A growing number of people across the world see God as a woman. Many religions such a Wicca, or people who are Pagan have always worshiped the feminine divine for centuries, but recently even Christian denominations have begun to embrace God as a woman.
Alternative religions have seen an increase in numbers among those who they count as followers. Wicca is now the fasting growing religion in the United States. There are approximately 200,000 registered Wicca members with an estimated eight million unregistered members. It is believed that membership increases double every thirty months. Wicca emerged in the middle of the twentieth century but many believe it has ancient roots that go back thousands of years with many practices dating back to ancient Babylon.
Wicca is a nature based religion. It blends the spiritual world with nature. Many holidays are based on the rhythm of nature and the Earth. With the change of season being marked by those who practice. Followers worship both Gods and Goddess, but many find a deep connection to the feminine divine that has been ignored by so many more modern forms of spirituality and find embracing God as a woman to be liberating.
Now that desire to connect with the feminine divine and to see God as a woman seems to be spreading to Christianity. What some Christians do not realize is that some sects of early Christianity had worshiped the female aspect of the creator. Gnostic which derives from the Greek word gnosis: pertaining to knowledge, believed in the female aspect of the creator. Most people are familiar with agnostic which is the opposite of having knowledge, but Gnostics, who came to light with the discovery of the Nag Hammadi Library, believe that they alone truly understood the message of Jesus Christ. The Gnostics believed that God has many spiritual beings that he created. They are both male and female, some of these beings include female spirits called Sophia (Wisdom), Spiritus (Spirit), Zoe (Life), Aletheia (Truth), and Ecclesia (Church). Sophia, who with out the true God’s knowledge gave birth to Jehovah, the God of the Old Testament, who then in turn created the universe. The Gnostics look at Jehovah as a blind God, who is jealous, evil, lacking in compassion, rigid, and who commits genocide. He believes he is the Supreme creator and because of him the world is in the state it is in, and humans are separated from the true divine creator.
With a growing number of people seeing God as a woman, some Christian religions have taken profound steps to change the way they express God’s sexuality. The recent selection of the first female bishop in the Church of England has prompted many to call for God to be referred to as a woman. In the United Kingdom many church services have replaced “he” with “she” and “father” with “mother.” Due to centuries of patriarchy God has been referred to as a man but in reality he/she should not be engendered according to the Archbishop for the Anglican diocese of Kootenay, B.C., John Pivett. He went on to say that though God is not gendered, the language use to express him/her in worship begins to have an impact on the consciousness of the people who believe. Using word like “he” and “father” continue to perpetrate the image of the creator as a male figure.
The change to make the way one describes God and the pronouns used in those descriptions has been ongoing. As far back as the 1980’s the United Reform Church started using non-sexist language in all publications. In 1999 the Methodist church released a new book which refers to God as both male and female. In the U.K. the results among congregations is mixed with many more traditional Anglican Churches continuing to refer to God as male, and other congregations using more inclusive language and referring to God as a woman and a male.
It remains to be seen if more churches in the United States will embrace the growing number of people who see God as a woman. The dwindling number of Christians in the nation and the growing numbers of Wiccans may prompt Christian churches to reconsider how they express God’s sexuality. In order to keep members and to entice new members they may choose to allow those who see God as a woman a home in their houses of worship.
Opinion by Jessica Hamel
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