Does it bother you that God is called 'HE'?

@astromama (1226)
United States
February 8, 2007 12:12pm CST
I hope this isn't opening up a big ugly can of worms, but i have to be honest here... one of the things that has turned me off about certain religions is that they pray to a gender-specific God. I myself am into equal rights, woman power, etc. and I find that i identify more with a balanced energy... a male/female creative force. It seems to me, like children, we couldn't be created without both male and female principles. Does this bother you, too? And if you call god 'he', why do you do so without acknowledging the divine female? Or do you truly believe God was male only? I'm interested...
10 people like this
57 responses
@jricbt (1454)
• Brazil
8 Feb 07
Of course God is male. The bible was wrote by men (many men) and is sexist. What can one expect except a Him?
2 people like this
@astromama (1226)
• United States
8 Feb 07
This is exactly my point... But what are your personal views on this, and does it bother you? That was the question...
1 person likes this
• United States
8 Feb 07
The Bible mentions the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. I don't think it's necessarily that God is a male, I think that because God created man first, it shows why he is considered male. He made man in his image, and then created woman for man. I don't feel that this is sexist at all. Its what I believe in, and I guess if you don't believe in what the Bible teaches, then I could see how you could think its sexist, though I find that a somewhat closedminded view.
1 person likes this
• United States
9 Feb 07
It /is/ sexist. It denies woman any reason for existance except "for man". So we only exist as companions to a man? We're not worth anything alone? This is bigoted and is where the early beliefs that a wife had to obey everything her husband said and could be beaten, etc. came from. And I surely hope you don't agree with that.
2 people like this
@skivveez (38)
• United States
8 Feb 07
It doesn't really bother me that much, being an atheist, but my opinion on the topic is that it really stems from the fact that the world's major monotheistic religions all share common sources in the same patriarchal cultures. Often the holy texts of these religions actually explicitly give men a higher degree of freedom and power than women, and are propagated by an exclusively male clergy. Personally, I think the idea of assigning a gender to god is sort of ridiculous to begin with, as (at least with monotheistic religions), there are no other gods for god to procreate with and have little baby gods with. It's an example of anthropomorphizing god, as there really is no reason for god to have a gender. I believe "male" and "female" are pretty much defined at this point as the member of a species who produce the (male) smaller, mobile reproductive gametes versus the (female) larger reproductive gametes. I don't see why god would have a gender at all, unless one believes that god actually physically produces god-sperm.
2 people like this
@astromama (1226)
• United States
8 Feb 07
Great answer! Why then, are so many people attached to the notion that God is male? Or so threatened by the idea that, in my belief, there are elements in the universe that are masculine and feminine, and so it is only fair to assume that if the masculine is divine, so must be the feminine? It just irks me that patriarchy could assign God a gender as another way to keep women 'in their place'... I'm officially irked. :-)
2 people like this
• United States
8 Feb 07
I guess that while it doesn't make sense to me to assign god a physical gender, there are many qualities that are traditionally associated with masculinity or femininity, i.e. aggression, empathy, etc. I guess historically, in a hostile world, there are reasons why some of these qualities would survive in a dogmatic god and others would be downplayed, but I think now, with the freedom to think and discuss these ideas, it seems clear to me that one would hope god has a combination of both masculine and feminine qualities.
2 people like this
@123bart (303)
9 Feb 07
the reason why so many people are attached to the idea that God is a he is that our history isn't 30 years old. Don't forget that women couldn't even vote up to last century.
@thyst07 (2091)
• United States
8 Feb 07
That kind of bothers me too. For one, humans are supposedly created in the image of God. But wait- if God is male, then does that mean I'm not created in His image? That would make me of less value spiritually, and I think that's rubbish. Anyway, God is supposed to be a spiritual being, and as such, would not technically HAVE a gender at all! I think that calling God "He" is the product of a mostly-patriarchal world. I think we should agree to use gender-neutral pronouns when referring to God- I like the ones that have been suggested by the trans community- "ze" instead of he or she, and "hir" instead of him or her.
1 person likes this
@astromama (1226)
• United States
8 Feb 07
So I'm not totally alone in this... I agree that it's the product of patriarchy. Another thing that turns me off about a lot of religions is that women can't preach.. like Catholics and most Jews... I think woman is extremely valuable spiritually. She is intuitive, and to me that means 'connected' with something other than the material world. I think in a truly spiritual community everyone's experiences would be valued in order to learn more about the divine. Male and female. those are good alternatives... Usually I find alternative names a bit too 'hippy'... like Great Spirit Motherfather and such. I've taken to calling it 'Universe' because it's the biggest, most mysterious term for me... and it encompasses everything.
1 person likes this
• Pakistan
9 Feb 07
would you please leave Him out of this battle of the sexes? In islam he himself refers to as a male in his own book and as the God of Islam , ZChristianity and Judaism is the same so i can say that in all these religions God is treated as a he, although he is a spiritual being and has no gender but still calling him with a gender pronoun is better it represents his power and dominance, which will be ruined if u call him "her",........it will be like, whoaaa wth lolz! I personally wouldnt have worshiped any female diety i mean come on, im a man for heavens sake!!!
@thyst07 (2091)
• United States
9 Feb 07
By saying that calling God "He" represents his power and dominance, does that mean that you believe that males are more powerful and dominant? Because that's trash. The only reason males are dominant is because society has set them up to be, and it's a horrible dichotomy that should be removed.
@urbandekay (18308)
9 Feb 07
Hi astromama. In English 'he' is the universal pronoun, that is it can be used to refer to a male or to a person in a non-gender specific way. Just a 'man' can be used to refer to a person in a non-gender specific way. In fact 'man' originally meant person. Males were Wap-men and women Wif-men from which we get the word wife. This, of course, dates back to Anglo-Saxon. God, presumably, encompasses both male and female. all the best urban
1 person likes this
@astromama (1226)
• United States
9 Feb 07
good answer! Thanks... I wonder how I lived all these years without hearing that somewhere along the way? wapmen wifmen... do you know when it was changed to 'woman'? And then, of course, now we have 'wimmin' and 'womyn' and all other counter-culture-ish spellings. So interesting... obviously titles are very important, which is why I raised this question in the first place. thanks again!
@urbandekay (18308)
9 Feb 07
Well, titles may be of some importance to some people but "A rose by another name would smell as sweet." all the best urban
@lecanis (16661)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
9 Feb 07
In my religion, there are multiple gods. Some are consider "male" and some "female". So I don't really have to worry about it. I did learn a lot about Christianity growing up around it, however, and this did always bother me about it (and related religions). I don't really think I could worship only a male deity. It would just seem wrong to me. Even looking at it as "of course he's male he's Father God" that still leaves the question "How can you have Father without Mother?" I don't think it's as much a flaw in the religion as in the viewpoint of people at the time the religion started. The Bible was written by men at a time when men had power, so of course it speaks of a male God.
1 person likes this
@astromama (1226)
• United States
9 Feb 07
My sentiments exactly... thanks for your post.
• United States
8 Feb 07
I don't know about the bible but in India we have godesses and they are worshipped more by women then the male gods. The godesses of Money is worshipped all the time.
1 person likes this
@astromama (1226)
• United States
8 Feb 07
I did not know that... thanks for the information.
1 person likes this
• India
8 Feb 07
it dosent bother me at all...... god actually is neuther a HE nor SHE......... GOD is an experience which is experienced by those who search for it .....(sorry..... if i offend anyone....)
1 person likes this
@astromama (1226)
• United States
8 Feb 07
I absolutely agree that God is an experience, but it does make me uncomfortable when my family talks of 'your heavenly father' because for me it is not a 100% accurate way to describe my God.
• United States
8 Feb 07
It doesn't bother me at all. The bible refers to God as our Father. I don't know about you but my father is a male. :) I'm all about equal rights too, but that doesn't change that I believe God is male and this is backed up by the bible which I believe in. I don't believe that there is a "divine female" so there is not one for me to acknowledge.
1 person likes this
@astromama (1226)
• United States
8 Feb 07
I hope we can agree to disagree on this one, as I don't see how there could be one without the other. The universe is made up of polarities... light/dark, good/evil, day/night, summer/winter, male/female...
2 people like this
@m3ph1st0 (16)
• South Africa
9 Feb 07
I dont believe God is male, or even female for that matter. The problem is that we try to rationalise the concept of God with our own imperfect references. What I'm trying to say is we cannot even begin to comprehend what God is, our best hope is to just believe in him/her/whatever. It all comes down to your personal choice, all you need do is belive in Gods powers. I hopse that made sense
1 person likes this
@sripriya (450)
• United States
8 Feb 07
Wether HE or SHE God is there.I believe God is formless and you can give the form as your mind pleases.
1 person likes this
• United States
8 Feb 07
This is a topic that could go on and on go much deeper than it has. I have written letters which I started "Dear Sirs" although a woman may be the one to read it. We talk about "mankind" but we all know that we're not refering to only men. I always thought that refering to God as "He" was only proper just like addressing a letter properly. I know he is not male or female...God is a spirit and we WERE created in the image of God. God wanted to have a relationship with someone that could love "Him" back...we all have the desire to love and be loved. Where do you think that came from? It is a God-given instinct which was meant to be used to love "Him" and have a relationship with "Him". Obviously mankind is far from that. God created man AND WOMAN to be in "His" image...they are the same to God because after all...it is only our physical bodies that have a gender...once we die and our souls go to Heaven or Hell there is no gender...our souls/spirits have no gender. I know I'm probably going way in over peoples heads and I'm sorry. I just wish people understood but the only way to really understand is to read the Bible which was written by men inspired by The Holy Spirit. It is not those mens' words. Women were also significant throughout the Bible. They were treated less important by human men but not by God. I think God is into the rights of women also because God used women to do mighty things but "mankind" was the one always putting women down, not God. Someone stated that Christianity is outdated...I have had many relationships come and go but the relationship I have with my God is still going. I was the one that left God and came back several times...God was always here waiting for me because "He" always forgives and loves me no matter what. No human could ever fulfill my desire to feel loved at ALL times. God is not outdated because "He" is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow(Hebrews 13:8). I am witness to that with the situations I've had in my life. I do not like to be called "religious" because religion is "man's" idea of what he thinks God wants from us. I don't want what mankind says I should do...I want what God says. God gave us 10 simple rules...that's it. Some religious "men" have rules like...you have to wear certain clothes, have your hair a certain length and have a certain number of children if you're going to be a certain religion. WHY? My God excepts everyone where they are and how they are...my God doesn't care about gender why would "He" care about what I am wearing? I hope you can understand this and like I said, there is so much more that we could go into. For now I hope this interests someone. I don't want everyone to agree with me because everyone has their own choice to make and that choice is between them and their "god". If anyone does have any questions tho I am more than happy to talk. Besides the question on whether God is male, female or spirit is the fact that people are offended by it. I'm so sick of people getting "offended" by everything. If one does not have a personal relationship with Christ why are they offended by what people call "Him". I don't get it. If a person is not interested in spending time with God why do they care anything about the topic?
• United States
9 Feb 07
Thank you so much for what you have written. I agree strongly and wish people would read to get to know God. Then they wouldn't have so many questions concerning Him. Thank you again.
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Feb 07
Thank you for taking the time to read it. I know it's long and didn't mean for it to be but when I get started on something like that it's hard for me to stop. I could write a book I guess. :)
@rodmac (94)
9 Feb 07
Historically - the different cultures had differing beliefs and explanations. The ancient texts were translated by scholars who had to translate concepts and beliefs from one language to another. if there was no exact translation for a word they would transliterate to a parallel concept in their own culture. Then by the time the Greek and Latin translations occur they use the parallels from their deities and beliefs. An everyday example of the kind of thing we could be meaning here is "MAN" is most likely a concept for 'Mankind' or several men. Or another: "in this day and age" can be a moveable concept as it is a general concept for 'modern times' as it was ten years ago or even a hundred years ago. Wiser scholars than I have debated long and hard on all these concepts as they wish to appeal to the people they wish to educate. When someone says "The whole of 'mankind'" - what do you understand the term to mean...?
@astromama (1226)
• United States
9 Feb 07
I think that saying 'the whole of mankind' is quite a bit different... I understand many people's points when they say 'Him' is a default term in the English language... yeah, sure, okay... but 'Father' is not a default term for 'parent'... so my question is directed at people who pray to a distinctly male god, or to people who are also bothered by the gender specificity of said 'god'. If you are not bothered by this, or just want to tell me that god has no gender, then you are adding nothing to the conversation. I KNOW god has no gender, hence why I raised the question... sorry, that last part was not directed at you rodmac...
@Cephoozee (374)
• United States
9 Feb 07
It doesn't bother me either, who cares if God, who in the Bible is believed by all to be a man and our Father? It's just a gender. And if it is a thing of balance with you, then maybe Satan is a woman.
@astromama (1226)
• United States
9 Feb 07
LOL... that doesn't appear balanced to me at all... males are the source of all good, females are the source of all evil? We females are already to blame for the 'fall of Adam' cause we just couldn't keep our sticky fingers off of that fruit of knowledge... the last thing we need is to cast Satan as woman! You want to re-enact the witch hunt?? There's a good place to start..
• India
9 Feb 07
Normally compare to women, men is brave and couragious.And also lot of encagement with others.Like he will do any thing,with out the womens help.But 90 percentage of women always depends on men. Ther is no dependency for God and therefore we told God as a male.And our ancestors write so many poems regording God,they mentioned God as Male..... But My thing is God is may or may not be male,But he is in the world......
@astromama (1226)
• United States
9 Feb 07
wow... I just have to respond to your statement that '90 percent of women always depend on men' because it is just SO wrong. I have no idea your heritage or country of residence, but let me tell you that here in America 90 percent of women most certainly do not depend on men. myself included. Women are just as capable of working for a living, taking care of their homes and children, and generally doing every single thing a man can do as good as a man can or better. Many, many households in this country are headed by single women without ANY help from men. And I dare say you manage to stereotype all females without noting any of their bravery and courageousness... I say someone needs a lesson in gender studies...
• United States
9 Feb 07
I am not religious in any way, but no it doesn't bother me. We don't have any non-gender specific pro-nouns in the english language that would really be appropriate, and I think the idea of god is valid regardless of how people imagine him or her (or it?) to be.
@urbandekay (18308)
11 Feb 07
Somnolence, is English not your first language? In our language English 'He' is called the universal pronoun and can be used to indicate either a male or a any person in a non-gendered manner. OED - the definitive source for the English language. all the best urban
@SignMe (1031)
• India
9 Feb 07
Not really. God is not just called HE. Some times SHE also. Earth is treated as godess and called SHE. Sun is treated as God and called as HE. These are couple of examples :)
@astromama (1226)
• United States
9 Feb 07
I guess it depends completely on your religion... I guess I'm talking specifically about the dominant religion in my area.. Christianity.
@pr4pyaar (306)
• India
9 Feb 07
Well the world ws ruled by men and is still being ruled by men. Ofcourse things have changed slightly in the recent past, but nt much, rather not in many countries. And so GOD is picturised to be male in many of the casts. If you would consider hinduism, although we have trimurthis, Brahma Vishnu and Maheshwara, still they all owe to AdiShakthi, a female. It all comes from the way it has been in history. Now why is bravery a masculine, Why is pink associated with girls, like that. And coming to the Bible, I think you are forgetting that people do pray to Mother Mary.
@astromama (1226)
• United States
9 Feb 07
People pray to Mary as 'Mother of God'.. not God itself. Mary was mortal, God immortal. In ancient Greece Gods and Goddesses could give mortals certain abilities, Mary was kinda like that. God choose her, gave her the ability for immaculte conception (if you believe in that), but that in no way makes HER God or immortal, you see the difference? I grew up Catholic, and while we did pray to Mary, she was not to be confused with the Divine.
@foxyfire33 (10007)
• United States
9 Feb 07
It doesn't bother me to refer to God as a He. I feel God is neither male or female but is something that humans are unable to understand. If it makes it easier to refer to Him as a He then so be it. From a social viewpoint, I don't see the problem with allowing men to be the protectors over women. It's not about are men better than women or vice-versa. Both sexes contribute equally to society, obviously in different ways, but nonetheless making significant contributions. You said you identify more with a "balanced energy". That is a good definition of what I feel God is. Yes, I refer to God as a He but only because it follows tradition. I couldn't go off referring to God as an It, it would seem like a rude and condescending way to refer to the Creator.
@astromama (1226)
• United States
9 Feb 07
I wonder, though, if anyone would care if I began referring to God as 'She' when speaking about 'Her'... If I were to say, "And She created the earth in seven days and seven nights'... 'And she parted the waters for Moses to pass'... Do you think that would bother or offend people? Do you think they would 'correct' me... cause I think they would. And this, to me, is the only reason it matters. Because it is very clearly one way and not the other. And people would be uncomfortable with it, I guarantee.
@WebMann (4732)
• Canada
9 Feb 07
Let me ask you a similar questions. Does it bother you that Jesus Christ was a man? I say that with a smile on my face. :)
@astromama (1226)
• United States
9 Feb 07
Nope. I'm down with Jesus.
@LittleMel (14033)
• Canada
9 Feb 07
Not really. I don't mind calling God with that, since the only human form I know is from the Bible - a man called Jesus. I didn't think of it as gender thing, it's just so happens that's the only human form I've heard God took. Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, is already a perfect female figure in heaven for me. She may not be the divine, but she gave birth of the human form of God, it doesn't happen to just any woman.
@astromama (1226)
• United States
9 Feb 07
well, I'm not bothered with people calling Jesus 'him', as he was most certainly a male... I'm speaking more of the unseen God, the one people call 'Father'... Where is 'Mother' in this equation? Not Mary, as she was human like Christ, but the unseen Mother... I'm not saying or implying that there are two Gods, I'm saying that the one who is called Father is perhaps misnamed... as I don't believe he is male or has genitals at all.