Catholics view Mary as the "holiest of saints," not as a god, but she does act as an "intercessor" on behalf of humans, which means believers can pray to her.
Orthodox Christians also honor and venerate Mary as "Theotokos," which is Greek for "birth-giver-of-God."
They see her as "more honourable than the Cherubim and more glorious without compare than the Seraphim," according to the Orthodox Research Institute in New Hampshire. "Her name is mentioned in every service, and her intercession before the throne of God is asked."
In Judaism, God is comprised of "all values and attributes that are to be found in this world including both the male and female characteristics," writes Israeli Rabbi Ari Enkin in a short online response to a query.
The Hebrew word "shekinah" is seen by some as the female attribute of God, says Lisa Kieda, a Utah Jew, and the sabbath is described as "welcoming the bride."
"God is neither male or female in Islam," says Imam Shuaib Uddin, of the Utah Islamic Center in Sandy, but has "characteristics of both."
Of course, in nonmonotheistic traditions such as Hinduism, there are many goddesses like Durga, who, as the story goes, vanquished demons and brought back the light. Her annual nine-day festival is largely about women and children, Indra Neelameggham says. "You don't have to call in a priest."