Contemplating the All Powerful God and the All Loving God…

2017-12-16_14-27-42.png The Old Testament has always been a struggle for me. I find far too many places where God’s wrath is brutally shown. This is in such a total contrast with Jesus Christ I know in the New Testament. It is almost like the good cop/bad cop scenarios that play out so much on the TV cop shows. I tend to refer to it as the all-powerful God vs. the all loving God. Can the two really co-exist or did God basically change his management style between the Old Testament and the New Testament or you could say between the old and the new covenant? These are the things I have been thinking about lately. I know they are theological in nature and I have sworn off that sort of thing but it still crops up from time to time. I just can’t seem to help it.

I must admit that I almost ignore the power side of God. In that sense, I seem to be in conflict with many evangelical religious establishments today who revel in God’s power. They deem that God is all-powerful and absolutely everything that happens is because He has willed it.  One of the dictionary definitions of the word will is the faculty of conscious and especially of deliberate action.

So following this “all powerful” to its conclusion means that God deliberately brought millions of children into existence so that he could kill one every three seconds today by depriving them to have safe drinking water or enough to food to eat! Or in another example, he purposefully created all the dictators of the world so that they could kill thousands (millions collectively) of the people for little or no reason.  The people who pray to the all-powerful God say they don’t understand these sort of things but God must have a divine purpose for his extreme brutality.  I find it very difficult to even contemplate praying to that kind of god.

Here is how I see all of this: 

I kind of believe in the God of the Possible as illustrated by Greg Boyd in one of his many books. That along with the fact that God gave man free will answers the good god/bad god dichotomy for me. No, God is not responsible for all those children dying. That pitiful condition belongs totally to us humans. We are the ones who can’t seem to get along with one another.

Jesus told us to love one another; we just can’t seem to get that right especially when it comes to loving across national borders. God gave us free will and except for maybe some very very rare circumstances, he does not go back on his word.  It is not God doing his will, as some say, that causes all the suffering in the world it is that WE don’t do God’s will to love one another.

I know I have no right to speculate but so many theologians do it every day so here goes. I do kind of believe that God did change his approach on how to guide us between the old and the new covenants. He could see that the “powerful God” approach just didn’t work with us sinful human being and at that point, He just decided to love us anyway.  God’s love is called agape love that is it doesn’t have conditions attached. What the ramification of that has concerning heaven and hell is a matter for a future post.

Having No Religion or Faith..

Britain is becoming an increasingly faithless society, according to a new survey that has found 53% of Britons now describe themselves as having no religion.

The proportion is the highest ever, up from 48% in 2015 and 31% in 1983 when the British Social Attitudes survey was begun by the independent National Centre for Social Research.

The trend is evident across all age groups but is particularly marked among young people, with 71% of 18-to 24-year-olds surveyed in 2016 saying they had no religion, up from 62% percent the previous year.

The majority of older people still have some faith, with only four in ten of those aged 65 to 74 describing themselves as having no religion, and only 27% of those aged 75 and over.

Source: More than half of Britons have no religion – survey

From what I remember the US has similar  but lower numbers and also trends significantly downward but not yet to the extent of Britons. I wonder how much of this decline here is associated with politics? Evangelicals are now known more as an ultra right political group than a religious one.  That fact alone does serious, and maybe deadly, harm to religion.

On another thought, there are just so many things that educated people today see to enforce their belief that religion does more harm than good in our societies. They look at all the wars in the world today and see that religion is the source for almost all of them.

Too many versions of religions demand a blind faith.  That is, you are supposed to take whatever they say is true no matter was current day facts prove. That alone will eventually cause the demise of most forms of religion in the world. God gave us intellect and a questioning attitude for a reason.

When we as a world community finally come to see that we are all praying to the same God we may be able to eventually salvage what’s left of religion from the dust heaps of time.  These are pretty harsh words but I think they need to be said.

I proudly say I am a follower of Jesus Christ and his messages to us but I am currently not religious. This statement causes confusion in many but once I explain this dichotomy they understand what I am saying.

God’s Still On Holiday..

This is insane, and mainly because God patently hasn’t taken care of any of these things. Humans do these things and humans do stuff to mitigate or eradicate them. God’s still on holiday, where he has been for a few thousand years.

Source: Lazy and Incoherent Theology: God Will Take Care of It

I know that many of Mr. Trump’s supporters are evangelical Christians who believe that everything that happens, and especially his election, is God’s will.  When things happen that they don’t like or can’t reconcile with their beliefs then they fall back on  “God works in mysterious ways.” I also know that since the enlightened age there has been no documented evidence that God has intervened in the world in any supernatural way as he supposedly did regularly in the pre-Christian era.

Has God taken a holiday for the last few millennia as the author of the quote above suggests or is it possible most of the miracles and such recorded in ancient text really just myth passed down from one generation to another? I know I will be called a heretic just for thinking about this possibility but that is not the purpose of coming out with this statement. I do believe in a supreme force holding the universe together but I don’t believe it is anything resembling Homo sapiens. It is not a white haired old man in the clouds.  If I had to tag it as anything it would probably be more like the “Force” in Star Wars. It is a presence that started it all and maybe monitors it even now.

Now, getting to the point of this post and that is that we humans need to take responsibility for our actions both personal and corporate. We can’t put it off on God as if we had nothing to do with it. If we cause a problem we need to fix it. Global warming seems to the the biggest topic presently at hand in this category.  It is utter foolishness to sit back and wait for God to fix it for us.

We must be accountable for the problems we bring upon this world. I think that is what God wants us to do…

A Changing God…A God Who Loves Us All

I am certainly one of those whose idea of God has changed drastically during my lifetime. I started out as a kid in a Catholic school in the 1950s who was taught that only Catholics would go to heaven. It is certainly not that God is changing but instead it is my idea 2017-03-22_09-32-03.pngof what God is. I have gone from the beliefs of “Only Catholics” to one of Universal Salvation. I deem this change as progress, others more fundamental (stuck in their ways) will say it is heresy.

Looking at the ages, the concept of God has changed radically. He started out as something to be feared, who demanded blood offerings to keep his wrath at bay. Jealous, wrathful, impetuous, incendiary would be good descriptions of God at that stage. He was feared for his almighty power. At least in some circles, these traditional concepts of God are being laid to rest in favor of a more benevolent being.

When Christianity burst upon the scene via Jesus Christ much of the wrathful God was replaced by a loving and caring God who told us to love each other as He loved us. He told us much of what we believed was wrong. He used the phrase “You have heard it said, but I say to you..” Sadly, his messages are being muted to one degree or another by different versions of Christianity still today. But there are some, like one of my favorite religious authors, Philp Gulley, who have come to the conclusion that if God truly loves us all and wants all of us to be with him in eternity then he will somehow make that happen. I am now one of that fold for I think not believing that possibility is to take power away from an omnipotent deity.

love-god-in-sand-1314534-640x480.jpgEspecially in our day, many struggle to find meaning and tranquillity through spirituality. That, not established religions is what is growing today. According to an article in Christianity Today, one-fourth of young adults said that they wanted a break from religion; another 26 percent said church members seemed judgemental and hypocritical of others; 20 percent didn’t feel connected, and 15 per cent felt downright unwelcome. When you finally grab hold of the idea that God will reconcile all of us to him, all of this judgemental and hypocrisy flys out the window. You no longer need to separate yourself from those around you. You have finally reconciled that all of us are children of God and are to be loved. All of us.

I am convinced that someday in the future the world will finally see the goodness of all people and be at peace. I realize that this is a pious dream that is very distant from the original concept of Deity but I dream it none the less.