Religion: Father God, Mother Eve

The story is told in countless versions. Somebody—a saintly rabbi, a mystic caught up in holy ecstasy, even in one version a lost astronaut—chances to see God face to face and lives to tell about it. "What is God really like?" asks an anxious crowd back home. The narrator hesitates. "You'll be shocked," he warns. He is pressed further. "Well," he finally says, "to begin with, she's black."

The message of the joke would be lost in some cultures; in India, for instance, Kali—an incarnation of the Hindu mother goddess—is both female and black....

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!