Politics Magazine

Our Gods, Ourselves

Posted on the 25 February 2015 by Steveawiggins @stawiggins

The near-death experience, made popular by Raymond Moody in the 1970s, has hit the cultural mainstream with movies like Heaven Is Real. The now-familiar scenario of going through the tunnel toward the light and meeting something like God is so widespread that mention of “staying away from the light” can be a metaphor for remaining alive. Although experts (one of which I’m decidedly not) disagree on interpretations, nobody doubts that the dying often report such things. Some say it is the impression left on an oxygen-starved brain about to implode, while others postulate a soul has made an actual bid for freedom only to be returned to sender. No matter what you believe, it’s hard not to be intrigued. Not all the experiences are identical, however. A friend recently sent me a story from World News Daily Report that headlines “Catholic Priest Who Died for 48 Minutes Claims that God Is a Woman.” The story by Barbara Johnson, which ran earlier this month, is an interesting variation on the standard. Often the “being of light” met at the end of the tunnel is kind of asexual. After all, there are no physical bodies there.

This story has me thinking. Traditional Christian, indeed, Judeo-Christian thought posits that God is neither male nor female. Of course, given human experience, many people find that difficult to conceive. It does occur in intersex persons, and it is actually pretty widespread in nature where some animals change gender over their lifespans. Still, when it comes to the Almighty, people want to know with whom they’re dealing. Think about it. When you walk into a doctor’s office and meet a physician for the first time, your response will differ depending on their gender. The same is true of going into a car dealership, or a daycare facility. We use gender to give us the first hint on how to respond. A genderless God, let’s admit, is somewhat disquieting. What is the message you want to send to a person without knowing their gender? Or maybe like me you’ve read a book and discovered halfway through that you had the gender of the author wrong. Doesn’t it impact how you read the rest? So, what if God is a woman?

Interestingly, the case of Father John O’neal comes from a Catholic context. Along with Evangelical Christians, Catholics are among the most likely to hold a residual maleness to God’s identity. Theology of the Trinity, always beginning with “the Father” makes it hard to escape. Perhaps what Fr. O’neal unexpectedly encountered was a God-concept without judgment. That would certainly be disorienting to a faith that has a multi-layered afterlife including limbo and purgatory as well as heaven and hell. A deity who decides the fate of souls must be a judge, and although Judge Judy rules daytime television, the church still has a traditional mensch on the bench. What if Fr. O’neal really did get to heaven? What if he found God really was female? Could human religions ever recover? I, for one, am intrigued. Still, I’m content to wait another few decades before finding out. And maybe for the time we have down here we should all start practicing by realizing that gender is always far less important than the personhood that we all share.

IMG_1858


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • FFS Friday - Emergency Tribe

    I've mentioned before that I feel alone most of the time, like I don't have a tribe. Over the last few weeks I've come to realise that whilst I don't have an... Read more

    11 hours, 37 minutes ago by   Glossqueen
    HAIR & BEAUTY, SELF EXPRESSION
  • Joshua’s 10 Most Listened to Albums of 2018 – Pop/Rock!

    Joshua’s Most Listened Albums 2018 Pop/Rock!

    I listened to a lot of fun music in 2018, some of it brand new, some of it holding over from years past, and some really in a kind of rediscovery way. And as... Read more

    20 hours, 22 minutes ago by   Phjoshua
    LIFESTYLE, SELF EXPRESSION
  • Video: Backpacking Sequoia National Park in California

    Video: Backpacking Sequoia National Park California

    Sequoia National Park is one of my favorite parks in the entire U.S. system. It is an utterly spectacular wilderness that has a lot to offer visitors,... Read more

    The 14 December 2018 by   Kungfujedi
    OUTDOORS
  • Friday 14th December: Jane Hales

    Friday 14th December: Jane Hales

    One of my favourite stories about Evelyn de Morgan is when her sister, Mrs Anna Stirling visited the Russell-Cotes at Gallery and saw their massive painting... Read more

    The 14 December 2018 by   Kirsty Stonell Walker
    CULTURE
  • Give The Tennis Gift That Keeps On Giving: Court Crate

    Give Tennis Gift That Keeps Giving: Court Crate

    I only know one person who actually enjoys spending hours (and hours, and hours…) at crowded stores in search of the best deals on tennis-y Christmas gifts…yeah... Read more

    The 14 December 2018 by   Jen Campbell
  • Gifts For The Beauty Lover–No Matter What Your Budget Is

    Whether your shopping for your mom who wants a luxurious facial serum, a friend who loves nail polish, or your girlfriend who asked for a new blush... Read more

    The 14 December 2018 by   A Girl In La - Style Blog
    DIARIES, LIFESTYLE
  • Adjusting Obsessions

    Adjusting Obsessions

    Things are going to be quite different around these parts going forward. Obsessions have adjusted and I figured it was time to update my blog to match my curren... Read more

    The 14 December 2018 by   Seliharris
    SOCIETY

About the author


Steveawiggins 6533 shares View profile
View Blog

The Author's profile is not complete. The Author's profile is not complete.