Is God Bald?

I heard from a relative today a story about a younger child in our family who asked her parent if God has hair. The parent had at least enough theological sophistication to recognize that it is inappropriate to say “yes” in response to such a question, and so answered “No.”

The child looked puzzled, and said “So God is bald, then?”

It occurred to me that this story illustrates the simplistic character of many discussions about God. If God is not literally like certain childish or anthropomorphic depictions, then that simply leads to the conclusion that God is literally like the opposite of those depictions, or simply literally does not exist at all, disappearing completely along with his receding hairline.

But sometimes the discussions and depictions themselves are problematic at a more basic level, and attributes are off target both when affirmed and when denied. Theologians have acknowledged this for millennia, and yet popular discussion of deities very often seems to continue as though such cautions had never been voiced.

Yet I was struck as well by the fact that, at least up until a certain age, it probably would not be possible to discuss an abstract concept with a child. And so we have no choice but to use pictures and metaphors and images to illustrate ideas and values.

I wonder whether those reading this post think that growing out of childish thinking happens naturally, or requires a concerted effort. There clearly are people and groups that think it is appropriate to remain with childish ways of thinking. But I wonder whether it is their advocacy of that stance that leads people to fail to mature in their thinking, or whether it is conversely immature thinking that leads to the adoption of such a religious perspective. Or maybe it is both, at least some of the time.

What do you think? Is God bald?

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  • Geoff Hudson

    A child can be right or wrong just as an adult can be.  A child need not necessarily be childish.  Simple ideas can be just as good as more complicated ones.  Christian origins are a good example.  The original Christianity started out with the Spirit and was taken over by the early theologians and ‘historians’ who left us with unbelievable tales.  The same happened to Judaism.   

  • admiralmattbar

    He seems to have an affinity for his bald prophets…

  • Doug Chaplin

    No. He has made us his children, and so his hairs.

  • Where Is God Now

    I can’t tell if God is bald. Sometimes God is so big I can’t see anything else and sometime so small I can’t Him at all.

  • Anonymous

    It reminds me of no. 8 on the “fundy atheist” list that I created many years ago (though only the first 11 on the list are mine).

    You may be a fundy atheist if one or more of the following apply to you…
    1. You become upset when a Christian says that s/he doesn’t believe the Bible to be literally true.
    2. You find you have a grudging respect for fundy theists for ‘sticking to their guns’ even while complaining they don’t think for themselves.
    3. You dislike how liberal theists try to interpret the Bible for themselves, while you create your own interpretations of the Bible for yourself. e.g. Jesus ordered his disciples to slay all his enemies. 
    4. ‘Thinking for yourself’ means adopting an atheist viewpoint.
    5. Any scholar who believes in a historical Jesus must be a theist. If they are an atheist, then they haven’t been able to escape earlier ‘brainwashing’ or they are afraid of the ‘Christian hegemony’.
    6. You demand that theists explain news items where bad things have happened to theists, even though no theists on the board have claimed that belief in God is some kind of a lucky charm that wards off bad luck.
    7. You demand that theists explain news items where theists do bad things, even though no theists on the board have claimed that it is impossible for theists to do bad things.
    8. You became an atheist when you were 10 years old, based on ideas of God you learned in Sunday School. Your ideas about God haven’t changed since.
    9. You think that the primary aim of an omnibenevolent God is for people to have FUN.
    10. You believe that extra drippy ice-cream is a logical proof against the existence of God, because an omniscient God would know how to stop the ice-cream from being extra drippy, an omnipotent God would have the ability to stop the ice-cream from being extra drippy, and by golly, an omnibenevolent God wouldn’t *want* your ice-cream to be extra drippy.
    11. When an atheist says “I don’t know” they are being brave and honest. When a theist says “I don’t know” they are being dishonest and are trying to dodge the question.
    12. When your thoughts on any complex matter are sensible and clear, and a theist’s thoughts on any complex matter are ‘mental gymnastics’.
    13. You make a point to cry out ‘Oh, Random Universe’ during sex.
    14. You leave ‘freethought’ tracts lying around, like the littering missionaries.
    15. You have actually calculated an estimate of the number of people drowned in The Flood.
    16. If someone says ‘God Bless’ when you sneeze, you make them ‘take it back!’
    17. You debate (argue, vilify, etc.) as if every theist was a Jack Chick fan.
    18. You know the bible better than most missionaries…at least the parts where someone dies.
    19. The only Commandments you know are the ones that are unconstitutional.
    20. You can’t remember if she was Mother or Sister Teresa, but you can name every pedophile priest listed in the media over the last seven years.

  • Anonymous

    I tend to think that it’s immature thinking that leads to a “pocket-sized God,” as someone once put it.  We project our selves onto the divine, and we don’t realize we’re doing it.

    On the other hand, the less human God is, the less comforting the whole project becomes.  We want a God who loves us the way we love each other.  If God’s love is only vaguely analogous to our love, then where does that leave us?  I don’t think the sophisticated God of Tillich or Spong is really what a grieving or vulnerable person wants to hear about.

    One way or another, this requires a mention of the song Losing Hair Under God:

    Oh Lord above sent His only son

    To spread the word of God to everyone

    Jesus cured the lepers and He healed the lame

    But He left the bald men with their pain.

  • Howard Mazzaferro

    Michelangelo says he has hair, and that’s good enough for me!

  • Steve Douglas

    Perfect picture to accompany this post. :-D

  • Atheist logician

    As a staunch atheist I believe it is true that alls gods are bald. It is also true that all gods have hair. 

  • umbrarchist

    No He’s Black!

    Look at the distance between the stars.  Look at the distance between galaxies.

    Watch Babylon 5 and Star Trek.  LOL

    But God is omnipresent.  He’s EVERYWHERE.

    So if God is everywhere and most of the universe is black then…

    • Steve Douglas

      That’s it – He’s black with white specks.

  • Beau Quilter

    Of course, if you’re a pantheist, God has hair. He has all the hair in the universe.

  • Howard Mazzaferro

    Did you mean, does God have hair (the musical)?

  • Paul D.

    God is bald with long hair and an afro. Three hairdos in one person. A triune coiffure!

  • Brad Matthies

    No. However, I am receding.

  • John Tancock (JT)

    No No  you are ALL WRONG! The fact is self evident, God DID HAVE hair, but as in all other circumstances as he got older it receded and finally disapeared. The question remains for discussion though is how old was God when he lost his hair, is this calculable and is there a purpose in all of this?