Betsy McCaughey, former Lt. Governor of New York, recently wrote: “If you like your God, you can keep him.” (She goes on to write more about the freedom of religion that we still enjoy in America.)
“If you like your God, you can keep him.” – A sweet take-off on a now infamous line from the President concerning the ACA! What a fiasco that has turned out to be – a typical government bureaucratic fizzle – so complicated that those who wrote and voted for it want nothing to do with it.
But we have all heard and read enough of that. It’s time to change the subject.
Let’s reconsider God for a change, especially since there are so many of them.
Each religion has its own version of God. Each individual within each religion also has her/his own version of her/his religion’s God.
And no doubt each unreligious individual has yet another version.
Even an atheist, who has a very good reason to question God’s existence after considering the retaliating/punishing version she/he was taught, actually has a better version in mind but prefers not to discuss it.
All these variations must make it difficult for pastors and priests to sleep at night. They probably lay awake trying to think of better ways to convince people about the right God – their’s of course.
Good luck with that!
Does it even matter? Does God even care what you think she/he is?
The Supreme Creator is impossible for human minds to comprehend.
Having said that, would it not be better and much simpler to just mirror God’s ways instead? But how is that done?
Well, although we will never be able to fully grasp the “God is…” part, we can certainly figure out what God does. That’s easy!
Just look around at God’s creatures and creation – every micro and every macro part of it. It continues to astound us with its endless complexity.
Then study yourself. Consider the good in your life. Make a list of the goodness you have experienced. Start with waking up this morning. Then move back to yesterday and keep moving further back. How long is your list becoming?
The longer your list becomes, the greater your awareness becomes. Your consciousness of a surrounding Love that you are a part of becomes more and more clear to you.
One would have to be a complete dunce not to be moved and thankful for such generosity found on your list during each and every day of your life!
Now that you finally have something to be thankful for, continue to bring out that list and add to it each day. It will whisper to you about the things a good and loving God is actually doing for you. Not that God personally does them. – Well, sort off. – God works through others. If you wish to, you can call them blessings.
By then, you will be looking forward in anticipation for good things to happen to you this afternoon and tomorrow. In fact, you will be thanking God for another wonderful day ahead.
The best part is that the next day will indeed be a wonderful one. Count on it!
Now, does this not give you a hint about what you may be able to do for your family, your neighbors, your friends, and even for strangers?
One day, even an enemy of yours may be astounded by the decent treatment you return to her/him – especially when you expect nothing in return.
You will have finally learned the greatest lesson of life. You will have learned your purpose in life. You will be making things better for others around you. You will be dreaming “impossible” dreams and making them come true by sheer creative genius and boundless energy.
That, dear friends, is why we are here – to do what God would do – love each other. Be God’s assistants. Help to make God’s dream for humanity come true.
Can you see the difference?
Religions teach what you must do to be saved from a hellish punishment given by an angry God for unbelief. Religion threatens humanity with its burdensome “laws” which are claimed to be God’s. Religion teaches retaliation or payback and calls it God’s justice. Religion oppresses humanity by instilling the fear of not having a strong enough “faith” to survive God’s judgment.
Religion used force in the past and murdered millions. Now religion uses secrecy to make humans fearful. (You do not need to know, so do not ask. Just believe.) Secrecy is far more subtle, but it is still tyranny. And many in Government have mastered this approach as well. They probably learned it from religion.
But God’s real justice is something entirely opposite of direct retaliation or instilling the fear of punishment at some later date.
A loving God offers compassion and comfort to all who are oppressed with fears. A forgiving God is generous and requires no payment or sacrifice. A patient God makes no threatening demands. God’s refreshing goodness “rains” on everyone, giving them new life here and now. God accepts each and every race and culture by living in and among them. And God promises to never leave us, not even as we pass through death into another reality which cannot be described in human terms. This, then, sums up God’s real justice.
If you like the God you have been introduced to here, that is, the God that does good things among us through others, you can keep her/him. Soon you will be talking to this God like to a close friend – about anything, no matter where you are, no matter what situation you are in.
Enjoy and celebrate this God’s presence – and then share that presence with others. Be like this God is toward them. Do what God would do for them. Just show them what God is really like.
That’s it. No sermons. No creeds to confess. No Scriptures to read, study, and memorize. No services to attend. No rituals to participate in. No hymns to sing about an “amazing grace.” No meetings. Suppers or picnics to plan? – Probably the one worthwhile thing to do, especially if you invite some strangers off the street to join you. After all, they are your children and you are their mother. (cf. Be Nice to Strangers by James Altucher.)
Just show others how much you love them. It’s easy. There really are endless kindnesses to heap on them.
And please do not make the mistake of formulating a law out of this. Being kind to others is not even a suggestion. It is merely a very natural human thing to do – once you learn it from God.
Henry Hasse ~ November 13, 2013