Deep Thoughts by Stephanie

I’ve just finished reading the several dozen comments that have been left here the last few days and I just had to chuckle.

Here we are in this vast universe, spinning round and round, debating the nature of God, his very existence, and his relationship with us humans.

And I couldn’t help but think that if God is watching us, he must be quite amused. I’m sure we’ve all got it wrong and that our attempts to even understand an atom of  his nature are utterly futile. That even our language–with it’s adjectives, verbs, nouns, and pronouns– is not worthy of describing her.

But then again, I think she should be flattered. We all love and admire her so much, despite making herself unreachable to us, that we’d spend so much of our time in contemplation of her glory while hoping it will benefit us in some way.

It is laughable really. But oh, how I love it.

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29 Comments

Filed under apostasy, Random, religion, Uncategorized

29 responses to “Deep Thoughts by Stephanie

  1. Lydia

    Rowan Atkinson’s take on the afterlife always makes me giggle: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UbqZ_oN5do , as does Douglas Adams’ comic version in the Hitchhiker’s Guide series.

  2. Lydia! How’s the fam? Funny you should mention the afterlife since I’m planning to tackle that subject in my next post.

    • Lydia

      We’re great, Stephanie, thanks for asking! I had several things I wanted to share / discuss w/you privately, but I can’t find your email address anywhere – I’m such a dork. Maybe it’s all the brain cells I sacrificed to having those 4 kids . . . I still have a FB acct (that I never visit anymore), but I’ve removed all my friends, so if you wanted to send me your email address via FB, I’d be happy to add you back to my contact list! 🙂

      Speaking of the afterlife, have you ever seen the Albert Brooks film Defending Your Life (w/A. Brooks, Meryl Streep & Rip Torn)? I kinda like that idea – that it’s about learning to live with courage, compassion, and integrity – not just choosing a particular dogma to follow. Thanks for giving us a peek into your ever-active mind, and best wishes to you and your lovely family!

  3. Sarah

    :S her? sorry sis, maybe I missed something, but whos her? Are you referring to God is ‘her’? I don’t think thats correct term to use.

    • unsettledsoul

      WHAT?! I thought all Muslims believe God is It/Her/Him/She/He… Interesting. You have just confirmed what I have been thinking all along Sarah. Most Muslims don’t actually believe that!

      Why is it not a correct term to use? Sarah, are you a man pretending to be a woman? LOL, sorry, I have bad humor sometimes.

  4. Since God has no gender, it really shouldn’t matter which pronoun we use in describing it/him/her. Correct? It is difficult to view God as anything other than masculine since that’s the way we’ve been taught to view it/him/her. Even I had a difficult time writing “her”. It’s quite the contradiction really, since on one had we’re told God is genderless, and yet the Quran always refers to it/him/her as “Him”, well at least when speaking in third person, which isn’t always the case.

    • Sarah

      Actually it does matter. By saying ‘she’ you are dilebrately saying it because it is the oppisate of ‘He’. In the English Language, He is used to refer to a person whos gender is UNKOWN. So no you cannot say ‘she’ because you know that she is Female, whereas He can mean He or used in a sentence such as “he who has no father is an orphan” and you don’t need to specify whether its a girl or boy. Please don’t take this feminism thing too far. Its come to a point where you refer to Allah as ‘She’ AstaghfirAllah.

      • But in the Arabic language everything has a gender does it not? I’m not a native Arabic speaker, but I’m pretty sure that is true. So the feminine form of Allah would be Allat, with a ta marbutah? If God truly has no gender than it/he/it could have just as easily been called she in the Quran. The fact of the matter is, at least how I see it, religion is just another way to insert a patriarchal worldview into a population. So when the Quran refers to Allah as he, it is implicitly insinuating that God is masculine, that he is the patriarch, that only a masculine force is worthy of worship. I mean, why else would you say “astaghfiallah” when referring to Allah as she, as if it is a grave sin to think of God in feminine terms. Yet, we automatically think of God as masculine, partly because of the pronoun used in the text. If we think of the Lord of the Worlds as a man, where in the hierarchy do women fall? This idea permeates our every thought about ourselves and our society. Indeed, Muslims insist that God must be referred to as He while also insisting God has no gender. If we really view her as genderless, it shouldn’t matter what pronoun we use.

    • Sarah

      I am a native arabic speaker, and I know that the rule of “he” being referred to someone without a gender In the english language is the same case with The Arabic Language. We say “Huwa” for He. Likewise when we want to refer to a person without mentioning a gender we say Huwa. I said astaghfirAllah because the gender of God never crosses my mind, and I am sitting here reading a paragraph where your saying ‘She’ as in a female. Why else would you say She?

    • Sarah

      I meant why would you say ‘she’ if you knew that there was a word that would describe something without Gender?

      • I just don’t think the pronoun “he” is gender neutral. In fact it’s the opposite of gender neutral. When you say “he’s coming over the hill” or whatever, you’re not assuming the person doesn’t have a gender. You’re temporarily assigning a masculine gender until you find out differently. In modern times, in the English language, some have questioned the use of “he” as a gender neutral pronoun. Some writers deliberately use she instead (just as I did). The reasoning then is why do we always use the masculine form as a default for the gender neutral pronoun. Why is “he” gender neutral and why not “she”. Why do refer to human kinds as “mankind” or “men”? Again patriarchy seeping into the language.

        My question for you is, are you so offended by my use of the word “she” because you believed I was assigning Allah the female sex. I think I made it clear, and the point of the post was, we cannot truly understand God, nor can we describe her with our language. I specifically used the word pronoun as being deficient for understanding it/her/him. That’s why I decided to mix up the pronoun.

        Or, are you offended simply because using the feminine prounoun, instead of the masculine, flies in the face of orthodoxy? Certainly, I’m way on out there and i wouldn’t ask you to take things to my level. But, there has to be something, anything that you believe in that goes against the majority opinion. Does it exist, and what is it?

      • In English, as in many other languages, “he” was the gender-neutral term for millenia. But nowadays, you’re right; it is archaic. Still I say “he” and even capitalize it “He.” Just force of habit, I suppose. Time for habits to change — thanks for the nudge.

  5. I loved your post and I loved how you referred to God as both him and her. That’s one of the things I love about Amina Wadud’s writing, how she actively uses the different pronouns.

    And yes, I do think She would be quite amused at our childish attempts to understand His nature.

  6. achildtalking

    @Stephanie and Sarah
    instead of HE or SHE,better say HESHE

    • but i was just starting to like he/she/it.

      • lol.. I read that too quickly and thought you were swearing 🙂

        I always try to avoid the whole pronoun thing, thinking that assigning any pronoun (except “it”) to God sets up a duality. If God could be a “she” then “she ” must have an opposite “he” in order to exist as a “she” (or vice versa) And we can’t have two gods can we? Unless God is both “s/he” — but how can you verify God’s gender(s) and besides, God transcends gender anyway, no? It’s all very floaty and based on a time in my philosophy degree when I was learning that motion itself is impossible, so I wouldn’t necessarily trust my theory.

        I’m going back to watching movies with the hubby now, because it’s more fun!

  7. unsettledsoul

    Hahaha!!! OMG this is the most Asinine conversation I have ever had. I am sorry Sarah, but you just fit the stereotypical bill.

    Oh and P.S. In the English language HE does not mean He or She, it means HE, as in HIM. Back in the day, when men were the ones working and women were the ones at home, who do you think was writing the books and the songs and the words for our culture? Yes, men. Therefore they used masculine terms because they were talking about themselves. That is why today, people are changing the language and calling people Salesperson (instead of salesman), firefighter (instead of fireman) and so on. People are also making conscious efforts, when narrating or giving instruction, to interchange the words he and she, so women feel they are also part of the discussion.

    I have never heard ANYONE say He in the English language is gender neutral, and it is flat out ignorance to claim so. I am done with this conversation, it is a waste of my time. When you want to discuss, come with facts Sarah, or some kind of relevant information. You have disproved all of your points by the sheer ignorance of your replies.

  8. unsettledsoul

    “Or, are you offended simply because using the feminine prounoun, instead of the masculine, flies in the face of orthodoxy? Certainly, I’m way on out there and i wouldn’t ask you to take things to my level. But, there has to be something, anything that you believe in that goes against the majority opinion. Does it exist, and what is it?”

    Pitiful that being “way on out there” is mixing pronouns. No, ridiculous seems like a better word.

    • hey i think you just called me ridiculous 🙂 Anyway, I wasn’t necessarily referring to the mixing of pronouns per se, but my views in general. I mean come on they’re about as far away from orthodoxy as possible.

      • and you’re right this is an asinine conversation. actually, no it’s not because it really does illustrate the original point of the post, that we can’t describe God with our language and yet we try. It also illustrates the fact that even assigning God the feminine pronoun, is akin to blasphemy in some peoples eyes. Doesn’t bode well for the female in general if we’re offended by the use of a pronoun.

      • unsettledsoul

        LOL, not you lady! The fact that orthodoxy or the majority or whatever, has such rigid rules that it makes us seem radical or odd. I mean, really.. I always liked the fact that Allah had no gender. We could call Allah he, she, or it and it was perfectly fine because we are told there is nothing that can describe God. I was all for that like “woohoo!!” But even that is wrong, I guess. I NEVER knew that. Seriously.

        I never knew that me calling Allah a she, was putting me outside the norm. So basically, EVERYTHING I think or thought I knew about Islam is wrong. Wow.. LOL. Why do I still call myself Muslim?

  9. unsettledsoul

    Note, **wrong to orthodoxy** is what I really mean. And for some reason, if we are not orthodox, we are not *really* Muslim. But I’m not even moderate anymore, hell, I’m not even sure if I’m a liberal Muslim anymore. What do I do that could validate me being Muslim? I celebrate Ramadan, I am married to a Muslim, I like tawhid and the concept of imaan, I believe in shahada, and…… ummmm…. yea, that’s about it…. My brain is exploding…… crisis!…… The truth is I like just about the same amount of things in other religions also, but that doesn’t make me part of that religion. I think the same may be true of me and Islam.

    Maybe I need to start calling myself a non practicing Muslim? I think I am Muslim by name and that’s it. I am beginning to think I believe in the spiritual aspects of Islam, but not the ritual aspects. Then it makes me wonder if it is because of the culture I come from. I come from a culture that believes these exact same things about religion. Regardless, that is where I am at. And I think I only still call myself Muslim for my husband’s sake. And I would rather ignore what that is going to mean when we have kids, daughters especially. I would like to think things will work out just fine.

    Now there is something God can laugh at me about 😛 And it is laughable. I just want to believe what I believe and be in peace. And I do hope she is flattered that I tried, because I did! But it just isn’t working out. I am accepting that I am just not going to be that religious person. I’m just not. I am not religious. I have no religion.

    • Oh God, I think I should put up a disclaimer on this blog. See this what happens when you think too much.

    • Sarah

      I never said anything that wasn’t factual, infact it is everyone here that keeps saying what they “think” rather than what the facts say. I am deeply saddened by all your comments especially yours unsettled soul. You say you only call yourself Muslim for your husband’s sake, and nothing comes to my mind except plain insincere. Have a great day.

  10. unsettledsoul

    hahaha! Exactly. I’m sitting down with hubs tonight. Time for a big talk, we need to start facing this and come to some kind of agreement. I have been ignoring the subject with him and I need to stop. Wish me luck!

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