Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Wisdom from someone else

From my friend BF:
You know how sometimes you kill a little time on LJ by reading your friend's LJs and clicking on the names of people who reply to them? No one you know, just that little tickle of curiousity? I did it tonight and now I'm...

I don't know what I am, exactly. Not mad, per se, but a little sad and a little righteous and all on a stranger's behalf.

There's this guy, and he's had a life that's a bit rough around the edges.He's no knight in shining armor, what I read of his LJ suggests the very idea would get you a snort of disbelief and a weary headshake.

He took a pretty heavy hit recently. He's coping. But then someone from his former life showed up and wanted to talk.

The friend had found God. And for one reason or another he thought this guy should be told to find God too. Okay, people get these ideas, I can deal.

But then he told this guy that the reason he'd lost what he'd lost was because he didn't know God, that God was going to keep taking good things and good people away from him until he came to God.

And I sat there and stared at the screen for a minute and I said, " God is not a shake down artist." I said it pretty loudly, which confused the dog and then I said some bad words.

I don't care if you are a follower of Jesus or G-d or Zeus the Thunderer. But I'm saying right now that if your God is the kind of penny ante knee breaker who takes joy from people to make them do what He/She/It wants, then, damn, but your God is too small. That's a God of Thuggery. That's a God who runs a three card monte, a God who does business off the back of a truck somewhere. That's a small idea of God, a God crammed in a box limited by the mind of the one doing the cramming. That's an idea of God that doesn't tell me much about God, but tells me a whole lot about the person who holds the idea. For starters it makes me wonder if maybe he found this God-idea in a mirror.

The problem with a God-idea like that is it can keep people from trying to find their own idea of God. Because, you know, if they get told God is the kind of Person who takes joy and love away, why would any one in their right mind go looking for Him? Or Her, for that matter. There's enough pain in the world, I don't need to go around bringing myself to the attention of God, if that's what God is.

I don't think that's what God is. I only have a finite and fallible human mind, so I don't even pretend I can grasp or understand all of God. But the pieces of God I can understand don't take joy away. They don't make me feel worthless or bad or unloved. And they sure as hell don't pull this kind of skulking "Mighty nice life you got there, too bad if something happened to it" protection racket.

If I were God I'd be pretty unhappy with people who talked that way about me. I know God is a better Person than I am, though, because I hear that kind of crap all the time and there's never a big old zot of lightening and a smoking crater where the talkers used to be.

Response from JP:
Of course it will force a person to adopt a religion. I mean, *everyone* really knows that God exists, so they know d**n well that bad things will keep happening if they don't turn to God, who, in His infinite mercy and love, will torture them for all eternity if they don't decide they love the Master who keeps kicking His favorite dogs all day...

The 'best' part about this, thinking that God causes all this suffering, is it lets you completely ignore the message Jesus brought... why work to help the "unrighteous"? I mean, sure, Jesus said to love each other, to take care of the poor, the sick, and otherwise disadvantaged... but *obviously* he didn't mean to do so if it was *their* fault, for not believing in God, right?

So convert them first, and if they don't want to convert to your religion of deep love and compassion, f**k 'em.

Ahem. Pardon the language. I feel a bit strongly about this.

Many of those people reject one of C. S. Lewis' big laws about logic and theology: "Nonsense does not cease to be nonsense simply because it's about the divine".

This, in a nutshell, is why I'm not one of the Big Three religions. I refuse to believe that God is an abusive parent, who can treat you badly just to 'test' how much you love Him, make your life miserable on a whim, or to prove a point, or you may have done something to displease Him, even if you have no clue what it was. I refuse to believe that God's whole purpose in the universe is to *make people like him* and get them to *do what he says*, all on the promise of an 'eternal reward' that we have to trust we're going to get.