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Chapter 4: Religion Is Individual Flowering

The first question:

Why do you refer to God as “he”? The is-ness, the life energy, the totality, the unknowable. Well, wouldn’t it be clearer to call God “it”? What bugs me about the “he” is that “he” implies a personality, a will, a judgmental authority, and my ability to love is crippled enough without that obstacle. I see now that the question is an entry to my problem: How can I trust or come to love your authority?

God is not expressible in any word whatever. Call him “he” and the word falls short; call him “she” and the word falls short; call him “it” and the word falls short, very short. If he reminds you of a personality, it will remind you of a thing. If he reminds you of the male, she will remind you of the female - because all words are created by human beings for human use, and God is not a human creation. So whatsoever you call him is going to be only symbolic.

Choose any symbol you like: if you feel like calling him “it,” call him “it.” But remember, “it” has its own limitations. “It” is used for things, for dead things. And it has another limitation: “it” is very neutral. “It” is not responsive; if you say something to “it,” there will be no response. Only a person can respond, and love needs response. You can talk to a wall, but there will be no response; it will be a monologue. God is called “he” so that your prayer can become a dialogue. Otherwise it will be a monologue - and mad: the “it” cannot answer it, the “it” cannot be responsive, the “it” cannot care about you. The “it” is neutral. Whether you pray or not makes no difference; whether you worship or not makes no difference; whether you are or not makes no difference - the “it” will be very stony. If “he” is creating trouble, “it” will create more trouble, mind you. How can you love the “it”? You can possess the “it,” you can use the “it” - but how can you love “it”?

In that way, “he” seems to be the best, for many reasons. Let me explain it to you. First, it gives a personality to God: God becomes a person - alive, with a beating heart, breathing, pulsating. You can call him, and you can trust that there will be a response. You can look at him, you can feel him, and you can trust that he will also feel for you. The personality helps you to commune, to pray, to relate. If God has no personality it will be so beyond you, it will be inconceivable. You are a person; you need a God who is a person too - because you can relate only to a person. Unless you have become an impersonal being, you cannot relate to an impersonal being.

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