I put the word “May” in my blog name “What God May Really Be Like” to convey obviously no one can definitively say what an invisible, inaudible God is like. I write here that uncertainty isn’t all bad. God though often gets a bad rep by many in religious circle when dogmatic in their beliefs. I call myself a God-follower because Christian has connotations I am not always proud of.
Why does it matter what we say God is really like?
Honestly, most I come in contact with don’t readily care to talk about God or what others claim about God. It is not as if I am one of those zealots that believes God is going to send others to Hell if they don’t have certain beliefs about God, Jesus, and the Bible. I am not sure why spirituality is more of a taboo subject than talking about one’s favorite book or movie. But, our understandings about God shape our attitudes toward God. Don’t believe everything you hear!
Can we declare we know God according to the Bible or Jesus?
It is an illusion to think we can know God definitively through the Bible. People who respect the Bible as authoritative disagree what God thinks about homosexuality, gender roles, and the afterlife to name only a few critical issues. We must stop declaring something immoral because the Bible says so. And, we can’t always agree what Jesus said. People disagree if Jesus challenging the OT “eye for eye” mentality allows or rules out just wars when evil is rampant. God would surely not have us rely on a Book, when the majority born into this work never had a copy.
Our moral intuitions may give glimpses of what God is like.
God doesn’t get enough credit for communicating. One possibility for a universal desire to treat others like we want to be treated is a personal external force communicating through our moral intuitions. The truth is there is agreement on most moral matters such as murdering, lying, stealing, or not treating others like we want to be treated. Terrorists are wrong because they don’t want to be beheaded, raped, or denied freedom of beliefs.
I am convinced God is not a hell monger.
The Bible says nothing about the traditional understanding of the word Hell. Hell seems to be an invention over the centuries to scare people into submission and obedience. Our traditional understanding of Hell is no more a translation of the Greek word Gehenna (the name of a real valley near Jerusalem) in the New Testament than Atlanta is for Chicago. Why would a loving God torture anyone forever since such pain serves no lasting purpose? Humans wouldn’t even create such a place for their worst enemies!
I am convinced God is not a homophobe.
It makes no sense to me why God would condemn gays when they can no more choose who they love than straights can. Just ask heterosexuals or homosexuals. Some only condemn gays because they are convinced the Bible does. I have written here to please reconsider that the Bible doesn’t condemn gays. We know the psychological harm done when one must hide their sexuality because of bigotry and hostility. So, shouldn’t we be guided by love – how should I treat others if I had the same non-choices?
I am convinced God is not a sexist.
The Bible can be understood to endorse roles according to gifts not gender. God doesn’t favor men over women in leadership roles. Best friends, in marriage or other dyad relationships, don’t require a leader. Men may assume loving leadership means making final decisions in impasses. I have never had an issue in marriage that cannot be solve creatively without one partner making all such decisions. Besides, Jesus said being first is last so maybe the husband should always defer to his wife. Appointing men as authority over women can encourage dominance on the man’s part and dependence on the woman’s part, which can be conducive for domestic abuse and the other atrocities women face at the hands of men. Women don’t need male leadership in marriage; women need men who have the heart of a servant (Eph. 5:28-29).
I am convinced God is not mysteriously immoral but morally perfect humanly-speaking.
Some declare God is mysterious when their characterizations of God, supposedly according to the Bible, are incompatible with most people’s ideas of a perfect loving God. How can we know God if evil sometimes is good? Most agree One claiming to be God must be perfect. We know a lot about perfection because we have a sense of how we “ought” to treat our family and friends. One possibility for a universal desire to treat others like we want to be treated is a personal External Force communicating through our moral intuitions. When the Bible challenges us to be perfect like God (Mt. 5:48), the assumption is we know what such perfection is. God’s love and perfect human love are the same.
I am convinced God is not an angry, egomaniac lover.
God’s love is the same as perfect, human, parenting, love. God’s anger is no different than a parent’s anger against immoral actions that harm their child and others. God’s desire for devotion (glory) isn’t to remind God of their greatness or we can go to Hell. Parents desire respect because they only want what we deep down desire for ourselves and others. God’s love is nourishment that leads to life transformations.
What do you imagine God is really like?
You may be right! Listen to your moral inner voice. We just seem to know what is moral or immoral in most situations. Be guided by love in treating others like you want to be treated. But, there isn’t always one solution to circumstances we face. A guilty partner may respond with gratitude for a second change or another chance may enable bad behaviors to continue. Even an all-knowing God experiences uncertainty because of an unknowable future. God supports our gifts and passions to empower taking risks to make for a better world. God is dying to encourage us in such a journey.
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