- Published on Saturday, 09 June 2012 06:59
- Written by John Draper
- Hits: 1825
Depending on which part of the bible you read or which religious zealot you listen to, God has two messages:
- You must worship me or else I'll send you to hell and
- I love you and I'm merciful so I'll save you from hell.
These are both clear and most Christian religions push both of them. God is portrayed as all-powerful and as the "top dog" and he demands that he be recognized as such. He wants his creations to bow down, swear obeisance, praise him and in short, worship him.
He also made the natural law of morality his law. It was already what people accepted but by writing it down and signing it "God", it became God's law. If you disobey one of his laws, it is called a sin and it means you end up in hell. In short you must treat him as the guy in charge and be afraid of him. But, simultaneously he says that he loves his creations - especially mankind to whom he gave a soul and immortality. So, without retracting his demand for worship, he says that despite that, he really does like us - even loves us - and, if we love in return and worship some more, he will forgive our sins. We are allowed to break his rules sometimes, we just have to love as well as worship him. Doesn't this seem strange?
The graphic says it all. God is supposed to be made in man's image - I'm not sure what that means but it cannot mean he has a personality like ours. If we describe a person as "good" we generally mean kind, self-effacing, generous and yes, forgiving. "Good" people do not ask their friends to worship them. If you want to be liked and respected, you have to earn it. You don't win respect by threatening life-long imprisonment. God is acting more like a tyrannical dictator. Yet he also wants us to love him?
How can you love someone, even a god, who threatens? Christians will often say: "He doesn't threaten, he just points out the natural consequences of not conforming". Yeah right. Put lipstick on a pig and it's still a pig. He created the natural consequences - seems to me he's truly threatening.
Wouldn't a loving God simply not create a hell? Some liberal Christians do describe it that way: Hell is simply an absence of God or even an absence of immortality. For them, all that's left is a carrot - worship a loving God and get immortality. Sounds good - a pity it's unbelievable - but it's a step in the right direction and side-steps the problem described here.
Of course, one can also pretend to love God - would that work? Maybe not because he can read minds.