Thursday, February 25, 2016

Dumbest Argument Ever

It is one of those "cute" bits from sitcoms and other television shows that always annoys me. An angel, or someone returned from the dead, or otherwise in touch with the divine will be talking to another character. When that other character mentions God, the enlightened one will make a point of very obviously using -- while making it appear casual and off-hand -- the feminine pronoun. I know it is meant epater la bourgoisie and all that, but it still irritates me, and not for the reason most liberals would assume. I am not upset to hear God is not a man, I am upset to have to hear yet another installment in what must be the most idiotic argument ever.

I suppose if you are a Hindu, or follow Shinto, or are a member of some other polytheistic faith, maybe it makes sense. Though, if you are, then there is no "God", only "gods"*, so it is still rather silly. But for Jews and Christians and Moslems, any of the Judeo-Christian set of faiths, it makes absolutely no sense.

Allow me to make this simple: Sex can only exist if there is more than one of something. I suppose if a species is reduced to one member it could still have a sex, so I suppose I should say sex can only exist if, at some time, there was more than one of something. After all, sex is not an obvious feature. Without knowing plant reproduction, could you easily identify male and female plants, and equate them to the male and female of various mammals? No. But you know there is sex, as plants reproduce sexually. And that is what creates sex, sexual reproduction. There are only male and female of anything because there are genetic donors, one providing egg, the other providing some sort of sperm.

Which makes it absurd to speak of God having a sex. With only one, and there only ever having been one God, He** simply cannot have a sex. He is unique, eternal, and does not reproduce***. Thus, He has no sex, and to say He does is a form of heresy, as it implies there is more than one God, which is heretical in all three faiths mentioned****.

Thus, arguing whether God is male or female is simply absurd, as well as heretical. Which makes me wonder why it still goes on.

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* I ignore here the "polytheism as monotheism" aspect of Hinduism (and a few other faiths), which posits all the many gods are simply aspects of a single God. It is an accepted part of many polytheistic faiths, but it is irrelevant here, as the many lesser gods could still have sexes.

** I use the masculine here because it is the accepted English form when discussing subjects of unknown or no sex.

*** I grant, in Christianity He has a son, but that is not the same sort of reproduction as would require Him to have a sex, especially as He reproduced via a human, not another deity.

**** In Judaism, the shema declares "Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one." The Islamic declaration of faith states "There is no God but God (Allah) and Mohammed is His prophet." Christianity has a number of creeds establishing the same, for example, the Nicene creed declares " I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible." Obviously, to declare in any of these faiths there is more than one God would be heretical.

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POSTSCRIPT

Judaism, and I believe Islam as well (though my knowledge of specific Islamic theology is a bit lacking in this regard), has a second problem with this argument. It is not just heretical to suggest God is not singular and unique, it is also considered improper to anthropomorphize God. To give Him human features is either considered outright heresy, or, at best, a serious impediment to properly understanding His nature. Since sex is clearly an aspect of humanity, and not of God, this is clearly a forbidden act of portraying God using human attributes. (Though, to be completely fair, the Torah itself uses analogies to humans to describe God, giving him limbs, a throne and so on. Maimonides jumps through quite a few sophist hoops to explain why that is acceptable, while taking those descriptions literally is not.)


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