By Mike Edwards
There are so many views of what God is really like. Many picture God as this angry, judgmental God whose character demands that God is deeply offended when we sin (I hate that “sin” word). See here. The only way God can supposedly like us is to look through their Jesus-colored lens. Others picture God as graceful and loving, ready to forgive on a dime. Where do we get such views?
The Bible doesn’t always help
Both views mentioned are often claimed according to the Bible. The Bible can’t be an end-all. The Bible as literature has to be interpreted and many don’t agree on how God is portrayed in the same passage — even moral issues regarding gays, women, destiny of people of other religions, etc. To claim the “Bible says” is frankly a little naïve. Besides, even if we agreed on interpretation, we can’t prove God controlled the thoughts and writing of the writers of the Bible, thus having a perfect view of what God was like. But I’m grateful the recorded history of God with the Israelites gets me talking about God.
Claiming certainty doesn’t help
Many believe the Bible is only how we can know or best know God. This can lead to being dogmatic about one’s views of God. The Bible says God condemns gays. I don’t believe it does but I will except your “maybe” it does. See here. It is better to be uncertain than wrong about God. One can’t be certain about an inaudible, invisible God. Allow open discussions what a loving God is mostly to be like.
Why not trust our moral intuitions?
Let’s assume a God exist and created us human beings. Any God worth believing in must be a perfect, loving God. Wouldn’t such a God create us to be perfect, loving humans? Even the Bible implies such an idea: “Be perfect, therefore as your heavenly Parent is perfect” (Mt. 5:48). This passage also agrees with our intuitions — we must have some clue of what true love is. We may not always know what perfect love entails but at least we know the question we ought to ask ourselves — am I loving others perfectly? Or am I loving others like I want to be loved? God’s character surely isn’t contrary to our deepest moral intuitions.
Mike Edwards has been writing for Done with Religion for some time and has been a great addition to the site. Mike also has his own site where he writes that can be found at What God May Really Be Like He can be contacted by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org