In answer to that question; for those of you who know me what I am about to say may surprise you. My answer to that question is yes: IF…
There is so much included in the Christian life; so much is involved with being a true disciple of Yeshua.
Christian dogma is sometimes nonsensical
Unfortunately, Christian institutions have simply “dropped the ball” in addressing life’s issues. American Christianity just does not answer the real questions of life that people are seeking answers to; that people need.
Accordingly, people are leaving Christian churches in droves and for good reason. America’s mainstream religion has been weighed in the balance and found wanting.
The very sad thing is, upon departure, most have no idea where to go or what to do so they search and find something with answers that seem to make sense to them. Often these answers will include something like witchcraft, the corner bar, or something of that nature.
I really don’t like criticizing, and I would definitely prefer not to. However there has been so much damage done to sincere people; it is time to be honest: Houston, we have a problem here….
Space engineer who sees God as nonsensical
Take for example the space engineer who was a committed Christian for 40 years. Year after year he went to church, listened to the sermons and did what he thought was expected of him. One day he realized that his “church life” was full of contradictions; it really didn’t make any sense.
It would have been easy for me to put the blame on him but I chose to learn why he felt that way. I found that his reasoning was very reasonable. He recounted mainstream doctrines, that I have heard many times, that are simply nonsensical, unBiblical, and contradictory. The only defense for them was that unfortunately, he had been taught things that the Bible didn’t say, by people who taught the party line.
But it was too late for all of that. He had made his decision. He is now a flight instructor who believes that aliens are gods. It sounds crazy, I know, but it makes more sense to him then all of the contradictions he heard from the pulpit. In my view, he is yet another victim of American churchianity.
Is God some sort of ruthless slave driver with a sick sense of humor?
So; is God some sort of ruthless taskmaster with a sick sense of humor? NO, He is not.
However, the very unfortunate thing is that He is portrayed that way in almost every mainstream church that I have ever attended: Not EVERY one, but almost every one.
What I mean is it would be an awful, callous, thing for a God to make claims and promises, in exchange for devotion and commitment, and then be incapable or unwilling to deliver.
Contradictions in churchianity
For example, how could God claim to heal but then continuously send people to the hospital because disease is bigger than He is? How cruel it would be for God to say that He could heal your hurts and then send you to the secular shrink because it is a “matter for a professional”. How incredibly insensitive it would be for God to send someone who was afflicted by demons to the psych ward.
Yet if you have been around Christiandom for any length of time then you know that this is exactly what happens in Christian churches.
I am not saying that as a Christian, you should NEVER seek help, etc. In some cases, God does utilize services like these to facilitate healing.
However, I don’t believe that is God’s best. Within today’s Christiandom, what I have described here is the rule and relatively speaking, anything else that happens, in these sort of circumstances, is an extremely rare exception.
To me, this kind of consistent inconsistency would lead any reasonable, thinking, person to question and doubt the legitimacy of “church”.
The God of America’s mainstream religion
So in answer to the question posed in the title, “Is God some sort of ruthless taskmaster with a sick sense of humor? I believe that the God presented in much of America’s mainstream religion is an impotent liar who is cruel and creates confusion in the lives of well-meaning people.
The nonsensical twisting and turning that America’s mainstream religion has to do in order to present contradicting, nonsensical theology into something palatable is remarkable, wearisome and embarrassing.
God: Fable or truth
The Bible should either be viewed as a fairy tale or, it should be taken as literally as possible, understanding that the Hebrew way of communicating is different than the Western approach. The Bible is Hebraic in nature; even the Renewed Covenant / NT.
You should either believe the Bible as the truth of God, the Creator and Supreme being of the universe, and live by it; or you should disregard it.
As I see it, trying to zig and zag somewhere through the middle is wearisome. I would even go so far as to say that it is even cruel to project to people that, attempting to live that way will somehow address life’s woes.
In fact, in 1 Corinthians 15:17-19 Apostle Paul stated that;
If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; you are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
In Psalm 119:1-5, King David said “Your word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. “
In John 8:24 Yeshua said that if you believe not that He is the only begotten Son of God then you will die in your sin. I believe Him: But the thing is, believing includes a whole lot more than just making a simple confession like people are taught.
I embrace the promises and reality of God
So I choose to embrace the promises of God as complete reality; the paradigm in which one is to exist. I am not saying that I have arrived, I am simply aligning myself with Apostle Paul by saying that I am running the race as if to win.
So, when I read portions of Scripture like Mark 16:16-18,
“He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”
I believe it! And not only do I believe it but, to the best of my ability, I live it. I find that God, the Bible, and life just makes a whole lot more sense to me that way.
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