In yesterday’s post we talked about organized religion’s tendency to promote the fear of God. And of course expressions like “He’s a good, God-fearing Man” abound. Where’s all that come from? And is it good?
This fear of God traces back to primitive religions back when the cavemen created beliefs about deities based on superstition, magic and sacrifice. A simple thunderstorm appeared to be an angry God to them.
Once we became agricultural societies, Earth Mother Goddesses became the norm. Over time, people began to personify their Gods more in their own image. As a result, there was a thin line and some ambiguity between rulers and Gods. Religion developed into the autocratic ruler on a throne, usually an old man with a long white beard.
But even as the religious beliefs because more sophisticated, this fear of God theme remained prevalent. When an idiot like Reverend Pat Robertson suggests Orlando will get struck by a hurricane or meteor because of Gay Days at Disney, or the Haitian earthquake is the result of a secret deal with Satan, it’s easy to assume organized religion hasn’t evolved a bit from the superstitious caveman days. And unfortunately, in many ways it hasn’t.
Here’s the other big issue…
The belief you have about God determines to a great extent the way you perceive the world around you. And you also tend to emanate the characteristics you attribute to your God. So if you view God as judgmental, vengeful, and punitive, guess how you are! (As Robertson so aptly demonstrates.)
While Robertson and his type help put the mental in fundamentalism, this God-fearing meme draws a lot of followers. Millions of people find some sort or perverse comfort in knowing they are not worthy. Of course this also gives them a ready-made excuse for mediocrity. And that’s the real sin…
You can use your humanity as an excuse to fail. You can choose to stay broke or broken down, and attribute it to that fact that you are an unworthy human.
Or you can decide to make another choice. You can see God as inherently good, and pattern yourself after that. You can decide the way to honor your humanity, is to express your divinity. I’ll go back to the same thing I said yesterday…
Honoring God doesn’t come from prostrating yourself before him, but from stepping into the greatness you are capable of. In the Christian faith we know it as the mystery hidden for ages – Christ in You, the hope of glory.
And the true message of all the world’s main faiths is the same. God can only do FOR you what he can do THROUGH you. Or as the old African proverb states, when you pray, move your feet.
Which choice are you making?