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Worship a God Beyond Imagining

Religion is only as healthy or as sick as our imaginations allow.

 Q: When I see Muslim women in traditional dress I see them as sexualized and oppressed rather than modest. Am I right?Rabbi Rami: Patriarchal societies often fetishize the female body. Some do so by covering it, others by uncovering it. That said, compare the images of women in contemporary urban Islamic magazines like Brownbook with the images of women in, say, Vanity Fair. Which sexualizes women more? The key for me isn’t more clothing or less, but empowering a woman to challenge her culture and dress as she chooses.Male Gods are bullies. Even if they don’t start out that way (Jesus of Nazareth) they become that way (Christ of the Church). I believe God is a loving mother rather than a sadistic father. Is this OK?I also experience God as Mother, both loving and fierce. Just don’t mistake your image for reality. The problem is that we tend to worship the god of our imagination rather than the God beyond imagining. Religion is only as healthy or as sick as our imaginations allow.In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says he answers all prayers regardless of which name people pray in. But I was taught …

Rabbi Rami Shipiro

Rabbi Rami Shapiro is an award-winning author, essayist, poet, and teacher. His spiritual advice column, "Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler," addresses reader questions pertaining to religion, spirituality, faith, family, God, social issues, and more.

His newest book is Surrendered—The Sacred Art: Shattering the Illusion of Control and Falling into Grace with Twelve-Step Spirituality.

He has this to say about religion: “To me, religions are like languages: no language is true or false; all languages are of human origin; each language reflects and shapes the mindset of the civilization that speaks it; there are things you can say in one language that you cannot say or cannot say as well in another; and the more languages you know, the more nuanced your understanding of life. Judaism is my mother tongue, yet in matters of the spirit I strive to be multi-lingual. In the end, however, the deepest language of the soul is silence.”

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