Wed | Aug 23, 2017

Garth Rattray | Why not our Mother who art in heaven?

Published:Monday | May 9, 2016 | 5:00 AM

Once I had a dream - well, it seemed like a dream. In it, I was without form, disembodied - only a thought, an awareness. There was nothing relatable to any of our five senses and I did not miss them; but I was able to be at one with wherever I was.

I was in the presence of two other souls, one male and one female. I could only sense them. There were no words between us. We communicated by thought. These thoughts came with feeling (emotions) behind them. Words, as we know them, meant nothing. Thoughts imparted everything.

There was no 'body' to see, touch or smell, no voice to hear, yet I was very aware of the gender of each of my fellow travellers. The appreciation of gender was in the form of a sense of their personalities. Even in this dream (or whatever it was), I was cognisant of the tribulations and conflicts that some people must experience when their personality gender is at odds with their physical (biological) gender.

 

MUNDANE ATTRIBUTE

 

And, I mused about the gender of God. I thought it strange that we assign such a purely mundane attribute, a physical thing to God, a deity, pure spirit. It also occurred to me that, since we assign a gender to God, why is that gender male? God is the creator of everything. God nurtures and consoles. It seems more appropriate to call God a female.

I put it down to the psycho-social circumstances throughout the ages. Generally, males are seen as strong, dominant figures capable of achieving greatness, while women are seen as the fairer/weaker sex, a passive reflection of the male.

However, we know that such perceptions are erroneous. As a rule, females bear the brunt of the raising the children - the seeds of generations past, present and future. Women are the cohesive force behind family life. Women are more creative, women are long-suffering, women are better at dealing with pain, and women are often extremely influential in the lives of great men.

Women are not as physically weak as they appear; their natural lower-body strength often rivals that of men. And, although they are often portrayed as weepy and emotionally labile, by virtue of their hardships and pains throughout life, they are more expressive. On the other hand, men often don't know how to handle their emotions - hence they are usually less expressive, hold things inside, and then act out violently.

Assigning only the male gender to God inadvertently and unfairly puts females at a distinct and succinct disadvantage. Without a single word, phrase or gesture, it consigns women to a lesser status than they deserve.

It seems to me that God falls outside of any gender. But, if our mortal minds need a gender classification to appreciate God, there should be two - male and female. In the same way that God is seen as triune (Father, Son and Holy Ghost), God should also be seen as dual (male and female) gender.

 

NURTURING DEITY

 

The female side of God would be the creative, loving and nurturing deity. The male side of God would be the lawmaker, enforcer and the defender. The human mind has evolved in efficiency and sophistication. It's time that we move beyond limiting our perception of God to gender, let alone a single gender.

I can appreciate the need to portray God as an infinitely powerful male figure in an era when women were mostly relegated to tradable chattel, caretakers of their husbands, and bearers of children. Sadly, worldwide, many cultures still overtly treat women in this way, and they do so as part of their religious beliefs.

I can't help but feel that if God were portrayed as manifesting both masculine and feminine traits with equal import, women would be more respected and liberated from the official and/or unofficial constraints placed upon them.

Since God is seen as encompassing the sum of everything, we should be unafraid to show that God must certainly have a feminine side.

- Garth A. Rattray is a medical doctor with a family practice. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and garthrattray@gmail.com.