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God has no gender Of course the almighty isn't a man

Who them? Harvey Meston/Archive Photos/Getty

Who them? Harvey Meston/Archive Photos/Getty


February 9, 2023   3 mins

“Our parent, who art in heaven.” It has rather lost something, don’t you think? Father has gravitas. It speaks of intimacy, protection, nurture. Parent, on the other hand, is one of those cold, anonymous, bureaucratic words that the school uses when it writes to me about my son. It’s the language of the census, not a warm embrace.

But that is the kind of language the Church of England is considering. No more He for God. The pronouns of the Almighty are going to be They/Them.

First, let me state the obvious: no one thinks the Judeo-Christian God is a man. Father is a metaphor, as is burning bush, fountain, lamb, shepherd, rock, river
  Words are inadequate to describe the author of life. But they are all we have.

And language can play tricks. Many languages assign a gender to genderless things. In Hebrew, the word “table” is masculine and “door” is feminine. The same in Russian. In French, both are feminine. But no one believes the door has a gender identity, still less a sex. That’s just how the language works. The fact that, grammatically speaking, God in the Bible mostly takes male pronouns doesn’t mean God is male.

But I do get it: language matters. And gendered nouns do influence the way we think about the reality of the thing to which they refer. And this can easily be extended to how we describe the almighty. Given that people of faith think of God as another way of talking about ultimate reality, the gendered nature of God language could easily be a way of projecting male superiority in the very nature of things. Patriarchal assumptions are reflected and reinforced and then projected onto the stars.

Equally, the gender of certain nouns can often seem to reflect some of the basic dynamics of sexual politics. Take the Hebrew word for both “womb” and “breasts”. They are both male. By making these words masculine, might this reflect a subliminal sense of ownership — that the language is somehow exonerating, justifying even, the perspective of the male gaze?

Should we take this to mean that God reflects the projection of the male perspective upon the universe? In the beginning, perhaps. But, today, children aside, does anyone really imagine God as a man. Judaism and Islam are especially clear on this. God is beyond gender. They/them in reality, even if He/Him grammatically. That’s just the way language works.

Which is why conscripting the impossibility of describing God with human words into the culture war about gender identity is just mischief-making. Only those with a ridiculously naive and anthropomorphic view of God as a man with a white beard can be in any way disturbed by the observation that God is beyond gender. And if they have such a view, they deserve to have it disturbed.

All those many different words to describe God do have a theological purpose. It is to undermine one of the cardinal sins of the Bible: making God into a thing of one’s own image. To call God both a fountain and a rock – He can’t be both – is a way of saying something about God and taking it back at the same time. It is how mystical, technically cataphatic, theology makes its raids on the unspeakable. Occasionally giving God she/her pronouns is a perfect example of the way cataphatic theology can rightly undermine some sort of idolatrous, fixed idea of what God is.

Of course, with Christianity, things are a little trickier. Because here, Jesus is God — he is “the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1.15) — and Jesus was a man. Clearly he/him. Yesterday at General Synod, the cheeky reactionary, my friend Fr Marcus Walker, averred: “I just don’t think we should be misgendering God. He’s made it clear what his pronouns are — especially in his incarnation — so maybe we should just use them.” Funny yes, correct no. The incarnation of God as male tells us no more about God than his incarnation as ginger or dark haired. There is no read across from Jesus being a man to God being one.

“God is our Mother as truly as he is our Father,” wrote Julian of Norwich back in the 14th century. It’s hardly breaking news.

But this is not saying we need to change “our Father” to “our Parent”. Heaven help us. Once in a while, perhaps, very occasionally, such an ugly phraseology might be useful in shocking us out of an over identification of God with human categories. But the language of tradition stands because it is a valuable way of apprehending the divine. Words should not continually interject themselves into our worship demanding attention; mostly they should drop away as attention is directed to the beyond. “Our parent” keeps us stuck to the ground, mired in the messiness of all-too-human politics and division. Leaden culture-war politics dressed up in a cassock is a sure fire turn off for people seeking something transcendent.

I do feel a little sorry for the poor old Church of England. Whatever we say is bound to be misrepresented. The Church is not changing God’s pronouns from He/Him to They/Their. Who are you, Moses asks the burning bush? “I am what I am” comes the unhelpful reply. God prefers the first person subjective personal pronoun. Suitably inscrutable. God, I/me.

 


Giles Fraser is a journalist, broadcaster and Vicar of St Anne’s, Kew.

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Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago

God is not gender-neutral. The Bible is very clear that Man was made in His image, and yes God is Patriarchal. The Bible is full of patriarchs from Adam, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joesph, Moses, all the way down to Jesus.
Why is that? Could it be perhaps that Patriarchy exists not to stomp on women so much as to serve them? That a non-patriarchal model of society is one destined for civilizational collapse as it fails to positively socialize its men? That a society which men no longer feel any allegiance to will most certainly crumble into dust and ruin?
That the West has become vain and effeminate is no secret. Many non-Western nations regard us with mild bemusement as we endlessly obsess about gender roles and bend ourselves backwards to accommodate the most easily offended, but least productive segments of our society. That these emasculated sexless blobs seek to recreate God in their image has nothing to do with inclusion or belonging, but about rebelling against the very societal structures prescribed by God.
God is a Father figure for a reason. He won’t mollycoddle us when we sin, because it is not Him we are hurting but ourselves, and this is the reason why he is not an overprotective vengeful mother-figure like the fragile feminists we see today who forgive men nothing and blame them for every discomfort in their lives. Like a good Father, He is kind and patient but also wise enough to know that sometimes children need to learn the hard way.
God is the very definition of masculine strength: the strength to say NO to gender nonsense, the strength to say NO to those with perverse agendas and bizarre designs on children, the strength to say NO to accommodating every conceivable lust and desire, the strength to say NO even when it is considered offensive, old-fashioned, or dangerous to do so.
The Church of England as it now stands resonates with no-one, because in its desperate desire to remain relevant it has become in fact hopelessly irrelevant.

Last edited 1 year ago by Julian Farrows
Elliott Bjorn
Elliott Bjorn
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Good for you – this is an appalling article and most will just nodd along as we are so trained by Postmodernist thinking we cannot even see truth from lies, good from evil, half the time.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

God is not a human being. We humans are limited by our gender. God is omniscient and omnipotent and cannot be limited by human categories. The problem with the C.of.E is of a different order: A pathetic attempt to be fashionable and to make faith easy.

Henry Haslam
Henry Haslam
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Quite right. God is a spirit. People today make too much fuss about gender differences (and other other ways in which we can put people into categories). It was refreshing, a few days ago, to read the late Sister Wendy Beckett: ‘My own feeling about gender is that it doesn’t really matter … There are probably superficial differences, as there are physically; but the essence of a person seems, to me, quite unrelated to what gender they are’.

Alison Wren
Alison Wren
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Oh dear. Can we all please say sex when we mean sex ie male/female. Gender is no longer a polite synonym but a hugely politically charged minefield!!

Dominic S
Dominic S
1 year ago
Reply to  Alison Wren

‘Gender’ is a mid 20th Century invention.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Alison Wren

Happy to oblige.

Dominic S
Dominic S
1 year ago
Reply to  Alison Wren

‘Gender’ is a mid 20th Century invention.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Alison Wren

Happy to oblige.

Dominic S
Dominic S
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

However, God has clearly told us how He wishes us to address Him. Of that there can only be doubt if you deny the Scriptures. And if you deny the Scriptures then you have nothing on which to base your faith anyway, so why are you claiming to have any?

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

“Cannot be limited by human categories”…Amen to that!
“Then the Lord spoke to you from the midst of the fire; you heard the sound of words, but you saw no form—only a voice”

Henry Haslam
Henry Haslam
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Quite right. God is a spirit. People today make too much fuss about gender differences (and other other ways in which we can put people into categories). It was refreshing, a few days ago, to read the late Sister Wendy Beckett: ‘My own feeling about gender is that it doesn’t really matter … There are probably superficial differences, as there are physically; but the essence of a person seems, to me, quite unrelated to what gender they are’.

Alison Wren
Alison Wren
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Oh dear. Can we all please say sex when we mean sex ie male/female. Gender is no longer a polite synonym but a hugely politically charged minefield!!

Dominic S
Dominic S
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

However, God has clearly told us how He wishes us to address Him. Of that there can only be doubt if you deny the Scriptures. And if you deny the Scriptures then you have nothing on which to base your faith anyway, so why are you claiming to have any?

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

“Cannot be limited by human categories”…Amen to that!
“Then the Lord spoke to you from the midst of the fire; you heard the sound of words, but you saw no form—only a voice”

Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Not sure quite who is doing the ‘endlessly obsessing’ about gender, but it’s clearly a priority topic here on UnHerd.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago

“Political correctness is communist propaganda writ small. In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.”
– Theodore Dalrymple

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago

“Political correctness is communist propaganda writ small. In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.”
– Theodore Dalrymple

Sue Sims
Sue Sims
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Excellent response!

Michael Josem
Michael Josem
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

You’re obviously right in your interpretation of Genesis 1:27, but 1:26 has a slightly different phrasing (in my NIV): “Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
It’s plural, not even gendered singular.

Teresa M
Teresa M
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Josem

That’s the particular translation to which you refer. Other translations such as the Vulgate, Douay-Rheims’ , and King James (which pre-date the NIV), of Genesis 1:26 use the singular man: “Let us make man in our image and likeness, and let him have dominion over the fishes of the sea . . . . “ The NIV changes man to mankind and then uses the plural pronoun afterward.

Dominic S
Dominic S
1 year ago
Reply to  Teresa M

The Hebrew says ŚÖžŚ“ÖžÖ›Ś – singular, man, Adam, at the start of the verse, but then says, Ś•Ö°Ś™ÖŽŚšÖ°Ś“ÖŒŚ•ÖŒÖ© – plural, them, weyirdu, at the end of the verse.
We’d be best off sticking with the Hebrew as written, not getting carried away by the differences in translation.

Dominic S
Dominic S
1 year ago
Reply to  Teresa M

The Hebrew says ŚÖžŚ“ÖžÖ›Ś – singular, man, Adam, at the start of the verse, but then says, Ś•Ö°Ś™ÖŽŚšÖ°Ś“ÖŒŚ•ÖŒÖ© – plural, them, weyirdu, at the end of the verse.
We’d be best off sticking with the Hebrew as written, not getting carried away by the differences in translation.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Josem

“male and female he created them”!
This exists alongside the more patriarchal, mythical origin story of Eve from Adam’s rib, creating more balance, and less male specificity than the Gilead-like interpretation in the top-rated comment.

Teresa M
Teresa M
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Josem

That’s the particular translation to which you refer. Other translations such as the Vulgate, Douay-Rheims’ , and King James (which pre-date the NIV), of Genesis 1:26 use the singular man: “Let us make man in our image and likeness, and let him have dominion over the fishes of the sea . . . . “ The NIV changes man to mankind and then uses the plural pronoun afterward.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Josem

“male and female he created them”!
This exists alongside the more patriarchal, mythical origin story of Eve from Adam’s rib, creating more balance, and less male specificity than the Gilead-like interpretation in the top-rated comment.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

I’m fairly sure God’s preferred pronouns are: He, Hymn

Dominic S
Dominic S
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Well put. In God’s revelation of the truth about Himself, the Bible, He calls Himself He, exclusively. That He is Spirit is another matter entirely. God has chosen how He wants mankind to address Him, let not man put aside what God has decreed.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth”. Genesis 1:27-8
Much of the Muslim world is quite openly patriarchal. Does that seem to you a healthy model of a godly, non-effeminate society?

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I have no authority to speak on Muslim cultures. From what I can tell, their various ways of life are just as varied as ours are in the West. I am by no means a Muslim apologist, but usually when we think of Islamic patriarchy we conjure up the worst kind like we hear about taking place in Afghanistan.
Where the Old Testament taught us how to structure our societies during the Bronze and Iron Ages, the New Testament taught us how to relate to women on an individual level. Women became viewed less as chattel and more as worthy contributors to family life and society.
Now that we’ve removed Christianity from our societal pillars we have replaced it with a weird gender-bending religion that uses the narrative of ‘repressed womanhood’ as a vehicle for greater state control. In a world where all men are painted as potential oppressors, scared women require total safety. The only way that can happen is to turn men into second class citizens, a process which is currently underway. As male sexuality becomes increasingly viewed as something potentially dangerous and creepy, many men will start to express themselves in a sexually ‘safe’ way e.g. in a female way.
Strong masculine men have always been a thorn in the side of those who would gladly wield power over us which is why all things masculine are being destroyed. The Old Testament gives us a glimpse of how such societies look in its depictions of Sodom and Gomorrah – societies without masculine ideals.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I have no authority to speak on Muslim cultures. From what I can tell, their various ways of life are just as varied as ours are in the West. I am by no means a Muslim apologist, but usually when we think of Islamic patriarchy we conjure up the worst kind like we hear about taking place in Afghanistan.
Where the Old Testament taught us how to structure our societies during the Bronze and Iron Ages, the New Testament taught us how to relate to women on an individual level. Women became viewed less as chattel and more as worthy contributors to family life and society.
Now that we’ve removed Christianity from our societal pillars we have replaced it with a weird gender-bending religion that uses the narrative of ‘repressed womanhood’ as a vehicle for greater state control. In a world where all men are painted as potential oppressors, scared women require total safety. The only way that can happen is to turn men into second class citizens, a process which is currently underway. As male sexuality becomes increasingly viewed as something potentially dangerous and creepy, many men will start to express themselves in a sexually ‘safe’ way e.g. in a female way.
Strong masculine men have always been a thorn in the side of those who would gladly wield power over us which is why all things masculine are being destroyed. The Old Testament gives us a glimpse of how such societies look in its depictions of Sodom and Gomorrah – societies without masculine ideals.

Cantab Man
Cantab Man
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

In the spirit of paraphrasing Douglas Adams relative to this article, “In the beginning [man and woman] was created [in the image of God]. This had made many [nonbinary wokesters] very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.” Ergo, the article.

Rather than “…make man [and subsequently woman] in Our image….” and later uttering “Our Father Who Art in Heaven…” one must wonder why we take the clarity offered by God in His word as close to the source as we can obtain and strive to do all that we can for an explanation that could be argued is the exact opposite of His word and far more complicated? Occam’s razor applies.

If God created us not in His image and if the most fundamental aspects of our creation and being are so diametrically opposed to the nature of Elohim, I’d think He would have admitted to His “bad move” and how erroneous the scriptural writings (that later became Genesis) were and then clarified the true nature of God for his Apostles when in terrestrial form rather than perpetuate such a fundamental misunderstanding in the Lord’s prayer.

The article is an apology for the mental gymnastics of wokedom and, to be frank, is a complete repudiation of one of the foundations of Christendom.

JOHN KANEFSKY
JOHN KANEFSKY
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

“The Church of England as it now stands resonates with no-one, because in its desperate desire to remain relevant it has become in fact hopelessly irrelevant.”

This says it all.

Huw Parker
Huw Parker
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Poor Giles. Desperate to be religious, but equally desperate to be down with the kids, and painfully unaware that you can’t have both. He needs to realise, as Hughie Green used to say, “It’s make your mind up time!”

Elliott Bjorn
Elliott Bjorn
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Good for you – this is an appalling article and most will just nodd along as we are so trained by Postmodernist thinking we cannot even see truth from lies, good from evil, half the time.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

God is not a human being. We humans are limited by our gender. God is omniscient and omnipotent and cannot be limited by human categories. The problem with the C.of.E is of a different order: A pathetic attempt to be fashionable and to make faith easy.

Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Not sure quite who is doing the ‘endlessly obsessing’ about gender, but it’s clearly a priority topic here on UnHerd.

Sue Sims
Sue Sims
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Excellent response!

Michael Josem
Michael Josem
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

You’re obviously right in your interpretation of Genesis 1:27, but 1:26 has a slightly different phrasing (in my NIV): “Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
It’s plural, not even gendered singular.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

I’m fairly sure God’s preferred pronouns are: He, Hymn

Dominic S
Dominic S
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Well put. In God’s revelation of the truth about Himself, the Bible, He calls Himself He, exclusively. That He is Spirit is another matter entirely. God has chosen how He wants mankind to address Him, let not man put aside what God has decreed.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth”. Genesis 1:27-8
Much of the Muslim world is quite openly patriarchal. Does that seem to you a healthy model of a godly, non-effeminate society?

Cantab Man
Cantab Man
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

In the spirit of paraphrasing Douglas Adams relative to this article, “In the beginning [man and woman] was created [in the image of God]. This had made many [nonbinary wokesters] very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.” Ergo, the article.

Rather than “…make man [and subsequently woman] in Our image….” and later uttering “Our Father Who Art in Heaven…” one must wonder why we take the clarity offered by God in His word as close to the source as we can obtain and strive to do all that we can for an explanation that could be argued is the exact opposite of His word and far more complicated? Occam’s razor applies.

If God created us not in His image and if the most fundamental aspects of our creation and being are so diametrically opposed to the nature of Elohim, I’d think He would have admitted to His “bad move” and how erroneous the scriptural writings (that later became Genesis) were and then clarified the true nature of God for his Apostles when in terrestrial form rather than perpetuate such a fundamental misunderstanding in the Lord’s prayer.

The article is an apology for the mental gymnastics of wokedom and, to be frank, is a complete repudiation of one of the foundations of Christendom.

JOHN KANEFSKY
JOHN KANEFSKY
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

“The Church of England as it now stands resonates with no-one, because in its desperate desire to remain relevant it has become in fact hopelessly irrelevant.”

This says it all.

Huw Parker
Huw Parker
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Poor Giles. Desperate to be religious, but equally desperate to be down with the kids, and painfully unaware that you can’t have both. He needs to realise, as Hughie Green used to say, “It’s make your mind up time!”

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago

God is not gender-neutral. The Bible is very clear that Man was made in His image, and yes God is Patriarchal. The Bible is full of patriarchs from Adam, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joesph, Moses, all the way down to Jesus.
Why is that? Could it be perhaps that Patriarchy exists not to stomp on women so much as to serve them? That a non-patriarchal model of society is one destined for civilizational collapse as it fails to positively socialize its men? That a society which men no longer feel any allegiance to will most certainly crumble into dust and ruin?
That the West has become vain and effeminate is no secret. Many non-Western nations regard us with mild bemusement as we endlessly obsess about gender roles and bend ourselves backwards to accommodate the most easily offended, but least productive segments of our society. That these emasculated sexless blobs seek to recreate God in their image has nothing to do with inclusion or belonging, but about rebelling against the very societal structures prescribed by God.
God is a Father figure for a reason. He won’t mollycoddle us when we sin, because it is not Him we are hurting but ourselves, and this is the reason why he is not an overprotective vengeful mother-figure like the fragile feminists we see today who forgive men nothing and blame them for every discomfort in their lives. Like a good Father, He is kind and patient but also wise enough to know that sometimes children need to learn the hard way.
God is the very definition of masculine strength: the strength to say NO to gender nonsense, the strength to say NO to those with perverse agendas and bizarre designs on children, the strength to say NO to accommodating every conceivable lust and desire, the strength to say NO even when it is considered offensive, old-fashioned, or dangerous to do so.
The Church of England as it now stands resonates with no-one, because in its desperate desire to remain relevant it has become in fact hopelessly irrelevant.

Last edited 1 year ago by Julian Farrows
Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 year ago

Year after year the Anglican Church in the UK loses thousands of adherents and the Church authorities grab on to progressive ideas about misgendering people and think that their congregations are diminishing because the traditional wording for God is not inclusive enough. Talk about grabbing the wrong end of the stick! Do they really think people will come flooding back to the fold if they tinker about with the traditional wording for God? Woke fools!

Last edited 1 year ago by Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 year ago

Year after year the Anglican Church in the UK loses thousands of adherents and the Church authorities grab on to progressive ideas about misgendering people and think that their congregations are diminishing because the traditional wording for God is not inclusive enough. Talk about grabbing the wrong end of the stick! Do they really think people will come flooding back to the fold if they tinker about with the traditional wording for God? Woke fools!

Last edited 1 year ago by Jeremy Bray
Jim Jam
Jim Jam
1 year ago

Why is the church dancing to the tune of people that want nothing more than to see it destroyed?

Thats a more pertinent question than this pointless progressive talking point.

Dominic S
Dominic S
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Jam

Because those running it aren’t Christians. It isn’t a church. It’s apostate.

Dominic S
Dominic S
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Jam

Because those running it aren’t Christians. It isn’t a church. It’s apostate.

Jim Jam
Jim Jam
1 year ago

Why is the church dancing to the tune of people that want nothing more than to see it destroyed?

Thats a more pertinent question than this pointless progressive talking point.

Paul K
Paul K
1 year ago

I’d have thought that the blindingly obvious reason not to change the Lord’s Prayer is that it came satright from the mouth of Christ. God Himself taught us to pray that way. God Himself, in the form of Jesus (for this is the Christian belief) also taught us to refer to the first person of the Trinity as ‘the Father.’ What permission has the CofE suddenly been given to ‘rethink’ this direct line from the divine?

Sam Brown
Sam Brown
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul K

Purportedly …

Caroline Watson
Caroline Watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul K

As he wasn’t speaking in English it has been translated from a gendered language into a language which uses gender only for human beings and domestic animals. Language and culture are inextricably entwined; translation is not like algebra.

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
1 year ago

A good point.

Benjamin Dyke
Benjamin Dyke
1 year ago

What do you mean to say with this? That Jesus referring to God as Father is irrelevant – it’s not, irrespective of whether it’s in Aramaic “Ab/Abba”! or English – “I am (the) Way, (the) Truth and (the) Life. No-one comes to the Father except through me.” It’s Jesus calling us and showing us how to relate to God as a personal Father that is unique! Other religions have a pantheon, an impersonal energy/spirit or an Almighty God, far removed. Jesus comes down from God and shows us the Father and how to be reconnected with this personal. loving God that created us and all life.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Benjamin Dyke

Those who believe that men can be women and vice versa will believe anything. Is there any truth more basic than man and woman?

Denis Stone
Denis Stone
1 year ago
Reply to  Benjamin Dyke

In German, the [Right] Way is masculine, the Truth is feminine and the Life is neuter. CW’s point applies.

Dominic S
Dominic S
1 year ago
Reply to  Denis Stone

It’s irrelevant because it’s wrong.

Dominic S
Dominic S
1 year ago
Reply to  Denis Stone

It’s irrelevant because it’s wrong.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Benjamin Dyke

Those who believe that men can be women and vice versa will believe anything. Is there any truth more basic than man and woman?

Denis Stone
Denis Stone
1 year ago
Reply to  Benjamin Dyke

In German, the [Right] Way is masculine, the Truth is feminine and the Life is neuter. CW’s point applies.

PAUL NATHANSON
PAUL NATHANSON
1 year ago

But in both Hebrew and Aramaic, “father” is a masculine noun. And modern English is unusual (at least among Indo-European languages) in lacking arbitrary gender for most nouns (apart from people or animals).
In Hebrew and Aramaic, the most sacred object is a feminine noun (torah) and the most sacred time is a masculine noun (shabbat, which is nonetheless often associated with a divine “bride”).
In any case, the notion of “gender” was invented by grammarians for practical purposes, not by theologians for religious purposes–much less by ideologues for political purposes. Grammarians have used convenient categories to mark arbitrary differences in sound, not necessarily in meaning. All nouns that end in vowels might be called “feminine,” for example, and all nouns that end in consonants might be called “masculine.” Nouns that don’t fit the pattern, for some reason (often as imports from other languages), might be called “neuter.” This does not mean that the French, say, have ever seen anything inherently “feminine” about a door (la porte) or a war (la guerre) and something inherently “masculine” about a bed (le lit) or a hat (le chapeau).

Dominic S
Dominic S
1 year ago

In Matthew 6 v6, where He begins His presentation of prayer, Jesus uses Î Î±Ï„ÏÎŻ (which only means Father), and Î Î±Ï„ÎźÏ (which only means Father). In verse 8, continuing His instruction on how to address God in prayer He continues by using Î Î±Ï„ÎźÏ (which only means Father). In verse 9, where the Lord’s Prayer begins, Jesus once again uses Î Î±Ï„ÎźÏ (which only means Father).
There is no confusion whatsoever about His intention, and claiming that ‘translation’ makes any difference is simply untrue. The Greek in which it is written has got sex specific words, and Father is most certainly one of them.

Last edited 1 year ago by Dominic S
JOHN KANEFSKY
JOHN KANEFSKY
1 year ago

Yes.
Beware of the assumptions or vested interest of translators.
(eg) IIRC in the original Greek the NT doesn’t say there were three wise men, it just says magi (pl) came from the east and they brought three gifts.

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
1 year ago

A good point.

Benjamin Dyke
Benjamin Dyke
1 year ago

What do you mean to say with this? That Jesus referring to God as Father is irrelevant – it’s not, irrespective of whether it’s in Aramaic “Ab/Abba”! or English – “I am (the) Way, (the) Truth and (the) Life. No-one comes to the Father except through me.” It’s Jesus calling us and showing us how to relate to God as a personal Father that is unique! Other religions have a pantheon, an impersonal energy/spirit or an Almighty God, far removed. Jesus comes down from God and shows us the Father and how to be reconnected with this personal. loving God that created us and all life.

PAUL NATHANSON
PAUL NATHANSON
1 year ago

But in both Hebrew and Aramaic, “father” is a masculine noun. And modern English is unusual (at least among Indo-European languages) in lacking arbitrary gender for most nouns (apart from people or animals).
In Hebrew and Aramaic, the most sacred object is a feminine noun (torah) and the most sacred time is a masculine noun (shabbat, which is nonetheless often associated with a divine “bride”).
In any case, the notion of “gender” was invented by grammarians for practical purposes, not by theologians for religious purposes–much less by ideologues for political purposes. Grammarians have used convenient categories to mark arbitrary differences in sound, not necessarily in meaning. All nouns that end in vowels might be called “feminine,” for example, and all nouns that end in consonants might be called “masculine.” Nouns that don’t fit the pattern, for some reason (often as imports from other languages), might be called “neuter.” This does not mean that the French, say, have ever seen anything inherently “feminine” about a door (la porte) or a war (la guerre) and something inherently “masculine” about a bed (le lit) or a hat (le chapeau).

Dominic S
Dominic S
1 year ago

In Matthew 6 v6, where He begins His presentation of prayer, Jesus uses Î Î±Ï„ÏÎŻ (which only means Father), and Î Î±Ï„ÎźÏ (which only means Father). In verse 8, continuing His instruction on how to address God in prayer He continues by using Î Î±Ï„ÎźÏ (which only means Father). In verse 9, where the Lord’s Prayer begins, Jesus once again uses Î Î±Ï„ÎźÏ (which only means Father).
There is no confusion whatsoever about His intention, and claiming that ‘translation’ makes any difference is simply untrue. The Greek in which it is written has got sex specific words, and Father is most certainly one of them.

Last edited 1 year ago by Dominic S
JOHN KANEFSKY
JOHN KANEFSKY
1 year ago

Yes.
Beware of the assumptions or vested interest of translators.
(eg) IIRC in the original Greek the NT doesn’t say there were three wise men, it just says magi (pl) came from the east and they brought three gifts.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul K

With the important wrinkle that Jesus emphasized our common Father, saying nothing of his purported co-equality with God.
The well-established title Jesus sometimes used to refer to himself is “Son of Man”.

Sam Brown
Sam Brown
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul K

Purportedly …

Caroline Watson
Caroline Watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul K

As he wasn’t speaking in English it has been translated from a gendered language into a language which uses gender only for human beings and domestic animals. Language and culture are inextricably entwined; translation is not like algebra.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul K

With the important wrinkle that Jesus emphasized our common Father, saying nothing of his purported co-equality with God.
The well-established title Jesus sometimes used to refer to himself is “Son of Man”.

Paul K
Paul K
1 year ago

I’d have thought that the blindingly obvious reason not to change the Lord’s Prayer is that it came satright from the mouth of Christ. God Himself taught us to pray that way. God Himself, in the form of Jesus (for this is the Christian belief) also taught us to refer to the first person of the Trinity as ‘the Father.’ What permission has the CofE suddenly been given to ‘rethink’ this direct line from the divine?

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
1 year ago

You sometimes have to wonder if the Church of England is actively trying to discourage its dwindling flock.
Individual parishes are desperately trying to retain their parishioners and their place in the communities they serve, whilst the “management” class devise plans and institue changes to supposedly make the church “more relevant” in ways that would sap the will of all but the most ardent of the faithful.

“I really wanted to go to Church, but the lack of …..
— a gender-neutral deity
— a fully diverse, multicultural choir
— a Christian Rock guitarist
— a steel drum band
— a rapping vicar
— Grime hymns
(delete as appropriate)
…. stopped me from attending”, SAID NO ONE, … EVER.

philip kern
philip kern
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

This point has arisen more than once, but when people believe they have truth and justice on their side, then numbers don’t matter that much to them. It reminds me of when Hollywood said they didn’t care if people won’t see their movies–they were making them for the art. Haven’t heard them say that for a while.
My impression is that CE churches of all flavours can be found. I attended a thriving evangelical one for about 6 months in Cambridge, but that was nearly 30 years ago. The secret to its success seems to be that it taught the Bible engagingly in an extended sermon. Maybe that only works in a university environment. I can also name 2 or 3 vigorous ones in London–each one similarly committed to sustained teaching of the Bible. What flavour is thriving in terms of numbers and finances and which are in decline? I imagine being in decline is no great burden if you are in London and can live off rents and investments.

Last edited 1 year ago by philip kern
philip kern
philip kern
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

This point has arisen more than once, but when people believe they have truth and justice on their side, then numbers don’t matter that much to them. It reminds me of when Hollywood said they didn’t care if people won’t see their movies–they were making them for the art. Haven’t heard them say that for a while.
My impression is that CE churches of all flavours can be found. I attended a thriving evangelical one for about 6 months in Cambridge, but that was nearly 30 years ago. The secret to its success seems to be that it taught the Bible engagingly in an extended sermon. Maybe that only works in a university environment. I can also name 2 or 3 vigorous ones in London–each one similarly committed to sustained teaching of the Bible. What flavour is thriving in terms of numbers and finances and which are in decline? I imagine being in decline is no great burden if you are in London and can live off rents and investments.

Last edited 1 year ago by philip kern
Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
1 year ago

You sometimes have to wonder if the Church of England is actively trying to discourage its dwindling flock.
Individual parishes are desperately trying to retain their parishioners and their place in the communities they serve, whilst the “management” class devise plans and institue changes to supposedly make the church “more relevant” in ways that would sap the will of all but the most ardent of the faithful.

“I really wanted to go to Church, but the lack of …..
— a gender-neutral deity
— a fully diverse, multicultural choir
— a Christian Rock guitarist
— a steel drum band
— a rapping vicar
— Grime hymns
(delete as appropriate)
…. stopped me from attending”, SAID NO ONE, … EVER.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago

“…Many languages assign a gender to genderless things…”

And is English in the Anglo-Saxon world unique, in now encouraging the reverse – assigning genderlessness to gendered things?

Elliott Bjorn
Elliott Bjorn
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Some power, David Icke, Salty Cracker, and I, think they they are Lizard People – here to enslave mankind by armies of useful idiots and Traitors. (But could just be a cabal of Davos and the ones more powerful we do not know, lizards is a descriptive term of those so evil they seek harm to humanity for greater power, although Icke says they really are lizards – )

To destroy society first destroy the Family. This is always the priority of all evil which would destroy humanity. The good family is the source of good people, good societies, Nations, and world. The broken family is the source of broken people, broken societies, Nations, and worlds.

The de-gendering is the absolutely most powerful tool in achieving this destruction of family and thus Mankind. Teaching Father and Mother are not masculine and Feminine..

All this stuff – it is only one thing, it is evil to destroy man. Giles is one of the legions of useful idiots, the Orwellian Sheep army to destroy the Amazing society the Judeo-Christian West created.

Last edited 1 year ago by Elliott Bjorn
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

You’re exhausting to read these days Sandford. Everything is simply an incoherent rant full of buzzwords and bogeymen copy and pasted from the likes of 4chan.
You used to have your own well written opinions, even if I didn’t agree with them at least they were interesting and I could see where they came from. Nowadays it’s just nonsense

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Let Sanford be… he is… training. ChatGPT, for the various avatars are, um, ‘he’, needs lots of… training. I have absolutely no doubt that one day, when the training is complete, the voice of God will emerge, and both Giles and Paul K will both finally have their opportunity to commune with their God.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Let Sanford be… he is… training. ChatGPT, for the various avatars are, um, ‘he’, needs lots of… training. I have absolutely no doubt that one day, when the training is complete, the voice of God will emerge, and both Giles and Paul K will both finally have their opportunity to commune with their God.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

Your comment puts me in mind of this article I saw a while back: https://mercatornet.com/defamilialisation-an-ideology-that-shapes-our-lives/19930/

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

You’re exhausting to read these days Sandford. Everything is simply an incoherent rant full of buzzwords and bogeymen copy and pasted from the likes of 4chan.
You used to have your own well written opinions, even if I didn’t agree with them at least they were interesting and I could see where they came from. Nowadays it’s just nonsense

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

Your comment puts me in mind of this article I saw a while back: https://mercatornet.com/defamilialisation-an-ideology-that-shapes-our-lives/19930/

Elliott Bjorn
Elliott Bjorn
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Some power, David Icke, Salty Cracker, and I, think they they are Lizard People – here to enslave mankind by armies of useful idiots and Traitors. (But could just be a cabal of Davos and the ones more powerful we do not know, lizards is a descriptive term of those so evil they seek harm to humanity for greater power, although Icke says they really are lizards – )

To destroy society first destroy the Family. This is always the priority of all evil which would destroy humanity. The good family is the source of good people, good societies, Nations, and world. The broken family is the source of broken people, broken societies, Nations, and worlds.

The de-gendering is the absolutely most powerful tool in achieving this destruction of family and thus Mankind. Teaching Father and Mother are not masculine and Feminine..

All this stuff – it is only one thing, it is evil to destroy man. Giles is one of the legions of useful idiots, the Orwellian Sheep army to destroy the Amazing society the Judeo-Christian West created.

Last edited 1 year ago by Elliott Bjorn
Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago

“…Many languages assign a gender to genderless things…”

And is English in the Anglo-Saxon world unique, in now encouraging the reverse – assigning genderlessness to gendered things?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

I was always taught that God was an ENGLISHMAN.
Surely no one in their right mind seriously doubts that?

Janet G
Janet G
1 year ago

Reminds me of the story of the woman who said, “If the King James version was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me.”

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago

I was taught that God was a Yorkshireman.

Janet G
Janet G
1 year ago

Reminds me of the story of the woman who said, “If the King James version was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me.”

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago

I was taught that God was a Yorkshireman.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

I was always taught that God was an ENGLISHMAN.
Surely no one in their right mind seriously doubts that?

Howard Gleave
Howard Gleave
1 year ago

“I do feel a little sorry for the poor old Church of England. Whatever we say is bound to be misrepresented.”

May I suggest, Giles, when in a hole, stop digging.

Howard Gleave
Howard Gleave
1 year ago

“I do feel a little sorry for the poor old Church of England. Whatever we say is bound to be misrepresented.”

May I suggest, Giles, when in a hole, stop digging.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago

“…Only those with a ridiculously naive and anthropomorphic view of God as a man with a white beard can be in any way disturbed by the observation that God is beyond gender. And if they have such a view, they deserve to have it disturbed…”

I would leave Giles to argue this one out with a minor English Poet, but sadly Adrian Mitchell passed away in 2008.

……….

I remember God as an eccentric millionaire,
Locked in his workshop, beard a cloud of foggy-coloured hair,
Making the stones all different, each flower and disease,
Putting the Laps in Lapland, making China for the Chinese,
Laying down the Lake of Lucerne as smooth as blue-grey lino,
Wearily inventing the appendix and the rhino,
Making the fine fur for the mink, fine women for the fur,
Man’s brain a gun, his heart a bomb, his conscience – a blur.

– Adrian Mitchell

andy young
andy young
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Or, maybe less elegantly but perhaps more surprising & effective because stuck in a daft pop song (Mr Armageddon by Locomotive):
I am everything you see and what is more
You will never see me in around of anybody’s door
I am physician to the wind and what is more
I am father of a thousand children
Mother of a thousand million more

andy young
andy young
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Or, maybe less elegantly but perhaps more surprising & effective because stuck in a daft pop song (Mr Armageddon by Locomotive):
I am everything you see and what is more
You will never see me in around of anybody’s door
I am physician to the wind and what is more
I am father of a thousand children
Mother of a thousand million more

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago

“…Only those with a ridiculously naive and anthropomorphic view of God as a man with a white beard can be in any way disturbed by the observation that God is beyond gender. And if they have such a view, they deserve to have it disturbed…”

I would leave Giles to argue this one out with a minor English Poet, but sadly Adrian Mitchell passed away in 2008.

……….

I remember God as an eccentric millionaire,
Locked in his workshop, beard a cloud of foggy-coloured hair,
Making the stones all different, each flower and disease,
Putting the Laps in Lapland, making China for the Chinese,
Laying down the Lake of Lucerne as smooth as blue-grey lino,
Wearily inventing the appendix and the rhino,
Making the fine fur for the mink, fine women for the fur,
Man’s brain a gun, his heart a bomb, his conscience – a blur.

– Adrian Mitchell

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
1 year ago

Nah. Following from James Lindsay’s thesis (of which I am still grappling with), I have a suspicion that the C of E has, in some quarters, become a seat of gnosticism. For example, wiping out pronouns of God makes the concept an undifferentiated being – something a form of Gnosticism would recognise.
As some cheeky person put it recently, together with my bit “Our undifferentiated being, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy pronouns…”

Last edited 1 year ago by michael stanwick
michael stanwick
michael stanwick
1 year ago

Nah. Following from James Lindsay’s thesis (of which I am still grappling with), I have a suspicion that the C of E has, in some quarters, become a seat of gnosticism. For example, wiping out pronouns of God makes the concept an undifferentiated being – something a form of Gnosticism would recognise.
As some cheeky person put it recently, together with my bit “Our undifferentiated being, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy pronouns…”

Last edited 1 year ago by michael stanwick
Andrew D
Andrew D
1 year ago

What’s Giles’s take on the gender of Father Christmas? I think we should be told

PAUL NATHANSON
PAUL NATHANSON
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Well, what about the less attractive figures in religious mythology? What’s the conventional gender, for example, of Satan (a.k.a. the Devil)?

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago
Reply to  PAUL NATHANSON

Both male and female – Androgyne.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Oh my! The truest evil of all I fear! Take a close look at that succubus before you succumb.

PAUL NATHANSON
PAUL NATHANSON
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

I don’t think so. Satan, Lucifer, Beelzebub, The Devil have always been male figures, historically, not “androgynous” ones. Even though monotheistic orthodoxy has always denied that God has any metaphysical rival, this rival did enter religious discourse through the backdoor of folk religion. This allowed theologians to explain evil without attributing it to a benevolent God and therefore without denying that people are free to choose between good and evil. In any case, post-biblical theologians projected metaphysical evil onto maleness via Satan. Similarly, they projected “temptation” onto femaleness via Eve.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  PAUL NATHANSON

Perhaps not as a true rival, but as you know the “character” of Satan is prominent in Job and elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible, and the word “satan” occurs in several other places, both in the general sense of “adversary, accuser” and the embodied diabolical one. Though the line between orthodox scripture and folk religion may be blurred, these passages aren’t considered non-canonical.
Intriguing to envision an all-powerful, all-knowing God who nevertheless permits so much evil, and “delegates” such earthly power to the Enemy.
Yet our human experience seems inescapably viewed through the prism of contrast, the Thousand Pairs of Opposites. In the total absence of hatred, darkness, and cruelty, what would love, light, and kindness even mean? How could they be conceived?
That framework doesn’t depend on equal divisions, say between good and evil, but suggests the necessity of evil as a precondition for our truer mortal understanding of what we call good.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  PAUL NATHANSON

Perhaps not as a true rival, but as you know the “character” of Satan is prominent in Job and elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible, and the word “satan” occurs in several other places, both in the general sense of “adversary, accuser” and the embodied diabolical one. Though the line between orthodox scripture and folk religion may be blurred, these passages aren’t considered non-canonical.
Intriguing to envision an all-powerful, all-knowing God who nevertheless permits so much evil, and “delegates” such earthly power to the Enemy.
Yet our human experience seems inescapably viewed through the prism of contrast, the Thousand Pairs of Opposites. In the total absence of hatred, darkness, and cruelty, what would love, light, and kindness even mean? How could they be conceived?
That framework doesn’t depend on equal divisions, say between good and evil, but suggests the necessity of evil as a precondition for our truer mortal understanding of what we call good.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Oh my! The truest evil of all I fear! Take a close look at that succubus before you succumb.

PAUL NATHANSON
PAUL NATHANSON
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

I don’t think so. Satan, Lucifer, Beelzebub, The Devil have always been male figures, historically, not “androgynous” ones. Even though monotheistic orthodoxy has always denied that God has any metaphysical rival, this rival did enter religious discourse through the backdoor of folk religion. This allowed theologians to explain evil without attributing it to a benevolent God and therefore without denying that people are free to choose between good and evil. In any case, post-biblical theologians projected metaphysical evil onto maleness via Satan. Similarly, they projected “temptation” onto femaleness via Eve.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago
Reply to  PAUL NATHANSON

Both male and female – Androgyne.

PAUL NATHANSON
PAUL NATHANSON
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Well, what about the less attractive figures in religious mythology? What’s the conventional gender, for example, of Satan (a.k.a. the Devil)?

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 year ago

What’s Giles’s take on the gender of Father Christmas? I think we should be told

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

Poor old Giles, caught in the middle of trying to explain – should i say mansplain? – the dilemmas that religious belief induces by its very nature.

The entanglement of language which arises from the most recent aspect of our nature, the evolving brain, is of course inadequate. Words are simply an attempt to make sense of the world, from ancient cultures onwards. Words start to fail therefore, the moment we seek something beyond ourselves – the transcendent. This is the more pressing trans issue, and one we all face as human beings. Recognition of that is the starting point, and also the possibility that there is no end point – but here, words become inadequate.

PAUL NATHANSON
PAUL NATHANSON
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Yes, words are inadequate for some purposes. But you needn’t invoke modern notions such as evolution to assert that. Mystics of every tradition have always known that describing the ineffable in words is far from adequate and ultimately impossible. They have always relied not on description, therefore, but on poetic evocation. Many of them abandon language of any kind for this purpose and turn to the arts, notably music and dance (although these non-verbal attempts to evoke the ineffable have been more difficult, of course, to preserve than written ones).

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  PAUL NATHANSON

I’d agree with that, but would cite painting (which i practise for this very reason) as one route towards the ineffable. As evidence – and to thoroughly dispel any notion that painting took a wrong course with abstraction – i’d put forward the late work of Mark Rothko.

PAUL NATHANSON
PAUL NATHANSON
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Yes, that’s true. Think also of Islamic art, which features abstract patterns to represent infinity and eternity, although some notable exceptions, such as Persian, Turkish and Mughal miniature paintings, which added figures–including the Prophet (with a discreet veil over his face).

PAUL NATHANSON
PAUL NATHANSON
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Yes, that’s true. Think also of Islamic art, which features abstract patterns to represent infinity and eternity, although some notable exceptions, such as Persian, Turkish and Mughal miniature paintings, which added figures–including the Prophet (with a discreet veil over his face).

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  PAUL NATHANSON

I’d agree with that, but would cite painting (which i practise for this very reason) as one route towards the ineffable. As evidence – and to thoroughly dispel any notion that painting took a wrong course with abstraction – i’d put forward the late work of Mark Rothko.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Well said, as usual. The trans(cendent) issue! Clever coinage, is it your own?
But I hope the pursuit of the so-called transhuman escape route or pathway to a manufactured personal eternity will die down and perhaps die off, as individual people should do in due time.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Yes, i’m afraid it is my own.

Facility with words can be a terrible thing, and only led me to an early conclusion of their limitations.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Aye. Well put again. I attempt to push the limits of my own wordcraft but find stubborn personal as well as general limitations. I’m glad you have your painting, me my guitar and keyboard efforts.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Aye. Well put again. I attempt to push the limits of my own wordcraft but find stubborn personal as well as general limitations. I’m glad you have your painting, me my guitar and keyboard efforts.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Yes, i’m afraid it is my own.

Facility with words can be a terrible thing, and only led me to an early conclusion of their limitations.

PAUL NATHANSON
PAUL NATHANSON
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Yes, words are inadequate for some purposes. But you needn’t invoke modern notions such as evolution to assert that. Mystics of every tradition have always known that describing the ineffable in words is far from adequate and ultimately impossible. They have always relied not on description, therefore, but on poetic evocation. Many of them abandon language of any kind for this purpose and turn to the arts, notably music and dance (although these non-verbal attempts to evoke the ineffable have been more difficult, of course, to preserve than written ones).

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Well said, as usual. The trans(cendent) issue! Clever coinage, is it your own?
But I hope the pursuit of the so-called transhuman escape route or pathway to a manufactured personal eternity will die down and perhaps die off, as individual people should do in due time.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

Poor old Giles, caught in the middle of trying to explain – should i say mansplain? – the dilemmas that religious belief induces by its very nature.

The entanglement of language which arises from the most recent aspect of our nature, the evolving brain, is of course inadequate. Words are simply an attempt to make sense of the world, from ancient cultures onwards. Words start to fail therefore, the moment we seek something beyond ourselves – the transcendent. This is the more pressing trans issue, and one we all face as human beings. Recognition of that is the starting point, and also the possibility that there is no end point – but here, words become inadequate.

AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago

All very sensible. But…

Father is a metaphor, as is burning bush, fountain, lamb, shepherd, rock, river
 

…who is going to believe in a metaphor? Ones that have been translated through various languages and cultures over time?
At best, throwing over tradition for the sake of ‘inclusion’ paves the way for radical rethinking about organised religion.

AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago

All very sensible. But…

Father is a metaphor, as is burning bush, fountain, lamb, shepherd, rock, river
 

…who is going to believe in a metaphor? Ones that have been translated through various languages and cultures over time?
At best, throwing over tradition for the sake of ‘inclusion’ paves the way for radical rethinking about organised religion.

Sam Brown
Sam Brown
1 year ago

The lunatics are taking over the asylum ….

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Sam Brown

Speaking of such, I feel terribly for dear Giles, who will likely spend his elder years in an asylum as he tries to square the circle of believing that God was meant to be genderless and the entire Judeo Christian tradition got it wrong all these years.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Sam Brown

Speaking of such, I feel terribly for dear Giles, who will likely spend his elder years in an asylum as he tries to square the circle of believing that God was meant to be genderless and the entire Judeo Christian tradition got it wrong all these years.

Sam Brown
Sam Brown
1 year ago

The lunatics are taking over the asylum ….

Peter Quasi-Modo
Peter Quasi-Modo
1 year ago

But when you use “they/them” to refer to God, the muslims will accuse the CofE of polytheism.

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago

Father, the son and the Holy Ghost?

Peter Quasi-Modo
Peter Quasi-Modo
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic A

Some muslims see that as a sign polytheism, too.

philip kern
philip kern
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic A

Point taken, but that’s a little different. Jesus prays as the Son to the Father. The intended distinction is lost if ‘Our Father’ becomes something less relational.

Peter Quasi-Modo
Peter Quasi-Modo
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic A

Some muslims see that as a sign polytheism, too.

philip kern
philip kern
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic A

Point taken, but that’s a little different. Jesus prays as the Son to the Father. The intended distinction is lost if ‘Our Father’ becomes something less relational.

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago

Father, the son and the Holy Ghost?

Peter Quasi-Modo
Peter Quasi-Modo
1 year ago

But when you use “they/them” to refer to God, the muslims will accuse the CofE of polytheism.

Chris W
Chris W
1 year ago

Does this mean that Jesus was also not a man? Or does he have enough real history? Time for some academic in one of our universities to get rich by deconstructing Jesus.

There will also be a lot of money made by rewriting the bible.

philip kern
philip kern
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

I’m not sure if you’re being ironic, but the academy has been deconstructing Jesus ever since Samuel Reimarus. Even the title Deconstructing Jesus has been used a few times.
The incarnate Jesus differs from the Father however in that the former has male dna and genitals. The Father has neither. So on what basis do we define males and females these days? I’ve been arguing in another context that dna and genitals define male and female, but neither apply in this context.

philip kern
philip kern
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

I’m not sure if you’re being ironic, but the academy has been deconstructing Jesus ever since Samuel Reimarus. Even the title Deconstructing Jesus has been used a few times.
The incarnate Jesus differs from the Father however in that the former has male dna and genitals. The Father has neither. So on what basis do we define males and females these days? I’ve been arguing in another context that dna and genitals define male and female, but neither apply in this context.

Chris W
Chris W
1 year ago

Does this mean that Jesus was also not a man? Or does he have enough real history? Time for some academic in one of our universities to get rich by deconstructing Jesus.

There will also be a lot of money made by rewriting the bible.

Elliott Bjorn
Elliott Bjorn
1 year ago

Oh, Giles… you have gone full on Welby – no wonder the church is almost finished in Britain.

Yes, God is Masculine, the ultimate Patriarch.

Giles – do you have any idea what a Woman is? A Man? Do you really think you find who is masculine and who is Feminine by seeing which bathroomthey use?

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

“And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him”
Like the ultimate manly dove, ready to kick some progressive teeth in?
As some who reveres the words of Jesus but not the Christology I am reminded of this saying: “These people draw near to me with their mouth, and honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me”
These words convict nearly everyone one of us that profess love for Jesus, let alone those who would attempt to truly pick up their crosses and follow him.
Defilement comes from within. Self-righteousness ain’t the way.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

“And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him”
Like the ultimate manly dove, ready to kick some progressive teeth in?
As some who reveres the words of Jesus but not the Christology I am reminded of this saying: “These people draw near to me with their mouth, and honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me”
These words convict nearly everyone one of us that profess love for Jesus, let alone those who would attempt to truly pick up their crosses and follow him.
Defilement comes from within. Self-righteousness ain’t the way.

Elliott Bjorn
Elliott Bjorn
1 year ago

Oh, Giles… you have gone full on Welby – no wonder the church is almost finished in Britain.

Yes, God is Masculine, the ultimate Patriarch.

Giles – do you have any idea what a Woman is? A Man? Do you really think you find who is masculine and who is Feminine by seeing which bathroomthey use?

Cho Jinn
Cho Jinn
1 year ago

Just so long as the Devil can be Elizabeth Hurley in Bedazzled.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 year ago
Reply to  Cho Jinn

I don’t know, the one in the Keanu Reeves Constantine still remains the best devil I have seen on scree, imo. Not as hot, in the Liz Hurley sense, but you could almost feel the heat and stench of hell emanate off him.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 year ago
Reply to  Cho Jinn

I don’t know, the one in the Keanu Reeves Constantine still remains the best devil I have seen on scree, imo. Not as hot, in the Liz Hurley sense, but you could almost feel the heat and stench of hell emanate off him.

Cho Jinn
Cho Jinn
1 year ago

Just so long as the Devil can be Elizabeth Hurley in Bedazzled.

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
1 year ago

Why not it/its? If anything it would sound better than a clumsy plural subject and singular verb.

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
1 year ago

Why not it/its? If anything it would sound better than a clumsy plural subject and singular verb.

Frances An
Frances An
1 year ago

A great article from Giles Fraser! I’m not religious but my Vietnamese mother is Catholic so I spent some of my childhood trailing behind her at Vietnamese mass. Given that the Judeo-Christian God has filtered into non-English-speaking communities, I’m not really sure how they’re going to make God gender-neutral. I don’t believe there’s a gender-neutral ‘parent’ word in Vietnamese… :/

Frances An
Frances An
1 year ago

A great article from Giles Fraser! I’m not religious but my Vietnamese mother is Catholic so I spent some of my childhood trailing behind her at Vietnamese mass. Given that the Judeo-Christian God has filtered into non-English-speaking communities, I’m not really sure how they’re going to make God gender-neutral. I don’t believe there’s a gender-neutral ‘parent’ word in Vietnamese… :/

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
1 year ago

I’m fairly sure God’s preferred pronouns are: He, Hymn

Last edited 1 year ago by Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
1 year ago

I’m fairly sure God’s preferred pronouns are: He, Hymn

Last edited 1 year ago by Paddy Taylor
Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago

Everyone – stop using the word “gender”!
It is just playing their game. The word is “sex” and it is an either/or question.
Save “gender” for learning German nouns.

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago

Everyone – stop using the word “gender”!
It is just playing their game. The word is “sex” and it is an either/or question.
Save “gender” for learning German nouns.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago

So now we have come to this? Does every last institution and objective truth need to be turned upside down to complete our dystopia? So now the Bible itself, Jesus Christ himself, every pastor, priest, rabbi, bishop, pope who has ever lived and every great painter and writer for the last 2000 years has been wrong about God the Father? Mr/Mrs Fraser has lost their minds.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago

So now we have come to this? Does every last institution and objective truth need to be turned upside down to complete our dystopia? So now the Bible itself, Jesus Christ himself, every pastor, priest, rabbi, bishop, pope who has ever lived and every great painter and writer for the last 2000 years has been wrong about God the Father? Mr/Mrs Fraser has lost their minds.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago

If anyone needed another reason to doubt the sanity/relevance of organised religion, this debate is a cracker.

PAUL NATHANSON
PAUL NATHANSON
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

But this debate is one that arises in secular circles–and that includes highly secularized churches.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

What’s your religion?

Aidan A
Aidan A
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Well said.

PAUL NATHANSON
PAUL NATHANSON
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

But this debate is one that arises in secular circles–and that includes highly secularized churches.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

What’s your religion?

Aidan A
Aidan A
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Well said.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago

If anyone needed another reason to doubt the sanity/relevance of organised religion, this debate is a cracker.

Stephen Quilley
Stephen Quilley
1 year ago

CofE seems to have a death wish. I thought the whole point of the Reformation was Sole Scriptura ….and scripture couldn’t be more clear about the metaphors

Stephen Quilley
Stephen Quilley
1 year ago

CofE seems to have a death wish. I thought the whole point of the Reformation was Sole Scriptura ….and scripture couldn’t be more clear about the metaphors

David Yetter
David Yetter
1 year ago

It is a standard point of theology among Orthodox Christians that no concept, and certainly no binary distinction, applicable to the created applies to the Uncreated, male and female included. (For a radical take on this, see the dictum of St. Gregory the Theologian — you westerners call him St. Gregory of Nazianzus — “In as much as we exist, God does not exist. In as much as God exists we do not exist.” That from a Christian bishop so well regarded by Orthodox Christians that he is one of only three saints given the title “Theologian”.)
One may therefore wonder why the All-Holy-Trinity chose to communicate with us concerning Himself in male images and to become incarnate as a man, rather than a woman. No, not because He was communicating with a patriarchal culture — He dragged the Israelites closer and closer to an understanding of Him in giving the Law and sending the Prophets, and had He wanted to be seen as female, He’d have dragged them to that understanding instead of the one He did.
I think the reason is for our sake,that we otherwise would fail to understand the theological point I began with. If we saw God as feminine/female, we would inevitably start to conceive of creation as birthgiving, thereby effacing the radical distinction between the created and the Uncreated, and vainly fancying ourselves to be Divine by nature.

Last edited 1 year ago by David Yetter
David Yetter
David Yetter
1 year ago

It is a standard point of theology among Orthodox Christians that no concept, and certainly no binary distinction, applicable to the created applies to the Uncreated, male and female included. (For a radical take on this, see the dictum of St. Gregory the Theologian — you westerners call him St. Gregory of Nazianzus — “In as much as we exist, God does not exist. In as much as God exists we do not exist.” That from a Christian bishop so well regarded by Orthodox Christians that he is one of only three saints given the title “Theologian”.)
One may therefore wonder why the All-Holy-Trinity chose to communicate with us concerning Himself in male images and to become incarnate as a man, rather than a woman. No, not because He was communicating with a patriarchal culture — He dragged the Israelites closer and closer to an understanding of Him in giving the Law and sending the Prophets, and had He wanted to be seen as female, He’d have dragged them to that understanding instead of the one He did.
I think the reason is for our sake,that we otherwise would fail to understand the theological point I began with. If we saw God as feminine/female, we would inevitably start to conceive of creation as birthgiving, thereby effacing the radical distinction between the created and the Uncreated, and vainly fancying ourselves to be Divine by nature.

Last edited 1 year ago by David Yetter
R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago

More left-liberal dross from this author. Always concessions, always meekness, always bending over backwards to please the unpleaseable and always seeking to update and redress for the modern, progressive age. Theological flabbiness and weakness like this is exactly why the Anglican church is considered an embarrassing joke, even by its entire overseas contingent of bishops.

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

Bring back The Spanish Inquisition!

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

Bring back The Spanish Inquisition!

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago

More left-liberal dross from this author. Always concessions, always meekness, always bending over backwards to please the unpleaseable and always seeking to update and redress for the modern, progressive age. Theological flabbiness and weakness like this is exactly why the Anglican church is considered an embarrassing joke, even by its entire overseas contingent of bishops.

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
1 year ago

God is not an old man with a white beard. Indeed not. He is a Ralph Richardson lookalike, in a tweed suit (cf Time Bandits, 1981).
Apart from that solecism, another excellent article

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
1 year ago

God is not an old man with a white beard. Indeed not. He is a Ralph Richardson lookalike, in a tweed suit (cf Time Bandits, 1981).
Apart from that solecism, another excellent article

Jon Hawksley
Jon Hawksley
1 year ago

If Father won’t do why Parent, which captures the lest relevant aspect of father? Why not Provider which captures a traditionally rather more relevant aspect?

Christian Moon
Christian Moon
1 year ago
Reply to  Jon Hawksley

The word actually used translates as “Father”, not parent, not provider, but father.
Give us a shout when you’ve got your new Hawksleyan church up and running. I’m keen to learn more about Hawksleyanity.

Christian Moon
Christian Moon
1 year ago
Reply to  Jon Hawksley

The word actually used translates as “Father”, not parent, not provider, but father.
Give us a shout when you’ve got your new Hawksleyan church up and running. I’m keen to learn more about Hawksleyanity.

Jon Hawksley
Jon Hawksley
1 year ago

If Father won’t do why Parent, which captures the lest relevant aspect of father? Why not Provider which captures a traditionally rather more relevant aspect?

John Dewhirst
John Dewhirst
1 year ago

How does this make the Church of England relevant which is surely its biggest dilemma?

John Dewhirst
John Dewhirst
1 year ago

How does this make the Church of England relevant which is surely its biggest dilemma?

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

We say Amen not Awoman and sing hymns not hers…

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

We say Amen not Awoman and sing hymns not hers…

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
1 year ago

God has no sex, true, but he does have a gender and he says so quite clearly. The thing is that gender — and this needs work, because the woke are simultaneously very right and completely wrong — gender is a ‘construct’ but one that God himself constructed and it does not follow, but precedes sex.

Janet G
Janet G
1 year ago
Reply to  Ray Andrews

If gender precedes sex, how come we didn’t talk about gender, or even know about it (except as a grammatical term) until the mid 1950s? People have been living in Australia for 60,000 years, and we have learned this amazing “fact” only in the last five minutes?

Janet G
Janet G
1 year ago
Reply to  Ray Andrews

If gender precedes sex, how come we didn’t talk about gender, or even know about it (except as a grammatical term) until the mid 1950s? People have been living in Australia for 60,000 years, and we have learned this amazing “fact” only in the last five minutes?

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
1 year ago

God has no sex, true, but he does have a gender and he says so quite clearly. The thing is that gender — and this needs work, because the woke are simultaneously very right and completely wrong — gender is a ‘construct’ but one that God himself constructed and it does not follow, but precedes sex.

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago

So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago

So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago

“As verily as God is our Father, so verily God is our Mother; and that shewed he in all, and especially in these sweet words where he saith: I it am
 the Might and the Goodness of the Fatherhood; I it am, the Wisdom of the Motherhood; I it am, the Light and the Grace that is all blessed Love; I it am, the Trinity
I it am, the endless fulfilling of all true desires.”
Julian of Norwich

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago

“As verily as God is our Father, so verily God is our Mother; and that shewed he in all, and especially in these sweet words where he saith: I it am
 the Might and the Goodness of the Fatherhood; I it am, the Wisdom of the Motherhood; I it am, the Light and the Grace that is all blessed Love; I it am, the Trinity
I it am, the endless fulfilling of all true desires.”
Julian of Norwich

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
1 year ago

Come on fellahs. Everybody knows that women really rule the world and gods and kings and presidents are just a thin veil of pretence trying to hide the power and the glory of overwhelming female supremacy.

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
1 year ago

Come on fellahs. Everybody knows that women really rule the world and gods and kings and presidents are just a thin veil of pretence trying to hide the power and the glory of overwhelming female supremacy.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

To most people in nu britn, God is a football player…

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

To most people in nu britn, God is a football player…

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
1 year ago

“They, who art in heaven” seems more accurate and of course they might be transgender and sterilised so could not be a parent to anybody.

Johan Grönwall
Johan Grönwall
1 year ago

Woke has finally reached the heavens. Be gender radical or be cancelled.

Author has no idea what they are talking about.

Johan Grönwall
Johan Grönwall
1 year ago

Woke has finally reached the heavens. Be gender radical or be cancelled.

Author has no idea what they are talking about.

Josh Bailey
Josh Bailey
1 year ago

On final sentence only: ‘Thou’ is what Barth would say – as a reflection of the tetragrammaton bit in Exodus 3. The Father, Son & Spirit are not really possible to speak of as if they aren’t there in the room with us – though written language requires the appropriation. We never get to speak about them without them being there. But we must. In the same way, all the works of the Trinity are indivisible. Yet it is appropriate to speak of only Jesus dying on the cross – not the Father or the Spirit. There is really good theology about this stuff – and it has NOTHING to do with gender studies. The outcry is just because this stuff is, once again, trying to read rubbish inconsequential nonsense into the Living God. As such, not sure about some of this piece, but quite a good bit about cataphatic theology.

Peter Quasi-Modo
Peter Quasi-Modo
1 year ago

I am very pleased that God has, at last, moved with the times. He is millenia behind Lucifer’s pals, Baalim and Ashtaroth, in Milton’s Paradise Lost: “With these cam they, who from the bordring flood
Of old Euphrates to the Brook that parts
Egypt from Syrian ground, had general names
Of Baalim and Ashtaroth, those male, these Feminine.   
For Spirits when they please can either Sex assume, or both;”

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago

You walked out on the Rock who gave you your life, forgot the birth-God who brought you into the world.

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago

As a mother comforts her son, so will I comfort you, and you will be consoled over Jerusalem.

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago

“It is idolatrous to make males more ‘like God’ than females. It is blasphemous to use the image and name of the Holy to justify patriarchal domination
The image of God as predominantly male is fundamentally idolatrous” R R Reuther, 1983

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago

“It is idolatrous to make males more ‘like God’ than females. It is blasphemous to use the image and name of the Holy to justify patriarchal domination
The image of God as predominantly male is fundamentally idolatrous” R R Reuther, 1983

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago

“All God-language is analogous and metaphorical. The first commandment forbids ‘graven images’ (Exodus 20:4); to take any image of God literally is idolatrous. 
 Scripture makes clear that to elevate any one image to be equivalent with God violates the first commandment against idolatry.”
Thomas Groome

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago

““Thus we see that the first word for God is Scripture includes the feminine, the first word for Spirit is feminine, and the first picture of God is a mother eagle giving birth to the world. These feminine images for God, given prominence at the very beginning of the Bible, deserve our attention.” J Clanton

Samuel Gee
Samuel Gee
1 year ago

Here we go on the how many angels on the head of pin style debates. I like Giles’s writing and his general direction of thought. I don’t mind that people believe in God, but when we start with debates about gender of God or the lack of it, it looks very much like the “alternative close” taught on sales courses. In general, when you think you have an indication that they want to buy a car stop talking about whether the customer wants to buy a car and start talking about whether they want (in this case) the pink one or the blue one. Maybe it will work for Giles, but it presupposes that religious folk have firmly convinced the rest of us that we want a God of any gender, or any particular race. Don’t be sucked in folks. If there is no God then the gender of the non-existent god doesn’t really matter. Let the religious fight that out amongst themselves. The traditionally religious V the new religion of woke.

Samuel Gee
Samuel Gee
1 year ago

Here we go on the how many angels on the head of pin style debates. I like Giles’s writing and his general direction of thought. I don’t mind that people believe in God, but when we start with debates about gender of God or the lack of it, it looks very much like the “alternative close” taught on sales courses. In general, when you think you have an indication that they want to buy a car stop talking about whether the customer wants to buy a car and start talking about whether they want (in this case) the pink one or the blue one. Maybe it will work for Giles, but it presupposes that religious folk have firmly convinced the rest of us that we want a God of any gender, or any particular race. Don’t be sucked in folks. If there is no God then the gender of the non-existent god doesn’t really matter. Let the religious fight that out amongst themselves. The traditionally religious V the new religion of woke.

Alka Hughes-Hallett
Alka Hughes-Hallett
1 year ago

What worked for 2000 yrs may not work now for our society. We are evolutionary beings. Our physical & mental makeup is changing subtly. I feel that our bodies are gradually changing with the new environmental pressures, our minds are experiencing this change & hence the confusion on pronouns. It’s all subtle yet definite. Inevitability the concept of god as written in books needs to be adjusted too. Why does it matter in the grand scheme of Time?God does not mind or care.

I agree w Giles god is genderless, it is a concept, beyond form. It is both a fountain and a rock, perhaps a bit of a wave and a particle in physics. The observer & the observation matters. The pronouns don’t. The language is evolving too, the concept is beyond evolution. God is Love.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 year ago

“What worked for 2000 yrs may not work now for our society. ”
True, in general.
But the issue I have with that statement is that while a lot has changed, human nature has not. And while I am not religious, I still think there is a lot of wisdom on the Bible, Gita, Vedas…deep thoughts on human nature which is also still accurate.

I have to slog hard to provide for my family, pay my daughter’s school fees, mortgage. My wife never focused much on her career – entirely her choice, and her option. And despite a busy work schedule, I still spend a huge amount of time on my daughter.
It’s a lot of pressure – but like most typical men I know, the reaction is – bring it on. I love it, love the responsibility, the sense of satisfaction providing for them.

On the other hand, among dozens of well educated, professional women I know, not one is the main breadwinner. Not one. No woman would go to a man who is low earning and say – listen, you are a nice guy, take care of the house, the pressure of running the house and paying the bills is on me.

So, it’s not just about whether God is a man, patriarchy etc. The outcome of a lot of this “modern” changes is that it ignores human nature in the name of “equality”.

So, you convince people that patriarchy, labelling the provider and creater as male, is backwards, sexist etc.

What happens when, in the next generation, young males believe that and stop being willing to be breadwinners, or work on dangerous, hard industries that are still essential to modern society?

Alka Hughes-Hallett
Alka Hughes-Hallett
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

I don’t think I understand the point.
I think you are a good godly man as you describe yourself. So is your wife and your children of all genders.
Could you be confusing roles of genders with god’s gender? In your roles you & your family are clearly exemplary. God is a genderless concept that you live by. What needs be clear in your mind is your gender and its duties, its responsibilities. No clear thinking, good, godly man like yourself will do any harm to any gender or creature & only do so because he sees himself in a male image of god. You will invoke that conscience that god ( concept) provides you.
About breadwinners- That is nothing to do with god. Does a modern society need a male god or do we ALL just need to work at being godly?

Alka Hughes-Hallett
Alka Hughes-Hallett
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

I don’t think I understand the point.
I think you are a good godly man as you describe yourself. So is your wife and your children of all genders.
Could you be confusing roles of genders with god’s gender? In your roles you & your family are clearly exemplary. God is a genderless concept that you live by. What needs be clear in your mind is your gender and its duties, its responsibilities. No clear thinking, good, godly man like yourself will do any harm to any gender or creature & only do so because he sees himself in a male image of god. You will invoke that conscience that god ( concept) provides you.
About breadwinners- That is nothing to do with god. Does a modern society need a male god or do we ALL just need to work at being godly?

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 year ago

“What worked for 2000 yrs may not work now for our society. ”
True, in general.
But the issue I have with that statement is that while a lot has changed, human nature has not. And while I am not religious, I still think there is a lot of wisdom on the Bible, Gita, Vedas…deep thoughts on human nature which is also still accurate.

I have to slog hard to provide for my family, pay my daughter’s school fees, mortgage. My wife never focused much on her career – entirely her choice, and her option. And despite a busy work schedule, I still spend a huge amount of time on my daughter.
It’s a lot of pressure – but like most typical men I know, the reaction is – bring it on. I love it, love the responsibility, the sense of satisfaction providing for them.

On the other hand, among dozens of well educated, professional women I know, not one is the main breadwinner. Not one. No woman would go to a man who is low earning and say – listen, you are a nice guy, take care of the house, the pressure of running the house and paying the bills is on me.

So, it’s not just about whether God is a man, patriarchy etc. The outcome of a lot of this “modern” changes is that it ignores human nature in the name of “equality”.

So, you convince people that patriarchy, labelling the provider and creater as male, is backwards, sexist etc.

What happens when, in the next generation, young males believe that and stop being willing to be breadwinners, or work on dangerous, hard industries that are still essential to modern society?

Alka Hughes-Hallett
Alka Hughes-Hallett
1 year ago

What worked for 2000 yrs may not work now for our society. We are evolutionary beings. Our physical & mental makeup is changing subtly. I feel that our bodies are gradually changing with the new environmental pressures, our minds are experiencing this change & hence the confusion on pronouns. It’s all subtle yet definite. Inevitability the concept of god as written in books needs to be adjusted too. Why does it matter in the grand scheme of Time?God does not mind or care.

I agree w Giles god is genderless, it is a concept, beyond form. It is both a fountain and a rock, perhaps a bit of a wave and a particle in physics. The observer & the observation matters. The pronouns don’t. The language is evolving too, the concept is beyond evolution. God is Love.

Philip Burrell
Philip Burrell
1 year ago

You can’t half tie yourself in knots when you actually believe that something written down centuries ago is truly the word of God. It might be better to take a more rational approach to these religious texts and appreciate that they reflect the mores of the time.

Aidan A
Aidan A
1 year ago
Reply to  Philip Burrell

Agreed!

Iris C
Iris C
1 year ago
Reply to  Philip Burrell

Exactly! The language that Jesus used when preaching was at the level and understanding of his followers but the knowledge that has been gained over the centuries makes many of the words and phrases used by his disciples in the gospels and in church services no longer apt.. For example, space travel has shown that heaven is not up in the clouds and that (hu)mans are not uniquely different from all other living creatures – everything in God’s creation being interlinked and woven together, including the lives of plants and fungae.
I firmly believe in God as a living force in the world which “passeth all understanding” and which is demonstrated in Jesus’s miracles and in his death on the cross where Good overcame evil…..

Last edited 1 year ago by Iris C
AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Philip Burrell

Some prefer to accept the idea the revelation was frozen in time by the Council of Nicea or whatnot, or that making a verbal promise to the correct deity will ensure their eternal salvation.
It’s an odd and common thing when one can find both enduring and non-enduring aspects in a great work from, let’s say, the 19th of 17th century, but only incontrovertible truth in Hebrew or Greek scriptures and their translations.
In my own view the words of Jesus have a singular staying power, but I don’t therefore regard them as divorced from all cultural and temporal context.

Aidan A
Aidan A
1 year ago
Reply to  Philip Burrell

Agreed!

Iris C
Iris C
1 year ago
Reply to  Philip Burrell

Exactly! The language that Jesus used when preaching was at the level and understanding of his followers but the knowledge that has been gained over the centuries makes many of the words and phrases used by his disciples in the gospels and in church services no longer apt.. For example, space travel has shown that heaven is not up in the clouds and that (hu)mans are not uniquely different from all other living creatures – everything in God’s creation being interlinked and woven together, including the lives of plants and fungae.
I firmly believe in God as a living force in the world which “passeth all understanding” and which is demonstrated in Jesus’s miracles and in his death on the cross where Good overcame evil…..

Last edited 1 year ago by Iris C
AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Philip Burrell

Some prefer to accept the idea the revelation was frozen in time by the Council of Nicea or whatnot, or that making a verbal promise to the correct deity will ensure their eternal salvation.
It’s an odd and common thing when one can find both enduring and non-enduring aspects in a great work from, let’s say, the 19th of 17th century, but only