Sunday, January 15, 2012

Might we worship a God of the sex to which we are attracted?

Several women have given me hell for using "her"* for God, arguing that they cannot conceive of a female deity. These women are more traditionalist, of course, than the ones who have cheered me on, taking credit for my usage.

But this set me thinking ... is there a God-like sense of authority or influence or appeal in the opposite (or in the case of gays and lesbians, the same) sex? Could religious devotion be a form of sexual energy?

That latter idea fits with my experience of mature, celibate men in religious life whom I knew to speak of the "BVM" (the blessed Virgin Mary) with a fervor and attention that one lavishes on a beloved, particularly in the first blush of a romance. This is a classic example of what Freud meant by sublimation: the sex drive transmogrified into another form of intimate involvement.

Nuns who take final vows have long been held out to become figurative "brides of Christ." Look at the left hand of any woman in a Catholic religious order and you'll see the wedding band. It's not there to shoo away men who might otherwise hit on them, as most nuns do not frequent bars.

Coming back to the great unwashed majority who are not living under vows of chastity or celibacy, I wonder if somehow to a woman brought up to respect men as the head of the household and so forth, a male God makes eminent sense. Deity as "other." Similarly I wonder whether loving God would make more sense if there were something akin to sexual attraction involved.

Thus a she God for men and a he God for women.

* I do not contend that God has a sex. However, to offset the use of capitalized masculine pronouns for God for the past 20,000 years or so, I have begun to use uncapitalized feminine pronouns, a practice I plan to review in about 20,000 years.