I am reading a book by Neale Walsch, Tomorrow’s God. I have read a couple of his others Conversations with God 1 & 2. Walsch raises questions most of us have about God or at least about the teachings we have received about God. He does it in a conversational format. He asks his questions and puts the responses into God’s mouth, so to speak. I am perfectly okay with this method. The writers of the Bible do the same thing.
As a pacifist, I have reflected on the writings in the Bible that present a God of murder and war. Like Walsch, I came to the conclusion that the Bible’s presentation of God, at least in this violent depiction, is not a god I can believe in. So I simply reject it. Many would say I am taking theology into my own hands, creating god in my own image. So be it. I like my god better than their god.
Walsch challenges us to do just what I have done, to question what we have been taught. “…isn’t it time now for us to declare that the emperor has no clothes? When are we going to admit that we believe in a God of extraordinary contradictions, who we say loves and who we say kills, who we say creates and who we say destroys, who we say accepts and who we say rejects, who we say rewards and who we say punishes, who we say brings good and who we say visits evil upon us, who we say is the All in All and who we say is separate from everything, who we say is Everywhere Present and who we say is not in us”…or in those others.
Walsch has God responding to this: “These completely contradictory beliefs are called sacred and are placed in the scriptures of the world’s religions. The sum total of all the sacred scriptures of all the world’s largest exclusivist organized religions, combined into one could thus very well be entitled: Benevolent God/Malevolent God.
I used to hear it this way – when we talk about God as merciful and loving, we say God is Love. When we talk about God as demanding, exclusive, murderous, we say God is Just. Sounds like some kind of mental manipulation to me.
Walsh’s God says: “So long as you believe in a Two-Faced God, you will create ecstasy and terror side-by-side. You have imagined a God who is the epitome of both, and by telling yourself that you are created in the Image and Likeness of God, you have given yourself the moral authority to demonstrate both.”
I am at peace.