Thursday, September 3, 2009

Why I Believe That the Bible Is Not Inspired by God--My Fourth Reason

The Bible gives a twisted view of God: in the Bible, God is pictured exclusively as male. This is a distortion.

Certainly it is a good thing to depict God in a personal way. To relate to God personally, we need to think of God in personal terms, and all the persons we know are either male or female. God, of course, is not a person with a physical body, so God is neither male nor female. But we need male or female images of God so that we can relate to God personally; otherwise, God becomes an It, and it's hard to relate personally to an It.

Unfortunately, in the Bible, God is depicted as exclusively male. God is always He, Father, King, Lord--never She, Mother, Queen, Lady. This is a distortion. If we need to speak of God as He or She in order to relate personally to God, then we need to use both. To picture God only as male suggests that God is indeed more male than female, or that God is male and not female, which is untrue.

I know from my own experience that we need to picture God both as He and as She. Here is how I know this. I grew up relating to a male God--the Biblical God the Father. God the Father was scary--very exacting, easily roused to anger, quick to punish. I never succeeded in trusting God the Father. I knew that I should love and trust God, and I tried to persuade myself that I did, but I was actually terrified of Him. I simply could not feel close to God.

This problem was solved when I read When God Was A Woman by Merlin Stone as an adult. Merlin Stone explains how God was viewed as female, the Great Mother, for millennia--going far back into pre-history. God was Mother long before God was Father. This was wonderful news to me! I decided to pray to Mother God--and immediately I found that I could love and trust God. I determined that I would forget about God the Father--I had given Him His due--and pray exclusively to Mother God for the rest of my life.

Now, here comes the interesting part. I prayed exclusively to Mother God for several months, and then I felt that something was wrong. Something was out of balance. Picturing God exclusively as Mother was as unbalanced as picturing God exclusively as Father. I needed Father God as much as I needed Mother God.

It amazes me that I could have received this insight even though I had had so much trouble with God the Father. Yet I found that I was able to picture a Father God that Mother God would wish to be associated with.

Given that I was able, in a matter of a few months, to figure out that an exclusively female God was as unbalanced as an exclusively male God, and to figure this out even though I had had such difficulty relating to God the Father of the Bible, it does seem odd to me that the Bible writers, over several thousand years, could not figure out that they were way off balance in picturing God as exclusively male. I could see, within months, that I needed both a male image and a female image of God. Why couldn't the Bible writers see this within thousands of years?

Well, of course, I have an idea of the answer. It goes back to what I said about culture in my previous post. In a dominance/subordination culture, where women are subordinate, it is not within the realm of possibility to picture God as female. Of course, God would be a dominant male within such a worldview.

Nonetheless, it remains the case that picturing God as exclusively male, as the Bible does (or picturing God as exclusively female, as I did for several months) is a distortion. We need both male and female images of God. Because the Bible doesn't offer both, the Bible's depiction of God is twisted.

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