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Monday, June 1, 2020

The Gender of God

A poet whose blog I read just posted this wonderful haibun. (Go on, read it; it’s quite short and truly delightful.)

I fell in love with it.

But then, a little while later, I had the thought that it would have been even more perfect if she’d said ‘Praise God’ instead of ‘Praise the Lord’. The word Lord is clearly male, whereas I like to think of God as female.

Of course, many many people all over the world – probably the majority – believe that God is male, as the widespread book religions* teach. But a substantial number believe that God is female – or that God encompasses all genders and much more besides, whilst they personally prefer to focus on the female or Great Mother aspect. (This latter is my own position.)

Well, it’s obviously a bit much to expect that devout Christians will stop equating ‘Lord’ with God, or that the devout of any other book religion will allow their Deity to be more gender-inclusive. So, if that seems to some of us to be selling God very short, it’s up to us to find our own words.

It’s seldom necessary to make huge changes. I do use the word Goddess sometimes, but ‘God’ works for me too. In my mind ‘God’ is all-encompassing and can be interpreted as ‘Goddess’ if I choose to focus on that aspect. In fact I see the words ‘Goddess’ and also ‘Deity’ as being similarly all-encompassing. (Sometimes I say 'the Universe', giving it this same meaning, way beyond the physical universe. But that's a bit tricky, as I might sometimes refer, in another context, to the physical universe.) The reality of God, I believe, is so vast as to be far beyond our understanding. Paradoxically, each of us can have a personal relationship with the Deity – and to do that, it helps to focus on one aspect we can relate to.

‘Praise God’ works for me.

*The books: E.g. the Bible, the Koran, the Torah, the Vedic texts, the Buddhist sutras and shastras…. (
Individuals have written books about the Pagan or earth-based spiritual paths, but they are not ‘have to’ books of laws to be obeyed; they are not regarded as the sacred words of God which emanated from the Deity even though written down by people.)

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