Losing my religion

February 13, 2009 at 4:09 am (Uncategorized) ()

Several days ago I received an e-mail forward as part of a list serve and the subject line read: “God is sosoo Good.” the email went on to explain that friends had received good news about something they had been waiting for and were emailing everyone to share the news!

Since I received the e-mail something about the title has been troubling me.

That subject line brings up serious questions for me about who they believe God is, what they believe about God…what most “christians” believe about God and in the interest of full disclosure, what I have believed about God for most of my life.

And what I now find myself feeling angry and irritated about, unable to pass it off as “just a subject line” in an e-mail.

I can’t brush it off, because at this point, that statement represents all the questions I have had, all the struggles and challenges I’ve been wading through these many months.

It seems to me that the God the church teaches its members to follow is more like a figment of man’s imagination or as Lewis so aptly put it, “the great magician in the sky.” A deity who is good when you are “blessed” and teaching you a lesson or mysteriously working for your good or waiting until you figure something out or get it just right before he moves on your behalf or swoops in to save you, when you are not. A god who simultaneously exercises great acts of kindness and grace on some, while pouring out judgment and wrath on others.

Following this god is like living with a bi-polar parent. You never know what you’re going to get. You live day by day wondering, will he be angry or good today? Will he grant my request or throw it back in my face. Questions and struggles that are far too often compounded by others encouraging you to pray more and just believe and everything will work out for your good…or it wasn’t meant to be.

There is much beyond my understanding right now. Here is where I am…

If there is a God and He is good, then being good must be a constant state of who he is. Goodness cannot be interpreted by our circumstance and situations. Our lives are in a constant state of flux. If goodness of a supreme being is judged by the state of humans lives, that goodness is a very fragile thing indeed and not worth staking the time it took me to type this on.

This means if there is a Creator then he must be completely other than me. He cannot merely be the best version of me or the best version of the best human being I have ever known. Even that is not that great. Its just the best of what I know. I don’t want to follow that. I don’t trust in that, there is nothing reliable in trusting the best version of me I can imagine.  So its wholly other or not supreme, not good, just a good invention.

And for a wholly other being to be truly good, this goodness must continue when bad things happen or when things occur that just don’t make any sense. When no matter how hard I want something it just doesn’t happen or my friends who want to be parents struggle with endless infertility issues, when loved ones are lost, and the list continues on and on. Let’s face it, sometimes things change and you have a happy ending, but more often than not, they don’t. Perhaps in time, something else occurs that moves us beyond that point, BUT this does not take away that moment in our history and the pain and agony and mystery of WHY. We are the sum of our experiences, so we carry these things with us, even into new seasons…

I think  goodness and life’s  circumstances really have no connection to one another. These things that happen – these really  painful things that we all struggle through just are. They are a reality of living in a world where things are far less than they should be.

I can’t really go beyond that right now. All I know is that in the past, when I’ve faced struggles and pain, there has always been an end to them. I have always been able to push through it and find the end. To find a way to make sense of things.

This is beyond anything I have ever experienced. There is no forseeable end to it. It just is. And I think that God might still be good. Because if he is at all, he just is. And he continues to be. And he still will be at the end of this, whenever it may come.

This actually gives me a small place of rest, if even only for a moment, to know that I can beat the ground and scream at the mountains and curse all that is unanswered right now and the Creator of the Universe just continues to exist, unmoved by it.If he exists, my questions won’t end that. If he is good, my doubt won’t make him other than good. If he is loving, my hatred towards all that I’ve known won’t destroy his love. If He is, He is…and what will be, will be. For now, I am where I am and I’m going to travel through this spiral and get wherever it takes me in time…

Maybe its changing me, but if He is, that will not change.

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2 Comments

  1. Philippa said,

    I know how you feel, with people treating God like a vending machine. As long as He’s doling out the good stuff, it’s easy to call Him good.

    I cannot look to my circumstances to decide if God is loving or not. I know He poured out His anger onto Christ at the cross, and now deals with me in undeserved mercy and grace and love. For me, my hope and comfort is that He’s concerned about my *character* than my temporal happines, and by that I can rest assured that He *is* good. I may go through some tough times, but those produce patience, or faith, or compassion for others, or whatever quality He wants me to grow.

    God is used to people screaming at Him. Just look at the Psalms! But I can’t agree that He is unmoved by it. If anything, He feels more pain over our pain than we do.

  2. shaunphilly said,

    I find this spiral to be fascinating to watch from my perspective. It is an excellent point that if a god is, our opinions will not change anything. Being an atheist, obviously not believing one exists, I see this apparent nonchalance of the deity and I see a blind nature behind it.

    I will continue to read the blog and see where this spiral leads. I’ll invite you to read the blogs I’m associated with as well.

    Shaun

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