Carlyle Fielding Stewart III

Writings on Democracy, Social Justice, and Religion

“Enough of All The “God Hate Talk!”

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There is a basic difference between humbly seeking, serving and following God and self-righteously playing God! Many religious people appear to be the latter, where they use their religion to punish, condemn, ostracize and ultimately destroy others for being different or having views divergent from their own.

When the so-called heretics do not live up to their view of scriptures or their images of God, they often become God in their categorical condemnation of persons. The condemnation of which I am referring is not manifested simply in the form of harsh religious judgments about those persons, but culminate in their delegitimation which leads to the ultimate alienation and even the annihilation of the judged.

In our practice of a religious faith are we called to play God or are we called to exemplify the attributes of God which are love, compassionate, patience, kindness, mercy, and justice?

Is God the brutal, sadistic, vengeful bloodthirsty despot who” sits high and looks low,” ready to zap people for every mistake they make? If we learn from our mistakes and grow spiritually from them why is God so intolerant of those human shortcomings?

Is God really the vehement, vicious people hater that some religionists have made God out to be?

If God is the creator of all people, and part of God’s handicraft is to fashion creation where there is so much diversity, why would God condemn people for those very same traits that God creatively engrafted into them to make them different or other in the first place?

And what’s with all the “God hates this and God hates that?” Why do we primarily define God on the basis of what God hates rather than what God loves; what God condemns rather than what God appreciates? Why do we depict God so negatively, so punitively, as so vengefully intolerant of such things as skin color, class, race, gender, ethnicity, religion, no religion, nationality, sexual orientation and other things? Why must the negative become a false positive in our assessment and practice of the so-called religious faith and life?

If God “hates” and I prefer to say “opposes or abhors” anything let it be injustice, oppression, unjust wars, lack of humility, apathy and a lack of compassion and sympathy to the suffering and pain of people. If God frowns on anything perhaps it is racial supremacy and idolatry, the wholesale confiscation of bread from the poor by those having more than enough bread and who waste it, or the pathological gluttony and greed that crushes people to earth, steals their livelihood and persecutes their personhood to satisfy an insatiable urge which can never be gratified except by more greed and conquest. If God is perplexed by anything it is the way we are destroying our ecosystems, and the world God created while denying our role in creating the current climate problems we now face.

If there is anything God disdains perhaps it is how religion is used as a tool of hatred, division and destruction and how God’s name is often taken in vain to represent feelings, thoughts and actions having nothing to do with the God of love, justice, reconciliation, compassion, forgiveness, redemption, salvation, liberation, equality, truth, and grace.

If there is anything that troubles God maybe it is the way that we use God and invoke the name of God to justify our crimes, excuse our abuses and prejudices and rationalize those injustices which hurt, maim, repudiate and destroy God’s creation and life.

In our efforts to play God, we often portray God as unmerciful and intolerant of the slightest diversions from our religious texts and scripts. Moreover, is God so insecure that God cannot tolerate people questioning and clarifying God as we struggle for answers about who God is and what God expects of us?

If God is about love and peace why then is the ecoriating language of hatred so prominent and pervasive in some religious teachings?

Why do some religionists promulgate  the “Jesus as bastard or bigot” approach to religious interpretation and use such hermeneutics to disqualify others who do not sanction or endorse those images of Jesus?

For sure, Jesus had a kingdom of God ministry via the Jewish prophets which healed people, restored their persons, renewed their faith, lifted their spirits, put bread into their hands, gave them a listening ear and hope amid their day to day fight for survival. As a kingdom messenger, he not only announced the coming Kingdom of God but gave the people a taste of what that kingdom would feel and look like when he healed and renewed their minds, bodies, hearts and souls in the world that had beaten them down and nearly extracted the last vestiges of life from them.

To the contrary, his ascendancy to Lordship of Heaven and Earth does not cancel out his prophetic claims for peace and justice on earth.

His was not a theology of solipsistic, self-absorption where he praised God on “Sunday” but did nothing to positively transform the living hells of people’s daily lives on “Monday.”

He did not preach the trilogy of condemnation, alienation, and degradation, masking itself in nebulous and nefarious forms of religious prevarication.

His was a ministry of hope and healing; one that helped people see God in the midst of their daily trials and pain; a ministry that included outsiders and insiders and the in-betweeners, the somebodies, the nobodies and the wanna be bodies. His was a ministry that accepted people where they were and loved them into what God wanted them to be which was to be healed and whole and accepted and redeemed and to live good, wholesome lives. His was a ministry that restored them as persons of God in the eyes of God and their fellow persons in a world that had deprived them of their personhood through insidious forms social categorization, personal repudiation and political manipulation.

Enough of all this God hate talk. We should be building a world where everybody can live and breathe and have some sanity and sacred space and happiness in this life and possess the hope of a new life “on earth as it is in heaven.” This is a true message of God, the real face of God, the bonafide spirit of God, and not the personal, hellfire destructive creeds we are now hearing from various soothsayers and doomsayers who want to control every iota of people’s lives because they are different or “other” and then put them on the rack out of their own vainglorious assessments and misreading of God.

So much of religion is nothing more than personal venom and hatred injected through confirmation biases into religious belief systems and then corroborated and codified into religious practices as inviolate and sacrosanct when in reality they are as destructive as they are anomalous to the true intentions of scripture and God’s ultimate desires for the good health and well-being of all people.

Enough of this God hates certain people talk! We’ve have had too much of it!

How about more talk about what God truly loves and needs and how God often grieves for the world that God created which is still beleaguered and beset by so much alienation, despair and deep-seated pain.

How about talk and actions which will finally heal the world and eradicate its sorrow and pain so that every living soul can have life, health, freedom, prosperity and be at peace with oneself and live peace with others in ways that reflect God’s ultimate intentions for the world and the people that God have so wonderfully made!

Perhaps we stop playing God and start serving God by following some simple basic rules:

“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”

One response to ““Enough of All The “God Hate Talk!””

  1. Antoine Geffrard, M.D. Avatar
    Antoine Geffrard, M.D.

    Amen, amen. We’re drawn to the dramatic descriptions of GOD’s retibutive relationship with the Hebrews like we’re drawn to the drama of “Law and Order” on television. These simplistic characterizations of “good vs evil” assuage the daily free floating anxiety felt in American/worldly life. Yet, it’s through Jesus Christ that we truly know GOD. In Christ we see that judgment is the pervue of GOD, and that we as adopted children into HIS family are NOT to judge, but to serve even the least of HIS sacred creations – other human beings. Christ NEVER asked to see the religious faith ‘membership cards’ of those He healed or freed. He NEVER denied anyone a place at the table, but welcomed all. Whom did Jesus deny? To whom was He ever unkind? On whom did He ever turn His back? That is the same list of people we, His followers are to deny, treat unkindly, and turn our backs….No one. The door to Church fellowship MUST be opened, and ALL knocks MUST be answered. Surely there are some who will say these days and times require more caution, more scrutiny of those who knock. “What if we allow this or that into our midst? It will destroy the church.” Yes these risks are real. But the other risk is more real and the consequences more forbidding – that the knock on the door we refuse to answer is Christ.

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