My daughters have a kids book entitled That’s Not My Fairy, where each page shows a different fairy, and describes why that is, in fact, not my fairy.
That’s not my fairy, her crown is too smooth…
That’s not my fairy, her slippers are too bumpy…
That’s not my fairy, her wings are too fluffy…
Brushing aside the obvious questions (why do I have a fairy? what is the job description of said fairy? why must I be so discriminating when it comes to fairy picking?), the book reminds me of a trend in theology that I have seen across American churches in the past few years. The tendency to pick our deity based on which one makes us happier seems prevalent lately. Someone will look at an attribute of God, and say one of these sentences, “That’s the kind of God I want to serve,” or “That’s not the God I would follow.”
Insert random inspirational image…check.
A Christian may look at the concept of predestination, and decide that he disagrees with it because he doesn’t want to believe in a God who would knowingly send a human being to hell.
I just refuse to believe in a God who does that!
Progressive Christians have lately been discussing the concept of homosexuality with an attitude based on their desire for a God who will make that lifestyle a positive thing instead of a sin.
A God who would call two men in love a sin? That’s not the kind of God I want to serve!
There are aspects of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that I don’t like. I hate that Jesus told us to turn the other cheek if we are struck. I really don’t like that the grace of Christ can be extended to a convicted child molester/murderer who repents just before he gets the electric chair. The whole “submit to the governing authorities” part of the book of Romans? Yeah. Not a big fan.
I will pose this question to you, gentle reader;
How much does the character of the God of the universe depend on what I think is socially acceptable?
And I answer;
Not too much, reader. Not too much.
There is a group of men called “The Wolves of Vinland.” They started in Virginia, and now have a following across the US. They are a gang of men and women who meet together for the common interests of physical strength and heathen religious practices. No joke, they worship Odin, Thor, Tyr, and the whole Viking bunch.
I believe that Loki is involved as well, but I can’t really confirm the worship of Captain America, Iron Man, or the other Avengers. If you read their manifesto, it states that they are strong because they don’t serve a pre-existing deity. They create their own gods, and that is a point of pride and doctrine for them. On the surface, I will admit that their gang has a lot that interests me. They are a fierce, savage bunch, with more akin to Fight Club than a church. I’ll freely admit that their worship practices intrigue me.
But none of that matters.
I serve Jesus Christ, not because I was raised that way or because it’s part of my culture, but because I can’t deny the power of His nature. He is the same yesterday, today and forever, and a god who is created or shaped by his worshipers isn’t a god at all. I may not like certain aspects of the Bible, the concept of hell, or the exclusive nature of Christianity, but it seems to be that way whether I want it to be or not.
Here is my challenge, and the practical application. Find the things about Christianity (if you’re a Christian) that you don’t like, and ask yourself if it is because it’s a man-made tradition, or it it’s because it just doesn’t match up with your desires and personality. Learn to accept something because it is true, not because it’s simply attractive.
Author’s note: The following was a written reaction by my brother after reading my first draft.
“When you tailor a god to suit your personality, you’re creating a moral standard no greater than yourself. Atheists make fun of Christians who ask “if you don’t believe in God, then what’s stopping you from raping and murdering everyone?” The rebuttal is that “I don’t need a deity to keep me from doing bad things. I can be a decent human being without a supernatural being looking over my shoulder. Unlike you Christians.” Perhaps the better question is “what standard – outside of yourself – is dictating what is right and wrong?” Society? 60 years ago, Society said that smoking was good for you and homosexuality was bad. Yourself? Are you the same person now that you were 20 years ago? I look back on who I was even 10 years ago with embarrassment. There needs to be an outside moral standard that remains the same, regardless of time and culture.
And if there is a God that actually created the universe, then He lives outside of time, beyond the 4th dimension… Even outside of the 10th dimension (there’s an animated YouTube video on what the 10th dimension is. Pretty cool). He’s at the nexus of all that is, was, will be, would have been and would be. A Being that is that…Other would hardly be expected to conform to any of our socio-political beliefs.”
Additional author’s note: This post has Christians as its intended audience, and does in fact assume the infallibility of the Bible. In case there was confusion.