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Why We Hardly Love God


Rennyo
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So many have given up on God, discouraged. Mixed and shaming messages in the name of “God” have issued forth from some of the world’s great spiritual traditions, though it seems to me, more pronounced within Christianity. Horrific images of Deity constantly and competitively vie for pre-eminence within the world community. From time immemorial countless religious traditions and their factions and adherents have presented conflicted images of “God”, leading to divisions within families and nation states. Strife and warfare have often resulted. Many honest people have reacted, sought rest from it all, have become agnostic or atheistic, have finally thrown their hands up in the name of intellectual honesty and have abandoned hope in any “God” whatsoever.

In a way, atheism serves a constructive purpose, giving those abused by “official” religion a time of rest and recovery. Others so abused become agnostic, unwilling to abandon the “God” idea altogether. There seems to be too much evidence to suggest a First Cause; intricate design suggests a Designer, life suggests a Life-giver. In addition, inexplicable “spiritual” qualities of heart such as love, compassion, mercy and a sense of justice also suggest a power, nature and personality greater than ourselves; the spiritual “intangibles” that represent a “greater than” what is seen at first glance in our finite world.

It is the goal of this short essay to offer hope to such people who may be discouraged about ever finding a spirituality that makes sense to them.

 

 

This is a long read, but very much worth it.

 

http://godquest.org/essays/Why%20We%20Hardly%20Love%20God.doc

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for posting this article, it is long but thoroughgoing and heartfelt with many well-chosen references. The ideas are all central to PC thought. One concept you don’t see very often is that Jesus was in a sense God’s apology to the human race. As the essay quotes,

 

“Mythologically read, the New Testament is the story of how God, the ultimately responsible party, accepts responsibility. And once he had paid the price, who else need be blamed, who else need be punished? The same act that exposes all authority as provisional, renders all revenge superfluous. And because the death of God does this, it saves us from the violence that we might otherwise feel justified in inflicting on one another. Thus does the kingdom come….” – Jack Miles

 

“We have the opportunity to ‘forgive’ God for allowing evil to flourish throughout his creation, causing immeasurable suffering. God grants each of us permission to experience God-anger in this process, to enter into the grieving process. We share together the holy experience of forgiving.”

 

Do you know who the author is? I didn’t see any by-line.

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Hi rivanna and Rennyo. Thank you in particular Rennyo for posting that piece and I did read it. Unfortunately due to a health issue it may take me a while to absorb it properly, so I cannot really comment properly on the whole piece.

 

But I did resonate strongly with people who said enough and became atheistic or agnostic at least for a while. I never made it to atheist, but I was agnostic for a long while, and not the positive kind either.

 

For years, basically Jeremiah was the only book of the Bible I could read on anything close to a regular basis. Not because I believed everything he taught but because--poor tortured man--he suffered so much from not having a clue what God ultimately wanted either, and even had the temerity to talk back to God at least a few times. And not just comparatively formalized stuff like in Job either. It doesn't get much more enraged than "O Lord you have seduced me, and I was seduced." And there was no happy ending for him either.

 

I do disagree somewhat with the article in that I think most people really do love God as best as they can, given the light they have and their other circumstances. But that love often has dynamics similar to children in dysfunctional homes, and I'm referring particularly to alcoholic homes where maybe the parent may love the child deep down and otherwise do their best, but the addiction is so strong that they do harmful things despite themselves. God may or may not be like such parents, but many of the churches (who of course define and mediate God to people are that way.

 

And so do friends with each other, despite their best love and intentions. I was (and to a lesser degree still am) an introvert, and I dated only sporadically until I found my wife comparatively late (age 30). The closest thing I had to a college girlfriend was a girl named Dina. Even at that, we really didn't "date" as such, we mostly hung out on campus a lot in between classes and grabbed lunch or dinner together once in a while. Most of what chemistry there was, I suspect (especially in retrospect), much more "me-towards-her" than the converse. She wasn't overly physically pretty, but I wasn't picky. We were both Christians and pretty serious about our faith as we understood it, which was another reason we got on so well together.

 

But what I remember most about Dina, and specifically what made me fall in love with her so hard, was that she had a drop dead gorgeous smile. Always. And this despite having amongst other things a fairly hard home life--not as much raw dysfunction as my own family had, but still far from ideal. But she was always smiling. And she always seemed to enjoy seeing me and always had a smile for me.

 

Unfortunately our different modes of being Christian catalyzed our breakup, and neither of us handled it very well, though I think I did it worse. While Dina was popular regular at our campus Baptist Student Union (which was where I met her), her Sunday-church-home was the local congregation of Maranatha Campus Ministries, a charismatic group which had bad odor in the Christian press at the time (late 80s) for alleged cultic tendencies. I'd read the stories about them, and when one day she infited me to come to church there with her I balked very badly. She may have also discussed speaking in tongues with me that day too, I don't really recall. That, if so, would have weirded me out yet worse. Glossolalia and the like...nowadays I accept them as valid paths to transcend from oneself to Spirit on a deeper level, but it's not my cup of tea to this day. And back then as a Southern Baptist it scared me to death. For both doctrinal and emotional reasons.

 

When I was able to respond, what I had wanted to do was express my fears for her being in that particular group. Instead, it came out as a stupid doctrinal argument that didn't help either of us. We backed off after a bit, and despite this I think we managed to stay friends of a sort till I graduated first and left town, but we were never that close again. It hurt. And it still hurt sometimes that couldn't have handled it better. I ofter wonder, especially lately, if she's okay and she's happy. And if she's still smiling.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Maybe the reason people "hardly love God" is because they aren't even aware of the Kingdom they are supposed to be walking in, here on Earth..!

 

Think about it: the first Christians were killed for what they believed. Afterwards, it was the so-called "Christians" who were killing everyone else.

Why is it that there is no more persecution? Are we missing the Kingdom here on earth?

There's lots of talk about a Kingdom after this life. But what about THIS life?? Did Jesus say that we shouldn't expect to see His Kingdom on Earth?

 

Blessings,

brian

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