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Church should speak about God as male and female, says bishop

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The Church of England's first female diocesan bishop has spoken in favour of a shift away from only referring to God as male.

The Bishop of Gloucester, the Right Reverend Rachel Treweek, told The Telegraph that it was important for those in the Church to be 'mindful of our language'.

'I don't want young girls or young boys to hear us constantly refer to God as he,' she said.

Earlier this month, YouGov released the findings from a new survey that found the overwhelming majority of British Christians continue to see God as male.

The survey of over 3,000 British Christians found that only one per cent believe God is female and that women were more likely than men to believe God is male – 41 per cent of women compared to 30 per cent of men.

The research also found that younger people were more likely to regard God as male (46 per cent), compared to over 65s (30 per cent).

Bishop Treweek suggested that only referring to God as male could send the wrong message to people.

'For me particularly in a bigger context, in all things, whether it's that you go to a website and you see pictures of all white people, or whether you go to a website and see the use of "he" when we could use "god", all of those things are giving subconscious messages to people, so I am very hot about saying can we always look at what we are communicating,' she said.

The Rev Dr Ian Paul, a member of the Archbishops' Council, suggested it was hard for people outside the Church growing up in a culture where 'sex identity is ever present' to understand the concept of a God who is neither male nor female.

'I think it makes it increasingly hard for young people to think of personal being without thinking of sex identity—and so if God is the ultimate 'person' then God must be sexed - i.e. male or female,' he told the newspaper.

'This view contradicts orthodox Christian teaching—but many young people don't have enough contact with the church for actual Christian teaching to counter the thinking they pick up from culture.'

Source: Christian Today

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