Hating God

September 10, 2012 — 9 Comments

The Democratic convention ended last week and it appears that the Dems have a problem with God.

James Tissot The Scourging Of The Back

“Mr. God, excuse me. We’d like you to leave––now. Please pick up your things and these nice gentlemen will be escorting you out.”

So, the idea of eighty-sixing God is bad enough but if that’s a long-term strategy, that seems rather, well, short-sighted.

I’m not about to psychoanalyze groupthink because I’m not a social scientist but I can certainly empathize with some of the individuals who wanted to kick God out of the arena. At one time, I belonged to their tribe.

Not so very long ago, I was driving home from work and as if a switch was flipped, I pulled over to the side of the road, distraught, and rested my head on the steering wheel––I was a wreck and I knew it. Supposedly, I was on top of the world with an overflowing life, but as I eventually discovered, the fullness of my life was attributable to the wrong priorities. I was chasing the same things as everybody else: materialism, pleasure, self-indulgence, egoism, and on and on. How unoriginal. And so empty.

At that time of my life, God was a nonentity. If I tried to drill down to the root causes of my unhappiness, it was difficult in that my worldview was limited. My take on the universe was material, consisting only of the physical and devoid of the spiritual. Trying to make sense of my existence was like building a fence with spaghetti. What did I really know about the true God?

If I did happen to honor Him with a few thoughts here and there, I was either blaming Him, condemning Him, cursing Him or hating Him; the histrionics of a spoiled child who doesn’t understand the role of a loving parent. Looking back, my magnificent idiocy should have bagged a slew of trophies.

I find this idea of hating God intriguing. How many people would admit to it? Would they be able to rationally explain their loathing? Is detesting Him at least better than not believing at all? How would they define God? Do people project their darker emotions on God without realizing it? Is the existence of evil the main reason He’s hated? Does God the concept uncomfortably get in the way of a nihilistic philosophy, that life is meaningless?

Do people really hate God or is He a surrogate? Do the promises of God seem so outrageous that He is hated for soliciting false hope? Could a thoughtful, logical and well-balanced Christian scholar despise God or, in other words, is hatred of Him the domain of the irrational, troubled or ignorant?

In those infrequent moments of my past when God was lucky enough to get an ounce of my time, when things were not going well, and when I couldn’t readily find anyone else to blame, I would hate Him in a loose, inarticulate sort of way. The insanity of directing this horrible emotion toward the heavens, however, was that I was clueless about God, ignorant of His life as Jesus, unschooled in His teachings, unwise about His creation, foolish about the nature of man and about as reflective as a sociopath.

Nevertheless, one should not allow free expression to be constrained by common sense. Idiots do what idiots do.

As I watched the Democrats struggle with the issue of God, I imagined a brave soul forging through the crowd toward the microphone. Granted a moment to address his comrades and after a few deep breaths for courage, he begins.

“Before our vote on this issue, I’d like us to consider this. If God is a possibility, is it wise to ignore the greatest of his Commandments? Matthew 22:37, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.’”

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  • Matt

    I’m not sure if I ever hated God, but when I left Him (before eventually coming back after many years), I hated what I saw as the world’s very messed-up understanding of God. In short, I believed man created God in their image, not the other way around. To me, God was possessive, jealous, needy, self-inflated, arbitrary, and unjust, among other things. Indeed, I was doing exactly what I accused others of doing… assigning my own faults to God. In order to come back, I had to throw out my false understanding of God and get to know the true God as He really is, through reading Scripture, the Sacraments, pious reading, and, of course, faith.

    • shieldsheafson

      Dear Matt, On my own journey I came across the ‘Brothers Karamazov’:

      The atheist Ivan Karamazov says;

      “I believe like a child that suffering will be healed and made up for, that all the humiliating absurdity of human contradictions will vanish like a pitiful mirage, like the despicable fabrication of the impotent and infinitely small Euclidean mind of man, that in the world’s finale, at the moment of eternal harmony, something so precious will come to pass that it will suffice for all hearts, for the
      comforting of all resentments, for the atonement of all the crimes of humanity,
      of all the blood that they’ve shed; that it will make it not only possible to
      forgive but to justify all that has happened.”

      Why then does Ivan remain an atheist?

      Because though he believes, he does not accept. He is not a doubter; he is a
      rebel. Like his own character the Grand Inquisitor, Ivan is angry at God for not being kinder.

      That is the deepest source of unbelief: not the intellect but the will.

  • Great comments. In terms of faith, we know it’s a gift. I want to explore that in a future post i.e., the alignment of will, intellect, heart and humility that allows the receipt of that gift.

  • Lee

    A corollary of this is that many people need to forgive God. What a strange concept that is! Obviously God does not need our forgiveness. And from theology we know that he is all good, and does nothing wrong. And yet . . . in His respect for us He permits so much that we do not understand. He does not answer our prayers as we think He should, or does not appear to answer them at all. Yes, it is very possible to hold a grudge against God. Yet I have never heard anyone talk about the need to forgive God. It seems such a strange thing to say. God, I love you and I believe in you, but there are some prayers you didn’t answer . . .Also, there are some things you permitted to happen to me and to the people I care about. I am sure it was all for a good reason, so I forgive you God! Yes, I forgive you, not because you have done anything wrong, but because my heart has not been right toward you. How can I make it right except by forgiving you, as ridiculous as that is?

    Please have mercy on me also, Lord, a sinner.

    • Not ridiculous at all. I understand what you’re saying. Ultimately, it comes down to trust, doesn’t it?

      • When I did not know God, I could not accept what happened if it did not meet my expectation. Like a lost and frightened child, every unexpected event was somehow seen as God once again abandoning me. As I grew in maturity in my faith, I realized that because of His great love for me there are many times He simply cannot answer my prayers the way I want them answered – it would do me more harm than good. So, I have come to accept that no matter how they are answered (and they always are), the answer I receive is the right one for my needs.

  • Bill G

    Why is the comment “God Bless America” accompanied by military aircraft? God is not in love with war or the indiscriminate killing of bombs. Why not a more docile picture; one of love and compassion?

    • Hi Bill. War and indiscriminate killing, I agree, create much anguish for God. As for my pictures of military aircraft, as an ex Harrier pilot I’m proud of my service and was honored to fly the AV8. I think it’s a neat pic, I love America and would hope that God blesses us as well as all nations, and no association with war was intended. I appreciate your point. Thank you.