PDA

View Full Version : Women Priests, the thin end of the wedge?



Abigail
05-31-2015, 11:59 AM
Referring to God as Queen of Heaven? :no:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3104672/Women-priests-want-rewrite-Church-England-religious-services-God-called-SHE.html

Paprika
05-31-2015, 12:08 PM
They've lost their saltiness (http://www.christianpost.com/news/gay-vicar-pushes-church-of-england-to-celebrate-transgender-identity-like-a-baptism-sex-change-op-is-absolute-trauma-clergy-must-mark-occasion-139568/), now let them hasten their own doom (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3104110/CofE-crisis-loses-1-7m-followers-Islam-gains-900-000-Former-Archbishop-Lord-Carey-warns-Church-generation-extinction.html):


The Church of England has suffered a dramatic slump in its followers, shocking new figures show. Between 2012 and 2014, the proportion of Britons identifying themselves as C of E or Anglican dropped from 21 per cent to 17 per cent – a fall of about 1.7 million people. Over the same period, the number of Muslims in Britain grew by nearly one million, according to a survey by the respected NatCen Social Research Institute.

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey warned last night that unless urgent action was taken, the Church was just ‘one generation away from extinction'

DesertBerean
05-31-2015, 12:29 PM
The decline has been going on for a long time. I don't remember where CS Lewis said it, but he mentioned that once mandatory chapel attendance was dropped, the true state of people's hearts showed when they failed to show.

Sam
05-31-2015, 01:00 PM
Referring to God as Queen of Heaven? :no:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3104672/Women-priests-want-rewrite-Church-England-religious-services-God-called-SHE.html

Divine wisdom, or Sophia, has historically been considered a "feminine" expression of a God who is neither male nor female. Sophia has, at times, been equated with the Holy Spirit.

Referring to the Creator of All as a sexually-differentiated being is already absurd. We're just used to it.

Cerebrum123
05-31-2015, 01:04 PM
Divine wisdom, or Sophia, has historically been considered a "feminine" expression of a God who is neither male nor female. Sophia has, at times, been equated with the Holy Spirit.

Referring to the Creator of All as a sexually-differentiated being is already absurd. We're just used to it.

Are you saying calling God the Father "he" is absurd?

Sam
05-31-2015, 01:08 PM
Are you saying calling God the Father "he" is absurd?

Yes, when you think about the logic of it. Masculinity and patriarchy are concepts humans ascribe to God - and no judgement there. We need to fit the divine into a container we can even start to grasp. But God isn't male or female. He is Spirit. So calling God "She" instead of "He" changes nothing of substance.

Unless you think God has a beard, there's no reason to huff about which gender labels get attributed to the Almighty.

Paprika
05-31-2015, 01:46 PM
Yes, when you think about the logic of it. Masculinity and patriarchy are concepts humans ascribe to God - and no judgement there. We need to fit the divine into a container we can even start to grasp. But God isn't male or female. He is Spirit.
We refer to God as "He" not because of his sexual identity but because of His identity as Father.


Unless you think God has a beard, there's no reason to huff about which gender labels get attributed to the Almighty.
There's every reason to reject attempts to make a god in the image they prefer, that is, someone they can call 'She' just to cater to radical Égalité.

Cerebrum123
05-31-2015, 02:06 PM
Yes, when you think about the logic of it. Masculinity and patriarchy are concepts humans ascribe to God - and no judgement there. We need to fit the divine into a container we can even start to grasp. But God isn't male or female. He is Spirit. So calling God "She" instead of "He" changes nothing of substance.

Unless you think God has a beard, there's no reason to huff about which gender labels get attributed to the Almighty.

So you think that Jesus was both being absurd, and had no reason to call His Father "he"? Or do you just think He was calling His Father that because He was "used to it"?

Cow Poke
05-31-2015, 02:39 PM
Unless you think God has a beard, there's no reason to huff about which gender labels get attributed to the Almighty.

Yeah, and why on earth would we 'attribute a gender label' to the MOTHER of Jesus, and call her a SHE? :rant:

Teallaura
05-31-2015, 03:28 PM
Yes, when you think about the logic of it. Masculinity and patriarchy are concepts humans ascribe to God - and no judgement there. We need to fit the divine into a container we can even start to grasp. But God isn't male or female. He is Spirit. So calling God "She" instead of "He" changes nothing of substance.

Unless you think God has a beard, there's no reason to huff about which gender labels get attributed to the Almighty.
Jesus clearly referred to God the Father as 'father'. While it would be a mistake to assume God has only masculine attributes it's also disrespectful to presume gender other than that specified by His Son.

fm93
05-31-2015, 04:10 PM
So you think that Jesus was both being absurd, and had no reason to call His Father "he"? Or do you just think He was calling His Father that because He was "used to it"?
Within the context of Christian theology, Jesus became incarnate in a society in which patriarchy was deeply, deeply ingrained--so much so that women weren't even allowed to testify, as any elementary apologist familiar with Craig or Habermas knows. But that's not the context in which we currently find ourselves. Is there any reason one can't refer to God as a Mother?

Cerealman
05-31-2015, 05:20 PM
Within the context of Christian theology, Jesus became incarnate in a society in which patriarchy was deeply, deeply ingrained--so much so that women weren't even allowed to testify, as any elementary apologist familiar with Craig or Habermas knows. But that's not the context in which we currently find ourselves. Is there any reason one can't refer to God as a Mother?

So when Jesus called himself God or when he spoke about the Father as a "man", he was wrong?

Teallaura
05-31-2015, 05:23 PM
Within the context of Christian theology, Jesus became incarnate in a society in which patriarchy was deeply, deeply ingrained--so much so that women weren't even allowed to testify, as any elementary apologist familiar with Craig or Habermas knows. But that's not the context in which we currently find ourselves. Is there any reason one can't refer to God as a Mother?
Um, you do remember who Christ's first witnesses of His resurrection were, don't you?

It's not this black and white - and frankly, it's unhealthy. God is sometimes referred to in the feminine aspect (Jesus assumes this Himself when likening Himself to a hen). It's okay to understand the God is something more than merely male or female BUT it's disrespectful to change the reference on Him without grounds. Minus severe trauma (the one instance when I've recommended someone not focus so much on 'father' figure) there really aren't good grounds. Get over the misandry and deal with reality.

fm93
05-31-2015, 05:30 PM
So when Jesus called himself God or when he spoke about the Father as a "man", he was wrong?
Huh? I really have no clue how this is relevant to what I just said. My point was that Jesus was speaking from within the context of a deeply patriarchal society, so it's understandable that to reach his audience, he spoke of God in male terms. But that's not the context of our society, so Jesus needn't have portrayed God in male terms to us.



Um, you do remember who Christ's first witnesses of His resurrection were, don't you?
Yes, they were women. And as apologists like Craig and Habermas have repeatedly told us, this was significant because of how patriarchal that society apparently was back then. I mean, their main argument in mentioning this is that the gospels should be counted as historically trustworthy on this point because the idea of women being witnesses of something as profound as a resurrection would've fit the criterion of embarrassment.


It's not this black and white - and frankly, it's unhealthy. God is sometimes referred to in the feminine aspect (Jesus assumes this Himself when likening Himself to a hen). It's okay to understand the God is something more than merely male or female BUT it's disrespectful to change the reference on Him without grounds. Minus severe trauma (the one instance when I've recommended someone not focus so much on 'father' figure) there really aren't good grounds. Get over the misandry and deal with reality.
I'm not advocating for gender usage either way. I'm just asking if there's any real reason why someone couldn't refer to God in female terms if one so chose.

Starlight
05-31-2015, 05:35 PM
I was expecting this thread to be satire, given the title. Apparently not.


The bible has no qualms about using "mother" analogies for God or Jesus. eg:
“As a mother comforts her child, so will I [God] comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.” (Isa. 66:13)
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I [God] will not forget you!” (Isa. 49:15)
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” (Matthew 23:37)

The creation account tells us that both masculinity and femininity stem from a reflection of God:
"So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." (Gen 1:27)

Presumably, while incarnate, Jesus had male chromosomes and male genitalia. But equally presumably God the 'Father' lacks such chromosomes or genitalia, and the more commonly masculine language that the bible uses reflects ancient social values connecting men with power, with the metaphor being that God is a powerful parent. But that doesn't appear to mean that God can't also express feminine characteristics, since the Bible also uses feminine language about God on multiple occasions.

Cerealman
05-31-2015, 05:42 PM
I was expecting this thread to be satire, given the title. Apparently not.


The bible has no qualms about using "mother" analogies for God or Jesus. eg:
“As a mother comforts her child, so will I [God] comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.” (Isa. 66:13)
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I [God] will not forget you!” (Isa. 49:15)
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” (Matthew 23:37)

The creation account tells us that both masculinity and femininity stem from a reflection of God:
"So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." (Gen 1:27)

Presumably, while incarnate, Jesus had male chromosomes and male genitalia. But equally presumably God the 'Father' lacks such chromosomes or genitalia, and the more commonly masculine language that the bible uses reflects ancient social values connecting men with power, with the metaphor being that God is a powerful parent. But that doesn't appear to mean that God can't also express feminine characteristics, since the Bible also uses feminine language about God on multiple occasions.
He's comparing himself to a woman but he never says he's a women.

Cow Poke
05-31-2015, 05:44 PM
"So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." (Gen 1:27)

Young's Literal Translation: And God prepareth the man in His image; in the image of God He prepared him, a male and a female He prepared them.
Darby: And God created Man in his image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

It appears the emphasis is on God creating man in His image -- and he also made male and female. :shrug:

Sam
05-31-2015, 05:44 PM
So you think that Jesus was both being absurd, and had no reason to call His Father "he"? Or do you just think He was calling His Father that because He was "used to it"?

I think Jesus was referring to God in the culturally-accepted way of the time, since the concept of "My co-equal being of whom I am solely begotten" would not have made much sense to his audience. Although, as noted previously, God's wisdom was often referred to in feminine form and was even equated with the Holy Spirit. So Trinitarians should argue that God has been historically noted as both "He" and "She" ... arguing that the "He" is superior to the "She", or vice versa, would be a touch of heresy.

It is absurd to insist that God, in His eternal Spirit, can be divided into this sexual identity or that. Efforts to do so are entirely human and entirely understandable. There's nothing wrong with referring to God as "He", just as there's nothing wrong with referring to God as "She". We all should, as Lewis' Screwtape mused, have the phrase "Not what I think you are but that which thy know thyself to be" at the front of our minds when contemplating God.

fm93
05-31-2015, 05:44 PM
He's comparing himself to a woman but he never says he's a women.
Right. And Jesus says he's a man because he became incarnate as a man, but why does God or the Holy Spirit need to be referred to in male terms?

Sam
05-31-2015, 05:46 PM
In the same vein, I'll note that most of us probably grew up looking at pictures of a very Aryan Jesus. And that's cool. There's nothing wrong with adapting the person of Jesus to something people more naturally accept, so long as the truth is kept in the back of one's mind, just as there's nothing wrong adapting the gender descriptions of God.

Cerealman
05-31-2015, 05:47 PM
Right. And Jesus says he's a man because he became incarnate as a man, but why does God or the Holy Spirit need to be referred to in male terms?

Because that's what Jesus and God called themselves(though God is a spirit) and again the Holy Spirit was also used in comparison to a woman.

Cerealman
05-31-2015, 05:49 PM
In the same vein, I'll note that most of us probably grew up looking at pictures of a very Aryan Jesus. And that's cool. There's nothing wrong with adapting the person of Jesus to something people more naturally accept, so long as the truth is kept in the back of one's mind, just as there's nothing wrong adapting the gender descriptions of God.
There's nothing wrong with adapting a new bible saying it's okay to sin.

Adrift
05-31-2015, 06:14 PM
Young's Literal Translation: And God prepareth the man in His image; in the image of God He prepared him, a male and a female He prepared them.
Darby: And God created Man in his image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

It appears the emphasis is on God creating man in His image -- and he also made male and female. :shrug:

While I agree that the traditional understanding of God in masculine terms is appropriate (especially in our relationship to him as his Bride), I don't think we can use Genesis 1:27 to further that sort of argument.

Whereas v 26 used the anarthrous אָדָ֛ם, here in v 27 the definite article הָֽאָדָם֙ is used, and clearly mankind in general, "male and female," not an individual is meant. The fulfillment of the divine command is recorded in three brief sentences specifying the most significant aspects of human existence:


So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him:
male and female he created them.

The three clauses are in apposition. The first two are arranged chiastically and emphasize the divine image in man, while the third specifies that women also bear the divine image (on apposition clauses c.f. SBH, 55).

Cow Poke
05-31-2015, 06:23 PM
While I agree that the traditional understanding of God in masculine terms is appropriate (especially in our relationship to him as his Bride), I don't think we can use Genesis 1:27 to further that sort of argument.

I agree - it's not a proof text for the sex or gender of God for either side.

Adrift
05-31-2015, 06:26 PM
I agree - it's not a proof text for the sex or gender of God for either side.

Ah, ok. I guess I misunderstood what you were getting at then.

Cow Poke
05-31-2015, 06:27 PM
Ah, ok. I guess I misunderstood what you were getting at then.

Yeah, I shoulda been more clear, or I shoulda just pointed out that that's a poor choice of scripture to prove that point. :thumb:

Abigail
06-01-2015, 02:09 AM
I was expecting this thread to be satire, given the title. Apparently not.


The bible has no qualms about using "mother" analogies for God or Jesus. eg:
“As a mother comforts her child, so will I [God] comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.” (Isa. 66:13)
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I [God] will not forget you!” (Isa. 49:15)
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” (Matthew 23:37)

The creation account tells us that both masculinity and femininity stem from a reflection of God:
"So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." (Gen 1:27)

Presumably, while incarnate, Jesus had male chromosomes and male genitalia. But equally presumably God the 'Father' lacks such chromosomes or genitalia, and the more commonly masculine language that the bible uses reflects ancient social values connecting men with power, with the metaphor being that God is a powerful parent. But that doesn't appear to mean that God can't also express feminine characteristics, since the Bible also uses feminine language about God on multiple occasions.

Though the key word there is 'comforter'. The analogy given is one of a mother with her baby, soothing the baby and being able to nourish the baby because of her specially tailored role (breasts). In John 14:16, the word Comforter refers to the Holy Spirit and means 'called alongside'. Jesus was also a comforter because He was physically alongside us during His earthly ministry. So yes, there are elements in the Trinity which could be likened to femininity, but the purpose of this is because of the roles being performed by each member. The Father is likened to a male and a father since that role signifies authority, power, strength and protection. It is through these things which we understand more about how the Trinity functions and how the members intertwine. There is no envy between the members of the Trinity so for these women to project their own envy onto the members of the Trinity and try and garble up the different roles is, as Teallaura pointed out, disrespectful and also takes away from how the Bible leads us to understand God at this present time.

fm93
06-01-2015, 05:08 AM
Though the key word there is 'comforter'. The analogy given is one of a mother with her baby, soothing the baby and being able to nourish the baby because of her specially tailored role (breasts). In John 14:16, the word Comforter refers to the Holy Spirit and means 'called alongside'. Jesus was also a comforter because He was physically alongside us during His earthly ministry. So yes, there are elements in the Trinity which could be likened to femininity, but the purpose of this is because of the roles being performed by each member. The Father is likened to a male and a father since that role signifies authority, power, strength and protection. It is through these things which we understand more about how the Trinity functions and how the members intertwine. There is no envy between the members of the Trinity so for these women to project their own envy onto the members of the Trinity and try and garble up the different roles is, as Teallaura pointed out, disrespectful and also takes away from how the Bible leads us to understand God at this present time.
Again, not definitively advocating for anything here, but what if a missionary was trying to present the message to a newly discovered society that's long been matriarchal? Is there any reason the missionary can't refer to God as Heavenly Mother and Jesus as The Daughter of God, if in that society it's the role of the mother that signifies authority, power, strength and protection?

Paprika
06-01-2015, 05:25 AM
Again, not definitively advocating for anything here, but what if a missionary was trying to present the message to a newly discovered society that's long been matriarchal? Is there any reason the missionary can't refer to God as Heavenly Mother and Jesus as The Daughter of God, if in that society it's the role of the mother that signifies authority, power, strength and protection?
:lolo:
As above, that's just creating a god in a preferred image.

There's no reason to accommodate such beliefs, just as there's no reason for missionaries to tell other tribes that they can be Christian and continue worshipping and sacrificing to the spirits and gods they've followed for many generations.

Adrift
06-01-2015, 05:51 AM
Again, not definitively advocating for anything here, but what if a missionary was trying to present the message to a newly discovered society that's long been matriarchal? Is there any reason the missionary can't refer to God as Heavenly Mother and Jesus as The Daughter of God, if in that society it's the role of the mother that signifies authority, power, strength and protection?

If the missionary was attempting to teach this matriarchal society about the historical Jesus, about how a real man suffered and died for us in the body of a man, changing the sex would be needlessly confusing, and, well, a lie. And anyways, there are matriarchal societies that are predominately Christian and reference God and Jesus in male terms (the Akan and the Nagovisi for example).

Cerebrum123
06-01-2015, 05:52 AM
Within the context of Christian theology, Jesus became incarnate in a society in which patriarchy was deeply, deeply ingrained--so much so that women weren't even allowed to testify, as any elementary apologist familiar with Craig or Habermas knows. But that's not the context in which we currently find ourselves. Is there any reason one can't refer to God as a Mother?

Jesus wasn't afraid to stand up to the conventional attitudes when they were wrong either. In fact, He turned quite a few things involving women on their heads, an example would be teaching women. Rabbis of the period would not do that at all, in fact, they would often avoid women in even ordinary circumstances. Not so with Jesus.

God the Father is the one who sent Jesus, and that's the source of the title we have for Him. Jesus after all only taught what His Father told Him. To use a different title, especially when it's clearly an attempt to wash over something you don't like, then yeah it's wrong.


I think Jesus was referring to God in the culturally-accepted way of the time, since the concept of "My co-equal being of whom I am solely begotten" would not have made much sense to his audience. Although, as noted previously, God's wisdom was often referred to in feminine form and was even equated with the Holy Spirit. So Trinitarians should argue that God has been historically noted as both "He" and "She" ... arguing that the "He" is superior to the "She", or vice versa, would be a touch of heresy.

:twitch:
Jesus went against cultural norms often, especially when they were wrong. Again, this isn't about "parts", or any such nonsense as you seem to think. It's about the title of Father, and the role that God the Father plays. In fact, the very reason Wisdom was called "she" is because of the role and title. Jesus as the Son is no longer using that title or role, and does have a male glorified body.
You also miss the point that these people are not using the term "she" in any kind of analogical way, or indeed in any way respectful of who God the Father is.


It is absurd to insist that God, in His eternal Spirit, can be divided into this sexual identity or that. Efforts to do so are entirely human and entirely understandable. There's nothing wrong with referring to God as "He", just as there's nothing wrong with referring to God as "She". We all should, as Lewis' Screwtape mused, have the phrase "Not what I think you are but that which thy know thyself to be" at the front of our minds when contemplating God.

:ahem:
It's already been repeatedly stated that this isn't about "sexual identity", but about who God is, and how He has revealed Himself.

seer
06-01-2015, 06:33 AM
Why don't we all just worship Gaia and have an end to it! :hmph:

fm93
06-01-2015, 05:16 PM
:lolo:
As above, that's just creating a god in a preferred image.

There's no reason to accommodate such beliefs, just as there's no reason for missionaries to tell other tribes that they can be Christian and continue worshipping and sacrificing to the spirits and gods they've followed for many generations.
There's a fairly substantial difference between being the one true God and telling people they can go on worshiping false gods, and not having a gender but allowing people of differing cultures and contexts to mentally conceive of you in whichever gender terms make the most sense to them.



If the missionary was attempting to teach this matriarchal society about the historical Jesus, about how a real man suffered and died for us in the body of a man, changing the sex would be needlessly confusing, and, well, a lie.
Changing the sex of Jesus would be technically inaccurate, but would doing so substantially change anything about the gospel message of Christianity?


And anyways, there are matriarchal societies that are predominately Christian and reference God and Jesus in male terms (the Akan and the Nagovisi for example).
But is there any reason that a matriarchal society could not think of God as a Heavenly Mother who had a son?



Jesus wasn't afraid to stand up to the conventional attitudes when they were wrong either. In fact, He turned quite a few things involving women on their heads, an example would be teaching women. Rabbis of the period would not do that at all, in fact, they would often avoid women in even ordinary circumstances. Not so with Jesus.
:sigh: I know this. I perused Tektonics and other apologetics websites for years too, remember?


God the Father is the one who sent Jesus, and that's the source of the title we have for Him. Jesus after all only taught what His Father told Him. To use a different title, especially when it's clearly an attempt to wash over something you don't like, then yeah it's wrong.
I thought the idea was that Jesus became incarnate as a man rather than a woman and referred to God in male terms because that's what the society was accustomed to, and Jesus subsequently decided to correct a few social norms by example. But within the context of Christian theology, let's suppose that instead of forming a covenant with Abraham, God formed a covenant with a woman whose descendants would eventually become a heavily matriarchal society--the one in which the incarnation would have to eventually occur. You believe Jesus still would've become incarnate as a man?



You also miss the point that these people are not using the term "she" in any kind of analogical way, or indeed in any way respectful of who God the Father is.
This part wasn't addressed to me, but I just wanted to comment that I do know some Christians who do occasionally refer to God as a Mother, and that's always done in respect.

Cow Poke
06-01-2015, 05:50 PM
Changing the sex of Jesus would be technically inaccurate, but would doing so substantially change anything about the gospel message of Christianity?

Can you even in your wildest imagination see a female Jesus driving the moneychangers out of the temple, or ordering the fishermen to follow 'her' so that 'she' can make them fishers of men, or.... The role of Christ has to be believable. Would you, perhaps, change the sex of the apostles, too? Could you really expect the male disciples to sit at the feet of a female Jesus?

I mean, seriously, this just seems a bit weird. It would make more sense just to tell the truth and provide the context.

Sam
06-01-2015, 05:54 PM
Can you even in your wildest imagination see a female Jesus driving the moneychangers out of the temple, or ordering the fishermen to follow 'her' so that 'she' can make them fishers of men, or.... The role of Christ has to be believable. Would you, perhaps, change the sex of the apostles, too? Could you really expect the male disciples to sit at the feet of a female Jesus?

I mean, seriously, this just seems a bit weird. It would make more sense just to tell the truth and provide the context.

Why would a female Christ not be believable? Why would a female Christ driving out moneylenders or leading a team of men be unbelievable?

If the answer is "the history of the time," that's what fm93 and I have argued. If the answer is "because girls can't do those things" ... well ...

Cow Poke
06-01-2015, 05:57 PM
Why would a female Christ not be believable? Why would a female Christ driving out moneylenders or leading a team of men be unbelievable?

Well, you'd probably follow her. :shrug:

Sam
06-01-2015, 05:58 PM
Well, you'd probably follow her. :shrug:

If she were the Christ? I'd be a damned fool not to, wouldn't I?

Cow Poke
06-01-2015, 06:02 PM
If she were the Christ?

Only in your world.


I'd be a damned fool not to, wouldn't I?

It would take a total rewrite of the Bible, Sam. Jesus is "the last Adam", so wouldn't Adam have had to be a female, too?

Sam
06-01-2015, 06:12 PM
Only in your world.



It would take a total rewrite of the Bible, Sam. Jesus is "the last Adam", so wouldn't Adam have had to be a female, too?

fm93 was asking if inverted gender roles would change anything particularly substantial about the Gospel. So if, as we've argued, these sorts of things are remnants of cultural patriarchy, we could similarly invert the roles of Adam and Eve without considerable change. And, indeed, if Adam were born from Eve's rib and a female Christ was the "last Eve," there would be nothing different in the soteriology of Christianity.

So if the argument is that Jesus would -have- to be a man because the culture of the time would not accept a female leader/savior, that's what fm93 and I have more or less argued re: patriarchy. If the argument is that Jesus would -have- to be male because a female leader/savior is totally unbelievable, that seems to point to a problem of individual perspective, not objective necessity.

Adrift
06-01-2015, 06:13 PM
Changing the sex of Jesus would be technically inaccurate, but would doing so substantially change anything about the gospel message of Christianity?

Absolutely. Christianity is not the type of religion that is founded on some sort of intangible, ethereal ideology, its based on hard, cold factual history. It's based on real flesh and blood, and wood and nails. That realness. That physicality in Christianity is what divides orthodoxy from gnosticism. If I were a Gnostic, sure, I would say that it makes no substantial difference to the gospel message. But I'm not. I'm a Christian. And so, yes, it makes a big difference. The truth that sets us free isn't grounded on lies.


But is there any reason that a matriarchal society could not think of God as a Heavenly Mother who had a son?

I think so. I know it's not a popular opinion in this world now, but I think that there is a difference between the sexes. Even matriarchal societies see this. And those differences are wonderful in their own right, and really make us who we are, and for whatever reason (and I can probably think of a few) God has decided that it is appropriate that humanity primarily come to know him in this particular way, regardless of whether or not we were raised in a patriarchal, matriarchal, or purely neutral society. Now, I don't think using feminine pronouns for God will send someone to hell, but I question the motivation behind the usage. Often those I know who use feminine pronouns for God (and I do know a few, especially my new age and punk friends) do so based on some misguided egalitarian ethic or some sort of extreme feminism which reeks of pride, ego, and um, narcissism. A sort of making god in my image, rather than recognizing that we were created in his. That sort of thing. That may not be everyone's experience, but it's been mine.

Cow Poke
06-01-2015, 06:16 PM
fm93 was asking if inverted gender roles would change anything particularly substantial about the Gospel. So if, as we've argued, these sorts of things are remnants of cultural patriarchy, we could similarly invert the roles of Adam and Eve without considerable change. And, indeed, if Adam were born from Eve's rib and a female Christ was the "last Eve," there would be nothing different in the soteriology of Christianity.

So if the argument is that Jesus would -have- to be a man because the culture of the time would not accept a female leader/savior, that's what fm93 and I have more or less argued re: patriarchy. If the argument is that Jesus would -have- to be male because a female leader/savior is totally unbelievable, that seems to point to a problem of individual perspective, not objective necessity.

No, Jesus would have to be a man because the Bible identifies Him as such. We are the Bride of Christ, and He is the Bridegroom.

But, then again, you're completely OK with same sex marriage. :wink:

Sam
06-01-2015, 06:23 PM
No, Jesus would have to be a man because the Bible identifies Him as such. We are the Bride of Christ, and He is the Bridegroom.

I realize that the concept of a thought experiment isn't some people's cup of tea but work with it here:

What's being asked is whether the Gospel or Christianity would suffer if gender roles in culture had been inverted: if matriarchy instead of patriarchy had prevailed. So think of Eve being before Adam, the woman being the head of the household, and bridegrooms being submissive to brides.

Would the Gospel or Christianity be the same with this inversion? If not, why not (I mean specifically why not rather than vague references to gender roles that are not static even between place and time)? Would a female Christ be unbelievable in this inverted history? If not then why, as a matter of principle, is there a problem with recognizing that God exists outside gender roles?

Cow Poke
06-01-2015, 06:24 PM
I realize that the concept of a thought experiment isn't some people's cup of tea but work with it here:

No thanks, Sam. Not interested. I'm no more interested in this than I am in considering Joseph Smith was a real prophet.

fm93
06-01-2015, 06:40 PM
Can you even in your wildest imagination see a female Jesus driving the moneychangers out of the temple, or ordering the fishermen to follow 'her' so that 'she' can make them fishers of men, or.... The role of Christ has to be believable. Would you, perhaps, change the sex of the apostles, too? Could you really expect the male disciples to sit at the feet of a female Jesus?
I specifically asked about the gospel message. Jesus driving moneychangers out of the temple and ordering fishermen to follow him aren't inherent to the gospel. Would Christ being female substantially change what Paul taught in 1 Corinthians 15--that "Christ died for our sins, was buried, and was raised on the third day according to the scriptures, and appeared to Cephas and then to the Twelve"?

Sam
06-01-2015, 06:41 PM
No thanks, Sam. Not interested. I'm no more interested in this than I am in considering Joseph Smith was a real prophet.

Well, one should consider the question "What if Joseph Smith was a prophet," even if one believes it to be a counterfactual. That way, one knows both what she believes, why it matters, and how one's own beliefs are dependent on a lot of underlying beliefs.

Like I said, not everyone's cup of tea. But those who aren't willing to subject their thought processes to that kind of rigor aren't in a position to critique others.

Cow Poke
06-01-2015, 06:43 PM
I specifically asked about the gospel message. Jesus driving moneychangers out of the temple and ordering fishermen to follow him aren't inherent to the gospel.

Who Christ is is inherent to the gospel.


Would Christ being female substantially change what Paul taught in 1 Corinthians 15--that "Christ died for our sins, was buried, and was raised on the third day according to the scriptures, and appeared to Cephas and then to the Twelve"?

And in that same chapter "So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit."

You can play this game with somebody else, fm -- I'm not interested in the feminization of Christ, the Son of God.

Cow Poke
06-01-2015, 06:48 PM
Well, one should consider the question "What if Joseph Smith was a prophet,"

I have. He's not.


even if one believes it to be a counterfactual. That way, one knows both what she believes, why it matters, and how one's own beliefs are dependent on a lot of underlying beliefs.

:haha:
"what she believes"
:lmbo:

Cute.


Like I said, not everyone's cup of tea. But those who aren't willing to subject their thought processes to that kind of rigor aren't in a position to critique others.

"rigor" :doh:

Spartacus
06-01-2015, 06:55 PM
I realize that the concept of a thought experiment isn't some people's cup of tea but work with it here:

What's being asked is whether the Gospel or Christianity would suffer if gender roles in culture had been inverted: if matriarchy instead of patriarchy had prevailed. So think of Eve being before Adam, the woman being the head of the household, and bridegrooms being submissive to brides.

Would the Gospel or Christianity be the same with this inversion? If not, why not (I mean specifically why not rather than vague references to gender roles that are not static even between place and time)? Would a female Christ be unbelievable in this inverted history? If not then why, as a matter of principle, is there a problem with recognizing that God exists outside gender roles?

There's more to God's self-identification as father than patriarchal social structures. The difference we need to contemplate here is not patriarchy vs matriarchy, but paternity vs maternity. What is there in the human experience of paternity or paternal-filial relationships that God wants us to connect with our relationship to the divine?

Here's an essay by Patrick Deneen on fatherhood; I heard him give this paper in person once, and I seem to recall that presentation including some more theological content and a more direct discussion of divine identification with the paternal over the maternal than can be found in this version, but I think this is a good primer nonetheless: http://ethikapolitika.org/2013/06/09/contemplative-fatherhood/

Cow Poke
06-01-2015, 06:58 PM
but I think this is a good primer nonetheless: http://ethikapolitika.org/2013/06/09/contemplative-fatherhood/

But how are you pronouncing primer? :smile:

Spartacus
06-01-2015, 07:03 PM
But how are you pronouncing primer? :smile:

I'm not pronouncing it, nor am I asking you to do so. I typed it.

Cow Poke
06-01-2015, 07:06 PM
I'm not pronouncing it, nor am I asking you to do so. I typed it.

:tongue:

fm93
06-01-2015, 07:07 PM
Who Christ is is inherent to the gospel.
But how significant are certain factors in determining "Who Christ is?" I mean, Western art has depicted Jesus as a handsome, almost glowingly white Anglo-Saxon man for centuries, when in reality Jesus was almost certainly fairly dark in complexion and was apparently pre-described in Isaiah as "having no beauty or majesty." Yet I've never heard anyone insist that believing Jesus was of a different race/appearance fundamentally changes who Christ is. Why does that not matter but Jesus' sex apparently does?


You can play this game with somebody else, fm -- I'm not interested in the feminization of Christ, the Son of God.
Well, neither am I, but I am bemused by how some people seem so unyieldingly insistent that one cannot think of Jesus or God in anything but masculine terms.

Zymologist
06-01-2015, 07:08 PM
If Jesus' sex doesn't matter, then why the push to change it? :shrug:

Cow Poke
06-01-2015, 07:10 PM
If Jesus' sex doesn't matter, then why the push to change it? :shrug:

Because it's all about the wussification of Christianity.

fm93
06-01-2015, 07:10 PM
If Jesus' sex doesn't matter, then why the push to change it? :shrug:
I'm not pushing to change it. I'm just wondering why some people seem so dead-set against even the possibility of anyone viewing it differently.

And besides, the discussion was initially focused more on why one couldn't view God as a Heavenly Mother.

fm93
06-01-2015, 07:14 PM
Because it's all about the wussification of Christianity.
This sounds as if you're saying God's revealed religion would be undesirable and bad if God had decided to become incarnate in the person of a female.

Spartacus
06-01-2015, 07:21 PM
But how significant are certain factors in determining "Who Christ is?" I mean, Western art has depicted Jesus as a handsome, almost glowingly white Anglo-Saxon man for centuries, when in reality Jesus was almost certainly fairly dark in complexion and was apparently pre-described in Isaiah as "having no beauty or majesty." Yet I've never heard anyone insist that believing Jesus was of a different race/appearance fundamentally changes who Christ is. Why does that not matter but Jesus' sex apparently does?

I think the "art Jesus is aryan Jesus" meme is an exaggeration (not least because of the way in which the post-reformation West became iconoclastic in a way that the East generally didn't). Artistic depictions of scenes from the life of Jesus in ways that would be more accessible to the arts audience (and more comprehensible to the artist) are, as far as I know, a fairly well-accepted and innocuous element of the process of inculturation. But to try too hard to fit the words of Jesus in an anachronistic way-- to call Jesus either a marxist or a capitalist, for example-- is to invite the contempt of respectable theologians in any society or time period.


Well, neither am I, but I am bemused by how some people seem so unyieldingly insistent that one cannot think of Jesus or God in anything but masculine terms.

It's not about whether we can think about God or even Jesus in more feminine terms. The question that's of more interest to me is what we can glean from the fact that, even though God Himself occasionally identified Himself in feminine ways, why the paternal and masculine elements seem to retain primacy in God's self-depiction.

Spartacus
06-01-2015, 07:23 PM
I'm not pushing to change it. I'm just wondering why some people seem so dead-set against even the possibility of anyone viewing it differently.

And besides, the discussion was initially focused more on why one couldn't view God as a Heavenly Mother.

Because that's Mary's job :tongue:

Cow Poke
06-01-2015, 07:26 PM
This sounds as if you're saying God's revealed religion would be undesirable and bad if God had decided to become incarnate in the person of a female.

No, I'm saying it's bad and undesirable for people to try to turn "God's revealed religion", as you put it, into something it is not. God sent His Son. Christ's pre-incarnate existence and identity is clearly revealed to be that of the eternal Son of the Father. He came as the Second Adam, not the second Eve. The Davidic covenant requires that the One who will reign forever will be a Son of David - a man. The Savior who would come would be a prophet like Moses. He is the permanent High Priest - a man. Christ is the Bridegroom - a man. The "Son of God" - a man. His designation as the "Son of Man" - a man.

So why play this silly game?

Cow Poke
06-01-2015, 07:28 PM
It's not about whether we can think about God or even Jesus in more feminine terms. The question that's of more interest to me is what we can glean from the fact that, even though God Himself occasionally identified Himself in feminine ways, why the paternal and masculine elements seem to retain primacy in God's self-depiction.

Because He was secure in His masculinity.

:outtie:

Sam
06-01-2015, 07:30 PM
If Jesus' sex doesn't matter, then why the push to change it? :shrug:

For clarification, no one above (or in the OP) was advocating changing Jesus' sex. What was introduced was referring to God in the feminine rather than the masculine.

And if it doesn't matter, why not change it to suit a particular need? The shape of the cross doesn't matter, either, and a certain amount of latitude gave Christians cultural inroads by adapting to culture.

6952

Adrift
06-01-2015, 07:30 PM
There's more to God's self-identification as father than patriarchal social structures. The difference we need to contemplate here is not patriarchy vs matriarchy, but paternity vs maternity.

I think there may be something to this. This is not a subject I've really looked into a whole lot, and I only skimmed your article, so I don't know if it covers it, but thinking of God in a paternal role may also make sense when we compare God's role as the creator to that of a man's role in procreation. I know this is the view of some Christian philosophers and theologians. God, as the active agent who utters the universe into creation may mirror, in some sense, the male's dynamic role in procreation rather than the female's receptive role. God creates without, rather than creation deriving from within (a pantheistic view of God perhaps). Of course, God does this without a mate, so the metaphor can only go so far, but like I said, I think there's something to that. That God is both dynamic rather than receptive, and creates from without rather than from within. On top of that, you have the traditional roles of the father that we identify with strength, protection, authority, and the like.

fm93
06-01-2015, 07:30 PM
It's not about whether we can think about God or even Jesus in more feminine terms. The question that's of more interest to me is what we can glean from the fact that, even though God Himself occasionally identified Himself in feminine ways, why the paternal and masculine elements seem to retain primacy in God's self-depiction.
Those paternal and masculine elements seem to retain primacy in God's self-depiction to a society that was thoroughly paternal and masculine. Would those elements have been present in God's hypothetical self-depiction to a thoroughly maternal and feminine society? That, I think, is far less clear.

Sam
06-01-2015, 07:36 PM
There's more to God's self-identification as father than patriarchal social structures. The difference we need to contemplate here is not patriarchy vs matriarchy, but paternity vs maternity. What is there in the human experience of paternity or paternal-filial relationships that God wants us to connect with our relationship to the divine?

Here's an essay by Patrick Deneen on fatherhood; I heard him give this paper in person once, and I seem to recall that presentation including some more theological content and a more direct discussion of divine identification with the paternal over the maternal than can be found in this version, but I think this is a good primer nonetheless: http://ethikapolitika.org/2013/06/09/contemplative-fatherhood/

Are not the concepts of "fatherhood" and "motherhood" largely cultural concepts, as well? Can we imagine a universe or future where such roles are generally inverted?

If so then I see no compelling reason to fixate on the masculine or feminine aspects of God and hence no reason to demand fidelity to one or the other.

Spartacus
06-01-2015, 07:42 PM
I think there may be something to this. This is not a subject I've really looked into a whole lot, and I only skimmed your article, so I don't know if it covers it, but thinking of God in a paternal role may also make sense when we compare God's role as the creator to that of a man's role in procreation. I know this is the view of some Christian philosophers and theologians. God, as the active agent who utters the universe into creation may mirror, in some sense, the male's dynamic role in procreation rather than the female's receptive role. God creates without, rather than creation deriving from within (a pantheistic view of God perhaps). Of course, God does this without a mate, so the metaphor can only go so far, but like I said, I think there's something to that. That God is both dynamic rather than receptive, and creates from without rather than from within. On top of that, you have the traditional roles of the father that we identify with strength, protection, authority, and the like.

There's a bit more to your post of gender (and of patriarchy, particularly in that last part) than I think is necessary. Deneen doesn't focus on the points you do, and I think it's good that he doesn't lean on those notions, no matter how well-established they may be.

Spartacus
06-01-2015, 07:44 PM
Are not the concepts of "fatherhood" and "motherhood" largely cultural concepts, as well? Can we imagine a universe or future where such roles are generally inverted?

If so then I see no compelling reason to fixate on the masculine or feminine aspects of God and hence no reason to demand fidelity to one or the other.

When men are the ones who bear and nurse children and women are the ones who beget them, we can talk. Otherwise, let me know when you've finished Deneen's piece. :tongue:

Sam
06-01-2015, 07:46 PM
When men are the ones who bear and nurse children and women are the ones who beget them, we can talk.

This is a tenuous rationale, as God the Father or Sophia do not bear any material relationship to these sexual traits. This is what I complained about early on, foisting physical traits onto God as Spirit.

Teallaura
06-01-2015, 07:48 PM
Again, not definitively advocating for anything here, but what if a missionary was trying to present the message to a newly discovered society that's long been matriarchal? Is there any reason the missionary can't refer to God as Heavenly Mother and Jesus as The Daughter of God, if in that society it's the role of the mother that signifies authority, power, strength and protection?
Is it okay if we call you 'girlfriend' just to make it easier to relate? Before you answer, think about whether or not you really want to have to reciprocate by trying to relate as a girl - because if we re-make you as a female we will start to expect you to behave in some ways as one. It bases the entire relationship on a predicated lie - which is not healthy for anyone.

Re-making God as female when He clearly, unequivocally identifies Himself as male is both disrespectful (just as my calling you 'girlie' would be) and deceitful. That's no way to 'relate' to anyone, least of all God.

Adrift
06-01-2015, 07:48 PM
But how significant are certain factors in determining "Who Christ is?" I mean, Western art has depicted Jesus as a handsome, almost glowingly white Anglo-Saxon man for centuries, when in reality Jesus was almost certainly fairly dark in complexion and was apparently pre-described in Isaiah as "having no beauty or majesty." Yet I've never heard anyone insist that believing Jesus was of a different race/appearance fundamentally changes who Christ is. Why does that not matter but Jesus' sex apparently does?

I can't speak for others, but I HATE the Westernized depictions of Christ as a white Anglo-Saxon. I actually do think it fundamentally changes how Christ is perceived and who he is, because it's given people the misconception over the ages that Jesus, in his incarnation, was not a Jew. It's only within the last couple hundred years after the last thousand, or so, that scholars have really been digging down into what it meant for Jesus to be Jewish, and you miss so much in the Bible when you fail to comprehend that simple fact.

Not only that, but these depictions of the white, or black, or Asian Jesus have gone a long way, in my opinion, in keeping people segregated. I often wonder how Christians would have related to other races and ethnicities throughout time if we had depicted Christ as Jewish. Would we have learned to love others who were not like us sooner? I believe the role of syncretism in evangelism has done far more harm than good. Like I said, the truth that sets us free can't be built on lies.

Adrift
06-01-2015, 07:52 PM
There's a bit more to your post of gender (and of patriarchy, particularly in that last part) than I think is necessary. Deneen doesn't focus on the points you do, and I think it's good that he doesn't lean on those notions, no matter how well-established they may be.

Why's that?

Spartacus
06-01-2015, 07:52 PM
This is a tenuous rationale, as God the Father or Sophia do not bear any material relationship to these sexual traits. This is what I complained about early on, foisting physical traits onto God as Spirit.

It's not about the physical traits as such, but the phenomenological (I think that's the right word for it) elements of the experience of fatherhood.

Spartacus
06-01-2015, 07:53 PM
Why's that?

I like the end of the wedge to be as thin as possible :tongue:

Sam
06-01-2015, 07:59 PM
It's not about the physical traits as such, but the phenomenological (I think that's the right word for it) elements of the experience of fatherhood.

Well, that's the vagueness that I'd referenced. The phenomenological aspects of a experience are bound up in so many things that it's impossible to say, in my opinion, that they can be divorced from the material human experience. As God is not material, His phenomenological experiences would have to be so distinct from the bundle of experiences we (currently) call "fatherhood" and "motherhood" that I can't see any serious reason to consider it necessary to refer to God as "Father" rather than "Mother" — they are both impossibly inept at describing what the relationship must, in reality be, that neither is particularly better than the other.

Spartacus
06-01-2015, 08:10 PM
If you don't feel like reading Deneen's essay, I found the video of his presentation. I haven't listened all the way through it as of this posting; if you like, I can let y'all know whether and, if so, when, he discusses the theological elements (it may have been in unrecorded Q&A).

https://vimeo.com/71910490

QuantaFille
06-01-2015, 08:37 PM
Moving to Ecclesiology 201

Cerealman
06-01-2015, 08:42 PM
And if it doesn't matter, why not change it to suit a particular need? The shape of the cross doesn't matter, either, and a certain amount of latitude gave Christians cultural inroads by adapting to culture.

6952
Okay this whole "let's adapt to times" thing is silly.
You need to stop already.

Spartacus
06-01-2015, 08:46 PM
Well, that's the vagueness that I'd referenced. The phenomenological aspects of a experience are bound up in so many things that it's impossible to say, in my opinion, that they can be divorced from the material human experience. As God is not material, His phenomenological experiences would have to be so distinct from the bundle of experiences we (currently) call "fatherhood" and "motherhood" that I can't see any serious reason to consider it necessary to refer to God as "Father" rather than "Mother" — they are both impossibly inept at describing what the relationship must, in reality be, that neither is particularly better than the other.

I have no particular problem with apophatic theology, but let's not deny the merits of a cataphatic approach, nor the role gendered language can legitimately play in the latter.

Spartacus
06-01-2015, 08:54 PM
Okay this whole "let's adapt to times" thing is silly.
You need to stop already.

I agree with this sentiment.

If you want to talk about the divine as feminine, don't do so as a way of being hip and contemporary. It's not about proving that we can be relevant, and doing it in that way is the best way to ensure that the church remains utterly irrelevant. Do it because it is worthy for its own sake, because understanding how femininity reflects divine attributes brings people closer to the person of Christ.

Sam
06-01-2015, 09:26 PM
Okay this whole "let's adapt to times" thing is silly.
You need to stop already.

It has nothing to do with adapting to a particular time or place. I don't have any problem with God being called a "He", just as I have no problem with God being called a "She". If anything, I'm recognizing that God exists outside of any particular time, place, or culture and so demanding that God be classified in any particular way is demanding that everyone adapt to a particular time, place or culture.

Catholicity
06-01-2015, 09:28 PM
I like what Miss Widdecombe did. Left the Church became Catholic and pointed out the A She god cannot be God the Father. Smart woman.

Sam
06-01-2015, 09:31 PM
I have no particular problem with apophatic theology, but let's not deny the merits of a cataphatic approach, nor the role gendered language can legitimately play in the latter.

But that is necessarily arguing that human or cultural characteristics can help us subjectively understand God, which is what I've been arguing all along. And should those human or cultural characteristics change then so too do our conceptualizations.

So if someone wants to refer to God as "She" while retaining the knowledge that we know God through both "masculine" and "feminine" traits then there's no legitimate reason to demand that person do otherwise. No one is arguing that God is feminine or that God's feminine traits overpower God's masculine traits. But some people, implicitly or almost-explicitly, seem to be arguing the converse.

Sam
06-01-2015, 09:35 PM
This whole deal reminds me of Ray Bradbury's "The Fire Balloons," if anyone else has read it.

Cerealman
06-02-2015, 12:12 AM
But that is necessarily arguing that human or cultural characteristics can help us subjectively understand God, which is what I've been arguing all along. And should those human or cultural characteristics change then so too do our conceptualizations.

So if someone wants to refer to God as "She" while retaining the knowledge that we know God through both "masculine" and "feminine" traits then there's no legitimate reason to demand that person do otherwise. No one is arguing that God is feminine or that God's feminine traits overpower God's masculine traits. But some people, implicitly or almost-explicitly, seem to be arguing the converse.

That's exactly what you're arguing by changing every thing from "he" to "she" because you think it's okay to "adapt".
If that's what you want you should probably keep Christianity out of it.

fm93
06-02-2015, 05:24 AM
Is it okay if we call you 'girlfriend' just to make it easier to relate? Before you answer, think about whether or not you really want to have to reciprocate by trying to relate as a girl - because if we re-make you as a female we will start to expect you to behave in some ways as one. It bases the entire relationship on a predicated lie - which is not healthy for anyone.

Re-making God as female when He clearly, unequivocally identifies Himself as male is both disrespectful (just as my calling you 'girlie' would be) and deceitful. That's no way to 'relate' to anyone, least of all God.
But I am a human being who has X and Y chromosomes that physically make me masculine. Thus, I am definitively a man and not a woman, and this applies no matter where I go. God, on the other hand, is spirit and has no sex. And again, I'm not saying the Hebrews and eventually the Jews throughout the Abrahamic lineage should've referred to God as female if God self-presented as masculine to their culture. I'm wondering if God might've self-presented differently to a different culture.

A better example might be how I have an English name that I ask people to call me when I'm interacting with English-speakers, and a Chinese name that I ask people to call me when I'm interacting with Chinese-speakers. It wouldn't make much sense for me to ask people who only speak English to call me a Chinese name that they can't pronounce or write, would it?

fm93
06-02-2015, 05:41 AM
This whole deal reminds me of Ray Bradbury's "The Fire Balloons," if anyone else has read it.
:yes: One of my favorite Bradbury stories, actually.



That's exactly what you're arguing by changing every thing from "he" to "she" because you think it's okay to "adapt".
If that's what you want you should probably keep Christianity out of it.
But that's NOT what he's arguing. He even explicitly said that he has no problem with God being called a he, and therefore he's not advocating that "he" be changed. He's just saying that it might be okay for people in different cultural contexts to think of God differently.

I mean, our names are a significant part of who we are, but they're also products of specific times/places/cultures and as such there's some leeway allowed. You don't self-identify as "Cerealman" when you're interacting face-to-face with people in your classes, do you?

Cerebrum123
06-02-2015, 05:56 AM
:sigh: I know this. I perused Tektonics and other apologetics websites for years too, remember?

Then why aren't you taking this into account with your arguments?


I thought the idea was that Jesus became incarnate as a man rather than a woman and referred to God in male terms because that's what the society was accustomed to, and Jesus subsequently decided to correct a few social norms by example. But within the context of Christian theology, let's suppose that instead of forming a covenant with Abraham, God formed a covenant with a woman whose descendants would eventually become a heavily matriarchal society--the one in which the incarnation would have to eventually occur. You believe Jesus still would've become incarnate as a man?

No, that's not "the idea", that's your idea which is refuted by what Jesus actually said and did. He didn't just correct a few things "by example", but often flipped even messianic expectations on their head. A warrior king that was human was what was expected, what happened was God incarnate who was crucified for the sins of the world.

As for your last question in that paragraph, yes, He would be incarnated as a man. He still had to undo the curse of sin brought on us by Adam. Again, this is far more about roles, and how God wanted to reveal Himself to mankind, not what mankind expected of God, or was used to.


This part wasn't addressed to me, but I just wanted to comment that I do know some Christians who do occasionally refer to God as a Mother, and that's always done in respect.

You would need to give an exact quote, and context for me to believe this. Every single time I have seen someone call God "Mother" it's always some kind of New Age hippie, or some kind of radical feminist who is unwilling to call God by the title He has revealed Himself as.

Cow Poke
06-02-2015, 06:25 AM
I can't speak for others, but I HATE the Westernized depictions of Christ as a white Anglo-Saxon.

I hate even worse the depictions of Christ as a white Anglo-Saxon SISSY. :glare:

Cow Poke
06-02-2015, 06:29 AM
But I am a human being who has X and Y chromosomes that physically make me masculine.

X and Y chromosomes don't make you masculine - they make you male.

Sam
06-02-2015, 07:57 AM
That's exactly what you're arguing by changing every thing from "he" to "she" because you think it's okay to "adapt".
If that's what you want you should probably keep Christianity out of it.

If you're talking about when I use the feminine pronoun when dealing with a gender neutral subject ("If one is to do work, t'were best that she do it well"), that's a fairly common thing in academia, especially philosophy. I tend to go back and forth between using the masculine pronoun and the feminine pronoun, depending on various factors.

If that's a problem, I have to ask why you would consider it wrong or why using the masculine is the "right" way that shouldn't be changed.

Cow Poke
06-02-2015, 08:03 AM
If you're talking about when I use the feminine pronoun when dealing with a gender neutral subject ("If one is to do work, t'were best that she do it well")

Then, why not just make it gender neutral? :smile: "If one is to do work, t'were best it be done well"

Why the gratuitous insertion of a female "one"?

Sam
06-02-2015, 08:19 AM
Then, why not just make it gender neutral? :smile: "If one is to do work, t'were best it be done well"

Why the gratuitous insertion of a female "one"?

Because English doesn't have a gender neutral pronoun for persons.

Why is the feminine pronoun gratuitous? We use the masculine pronoun all the time in such situations. ("If you're going to get someone to do the work for you, he better do a good job.")

Adrift
06-02-2015, 09:08 AM
Then, why not just make it gender neutral? :smile: "If one is to do work, t'were best it be done well"

Why the gratuitous insertion of a female "one"?

It's deliberately done in academia to show support or solidarity for the feminist perspective.

Wikipedia has a decent breakdown on why it's become so popular within the last few decades.

Gender neutrality in English became a growing area of interest among academics during Second Wave Feminism, when the work of structuralist linguist Ferdinand de Saussure, and his theories on semiotics, became more well known in academic circles. By the 1960s and 1970s, post-structuralist theorists, particularly in France, brought wider attention to gender-neutrality theory, and the concept of supporting gender equality through conscious changes to language. Feminists analyzing the English language put forward their own theories about the power of language to create and enforce gender determinism and the marginalization of the feminine. Debates touched on such issues as changing the term "stewardess" to the gender-neutral "flight attendant", "fireman" to "fire fighter", "mailman" to "mail carrier", and so on. At the root of this contentiousness may have been feminists' backlash against the English language's shift from "grammatical gender" to "natural gender" during the early Modern era[13] coinciding with the spread of institutional prescriptive grammar rules in English schools. These theories have been challenged by some researchers, with attention given to additional possible social, ethnic, economic, and cultural influences on language and gender.[14] The impact on mainstream language has been limited,[15] yet has led to lasting changes in practice.

Features of gender-neutral language in English may include:

Avoidance of gender-specific job titles, or caution in their use;
Avoidance of the use of man and mankind to refer to humans in general;
Avoidance of the use of he, him and his when referring to a person of unspecified sex (see under Personal pronouns above).
Certain naming practices (such as the use of Mrs and Miss to distinguish married and unmarried women) may also be discouraged on similar grounds. For more details and examples, see Gender neutrality in English.

Personally, I find it irksome. Not because I think one gender is better than the other, but because the motivation for changing hundreds of years of traditional speech seems to be to make sure everyone knows how PC you are. As if changing the gender of words will actually make a difference in how females are perceived. It seems to me far more likely to further distance lowbrow blue collar types from what they perceive as hoity-toity intellectuals.

fm93
06-02-2015, 09:10 AM
Then why aren't you taking this into account with your arguments?
I did.


Um, you do remember who Christ's first witnesses of His resurrection were, don't you?
Yes, they were women. And as apologists like Craig and Habermas have repeatedly told us, this was significant because of how patriarchal that society apparently was back then. I mean, their main argument in mentioning this is that the gospels should be counted as historically trustworthy on this point because the idea of women being witnesses of something as profound as a resurrection would've fit the criterion of embarrassment.



No, that's not "the idea", that's your idea which is refuted by what Jesus actually said and did. He didn't just correct a few things "by example", but often flipped even messianic expectations on their head. A warrior king that was human was what was expected, what happened was God incarnate who was crucified for the sins of the world.
That doesn't refute what I said, since by including the word "just" you acknowledge that Jesus' life encompasses what I said. Additionally, there wasn't a fixed set of Messianic expectations that everyone interpreted the same way.


As for your last question in that paragraph, yes, He would be incarnated as a man. He still had to undo the curse of sin brought on us by Adam. Again, this is far more about roles, and how God wanted to reveal Himself to mankind, not what mankind expected of God, or was used to.
Hmm...it's worth pointing out that if we take the Genesis story as a completely literal account, technically Eve was the first to eat the forbidden fruit. It did strike me as odd that Paul nevertheless says Adam is the one through whom sin entered the world. But anyhow, presupposing that the first few Genesis chapters literally happened...what do you believe would've happened if God had created Eve first, and Adam had been created from her rib, and Eve was the one linked to the introduction of sin? Would Jesus still have become incarnate as a man?




You would need to give an exact quote, and context for me to believe this. Every single time I have seen someone call God "Mother" it's always some kind of New Age hippie, or some kind of radical feminist who is unwilling to call God by the title He has revealed Himself as.
Well, these people also often refer to God as a Father. They switch it up from time to time.

Cow Poke
06-02-2015, 10:25 AM
It's deliberately done in academia to show support or solidarity for the feminist perspective.

Yup.


Wikipedia has a decent breakdown on why it's become so popular within the last few decades.

Gender neutrality in English became a growing area of interest among academics during Second Wave Feminism, when the work of structuralist linguist Ferdinand de Saussure, and his theories on semiotics, became more well known in academic circles. By the 1960s and 1970s, post-structuralist theorists, particularly in France, brought wider attention to gender-neutrality theory, and the concept of supporting gender equality through conscious changes to language. Feminists analyzing the English language put forward their own theories about the power of language to create and enforce gender determinism and the marginalization of the feminine. Debates touched on such issues as changing the term "stewardess" to the gender-neutral "flight attendant", "fireman" to "fire fighter", "mailman" to "mail carrier", and so on. At the root of this contentiousness may have been feminists' backlash against the English language's shift from "grammatical gender" to "natural gender" during the early Modern era[13] coinciding with the spread of institutional prescriptive grammar rules in English schools. These theories have been challenged by some researchers, with attention given to additional possible social, ethnic, economic, and cultural influences on language and gender.[14] The impact on mainstream language has been limited,[15] yet has led to lasting changes in practice.

Features of gender-neutral language in English may include:

Avoidance of gender-specific job titles, or caution in their use;
Avoidance of the use of man and mankind to refer to humans in general;
Avoidance of the use of he, him and his when referring to a person of unspecified sex (see under Personal pronouns above).
Certain naming practices (such as the use of Mrs and Miss to distinguish married and unmarried women) may also be discouraged on similar grounds. For more details and examples, see Gender neutrality in English.

Personally, I find it irksome. Not because I think one gender is better than the other, but because the motivation for changing hundreds of years of traditional speech seems to be to make sure everyone knows how PC you are. As if changing the gender of words will actually make a difference in how females are perceived. It seems to me far more likely to further distance lowbrow blue collar types from what they perceive as hoity-toity intellectuals.

And I'm really weary of all the drug commercials on TV where the guy (or woman) says, "So I asked my doctor, and SHE said...."

Yes, we are well aware there are female doctors! From the commercials, you'd guess they were in the vast majority. :smile:

Cow Poke
06-02-2015, 10:27 AM
Because English doesn't have a gender neutral pronoun for persons.

But it DOES have ways of easily getting around that. :wink: As I demonstrated.


Why is the feminine pronoun gratuitous? We use the masculine pronoun all the time in such situations. ("If you're going to get someone to do the work for you, he better do a good job.")

So, when are we going to change "mankind" to ... um... wait, I got this... I remember my secular humanist manifesto --- HUMANKIND! :thumb:

Adrift
06-02-2015, 11:05 AM
And I'm really weary of all the drug commercials on TV where the guy (or woman) says, "So I asked my doctor, and SHE said...."

Yes, we are well aware there are female doctors! From the commercials, you'd guess they were in the vast majority. :smile:

Ah. I'm not familiar with those commercials. One of the joys of cutting the cable cord.

Adrift
06-02-2015, 11:06 AM
So, when are we going to change "mankind" to ... um... wait, I got this... I remember my secular humanist manifesto --- HUMANKIND! :thumb:

But, huMANkind still has "man" in it. Maybe perSONkind? no, that won't work either. Peoplekind?

Cow Poke
06-02-2015, 11:59 AM
:haha:

But, huMANkind still has "man" in it. Maybe perSONkind? no, that won't work either. Peoplekind?
:lmbo:


:thumb:

Cerebrum123
06-02-2015, 12:54 PM
I did.


Not the part I meant, but I'm thinking it's because I wasn't clear enough. What I meant there is that Jesus didn't mind, and more likely intended to flip things on their heads. He didn't teach or do things because "they were used to it", or because of the expectations of the people of the time.


That doesn't refute what I said, since by including the word "just" you acknowledge that Jesus' life encompasses what I said. Additionally, there wasn't a fixed set of Messianic expectations that everyone interpreted the same way.

It refutes the idea that He would just leave something be left the way it was because either 1) people were used to it, or 2) because people were expecting Him to act a certain way. Which is what much of your argument boils down to.

True, but there were several things that were expected by the major groups at the time. A warrior king from the line of David was one of the most popular. Another big expectation was that they would be freed from the oppressive Roman rule.


Hmm...it's worth pointing out that if we take the Genesis story as a completely literal account, technically Eve was the first to eat the forbidden fruit. It did strike me as odd that Paul nevertheless says Adam is the one through whom sin entered the world.

Adam was instructed directly by God to not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Eve was not, and it looks like Adam even added to what God commanded ( the part where she says "and you must not touch it"). Adam had not excuse, Eve at most, did not have 100% accurate information. Eve was deceived by the serpent. Adam did have 100% accurate information, and still disobeyed regardless.


But anyhow, presupposing that the first few Genesis chapters literally happened...what do you believe would've happened if God had created Eve first, and Adam had been created from her rib, and Eve was the one linked to the introduction of sin? Would Jesus still have become incarnate as a man?

Unless what man and woman were was changed drastically, then IMO Jesus would still have been born male, and God still be the Father. They both would have had the same role, and Jesus still would have been able to defeat sin(living a perfect life, and suffering the penalty of sin). You would need to change the way biology itself is in addition to a few patriarch's genders.


Well, these people also often refer to God as a Father. They switch it up from time to time.

They are in a distinct minority. Except for your example every time I have heard someone use feminine pronouns for God they are obviously trying to make a god in their own image.

Sam
06-02-2015, 01:00 PM
But it DOES have ways of easily getting around that. :wink: As I demonstrated.



So, when are we going to change "mankind" to ... um... wait, I got this... I remember my secular humanist manifesto --- HUMANKIND! :thumb:

So instead of simply interchangeably using masculine and feminine pronouns for gender non-specific persons, one should just re-word sentences so as to reference the object instead of the subject. Because reasons.

Jedidiah
06-02-2015, 01:19 PM
Because English doesn't have a gender neutral pronoun for persons.

Why is the feminine pronoun gratuitous? We use the masculine pronoun all the time in such situations. ("If you're going to get someone to do the work for you, he better do a good job.")
He is the gender neutral pronoun in English. Just as man is the gender neutral term for human beings. We speak English.

Cow Poke
06-02-2015, 02:04 PM
So instead of simply interchangeably using masculine and feminine pronouns for gender non-specific persons, one should just re-word sentences so as to reference the object instead of the subject.

No, just use "he", which has long been understood to be universal for "whoever". Only a moron would think "he", in a general statement, means ONLY "he".

Dictionary.com (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/he)
He
pronoun, nominative he, possessive his, objective him; plural nominative they, possessive their or theirs, objective them.
1. the male person or animal being discussed or last mentioned; that male.
2. anyone (without reference to sex); that person: He who hesitates is lost.

I supposed you would advocate that "every other time" that one used the phrase "He who hesitates is lost", one should insert "She" instead? :lolo:

Paprika
06-02-2015, 05:06 PM
There's a fairly substantial difference between being the one true God and telling people they can go on worshiping false gods, and not having a gender but allowing people of differing cultures and contexts to mentally conceive of you in whichever gender terms make the most sense to them.
The important similarity that you're determined to ignore is that you don't deny essential aspects of God just to suit the culture.

Paprika
06-02-2015, 05:10 PM
If anything, I'm recognizing that God exists outside of any particular time, place, or culture and so demanding that God be classified in any particular way is demanding that everyone adapt to a particular time, place or culture.
Nah, you're just demanding that people adapt to contemporary postmodernism, especially of the egalitarian bent - "there's no important intrinsic difference between male and female!"

Sam
06-02-2015, 05:17 PM
No, just use "he", which has long been understood to be universal for "whoever". Only a moron would think "he", in a general statement, means ONLY "he".

Dictionary.com (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/he)
He
pronoun, nominative he, possessive his, objective him; plural nominative they, possessive their or theirs, objective them.
1. the male person or animal being discussed or last mentioned; that male.
2. anyone (without reference to sex); that person: He who hesitates is lost.

I supposed you would advocate that "every other time" that one used the phrase "He who hesitates is lost", one should insert "She" instead? :lolo:

"He" is obviously not gender neutral (Jed) and there's no reason that it need be universal (CP). In fact, there's good reason to not treat the masculine as the default. So if someone wants to continue using the masculine pronoun, they should do so without someone getting in a snit. If someone wants to use the feminine pronoun, they should do so without someone getting in a snit. If someone want's to use them interchangeably, same thing. The people hung up on using only one or the other are the ones with the problem, in my opinion.

Cow Poke
06-02-2015, 05:19 PM
"He" is obviously not gender neutral (Jed) and there's no reason that it need be universal (CP).


Yeah, dictionary wrong - Sam right! :thumb:

Teallaura
06-02-2015, 06:18 PM
But I am a human being who has X and Y chromosomes that physically make me masculine. Thus, I am definitively a man and not a woman, and this applies no matter where I go. God, on the other hand, is spirit and has no sex. And again, I'm not saying the Hebrews and eventually the Jews throughout the Abrahamic lineage should've referred to God as female if God self-presented as masculine to their culture. I'm wondering if God might've self-presented differently to a different culture.

A better example might be how I have an English name that I ask people to call me when I'm interacting with English-speakers, and a Chinese name that I ask people to call me when I'm interacting with Chinese-speakers. It wouldn't make much sense for me to ask people who only speak English to call me a Chinese name that they can't pronounce or write, would it?This puzzles me - if we were talking about a human self identifying as male when they are physically female, I suspect you'd be advocating that we accept the self identification. But when God, Who is the only one Who truly knows how gender does or does not apply to Himself, identifies as male, you argue that it should be up to the observer to choose the designation.

Why?

Cow Poke
06-02-2015, 06:22 PM
This puzzles me - if we were talking about a human self identifying as male when they are physically female, I suspect you'd be advocating that we accept the self identification. But when God, Who is the only one Who truly knows how gender does or does not apply to Himself, identifies as male, you argue that it should be up to the observer to choose the designation.

Why?

That's interesting... yeah, XY chromosomes don't matter if one "gender identifies" as a female.....

Good point!

Teallaura
06-02-2015, 06:30 PM
Because English doesn't have a gender neutral pronoun for persons.
...
Actually, you can use 'one' as a third person gender neutral pronoun. As long as you are referring collectively it is also acceptable to use 'they/them'. Otherwise, the correct third person neutral pronoun is 'it'.

Incidentally, gender only occurs in the third person in English. We think of 'it' as having to do with things because until very recently no one considered a neutral gender having existence - there was no reason for 'it' to refer to any creature having gender. If we allow the idea of a neutral gender having existence then there's really no valid reason not to use 'it' seeing as it is the correct form and the impersonal connotation is purely cultural.

pancreasman
06-02-2015, 06:59 PM
If I recall, there are several passages in scripture when 'God' deliberately uses feminine specific language.El Shaddai, mother hen and so on. So it's not completely one way.

Cow Poke
06-02-2015, 07:01 PM
If I recall, there are several passages in scripture when 'God' deliberately uses feminine specific language.El Shaddai, mother hen and so on. So it's not completely one way.

Yeah, that was kinda discussed in the thread while you were traipsing about the States. :smile:

Teallaura
06-02-2015, 07:15 PM
That's interesting... yeah, XY chromosomes don't matter if one "gender identifies" as a female.....

Good point!
:demure:

fm93
06-02-2015, 08:26 PM
This puzzles me - if we were talking about a human self identifying as male when they are physically female, I suspect you'd be advocating that we accept the self identification. But when God, Who is the only one Who truly knows how gender does or does not apply to Himself, identifies as male, you argue that it should be up to the observer to choose the designation.

Why?
Not "should," but "can"--I'm wondering if there's anything inherently wrong with it, especially if God had hypothetically appeared to a long-matriarchal society. Might God have identified in more female terms if a matriarchal society had been chosen for the covenant, rather than Abraham's lineage?

Teallaura
06-02-2015, 08:55 PM
Not "should," but "can"--I'm wondering if there's anything inherently wrong with it, especially if God had hypothetically appeared to a long-matriarchal society. Might God have identified in more female terms if a matriarchal society had been chosen for the covenant, rather than Abraham's lineage?No, not 'can' but 'should'. Ability is not at issue - any idiot 'can' rename something if they want to. The issue is should - should you irreverently change what has clearly been established just because you can or want to?

Hypotheticals are of no use here - God could have self identified as a pink unicorn cucumber (and even have made it make actual sense) but He didn't. If He had wished He could have changed the society to matriarchal (being omnipotent has its advantages) but He didn't. He self identifies as male and self refers in the masculine. To remake the reference is inherently disrespectful and inappropriate. On those two grounds alone it is inherently wrong.

Jedidiah
06-02-2015, 09:46 PM
"He" is obviously not gender neutral (Jed) and there's no reason that it need be universal (CP).

Unless you want to go with the historical usage of the English language and with the dictionary definitions.

Paprika
06-03-2015, 03:14 AM
If I recall, there are several passages in scripture when 'God' deliberately uses feminine specific language.El Shaddai, mother hen and so on.
This is probably the tiredest and crappiest excuse to bow to Égalité. If Cow Poke uses a female metaphor to refer to himself, for example, it is not a reason to refer to him as 'she'. Personification of Wisdom as a woman in Proverbs 8 does not make the Logos enfleshed a female.

Paprika
06-03-2015, 03:35 AM
It's deliberately done in academia to show support or solidarity for the feminist perspective.

The more egregious abuse of language is to substitute 'gender' for 'sex' which progressives to blot out the importance of sexual differentiation.

Adrift
06-03-2015, 06:12 AM
If I recall, there are several passages in scripture when 'God' deliberately uses feminine specific language.El Shaddai...

It was always my understanding that El Shaddai meant something like "the many breasted one", but apparently the latest scholarly opinion on this has moved away from that view and towards the view that it refers to mountains, so God of the Mountains, or El the Mountain one (see Day, Hamilton, Hess).

In fact, as John Day puts it (Yahweh and the Gods and Goddesses of Canaan), "A standpoint occasionally supported by modern scholars connects it with the Hebrew word šad 'breast', but since Shaddai was a masculine deity this is far-fetched."

Just thought that was interesting.

Cow Poke
06-03-2015, 07:40 AM
It was always my understanding that El Shaddai meant something like "the many breasted one", but apparently the latest scholarly opinion on this has moved away from that view and towards the view that it refers to mountains, so God of the Mountains, or El the Mountain one (see Day, Hamilton, Hess).

In fact, as John Day puts it (Yahweh and the Gods and Goddesses of Canaan), "A standpoint occasionally supported by modern scholars connects it with the Hebrew word šad 'breast', but since Shaddai was a masculine deity this is far-fetched."

Just thought that was interesting.

That was an interesting thought.

Cow Poke
06-03-2015, 07:41 AM
If Cow Poke uses a female metaphor to refer to himself...

Hey, I deleted that post! :glare:

Paprika
06-03-2015, 09:34 AM
Hey, I deleted that post! :glare:
On the Internet, nothing dies.

Spartacus
06-03-2015, 04:04 PM
To return to the OP: female priests are not the "thin end of the wedge" with respect to talking about the divine as feminine. In fact, historically speaking, the Judeo-Christian tradition has been capable of speaking about the divine in feminine metaphors even while the priesthood is exclusively male.

That having been said, I'll not hesitate to add that contemporary discourse about the divine feminine and about women as clergy both seem to spring more frequently than not from the same corrupted font.

Paprika
06-04-2015, 01:51 AM
Returning to the OP, the thin end of the wedge was probably the very beginning: a church founded solely that a monarch could marry his mistress is hardly the best of foundations to build upon.

Pentecost
06-04-2015, 10:50 AM
Returning to the OP, the thin end of the wedge was probably the very beginning: a church founded solely that a monarch could marry his mistress is hardly the best of foundations to build upon.

Our monarch, Christ has founded His church to marry His Bride which has played the whore.

Teallaura
06-04-2015, 11:34 AM
Our monarch, Christ has founded His church to marry His Bride which has played the whore.
Psst, he meant the Church of England. :poke:

Pentecost
06-04-2015, 02:57 PM
Psst, he meant the Church of England. :poke:

:whistle: :rasberry: Sometimes it's fun to be contrarian.

Cow Poke
06-04-2015, 02:58 PM
:whistle: :rasberry: Sometimes it's fun to be contrarian.

That's how I took it. :grin: Maybe it takes one to know one?

QuantaFille
06-09-2015, 07:28 PM
For future reference, regarding this thread:
Since this thread was moved from an area where anyone could participate to a theist-only area, the moderators have decided that the only non-theists who can remain in the thread are the ones who joined the discussion before it was moved. If any others wish to join they can obtain the permission of the opening poster and the area moderators.

Darth Executor
06-15-2015, 11:58 PM
Yes, when you think about the logic of it. Masculinity and patriarchy are concepts humans ascribe to God - and no judgement there. We need to fit the divine into a container we can even start to grasp. But God isn't male or female. He is Spirit. So calling God "She" instead of "He" changes nothing of substance. \

Not true, it's the other way around. Masculinity and patriarchy are divine concepts that were subsequently bestowed upon us when man was created directly in God's image.