In a YouGov survey, results showed that 41% of British Christians believe that God has no gender: He is neither male nor female. The traditional belief that God is male is shared by only 36% of respondents, 19% answered that they didn’t know, and 3% of respondents said a different gender identity. Also, 1% of all Christians think that God is female.
Four in ten female Christians, or 41%, think that God is male, compared to only 30% of men. Likewise, almost equal proportions of male (42%) and female (39%) Christians believe that God is neither male nor female.
The poll also showed that almost 50% of 18-24 years old think that God is male, compared to 46% of older generations and 37% of those who belong to the 25-49 age group.
This poll was prompted by the song God is a Woman by popular artist, Ariana Grande. It assessed the beliefs of people not only on God’s gender but also other categories including the way they voted in the EU referendum in terms of religion and age.
Rt Rev Rachel Treweek, Bishop of Gloucester, said she didn’t want young boys or girls to hear adults constantly talk to God as a “He”. Instead, she prefers to just say “God”. On the other hand, the Bishop of Dorking, Rt Rev Rd Jo Bailey said she uses both male and female imagery in prayers.
The poll also showed that almost 50% of 18-24 years old think that God is male, compared to 46% of older generations and 37% of those who belong to the 25-49 age group. Meanwhile, 2% of respondents in the youngest age bracket think that God is female.
The survey revealed a significant difference among Protestant and Catholic respondents. Almost half (47%) of Catholics think that God is male, compared to only 33% of Protestants. Also, 43% of Protestants said God is neither male nor female, compared to only 30% of Catholics.
According to The Catechism of the Catholic Church #239, laid down in 1992 by Pope John Paul II, “God is neither man nor woman: He is God”. The Church of England, which is followed by a large number of British Protestants refer to God as male. However, in 2015, a movement within the Church believed that God is female. On the other hand, Methodists and the United Reform Church have started using a more gender-inclusive language when referring to God.