Ethiopia : Does God have a Gender? and Why We Call God ‘Father’
Have Religions contributed to the inequality between men and women is basically the theme of this discussion between religious leaders.
Freh Sehbat from Megabi Mistir’s (Nourishing Mystery), a leader in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church takes part in this timely and pertinent discussion about gender issues in Ethiopia. In addition, Abel Mussie from the Catholic Church, Pastor Yodit from the Protestant denomination and Fatuma Hussien represents the Islamic Faith.
All are welcomed by the radio host and discussion moderator. Audiences have been surveyed and many feel that religion has had an adverse effect in terms of woman’s rights. Listens are given a phone line and invited to participate through SMS texts.
Firstly, the basic question we say that the creator has no gender but yet we refer to him in the male pronoun ‘Ante’ as compared to ‘Anchi’ which is female.
Freh Sehbat of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church takes the first question. Firstly, he said, God is addressed as a male. In Genesis, the first chapter of the bible and onwards this is the case. “This is how we have been taught”, he surmised.
He says this does not unduly influence woman’s rights in any way he says.
Abel Mussie of the Catholic church continues. He begins by saying that God does not have a male or female identity. God is a perfect spirit and a father, a creator.
Meanwhile, Megabi Mister’s representative quotes the songs of Dawit in G’eez, the ancient Ethiopian language. He explains that the traits of God are exemplified through metaphors of fatherhood and motherhood both.
Religious Heads Discuss Gender Equality
Notably, Abel Mussie brings up a poster printed by the Catholic church back in the 2000 millennium. The poster had God’s left hand is male and his right is male. This shows that God is equally a father to both male and female. In this way, Abel Mussie explains that there is no favoritism between genders in the Catholic view.
Following, Pastor Yodit takes the stage. Then, Radio host says, “I cannot hide that it pleases me to see a woman. I can’t hide it.”
“Spirit has no gender.” Paster Yodit explains. Her calm speech revolves around how God revealed himself to humanity. God has around 60 names in the Hebrew version of the Bible she says. Notably, one of his names, El Shaddai has a Hebrew meaning which indicates the womanly quality of breasts and source of nourishment. In this way, Pastor Yodit indicates that the feminine is Godly of the Christian faith.
Next, another woman, this time a representative of the Islam faith explains that God’s qualities are very varied. Calling the sun, female, or the moon, male, for instance, is simply a matter of semantics she says. It is not to say that God is male. God is unborn and has no like. Explains Fatimah.
Moreover, radio show continues with texts coming in from the wide Ethiopian audience. Enjoy this fruitful radio show where leaders of various faith discuss woman’s rights in terms of religions. To sum up, this is a meaningful and many sided discussion which is likely to arouse much interest.
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