Religion is one of the most potent tools in our world today. It is one of the few that excel at using both fear and hope which, in my opinion, are the most effective and efficient instruments of mind manipulation and control. Personal decisions are often influenced by religious tenets, and the laws and rules of society, both written and unwritten, are built upon a moral code that is influenced—if not completely dictated—by religion. God, Allah, the Conscious Universe or whatever name we give to the focal object of religious inquiry and worship, has been ascribed a “male” nature: an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-present, all-loving being that runs the world like a well-oiled machine, for whose love and preference we all are fighting, and for whose worship and praise we were created (such an egotistical being). ‘He’ is masculine in nature. A man.
On the flipside, this masculine God shows supposedly effeminate traits. It created and continues to create. It breathes life and births things and beings. It is beautiful, as evidenced by the beauty that exists in its own creations (a man must be fearful and ugly, no?) It is forgiving and nurturing and caring and patient enough to listen to the nagging of its children, which it has already heard a billion times over. It is jealous, among other attributes that we, its insane children, have accorded to women on this earthly plane.
Is God male or female?
I have a firm belief that there exists something bigger, waaaaay bigger than me out there somewhere, controlling things or at least allowing things to happen in a controlled manner. I see a conscious effort and deliberate purpose in everything around me from the orbiting planets which do not crash into one another (just as a side note, if I was Jupiter I’d always want to teach Earth who’s who by roughing it up a little), to the steady cycle of night and day without which there would be no life because all night means everything would freeze over and all day would mean everything would burn, either way things will die. There is an intelligence at play that lends itself to beauty, telepathy, the senses, sense of purpose, good, bad, why grass is so stubborn, why water is 70% of earth, why the lizard’s tail grows back when it is cut off, death, birth, laughter, pain, the mind, and especially why and how ants and I are practically the same size but they seem smarter than I am by a long mile [refer to anthill (architectural masterpiece) and storing food and such]. This list is by no stretch of mind exhaustive. Whatever it is, its awesomeness cannot be underestimated. Not he or she. I use IT to qualify said force because it is gender neutral.
Growing up, I heard many people- everyone really – refer to God as He or Him. These were the same people who told me that God is not a person, that he is spirit. I was proper confused. I ‘grew up’ and began to experience God for myself. There’s a Twi saying which, when translated, means ‘No one shows a child God’. I began questioning and conversing with this God on my way to school (I walked to school for a period of 6 years, from JHS 2 to UPPER SIX. Being the expressive being that I am, you can imagine how utterly insane I looked, walking and talking to myself). I felt strong emotions. There were days I’d cry, and be all lovey-dovey, and days when I’d be stern and confrontational and ready to fight (which quite frankly, can be attributed to the Ga in me); and all the other things that only women or only men were supposed to feel. I felt all of these, sometimes at the same damn time. Certainly this spirit I was communicating with was not only female or only male.
Hold on, this force managed to create both female and male as well as hermaphrodites. In its image and likeness? And it can only be either male or female? This being in my mind was and is both female and male.
Only because those were the only distinctions I knew. Maybe it was just one formless being with all the characteristics we appropriate to females and males. I also began to see this weirdo that apparently wanted to be called God. No, I was not hyperventilating and I didn’t see any angels and trumpets and golden light and all that stuff some other people see. I am fairly normal. I saw this thing in and through nature. That’s how I knew God was real. I saw it/he/she in nature. The tree in front of my class that oozed strength and sturdiness, the clouds that formed themselves into different shapes and animals, the flowers, the sea that couldn’t decide whether to be calm or rough and just chose to be both (told me God was largely female), the thunder that roared its way into my fragile heart, male and female animals…stuff. I understood at that point why during a libation, Ga priests or priestesses refer to God as Ataa Naa Nyongbo (Father Mother God or Male Female Visitor of the Dawn). There is no one gender for this force. It has the strong, providing, protective natures usually attributed to men and the creative, caring, tender, beautiful, enduring, providing and protective nature of women all rolled into one.
Then comes my next set of questions: how exactly is man superior to woman if one of the strongest bases on which that conclusion was drawn is moot? Why should any sex be superior to another?
What became and still is becoming clear to me over time is that there is a dichotomy that exists perfectly side-by-side. Male/Female. Look at yourself. Surely, there have been times when, as a female, you have shown traits or acted in a manner that people regard as manly; or as a man, you have acted in effeminate ways that have caused people to call you ‘obaa barima’. Each one of us has male and female traits coded in our DNA I believe (go and look for the scientific stuff yourself and let me know when you find them :/) and we show these traits as and when we have to. You were created in God’s image and likeness remember?
Herein lies my question again: Is God male or female?
It is neither and at the same time all of the above. It is not male. It is not female. No one sex should lay claim to being superior over the other by making reference to God being of either sex.
I have provided the solution to one of the major causes of many conflicts in this world: the domination of one sex over another. The very reason that many use to legitimize why one sex should be the area champion all the time has been dissected and disproved by Jessica’s very sensible logic and experiences, which are as legitimate as any religious leader’s claim to superiority, and are therefore right to be obeyed.
I await my Nobel Peace Prize.