God and Pronouns: God has No Gender

By Vexen Crabtree 2008 Jan 01

The gender of god, or the determination of which gendered pronoun we should use, is one of the major illogical assumptions about God that people frequently make. God has no gender. It does not reproduce. It makes no sense biologically, sexually or culturally to call the creator of all genders and species by the particular gender of a particular species. He and She are appropriate pronouns for species with two sexes, not for the God of the Universe. We have no right to assume to call God by any gender based on the characteristics of human roles. God is not a "He" or a "She", but an It.


1. Arguments That God Has No Gender

2. Religions and Beliefs With a Gender-Neutral Divinity

It is not popular amongst traditional religionists to use gender-neutral language, because most religion has been patriarchal. But many New Religious Movements and some other obscure corners of Human spirituality buck this trend. In the New Age religion of Eckankar their sacred name for God is Sugmad, which they stress "is neither masculine nor feminine"1. The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (an occult magical group founded towards the end of the 19th century) recognized the divine as having feminine aspects as well as male2. Kabbalists (mystics and occultists who indulge in the Kabbalah/Qabbala) teach that "En Sof was neither male nor female. It was an 'It' that became a 'Thou' to the mystic at the end of the process of emanation"3. Divinity in Wicca is seen as both male and female (typically as the Horned God and Mother Goddess4), as are the general forces of nature which emanate from the male and female principal5,6, and these two sides complement one another7,8.

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By Vexen Crabtree 2008 Jan 01
Originally published 2006 Feb 01
Last Updated: 2014 Apr 25
http://www.vexen.co.uk/religion/god_pronouns.html
Parent page: There is No God: Theological, Philosophical and Logical Problems of Theism

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References: (What's this?)

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Armstrong, Karen
(2005) A Short History of Myth: Volume 1-4. Kindle edition 2008. First published in Great Britain in 2005 by Canongate Books Ltd.

Clarke, Peter B.. Peter B. Clarke: Professor Emeritus of the History and Sociology of Religion, King's College, University of London, and currently Professor in the Faculty of Theology, University of Oxford, UK.
(2011) The Oxford Handbook of The Sociology of Religion. Published by Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK. First published 2009.

Eckankar
(1995) Eckankar: Ancient Wisdom for Today. Subtitled ""How past lives, dreams, and Soul Travel help you find God"". First published 1993 (I think). Published by ECKANKAR, Minneapolis, USA.

Harvey, Graham & Hardman, Charlotte
(1995) Pagan Pathways. First published by Thorsons 1995. All quotes taken from Thorsons 2000 edition. [Book Review]

Hutton, Ronald
(1999) The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft. 2001 paperback edition published by Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

Pagan Federation, the
(2008) Witchcraft Information Pack. First published 1992. Accessed online at www.paganfed.org/dl/Witchcraft_Info_Pack.pdf on 2014 Apr 20.

Partridge, Christopher
(2004, Ed.) Encyclopedia of New Religions. Hardback. Published by Lion Publishing, Oxford, UK.

Pearson, Joanne
(2002, Ed.) Belief Beyond Boundaries: Wicca, Celtic Spirituality and the New Age. Published by Ashgate, Aldershot, UK and The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK.

Plüss, Caroline. Assistant Professor in the Division of Sociology School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Nanyang Technical University, Singapore.
(2011) Migration and the Globalization of Religion. This essay is chapter 27 of "The Oxford Handbook of The Sociology of Religion" by Peter B. Clarke (2011) (pages 491-506).

Footnotes

  1. Eckankar (1995) p11. Added to this page on 2013 Jun 07.^
  2. Plüss (2011) p26-27. Added to this page on 2014 Apr 25.^
  3. Armstrong (2005) Footnote 99. Added to this page on 2013 Jun 07.^
  4. Pagan Federation (2008) p3.^
  5. Hutton (1999) p338-339 examines the history of Farrar & Farrar's compendium of notes and original texts from the earliest versions of the Book of Shadows, published as Eight Sabbaths, and The Witche's Way in the 1980s, and written in collaboration with Doreen Valiente. Hutton writes: "The exercise reasserted the identity of Wicca as a distinctive pagan religion, bound up closely with the seasonal rhythmns of the natural world and the human life-cycle, honouring a goddess and god and with a claim to immemorial transmission from the past".^
  6. Harvey & Hardman (1995) Introduction p.XII states "Wicca has always stressed bitheism, the wonder of all things as being manifest in the God and Goddess."^
  7. Pearson (2002) Chapter 1, p32-37, 43.^
  8. Partridge (2004) p295.^

© 2014 Vexen Crabtree. All rights reserved.

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