My very good Christian friend that I was debating all kinds of things with had the following to say to me at one point in our conversations… She said:
“I think that He (God) totally understands the warped church that you were raised in (good intentions on the part of your Mom I’m sure, but still …), why you think what you think, and no matter what you think about him right now, or where you are with him right now, he loves you. Period. He knows what you’re going to do tomorrow, and even 10 years from now. He’s not frowning down on you because you aren’t reading your Bible every day. Does he miss you? Yes. But is he some unforgiving, mean, judgmental God who only loves you if you do everything “right” (by who’s standards?). No, he loves us “as is”. And forgiveness is what he is all about. How else do you explain Jesus. That is the greatest love story of all time if you ask me.“
I know she means well… and she is trying to make me feel the “love” of God… but, is it just me… or does this really have some contradicting messages in it?
First of all, something that annoys me is that people think I am the way I am because I just wasn’t going to the right church. While, I DO think the churches (plural, because there were in fact several, not one!) WERE warped – I don’t think they are the only ones like that. And, I’m sure many others went to the same churches with different outcomes, or totally different churches with similar outcomes.
I know that wasn’t her point. What I think she was trying to hammer home – was the idea that God loves me… and is not judgmental… etc. I get what she was trying to say… but it still doesn’t cut it for me. I mean, don’t you have to take that part of the message of the bible (the warm fuzzy part), along with the overall message (the warm fuzzy unless you go to hell part)? I’m sorry, it just…. doesn’t…. make…. sense to me.
I mean, IF He loves us “as is”… no matter what… even if we are not “doing everything right” – then, why are there so many rules and guidelines on what we can or can not do? Or on how we should change, or basically live our lives? Why do we need so much forgiveness? And ultimately, if he’s so understanding, accepting, and forgiving, and non-judgmental – then why is there so much condemnation and threats of hell? And, how, can He actually send so many of “his children”, that he loves so and misses so much, to such a place?
Now, I know the old “love the sinner, not the sin” argument… and the parent/child and unconditional love arguments. But, I also know that I would never send my child to Hell. Regardless of whether I WAS right or not… or if they smartened up and listened to me or not?
Is there such a thing as “tough love” – yes. Do we need to let our kids learn the hard way sometimes, or even lay in the bed they made to learn a lesson? Yeah.. I guess… but, that is different than hitting a point where you completely abandon and give up on them – FOREVER. I suppose some parents do that. Does that make it right? Maybe it’s just my warped, agnostic, maternal instincts, but I know that I personally would never completely give up on my kids… let alone condemn them to Hell.
Apparently, however, that IS what she believes. That this all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful, loving and forgiving heavenly father of ours will eventually do just that, right? He will send any “non-believers” to Hell, right?
Or, if you want to get into the whole – “He doesn’t SEND us there, we CHOSE it” debate… then, still… no matter how you look at it, he will at the very best basically LET any non-believers go to hell, right? (Because, I also have a hard time believing that IF He’s all that he’s cracked up to be, He couldn’t stop it if He wanted to.) Which will bring up the old “free will” argument, and how he wants us to chose, he can’t make us, etc. Another circular message!
Just because I don’t believe in something that makes no sense to me, does NOT mean I want to burn in hell eternally. It’s ridiculous. And, if he’s so all seeing, all knowing… etc…. you would think he’d know of a way to have handled this whole dilemma better. There’s a good post on Heather’s I wonder as I wander Blog called, “they shall be without excuse” that gets into that whole aspect of this. This is like saying that by not believing in Santa Cluas, you are CHOSING to be banished to the Isle of the Misfit Toys. ?!? I mean, come on… where is the logic in this? I told my Christian friend, “look… for the record… if someday it turns out that you are right… and I am wrong… and you are up in heaven… and you look down and I’m burning in hell.. .I just want it on record that I DO NOT CHOOSE TO BE THERE!”. 😉
But, that is what many good Christians seem to believe. That when we die, if we failed to “see the light”, for whatever reasons, we are just plain screwed, right? So what does that mean exactly? What do people think? That we will face Him at the pearly gates, and what will he say? Something like –
“whelp? you blew it. I gave you lots and lots of chances – and now… I give up and you can rot in eternal hell.. forever and EVER. Maybe next time you’ll listen to me. Wait. Scratch that. There IS no next time. (as if I didn’t know that! alomst gotcha, didn’t I? 😉 ) Yup. You sure blew it. I hate to say it… I really do… but… ummm… I TOLD YOU SO! *sigh*… Ahhhhh… I just never get sick of saying that. But, no seriously, it breaks my heart to know you’re doomed to eternal torment and all… it really does… but, you know you had your chances and those are the rules. Must sure suck to be you. Whelp, I better get back to the GOOD Christians in Heaven who also no longer care about you, and go live happily ever after with them. Buh-bye now.”
Yeah. Ok. Greatest Love Story. ?? Sheesh… I think NOT.
Reminds me of the Carlin Vid I posted before on the “threats of hell” post I made. Check it out for a laugh… (Carlin vid at bottom, not the hell vid at the top).