What Do You Get From an Angry God?

Don Rogers on his blog Reflections has VERY insightful thoughts, like this one:

“An angry, vindictive God gives life to angry, vindictive religions, which in turn gives life to angry, vindictive people”

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  • http://donrogers.org Don R

    Thanks for refering to my blog and the quote I used. First and most importantly, the quote is not mine. It was taken from Neale Donald Walsch’s book, “Friendship with God”. Please feel free to visit and comment anytime. Blessings to you and yours.

    Don R’s last blog post..Think About It

  • http://www.spiritualliving.net/blog.html Rick

    Righteous indignation is a religious person’s excuse to be mean, vindictive and a b*tch.

  • http://strivetoenter.com/emergentchurch/ Ryan

    So what are we going to do then…. make up a god of our making that makes us happy in our minds? God is love to be sure, but as God to love would not be to turn a blind eye to the sin and injustice perpetrated by people… don’t you think?

    Ryan’s last blog post..Can You Give This Man The Answer?

  • Jeffrey

    Ryan, I think the point of the statement that Don quoted is exactly what you hypothetically suggested. It is that we HAVE created a “god” of our own making, and many sects have constructed an angry, vindictive one.

    What if god is not that at all? What else could god be? do you have any ideas?

  • http://strivetoenter.com/emergentchurch/ Ryan

    Jeff, you think that people have constructed an angry, vindictive god but there are others that have created a god that doesn’t get angry… then there are others who have created a god which is really just the collective of all humanity and/or all created things so this god is not a unique personality, but you and me…and the tree over there. So what you got is everyone with their own opinions scratching in the dark. It would seem to me that your question “What else could god be? do you have any ideas?” just adds to the list of possibilities.

    It would seem that the only solution to this conundrum is for God to reveal Himself and to tell us what He is like, to define Himself for us…don’t you think?

    Ryan’s last blog post..Can You Give This Man The Answer?

  • Jeffrey

    one problem i see with trying to define God, is that we all view the world (and God) through our own biases. Hence it is impossible to objectively and definitively say God is ________.

    Jesus didn’t go about trying to define it. He said things such as, the Kingdom of God is LIKE _______.

    You joke about finding God in you and me “and that tree over there”, but that is very ironic. The gnostic gospel of thomas says:

    ‘Jesus said, “I am the light that is over all things. I am all: from me all came forth, and to me all attained. Split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there.”

    Ha, ha, funny that you would choose the tree example.

    Regarding your last question, I would say that God is always revealing what he is like, we need only open our eyes and see it. More importantly, i think we need to listen to each other (especially including others not like ourselves) so that we may collectively come to a better understanding of what exactly God is. I don’t think any one person can come to a definitive and complete understanding of “God” on their own).

  • http://strivetoenter.com/emergentchurch/ Ryan

    Hi Jeffrey,

    You are right, we do all have biases. But I didn’t say that we should try to define God as though if we all get together as the human race we can somehow come up with a more accurate understanding… I said that we should let Him define Himself. I think there is a pretty big difference between the two.

    Ryan’s last blog post..Can You Give This Man The Answer?

  • Jeffrey

    i definitely see what you’re saying. I know you didn’t say the thing about discussing what the attributes of God is or “what he is like” collectively…that’s what i said. ha.

    Galileo said, “i’ve never met a man so ignorant that I couldn’t learn something from him.”

    Do you have any ideas as to who should hear and relay the definition/description that God gives of himself? (i know that might sound sarcastic, but i didn’t mean it that way t all, so please don’t read that tone into it.)

  • http://strivetoenter.com/emergentchurch/ Ryan

    Jeffrey wrote: “Do you have any ideas as to who should hear and relay the definition/description that God gives of himself?”

    Are you and I going to sit here and decide to whom or through whom or what He will reveal Himself? Somehow I think that such a way of thinking about the God who created all of life and sustains it is a bit arrogant. I struggle with the idea that some people have that they think that God cannot be angry, that he cannot have a righteous indignation at those who rebel against Him. They put God in a box and tell Him what He can or cannot do or feel or how He can or cannot reveal Himself. For instance, if He uses people to proclaim His words to humanity and tell them of things to come and then they come to pass, would this not be God revealing part of who He is and how He acts? If He says to a king of Egypt, “let my people go or I will send pestilence upon you and your livestock,” or who divides the sea and then returns it again upon the Pharoah’s army, or floods the earth and destroys all living animals and humans aside from a remnant in an ark… we think we are arrogant enough to say He cannot do this… He cannot be this way… He must be only what makes me feel good…

    Ryan’s last blog post..Can You Give This Man The Answer?

  • Jeffrey

    Ryan, no I don’t I don’t expect to sit here and do any such thing. It just seemed like a logical question given the fact that you said we should let God define himself, as if 1) he would do such a thing, and 2) if he would, he hasn’t done so yet or is doing presently.

    if God had so clearly “defined himself” already, why would so many people believe so many contradicting things of him? I’m speaking of both religious and non-religious people alike (and all throughout history), by the way.

    Where do the contradictions come from? I guess that’s what I meant when I asked if you felt there should be a person/group of people to definitively relay how God “defines himself”.

    Maybe more importantly than WHERE the contradictions originate, is WHY do they do so? Any ideas?

  • http://strivetoenter.com/emergentchurch/ Ryan

    I think you are asking good questions here.

    Let’s consider something that Jesus said in response to the question of why there is so much confusion about God. Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight.” (Matt 11:25-26). And then a bit later in Matthew when Jesus’ disciples were asking about who will be the greatest, Jesus makes a very pointed and black-and-white reply: “He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’” (Matt 18:2-4).

    So what is the point that Jesus is making? Those who are proud and do not humble themselves before God and trust Him like a child trusts his father will NEVER enter the kingdom of heaven. Then, very strikingly, He replies to the “who will be the greatest” question that ALL in the kingdom are the greatest. I believe that Jesus is telling us here that the confusion is caused because of the pride of people’s hearts. Look what Jesus says In Matt 15:14 concerning the leaders of His day: “Leave them! They are blind guides. If someone who is blind leads another who is blind, both will fall into a pit.” Blind people stumble around in the dark — they cannot see where they are going, and they go about every which way. In like manner, there are many blind guides around today who claim to know the truth and the way, but lead people into the same pit they are heading.

    Take a look at this one… “The disciples came to him and asked, ‘Why do you speak to the people in parables?’ He replied, ‘The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. This is why I speak to them in parables: ‘Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.’ In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’’” (Matt 13:10-15)

    So, according to Jesus, God only reveals Himself to people who’s heart is right towards Him. He praises God for this, that this is the very wisdom and glory of God to do such a thing… so we must humble ourselves before Him, acknowledge His testimony about us and submit ourselves to Him and He will reveal Himself to us.

    Ryan’s last blog post..Can You Give This Man The Answer?

  • http://strivetoenter.com/emergentchurch/ Ryan

    So, the point is that it is not sufficient to have the scriptures — even if you have them, even if Jesus who claimed to be God in the flesh were walking in your day and you could see, hear and touch Him, you would be blind to it unless your heart is rightly aligned. But none of this says that God hasn’t revealed Himself. Indeed He has, as Jesus says to the disciples, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you.”

    Ryan’s last blog post..Can You Give This Man The Answer?

  • Jeffrey

    good stuff ryan. Do you think that many of the “blind leaders” think they truly see God as he has revealed himself? Who is to say the other is wrong and they are right? Is it that black and white? Are we all a little more “wrong” independently, and a little more “right” collectively?

    What was it in Jesus that gave him the authority to call the leaders of his day blind and to offer the True way himself?

    I’m thoroughly enjoying your thoughts and perspective!

  • JOHN T.

    Hello Gents,

    I was reading your posts and a thought came to mind. I wonder what a blind person would say to you about their ability to see. They may not have physical sight, but they “see” things we do not lol. Amazing how even our analogies can potentially sound arrogant.

  • Jeffrey

    that is a great thought indeed, john.

    Jesus often times told people that though they had eyes, they weren’t seeing, and though they had ears, they weren’t hearing. It’s kind of like Neo when he first gets freed from the Matrix. Here he is, a grown man, thinking he’s been really living and he asks Morpheus, “Why do my eyes hurt?” Morpheus replies, “You’ve never used them before”

    –end scene–