The toxicity of secularism and relativism are so pervasive in this day and age that even many Christian churches — the very institutions we envision as western civilization’s last line of defense for objective truth and moral clarity — have been co-opted by progressive madness.
Case in point: the UK Telegraph reports that on Thursday, the Church of Sweden decided to “discourage” its clergy from referring to God as “he” or “the Lord,” effective May 20, in the interest of being more gender-neutral.
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“Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost” is still in, but one can’t help but wonder how long it’ll be before they do away with that statement of the Holy Trinity, too.
From the Telegraph:
“We talk about Jesus Christ, but in a few places we have changed it to say ‘God’ instead of ‘he’,” Church of Sweden spokesperson Sofija Pedersen Videke told The Telegraph. “We have some prayer options that are more gender-neutral than others.”
“A wide majority of people decided on the book,” she said, adding that she had heard of no priests who objected to the new linguistic framework.
The Church of Sweden is headed by Archbishop Antje Jackelen, who was elected Sweden’s first female archbishop in 2013.
Archbishop Jackelen defended the decision, telling Sweden’s TT news agency: “Theologically, for instance, we know that God is beyond our gender determinations, God is not human.”
The decision was met with some criticism. Christer Pahlmblad, an associate theology professor at Lund University in Sweden, told Danish newspaper Kristeligt Dagblad that the decision was “undermining the doctrine of the Trinity and the community with the other Christian churches.”
“It really isn’t smart if the Church of Sweden becomes known as a church that does not respect the common theology heritage,” he said. The Church of Sweden has 6.1 million baptised members in a country with a population of 10 million.
After the story first broke, the church moved to decry what they called “fake news” that it had instituted a wholesale prohibition, when in fact many male references to God had been retained and clergy retain the option of which terminology they want to use.
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“We want variation when it comes to how you express yourself, just like in the Bible,” Pedersen Videke explained. Okay … but then why are you quoted as expressly stating that “gender-neutral” options or referencing the Lord are worthwhile?
Now, it is true that God is not a sexual being, and that He is much larger than either gender. However, the reasons why the Bible and 2,000 years of subsequent Judeo-Christian practice, teaching, and thought consistently use male pronouns to depict Him actually make continuing to do so even more important than it would be if it was a mere question of technical accuracy. As conservative pundit and Jewish theologian Dennis Prager has explained:
First, God is the source of moral rules. As the feminist thinker Carole Gilligan argued years ago, men think more in terms of rules, and women think more in terms of feelings/compassion/ intuition. There is a great human need for both. But, first and foremost, the Judeo-Christian God is a moral ruler (giver of moral rules and moral judge of humanity), and neither men nor women want to be given rules or ruled by a woman. For both men and women, the masculine image carries an authority that the feminine one does not. Almost any mother can testify to the declining moral authority she has over her children as they get older and how much more authority a male has.
Second, every civilization must check and then channel the male propensity to violence. Men must be taught to embrace the values of compassion and love. By portraying the masculine God as loving and compassionate, love and compassion become masculine traits. Had these traits been identified with a female deity, men would not regard them as masculine.
Third, God must be completely desexualized. That can more easily be done to a male figure than a female one. For example, Christian depictions of Mary always refer to her as the Virgin Mary — not only to stress the miraculous birth of Jesus but to desexualize her. Because we would hardly call a female god “the Virgin God,” it would be almost impossible to desexualize a female god in the human consciousness. That is why goddess-based religions were also drenched in sacred sex.
Fourth, humans need to feel that God is their protector. Men instinctively want to protect women, not be protected by them. And women do not regard females as protectors.
Fifth, it is far more palatable for women to bow down to a male God than for men to bow down to a female god. Healthy men devote great psychic efforts to escape the female authority that accompanies their childhoods. Any image of God has to work for both sexes, and only a male image does that.
Serious religious leaders should humbly appreciate that they are the inheritors of two millennia of wisdom, and caretakers of divine truths that transcend time. Arrogant leaders presume to instead redefine the faith at their own — and at their flock’s — peril.
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