Thursday, March 26, 2009

Is God, Indeed, Love?

Ah.... Just to know that God is love and to rest in that knowledge. To bask in it. To lose oneself in it. It is an amazing thing. But is it true? Read the Good Book much lately? It has all kinds of little "gems" to ponder:

  1. "Bash Israel's enemies babies' heads against the wall."

  2. Utterly destroy all of the nations of Canaan. This includes the helpless little children and frightened old men and women. All of them.

  3. Since David sinned with Bathsheba, punish him by killing his infant child-- one who had committed neither good nor evil.

  4. Punish the wayward Israelites with such chastisements as famine, and slavery.

  5. Top that off with driving them to cannibalism (it's a heavy load being the "apple of God's eye").

  6. Cause women to have pain in childbirth until this world ends as payment for the primordial sin of one woman.

  7. Wipe out the entire world by flood.

  8. Promise to wipe it out again in war and fire.

  9. Make a place called hell. Determine that hell is a fair penalty for missing the mark.

Of course, one might point to many "love" passages from scripture (there are thousands). I'm not sure that all of the love cancels all of the hate. And, why did God demand a blood sacrifice of God's own son? After all, God is God. Did God really HAVE to do that to forgive? Religions other than Christianity have a concept of forgiveness without a notion of blood sacrifice. It seems very primitive, very cruel.

Is God love? If you read the right parts of the Bible, yes, of course. If you don't? Well, then.... Maybe we would be best to admit that the Bible is a book that conveys very human experiences of God. Some resonant with me. Some really "put me off." The question for us is this: Who is the historical Jesus and can we arrive at any conclusions about his teachings? Much is out there about this topic, if we take the time to look. If we don't, our theology is likely to end up all fragmented and thoroughly confused. For a few chapters about fundamentalism and the confusion it engenders, visit my book web site where you can read three full chapters.( )

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