Great discussion! This week’s sermon from Andy touched on something for almost everyone. It really hit home for the people who are stuck in the middle – between the unforgiving “rock” of a godless universe and the “hard place” of the unsettling, doubtful bits of Christianity.
Here’s the link:
Gods of the No Testament – Northpoint.org
Most of us have some false understandings about God because growing up we believed in:
1. A somebody told me so God
2. A Bible told me so Jesus
There are very few stories about Christian deconversion that begin with Christianity itself. When deconversion happens, it’s usually because we have abandoned one of the following versions of God that our religion has taught us:
1. Bodyguard god – A version of god who promises bad things don’t happen to good people. Let’s remember that Christianity started with a horrible thing happening to a really good Person! Plus the early church grew by the very same principle – it’s best people suffered terrible persecution.
2. On Demand god – A version of god who responds to fair and selfless requests the way we would.
3. Boyfriend god – A version of god that is based on the expectation that you will always sense His presence. But think about it…you are the least aware of the things that are the most constant! You don’t wake up in the morning and think, “I’m an American!” Or “I’m a student!” Yet if we are trusting in this God, if we don’t feel His presence, we question whether or not He is present.
4. Guilt god – With this version of god, we are taught that if it’s enjoyable the answer is no. No, no, no, no, NO. This god loves you but He doesn’t like you. We run from this God the quickest but he takes the longest to get away from.
5. Anti-science god – With this version of god we are forced to choose between undeniable science and unreliable religion I can’t continue to pretend or defend. We are told to quit thinking and just believe. However, God OR science is a false alternative. If we rely on science for our health why would we reject it in any other realm?
6. Gap god – This version of god conveniently shows up for everything that we can’t explain. The list of things we can explain is getting longer and the list of what we can’t explain shorter. Unexplainable things may be explainable tomorrow. We must pay attention to the frontiers of our ignorance. It’s not the unexplainable that points to God it’s the explainable. A predictable, stable, explainable universe is the greatest evidence for God that there is.
These gods don’t exist. If you’ve lost faith in these gods…good! They aren’t the accurate versions of God at all. They aren’t arguments for or against anything. They are ancient relics of childhood fantasies.
If your grown up questioning destroyed your childhood god, he may not have been the right one.
This is not an argument for the existence of God. This is simply the liberation of knowing that if you walked away from one of these gods, you may have left your faith unnecessarily.