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Old 03-12-2007, 11:44 AM   #16
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That's the image I got hammered into me being raised a Christian, and I very often see God being portrayed as a well built old man with a white beard.

I don't really have a problem with God being portrayed as such because 1) God as father/comforter/protector is a good analogy in many circumstances (but it's widely understood that this is not an explicit definition of God) and 2) there are many other depictions of God with other attributes, so there is a balance. Since humans cannot fully comprehend God, it only makes sense that we depict him with various human characteristics. I think this is OK as long as no one's actually claiming that their depiction of God is definitive.



For me, it all boils down to this - the Christian creation narrative is not a factual, chronological recording of events; rather, it is a story that defines three relationships vital to Christianity: God's relationship to humankind, humankind's relationship among itself, and humankind's relationship with God's creation. God created humans and God created genders. Humans cannot define God with attributes that God created for them, not himself.

If you don't believe in God, none of this matters, but if you DO believe in God, you believe he came first. I've never met anyone that believes in God AND believes that humans created him, therefore he is male.
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Old 03-12-2007, 01:10 PM   #17
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That's the image I got hammered into me being raised a Christian, and I very often see God being portrayed as a well built old man with a white beard.
Ah, I see.
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Old 03-12-2007, 03:12 PM   #18
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I don't think of God as having a gender- but once I heard a priest say something to the effect that if you don't have the human father that you feel is adequate and adequately loving-that you always have God the father. I like that.
That's beautiful, MrsS. Some female friends of mine whose fathers left them or abused them take great solace precisely in this. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 03-13-2007, 03:25 PM   #19
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I suppose the thing that puts me off Christianity the most is the sexism. I feel totally alienated by it because by picking one gender over the other, a statement is being made that maleness is superior to the feminine. To be abolutely fair God could be refered to as "Lord and Lady" with "God" as a neutral word.

e2a: In fairness... in here most people have said they think of God as not being exclusively male. That heartens me.
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Old 03-13-2007, 03:34 PM   #20
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Originally posted by AussieU2fanman


That's the image I got hammered into me being raised a Christian, and I very often see God being portrayed as a well built old man with a white beard.
It makes me think of this...
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Old 03-13-2007, 05:04 PM   #21
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I suppose the thing that puts me off Christianity the most is the sexism. I feel totally alienated by it because by picking one gender over the other, a statement is being made that maleness is superior to the feminine. To be abolutely fair God could be refered to as "Lord and Lady" with "God" as a neutral word.

e2a: In fairness... in here most people have said they think of God as not being exclusively male. That heartens me.
I don't think God's exclusively male, however, I don't feel it's sexist to use the term Lord or Father with God either. That's how he was referred to by Christ himself, in a relational sense. These must be terms that reflect God's nature more accurately.
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Old 03-13-2007, 06:37 PM   #22
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God exists eternally as a spirit, possessing no physical body and hence no gender, yet having all the traits of both males and females.
But throughout his Word it's clear how believers are to speak to him. Christ's own example being "Our Father Who art in heaven."

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Goddesses have, of course, been worshipped: many religions have had priestesses. But they are religions quite different in character from Christianity.... Since God is in fact not a biological being and has no sex, what can it matter whether we say He or She, Father or Mother, Son or Daughter?

Christians think that God Himself has taught us how to speak of Him. To say that it does not matter is to say either that all the masculine imagery is not inspired, is merely human in origin, or else that, though inspired, it is quite arbitrary and unessential. And this is surely intolerable.
--C.S. Lewis
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Old 03-13-2007, 06:54 PM   #23
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God exists eternally as a spirit, possessing no physical body and hence no gender, yet having all the traits of both males and females.
But throughout his Word it's clear how believers are to speak to him. Christ's own example being "Our Father Who art in heaven."

"Our Father who art in heaven" was from the KJV though. In this translation the additional nuances and suggestions of the original Aramaic are lost. I'm not saying it is wrong, but just very limited. Aramaic itself has many spiritual posibilities. A scholar once retranslated the Bible into Aramaic, and came up with these version of the line "Our Father who art in heaven"

O Thou, the One from whom breath enters being in all radiant forms

O Parent of the universe, from your deep interior comes the next wave of shining life.

O fruitful, nurturing Life-giver! Your sound rings everywhere throughout the cosmos.

Father-Mother who births Unity, You vibrate life into form in each new instant.


I'm not saying one is right or wrong, but it was fascinating to read some of the passages of the Bible retranslated into the original language. It really tore through my original conceptions of God.
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Old 03-13-2007, 09:47 PM   #24
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Yes, but Christ used the term Abba, father . . . I've understood that to translate into almost a "daddy" word.
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Old 03-13-2007, 10:16 PM   #25
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I don't have a problem with using "male" words to describe God because 1) I know I can never comprehend the true nature of God, so this analogy is fair enough, for me, and 2) Christ = God and Christ as fully divine AND fully human HAS to have a gender, otherwise the "fully human" part is a crock of shit. I don't think the fact that Jesus was male is really relevant to his teachings and how he led by example.
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Old 03-13-2007, 10:22 PM   #26
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She moves in mysterious ways, baby
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Old 03-13-2007, 10:31 PM   #27
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Originally posted by coemgen
I don't think God's exclusively male, however, I don't feel it's sexist to use the term Lord or Father with God either. That's how he was referred to by Christ himself, in a relational sense. These must be terms that reflect God's nature more accurately.
Actually, "Lord" is a medieval addition to the Bible. It's a title straight out of feudalism that did not exist prior to then.
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Old 03-13-2007, 10:55 PM   #28
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I've never heard that, but if that is the case, it doesn't mean the concept of Lord didn't exist before.
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Old 03-14-2007, 09:28 AM   #29
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I've never heard that, but if that is the case, it doesn't mean the concept of Lord didn't exist before.
Actually, yes, the concept of "Lord" has no ancient equivalent. The earliest it stretches back is a Germanic (read: "pagan") tribal structure of the "loaf guardian" or "keeper of the loaves" (Old English: "hlaf-weard"). This position reflected a Germanic tribal custom, where the superior provided food for his followers. The inclusion of "Lord" in the Bible is an example of sloppy medieval translation practices. Or, perhaps, with this being the days of the "Divine Right of Kings," ensuring that "God" had a medieval aristocratic title would more than imply to the worldly Lord's vassals and serfs that he was to be obeyed and unquestioned like God.

The Bible, at the very least, has no Germanic heritage, and, instead, was written wholly from a Semitic and, later, a Greco-Roman point of view. By the time the last book of the Bible was written, the Germanic tribes were still mostly in Scandinavia and Germany, with their culture having no effect on the Roman Empire.
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Old 03-14-2007, 11:53 AM   #30
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Originally posted by Ormus


Actually, yes, the concept of "Lord" has no ancient equivalent. The earliest it stretches back is a Germanic (read: "pagan") tribal structure of the "loaf guardian" or "keeper of the loaves" (Old English: "hlaf-weard"). This position reflected a Germanic tribal custom, where the superior provided food for his followers. The inclusion of "Lord" in the Bible is an example of sloppy medieval translation practices. Or, perhaps, with this being the days of the "Divine Right of Kings," ensuring that "God" had a medieval aristocratic title would more than imply to the worldly Lord's vassals and serfs that he was to be obeyed and unquestioned like God.

The Bible, at the very least, has no Germanic heritage, and, instead, was written wholly from a Semitic and, later, a Greco-Roman point of view. By the time the last book of the Bible was written, the Germanic tribes were still mostly in Scandinavia and Germany, with their culture having no effect on the Roman Empire.
Ormus, I'm really curious about this, too, since I've never heard this before. Do you know what scholars believe is a more accurate translation of the word(s) that have been translated as "Lord"? The churches I've attended have always made a big deal out of the "Lordship" of God, so I'm really curious to know if there is another interpretation of this.
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