A God of Convenience? A Treatise on Rejecting Religion
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What expectations do you place on God? Be honest, you know you do. You expect that God created the cosmos, perhaps. Or you expect that He’s devised some mechanism that we might live on after death. You expect that He takes pity on your suffering and wants it to cease. You expect that God gives your life meaning, purpose, direction. You expect that he’s been in or still is in communication with mortals so that we know His plan for us. Maybe you expect that in God there is some order to the chaos of the way things are. Maybe you expect that in God we can understand a beautiful sunset as an inspired work of art. Whatever your expectations are, realize that you have them. Think about this for a moment. Does the God that you believe in meet your expectations?
If the hypothesis is that God created us and not vice versa, it makes no sense that we are able to find in God the fulfillment of all our expectations of what He should be. What if God didn’t meet a few of your expectations? If, for example, you expect God to take pity on your plight, when in actuality God pays you little or no attention, what has changed? Some believe that God created us and then vanished, so it is certainly not absurd to suggest that maybe there is not a God who listens to your prayers. Some expect that God allows you to return to Earth as a new living being after death. What if He has other plans? What has changed? Some believe that God created a new realm for the souls of the dead, so perhaps God hasn’t actually met that expectation. And since it’s perfectly possible to imagine a God that meets only a few of your expectations, isn’t it rather convenient that you believe in a God that fits your requirements? Isn’t it a little selfish to think that God is perfectly and exactly what you need Him to be?
Why do you need God to meet all of your expectations? Simply put, your expectations are directly related to your spiritual health. Spiritually healthy people believe themselves to have purpose in life and believe that someone is, in some way, always looking out for them. Belief in God and the supernatural is not required for spiritual health, but oftentimes we look for a God to exist that ultimately benefits our spiritual health. We create expectations for this Being, and thus if this Being does not conform to our expectations, we cannot be spiritually fulfilled. None worship a God who they feel isn’t giving them a purpose.
God exists, or He does not. This is an unchangeable fact. If God exists, He is what He is and not what we hope that He is. This is an unchangeable fact. It is unfair and dishonest to construct God to be custom-tailored to your needs.
Religion promotes such custom-tailored gods. We know that religions do not tout the real unchangeable God, for such a Being has not proven itself and its attributes definitively. Instead, they feed on the expectations commonly put forth by people of God in order to tell people how to behave and what to believe. They promise your perfect God, in exchange for rules and regulations. Denounce this practice. Do not let them sell you a custom-tailored god. You are capable of searching for your own meaning. You are capable of being spiritually healthy without the baggage that religion carries. And as for the real unchangeable God, what does it matter? Either He approves or does not. Either He cares or does not. Either He rewards your taking responsibility for your own spiritual health or does not. And until He unequivocally makes His Will known, all anyone can do is speculate.
- Or: Gods, god, gods, or whichever term most accurately describes the deity as you understand it.
- Or: She, It, They, or whichever term most accurately describes the deity as you understand it.
- Deism, for example.
- Islam, for example.
- Spiritual Health: Serving the Whole Person for more information regarding this.
- After reading the above link, you might not be inclined to believe this is possible. If so, I urge you to read a number of Church articles on Ethics, especially Reflection 22 - Why Do Right? A Secularist's Answer
- This is a hard pill to swallow, but follows from the discussion above.
- Contrast this with the expectation many have that God rewards obedience to religion. We don't know this to be true, but many might have such an expectation of God. This is not unintentional. It benefits religion that its adherents come to expect such a thing.