God has no gender is a common idea, I think, for most of us progressives. Either you are an atheist and the non-existence of God mean that naturally something that doesn't exist doesn't have a gender or you are progressive enough and probably a feminist and see God as non-gendered. So this concept was not new to me, but it was still interesting to see this article about this idea. Apparently, a Reform Rabbi has been studying the name of God in Hebrew for the past 13 years and has discovered that if you spell it backwards than it would be the words for he-she in Hebrew. The name he is referring to is the Holy name of God in the Torah, it is the one that is unpronounceable. There are probably some caveats I should point out, first this is from a Reform Rabbi which for those of you who do not know, is the liberal arm of Judaism so this will still hold no weight with the Orthodox arm of Judaism. Two, you have to spell the name backwards to get this result and I guess the argument could be made that if you move letters around enough you can get any result you want, especially from the Torah where it is written without vowels, so you can put whatever vowels you want in a word and change the word entirely. But even so, this Rabbi believes and I would tend to have to agree that the concept of God to the ancient Israelites may not have been male, it may have been non or dual gendered.
As GG and I were talking about last night, the concept of God should transcend gender. As humans we give God a gender and anthropomorphize God so that it fits more easily into our concept. It is much more difficult for humans to conceptualize something that is beyond conceptualism and has no gender. We need God to have a gender so that we can identify with God much more easily. Also, by making god male, it also continues the empowerment of the male gender which is patriarchal societies is, of course, important. There has been a move toward more gender neutral language, I know within Reform Judaism as I grow up in that arm of Judaism and saw the changes for myself, but I am not sure that the same amount of gender neutral language has infiltrated too much farther into Judaism and I have no idea within Christianity of Islam whether the liberal arms of these religions have moved away from patriarchal language in prayer books. (As a sidenote to those who understand Hebrew, I really wanted to type siddur there as that just seems to be the right word for a prayer book for me.)
The comments, which I have not read this morning just last night when I first found this article, are almost as interesting as the article itself. There are quite a lot of people who are saying, of course god has no gender, God does not procreate and gender comes from the presence of sex organs and so no sex organs no gender. There are also plenty of people who are saying that this idea of a gender-less God is a really great idea. There are a number of them and I agree with this that point out that in the article repeatedly God is referred to as a hermaphrodite and that is probably not the best language that can and should be used in this instance. Then there are the trolls, which I find slightly entertaining here. There are the atheists who come on and say, there is no god so why are we arguing about this. That is nothing but trolling, you are not adding to the conversation and for you there is no God but for those who do believe in God this may be a valid argument. And then there are the ones who are vehement that God has to be male, it says so in the bible. It says God is a male and he sent his child to save us, that we are all sinners for even thinking that God is not a male. Hmmmmmmm... well I have to respond to this on my blog cause well it is my blog. The Bible comes from the Torah and the Torah was originally written in Aramaic and then translated to Hebrew and then translated to Greek and then translated to Latin and then onto all of the modern languages. And along with all of those translations, many of those translators didn't actually speak or read the language they were supposed to be translating, for example the translators from Hebrew to Greek didn't necessarily read or speak Hebrew. So assuming that based upon the fact that you know read the Bible in English means you have any idea what it says in Hebrew let alone the original Aramaic, is just ignorant. There are all kinds of weird language anomalies in the Torah, so I just laugh at people when they assume they are so smart cause they know that Jesus spoke English.