interpreting the scripture.
Oommen, G. (2000). The Emerging Dalit Theology: A Historical Appraisal. Indian Church History Review, 55(1), 19-37.
Rowland, C. (2007). The Cambridge companion to liberation theology (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.