Presented at Dayspring Church 10/23
Not too long ago I was invited to a party at a friend’s house. It was a casual affair with people who I mostly didn’t know. I was there because I loved Cary—and most of the people were her friends at UCO. Before long one of the people, who learned that I was a Professor at Oklahoma Christian, began kidding with me about my church’s position on instrumental music (that’s one way to light up a party) and then he started talking about how he didn’t believe in god because he was an atheist.” To which I said, “Tell me more about this God you don’t believe in—I’m not sure I believe in him either!” We had a great discussion, and as it turns out, I didn’t believe in his God either! I’ve had this conversation many times—people telling me about the God that neither of us believe in!
In the television show, Eleanor and Jason are hiding out. Like Adam and Eve, they are afraid to show themselves. The God they know will punish them eternally. So even in paradise they must hide and live in fear for their eternal souls.
In my life, back in 2008, I was suffering from a serious life-crash. It was then where I clearly learned that it is just as important to know about the God you don’t believe in as much as the God you do! When trouble comes, what you believe about God very much depends on whether God can get through to be your healer or whether you will suffer additional pain of shame, blame, and condemnation.
For those of us who believe in God, I want to state flat-out that we cannot be in “The Good Place” and have a warped view of God. I hear so many things attributed to God that is so sad.
But I have good news for you! The good news is—God does not hate you! God does not condemn you. God does not despise you. God loves you.
But what is that warped view I’m speaking of. If you don’t mind, let me read you a passage from a book written by Father Juan Arias from his book, The God I Don’t Believe. Father Arias was the founder of a movement to promote dialogue with those outside the Church. In this book, he enters a communion of thought with people who do not share his faith. He seeks to show that the “magically remote” God rejected by the unbeliever, bears no relation to the One whom Christians worship.
No, I shall never believe in:
- the God who catches man by surprise in a sin of weakness,
- the God incapable of giving an answer to the grave problems of a sincere and honest man who cries in tears: “I can’t!”
- the God who loves pain,
- the God who flashes a red light against human joys,
- the God who sterilizes man’s reason,
- the God who makes himself feared,
- the grandfather-God whom one can twist around one’s little finger,
- the God who makes Himself the monopoly of a church, a race, a culture or a caste,
- the God who doesn’t need man,
- the lottery-god whom one can find only by chance,
- the judge-God who can give a verdict only with a rule book in His hands,
- the God incapable of smiling at many of man’s awkward mistakes,
- the God who can be fully explained by a philosophy,
- the God incapable of loving what many people despise,
- the God incapable of forgiving what many men condemn,
- the God incapable of redeeming the wretched,
- the God incapable of understanding that children will always get themselves dirty and be forgetful,
- the God who demands that if a man is to believe he must give up being a man,
- the God who does not accept a seat at our human festivities,
- the God whom only the mature, the wise, or the comfortably situated can understand,
- the God who is not feared by the rich at whose doors lie the hungry and the wretched,
- the God who condemns all sex,
- the God who sometimes regrets for giving man free will,
- the God who says and feels nothing about the agonizing problems of suffering humanity,
- the God who is interested in souls and not in men,
- the God whose disciples turn their backs on the world’s work and are indifferent to their brother’s story,
- the God who regards war as good,
- the God who put law before conscience,
- the God who would deny man the freedom to sin,
- the God who has no forgiveness for some sins,
- the God who does not save those who have not known Him but who have desired and searched for Him,
- the God who “carries off” to hell the child after his first sin,
- the God who does not permit man the possibility of being able to damn himself,
- the God who does not go out to meet him who had abandoned Him,
- the God incapable of making all things new,
- the God who has never wept for men,
- the God who would not have become a man, with all that implies,
Yes, my God is the other God”.