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Author Topic: Is God a male?  (Read 205 times)

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indianabob

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Is God a male?
« on: May 15, 2019, 12:27:17 PM »

Ancient religions had goddesses as coequal or even superior to their gods.
Why is God of Scripture described as male?
Why is the Messiah a male rather than a female?
Inquiring minds want to know!

Did Ray Smith discuss this question?

Here is a thought provoking opinion that may elicit discussion on the forum.
Please comment if interested.
Indiana Bob
= = =

One of the criticisms many people make against the Bible is that it depicts God in male terms. The most obvious example is God is referred to as “He.” Why did the Bible do this?

Well, here’s the answer: Because the Bible is preoccupied with making a kinder, less violent, more just world. If you share these goals — and I suspect you do — then you’ll have to agree the Bible made the right decision.

Before I explain, I need to add an obvious caveat: The God of the Bible is neither male nor female. God transcends gender. What I’m talking about here is why God is depicted in male terms in the Bible.

Gender-wise, the Bible had three choices: masculine — “he”; feminine — “she”; or neuter — “it.”

We can readily rule out neuter. For one thing, neuter nouns don’t exist in Hebrew, the language of the Old Testament – which, after all, first introduced this God to us. For another, the biblical God is a personal God to whom we can — and must — relate. And we cannot relate to, let alone obey or love, an “It.”

Aside from the language issue, the Bible depicts God in masculine terms because:

One: The Hebrew Bible’s primary concern is making a good world.

Two: A good world can only be achieved by making good people.

And three: The people who commit nearly all the world’s violence are males.

Therefore, it is in both men’s and women’s interests to depict God in the masculine.

Here’s why:

Without a father or some other male rule-giver, young men are likely to do great harm. If there is no male authority figure to give a growing boy rules, it is very difficult for him to control his wilder impulses.

As President Barack Obama told an audience in 2008, “Children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime, nine times more likely to drop out of school, and twenty times more likely to end up in prison.” Commenting on that speech, Dr. Alvin Poussaint, a psychiatrist with Harvard Medical School, confirmed these statistics: “The absence of fathers corresponds with a host of social ills, including dropping out of school and serving time in jail.”

In other words, if one’s primary goal is a good world — specifically, a world with far less murder, child abuse, theft, and rape — a God depicted in masculine terms (a Father in Heaven), not a goddess (a Mother in Heaven), must be the source of moral commands such as “Do not murder” and “Do not steal.”

If the father figure/rule-giver that boys need is not on Earth, a morally authoritative masculine God can serve as an effective substitute. Any discomfort you might feel with a masculine depiction of God is not comparable to the pain we will all feel if boys are not civilized into good men.

To transform a wild boy into a good man, a male role model is as necessary as a male rule-giver. So, when the Bible depicts God as merciful, compassionate, and caring for the poor and the widow, it is not so much interested in describing God as in providing a model for humans, especially males, to emulate.

If God were depicted as female, young men would deem traits such as compassion, mercy, and care for the downtrodden as feminine and would not identify with them. But if God, their Father in Heaven, who is strong — on occasion, even a warrior — cares for the poor and loves justice, mercy, and kindness, then these traits are also masculine and to be emulated.

The argument that girls equally need female role models to avoid violence is objectively not true — because the problem of mayhem and violence is overwhelmingly a male one. Of course, girls need female role models, but not to avoid violence.

And, like boys, girls are more likely to obey a male authority figure. A report released by the Minnesota Psychological Association concluded: “In a study of female inmates, more than half came from a father-absent home.”

It is therefore ironic that some women are attempting to render the God of Western religious morality less masculine. Because if their goal is achieved, it is women who will suffer most from lawless males.

We have too many absent fathers on Earth to begin to even entertain the thought of having no Father in Heaven.
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Wanda

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Re: Is God a male?
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2019, 04:57:13 PM »

Hi Bob,

Ray did speak on this subject at the 2006 Mobile conference.

I copied the following...

This is a transcript taken from the 2nd and 3rd audio.
Some notes Ray handed out at the conference and scriptures have been added.

I couldn't pin point the specific audios, because I didn't understand the numerical order. Maybe someone else could figure it out.

The transcript...

https://bible-truths.com/forums/index.php/topic,3720.0.html

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I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but have the light of life.
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Dennis Vogel

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Re: Is God a male?
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2019, 06:59:45 PM »

Is God Male and Female?    https://youtu.be/GzH7_v-ezVg  Move to about 20 minutes in where Ray gets to the point.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2019, 07:16:14 PM by Dennis Vogel »
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Loc

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Re: Is God a male?
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2019, 09:00:24 PM »

Interesting piece, Bob. Did you write that? If not, who’s the source?

I knew about the fatherlessness epidemic going on, and that males growing up without a father are more likely to be violent and drop out of school and such, but I never connected it to the effect on females. It makes sense though, women need good men as well as good women.
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indianabob

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Re: Is God a male?
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2019, 12:06:04 AM »

Hello LOC,

Sorry that I did not provide attribution with the article.
The author is Dennis Prager.

I think one of the main points is that boys tend to ignore the instruction of their mothers for various reasons among which is the NEED to conquer. The need to conquer their fears, the environment and often their fellow man apart from love for family. It's excess testosterone and false pride.
But doesn't God make boys that way on purpose?
Life is supposed to be a continuing challenge and overcoming self is a never ending battle.

Separately from that opinion is my own experience in that I provided the authority in my family by fully supporting my wife in her relationship with the children, two girls and two boys. Of course, between us as lovers, we knew the power was equally shared. I'm slow but I'm not stupid.

My temper did occasionally get the better of me, but I found that a quick and sincere acknowledgment of my fault was helpful to build trust in the hearts of my children. A father who loves his kids even while administering justice imperfectly is preferred to a father who ignores their rebellion and tolerates bullying of younger or smaller persons and disrespect of established authority figures. Grandparents, neighbors, police etc.

I could write a book on my many mistakes on the way to becoming a reasonably competent example, but that is life and it cannot be otherwise.

Perhaps we could share other helpful personal experiences.
Bob ;)
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walt123

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Re: Is God a male?
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2019, 02:34:56 PM »

Hello all wanted to add this too
POSTED BY FR. GORDON J. MACRAE ON JUNE 20, 2012 40 COMMENTS

In the Absence of Fathers: A Story of Elephants and Men

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 Are committed fathers an endangered species in our culture? Fr. Gordon MacRae draws a troubling corollary between absent fathers and burgeoning prisons.

Wade Horn, Ph.D., President of the National Fatherhood Initiative, had an intriguing article entitled “Of Elephants and Men” in a recent issue of  Fatherhood Today magazine. I found Dr. Horn’s story about young elephants to be simply fascinating, and you will too. It was sent to me by a TSW reader who wanted to know if there is any connection between the absence of fathers and the shocking growth of the American prison population.

Some years ago, officials at the Kruger National Park and game reserve in South Africa were faced with a growing elephant problem. The population of African elephants, once  endangered, had grown larger than the park could sustain. So measures had to be taken to thin the ranks. A plan was devised to relocate some of the elephants to other African game reserves. Being enormous creatures, elephants are not easily transported.  So a special harness was created to air-lift the elephants and fly them out of the park using helicopters.

The helicopters were up to the task, but, as it turned out, the harness wasn’t. It could handle the juvenile and adult female elephants, but not the huge African bull elephants. A quick solution had to be found, so a decision was made to leave the much larger bulls at Kruger and relocate only some of the female elephants and juvenile males.

The problem was solved. The herd was thinned out, and all was well at Kruger National Park. Sometime later, however, a strange problem surfaced at South Africa’s other game reserve, Pilanesburg National Park, the younger elephants’ new home.

Rangers at Pilanesburg began finding the dead bodies of endangered white rhinoceros. At  first, poachers were suspected, but the huge rhinos had not died of gunshot wounds, and their precious horns were left intact. The rhinos appeared to be killed violently, with deep puncture wounds. Not much in the wild can kill a rhino, so rangers set up hidden cameras throughout the park.

The result was shocking. The culprits turned out to be marauding bands of aggressive juvenile male elephants, the very elephants relocated from Kruger National Park a few years earlier. The young males were caught on camera chasing down the rhinos, knocking them over, and stomping and goring them to death with their tusks. The juvenile elephants were terrorizing other animals in the park as well. Such behavior was very rare among elephants. Something had gone terribly wrong.

Marauding Elephants

Some of the park rangers settled on a theory. What had been missing from the relocated herd was the presence of the large dominant bulls that remained at Kruger. In natural circumstances, the adult bulls provide modeling behaviors for younger elephants, keeping them in line.

Juvenile male elephants, Dr. Horn pointed out, experience “musth,” a state of frenzy triggered by mating season and increases in testosterone. Normally, dominant bulls manage and contain the testosterone-induced frenzy in the younger males. Left without elephant modeling, the rangers theorized, the younger elephants were missing the civilizing influence of their elders as nature and pachyderm protocol intended.

To test the theory, the rangers constructed a bigger and stronger harness, then flew in some of the older bulls left behind at Kruger. Within weeks, the bizarre and violent behavior of the juvenile elephants stopped completely. The older bulls let them know that their behaviors were not elephant-like at all. In a short time, the younger elephants were following the older and more dominant bulls around while learning how to be elephants.

MARAUDING IN CENTRAL PARK

In his terrific article, “Of Elephants and Men,” Dr. Wade Horn went on to write of a story very similar to that of the elephants, though it happened not in Africa, but in New York’s Central Park. The story involved young men, not young elephants, but the details were eerily close. Groups of young men were caught on camera sexually harassing and robbing women and victimizing others in the park. Their herd mentality created a sort of frenzy that was both brazen and contagious. In broad daylight, they seemed to compete with each other, even laughing and mugging for the cameras as they assaulted and robbed passersby. It was not, in any sense of the term, the behavior of civilized men.

Appalled by these assaults, citizens demanded a stronger and more aggressive police presence. Dr. Horn asked a more probing question. “Where have all the fathers gone?” Simply increasing the presence of police everywhere a crime is possible might assuage some political pressure, but it does little to identify and solve the real social problem behind the brazen Central Park assaults. It was the very same problem that victimized rhinos in that park in Africa. The majority of the young men hanging around committing those crimes in Central Park grew up in homes without fathers present.

That is not an excuse. It is a social problem that has a direct correlation with their criminal behavior. They were not acting like men because their only experience of modeling the behaviors of men had been taught by their peers and not by their fathers. Those who did have fathers had absent fathers, clearly preoccupied with something other than being role models for their sons. Wherever those fathers were, they were not in Central Park.

Dr. Horn pointed out that simply replacing fathers with more police isn’t a solution. No matter how many police are hired and trained, they will quickly be outnumbered if they assume the task of both investigating crime and preventing crime. They will quickly be outnumbered because  presently in our culture, two out of every five young men are raised in fatherless homes, and that disparity is growing faster as traditional family systems break down throughout the Western world.

Real men protect the vulnerable, not assault them. Growing up having learned that most basic tenet of manhood is the job of fathers, not the police. Dr. Horn cited a quote from a young Daniel Patrick Moynihan written some forty years ago:

“From the wild Irish slums of the 19th Century Eastern Seaboard to the riot-torn suburbs of Los Angeles, there is one unmistakable lesson in American history:  A community that allows a large number of young men to grow up in broken homes, dominated by women, never acquiring any stable relationship to male authority, never acquiring any rational expectations for the future – that community asks for and gets chaos.”

WHEN PRISONS REPLACE PARENTS

It’s easy in the politically correct standards of today to dismiss such a quote as chauvinistic. But while we’re arguing that point, our society’s young men are being tossed away by the thousands into prison systems that swallow them up. Once in prison, this system is very hard to leave behind. The New Hampshire prison system just released a dismal report two weeks ago. Of 1,095 prisoners released in 2007, over 500 were back in prison by 2010.  Clearly, the loss of freedom does not compensate for the loss of fathers in managing the behavior of young men.

There is very little that happens in the punishment model of prison life that teaches a better way to a young man who has broken the law. The proof of that is all around us, but – especially in an election year – getting anyone to take a good hard look inside a prison seems impossible. We live in a disposable culture, and when our youth are a problem, we simply do what we do best. We dispose of them, sometimes forever. Anyone who believes that punishment, and nothing but punishment, is an effective deterrent of criminal behavior in the young is left to explain why our grotesquely expensive prisons have a 50 percent recidivism rate.

As I have written before, the United States has less than five percent of the world’s population, but twenty-five percent of the world’s prisoners. The U.S. has more young men in prison today than all of the leading 35 European countries combined. The ratio of prisoners to citizens in the U.S. is four times what it is in Israel, six times what it is in Canada and China, and thirteen times what it is in Japan. The only governments with higher per capita rates of prisoners are in Third World countries, and even they are only slightly higher.

For a nation struggling with its racial inequities, the prison system is a racial disaster. Currently, young men of African-American and Latino descent comprise 30 percent of our population, but 60 percent of our prison population. But prison isn’t itself an issue that falls conveniently along racial divides.

New Hampshire, where I have spent the last eighteen years in prison, is one of the whitest states in the United States, and yet it is first in the nation not only in its Presidential Primary election, but in prison growth. Between 1980 and 2005, New Hampshire’s state population grew by 34 percent. In that same period, its prison population grew by a staggering 600 percent with no commensurate increase in crime rate.

In an election year, politicizing prisons is just counter-productive and nothing will ever really change. Albert R. Hunt of Bloomberg News had a recent op-ed piece in  The New York Times (“A Country of Inmates,” November 20, 2011) in which he decried the election year politics of prisons.

“This issue [of prison growth] almost never comes up with Republican presidential candidates; one of the few exceptions was a debate in September when audiences cheered the notion of executions in Texas.”

This may be so, but it’s the very sort of political blaming that undermines real serious and objective study of our national prison problem. I am not a Republican or a Democrat, but in fairness I should point out that the current Democratic governor of New Hampshire has but one plan for this State’s overcrowded and ever growing prison system: build a bigger prison somewhere. And as far as executions are concerned, the overwhelmingly Republican state Legislature in New Hampshire voted overwhelmingly to overturn the state’s death penalty ten years ago. Governor Jeanne Shaheen (now U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen), a Democrat, vetoed the repeal saying that this State “needs a death penalty.”

But for me, the most mindless politics of all are those of groups like Voice of the Faithful, obsessed with the “survivors” of priestly misconduct – both real and feigned – from 30, 40, or 50 years ago. But they have absolutely nothing to say about the thousands of young men dumped annually into prison systems from which they emerge with little hope of ever recovering from what they encounter there. How can anyone claim to protect young people while ignoring that? Perhaps the VOTF people concerned for youth at the hands of priests would do well to read Jeremy’s comment posted awhile back on These Stone Walls.Gordon-MacRae-Falsely-Accused-Priest-Land-of-Nod-East-of-Eden

Eighty percent of the young men I have met in prison grew up in homes without fathers. The problem seems clear. When prisons and police replace fathers, chaos reigns, and promising young lives are sacrificed.

Before we close the door on Father’s Day this year, let’s revisit whether we’re prepared for the chaos of a fatherless America. “Fathers” and “Fatherhood” are concepts with 1,932 direct references in the Old and New Testaments. Without a doubt, fatherhood has long been on the mind of God.

 

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PSALMS 133:1
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Wanda

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Re: Is God a male?
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2019, 06:23:22 PM »

Thanks Walt,  lots of undeniable truth here. There is an obvious imbalance in all of God's creation, and not something to be rectified without his intervention. We are so blessed to know the solution to every conceivable wrong.
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I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but have the light of life.
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Dennis Vogel

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Re: Is God a male?
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2019, 08:05:18 PM »

Walt - Please do not say anything political. Someone will be offended no matter what side you're on.

Things can quickly degenerate which is bad for this forum. I hope you understand.
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Wanda

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Re: Is God a male?
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2019, 08:37:59 PM »

I know you're right Dennis, but Knowing the truths we do, there is only one side we should be concerning ourselves with, and thats the side of the one true God and his Kingdom.  Everything else is pointless.
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I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but have the light of life.
                                     John 8:12
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