Just how petty and weak is your God, anyway?

An Open Letter to My Brethren, Especially Those Who Disagree With Me;

For a lot of conservative Christians, responding to the tragedy in Connecticut has been a matter of repeating the basic idea that God allowed the children of Newton to be slaughtered because God isn’t allowed in public schools. The only word I can find to describe this theological premise has become pejorative and offensive to decent people, yet to describe this as a product of ‘stunted’ theology doesn’t seem strong enough. It doesn’t even require sophisticated analysis to see that if people like Fischer, Huckabee, and the many poor deluded souls who are parroting this idea were right it means one of two absurd things; either God is so weak and ineffectual that the rules of humans can prevent God from acting in the same way that a circle of salt will keep haints and demons at bay, or that God is so petty that God lets children be slaughtered because the state doesn’t compel their teachers to say magic words of summoning every day.

That adults are perpetrating such an infantile idea in the wake of a tragedy is pathetic, that so many who smugly believe themselves ‘saved’ while they are so clearly lost is a different kind of tragedy. It is the belief of people who somehow regard God as both Santa Claus and an angry giant in the sky and believe that by sucking up to the giant they will avoid being on the Naughty List. It is the sort of belief that not only assures tremendous fear and anxiety on the part of the believer, but it also seals them away from ever attaining enlightenment. The problem fundamentalists have with the modern world is that it is larger than their idea of God and is therefore constantly challenging their beliefs; that they could expand their idea of God to contain the modern world is prohibited by their most cherished beliefs. This is why it is always a good idea to examine your cherished beliefs.

The words of Jesus Christ in the Gospels are very clear that prayer should be a private communion with God. Jesus is not impressed by how many times or how loudly you say His name but rather how we behave when we think we’re not being watched by our fellows; it is very easy to put on a show of piety but very difficult to walk the path of humility. Jesus also told us that the rain falls on the wicked and the just alike, and that when the Tower of Siloam fell it wasn’t because the people inside it who died deserved it; in other words, God does not send us messages by killing groups of innocent people (or by ‘removing his protection’). To think that God is taking sides in our arguments and meting out harsh punishment based on our moral failings is to ignore the direct teachings of Jesus as found in the Gospel.

The world can be terrifying and there is comfort to be found in faith and prayer; indeed it is the only true shelter our souls have in the end. But Jesus did not want faith and prayer to be part of the government; He told us to render unto Caesar what is Caesars, and to God what is Gods. Caesar demanded compulsory public prayer and in fact early Christians were identified and persecuted for their refusal to engage in emperor worship; Jesus told us that God ‘desires mercy, not sacrifice.’ To think that Jesus wants us to live in a Theocracy in His name is to completely misunderstand everything Jesus taught; if those little children had to say a compulsory prayer before the deranged assassin found them they would have been no more safer or saved than the Christians who were threatened with death for not burning incense before the emperors image.

My God is so much larger; My God is of the Mustard Seed and the Pearl of Great Price. My God is a Hidden Treasure. My God was with Principal Dawn Hochsprung when she tried to subdue the shooter. My God was with Charlotte Bacon, and Daniel Barden, and Rachel Davino,and Olivia Engel, and Josephine Gay, and Ana M. Marquez-Greene, and Dylan Hockley, and Madeleine F. Hsu, and Catherine V. Hubbard, and Chase Kowalski, and Jesse Lewis, and James Mattioli , and Grace McDonnell, and Anne Marie Murphy,and Emilie Parker, and Jack Pinto, and Noah Pozner, and Caroline Previdi, and Jessica Rekos, and Avielle Richman, and Lauren Russeau, Mary Sherlach, and Victoria Soto, and Benjamin Wheeler, and Allison N. Wyatt. My God was there and is everywhere; my God is the Eternal whose compassion is not dictated by our prejudices and bigotries, who is with me as I weep over these words, and with you as you are forgiven your faithlessness.

Your Servant,

The Furious Buddha

5 Responses to “Just how petty and weak is your God, anyway?”

  1. Terrific post. Loved your controlled anger. You have a right to be angry at those that would point their finger at God or wonder where God is when bad things happen. My God gives people a choice to choose between good and evil and so it would be more productive if they simply looked in the mirror.

  2. Something else came to mind today. Ecclesiastes 3

    For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

    2 a time to be born, and a time to die;
    a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
    3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
    a time to break down, and a time to build up;
    4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
    a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
    5 a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
    a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
    6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
    a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
    7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
    a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
    8 a time to love, and a time to hate;
    a time for war, and a time for peace.

  3. And from the Christian Scriptures 1 John 4: 7-21 especially 16 & 18.

    Perfect Love casts out all fear.

    God Is Love

    7 Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.

    13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Saviour of the world. 15 God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. 16 So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.

    God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. 17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgement, because as he is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. 19 We love[b] because he first loved us. 20 Those who say, ‘I love God’, and hate their brothers or sisters,[c] are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister[d] whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. 21 The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters[e] also.

  4. Wow. This is an amazing post. I applaud you.

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