When we seek immortality or spiritual “rebirth,” are we not saying that there is something wrong with the “birth” that was given to us through the body of our mothers? In She Who Changes and in "Reading Plato's Allegory of the Cave as Matricide and Theacide," I asserted that our culture is "matricidal" because it is based on the assumption that life in the body in this world "just isn’t good enough."
What is so wrong with the life that our mothers gave us that we must reject it in the name of a “higher” spiritual life? The answer of course death.
Can we love life without accepting death?
Can we love our mothers if we do not accept a life that ends in death?
Jesus was said to have encouraged his disciples to leave their wives and families in order to follow him. When he was told that his mother and brothers were outside and waiting to speak to him, he is said to have said:
“Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother, and sister, and mother. (Matt. 12:48-50)
Buddha left his wife and new-born son in order to pursue enlightenment.
Some feminists, including Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza and Rita Gross, view these incidents positively, stating that their meaning is that no person should be trapped in the conventional biological roles.
I have always experienced these stories as dismissive of women’s bodies, of women’s lives, of women’s work. When I went to college, I learned that all of the knowledge and insight about the meaning of life I had gained through the experience of raising a child with my mother was irrelevant to the university education I had embarked upon.