Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Story About The "Either/Or"

Speaking of the dualistic (either/or) mindset...

I have a friend who was raised in a very legalistic tradition of Christianity. He tried his whole life to please God... Because that's what you have to do when you serve a god who needs to be appeased... You have to somehow continue to meet that gods requirements of you.

He was taught that if you follow God (keep all the right rules and believe the right doctrines) then life will work out, and everything (job, money, Marriage, etc) would eventually fall into place.

This is all my friend every really knew of God... That God was love, but if you didn't believe the right things about Him, then you would spend eternity in hell.

For obvious reasons this ideology came unraveled. My friend became angry with God. Angry at God because his life wasn't how he had imagined it to be. Angry that he had devoted all those years, given up all that "secular" music, followed all those rules, and yet it seems God wasn't holding up His end of the bargain.

So the only other option was to turn to the drugs and alcohol that seemed to make everyone else's lives around him satisfying and somewhat meaningful.

Where the dualism plays in here, is that my friend sees God in one way... The angry judgmental god that is very hard to please. Any other understanding of God is thought to be a misinterpretation, relativism, or an attempt by the liberals to make God more palatable.

So my friend feels he has two choices...

EITHER believe in and serve this god that is distant and needs to be appeased... A god that really makes no sense to my friend.

OR forsake god all together and live only for the self. That's it.

I've seen this scenario and others like it play out over and over throughout the years. People given this destructive construct of God and taught that it is wrong to ever question it.

God is ____________ and that's that.

I see this go both ways... I know people who have completely given up on following God and subsequently want nothing to do with Christianity, or they devote their life to God and become just as judgmental and hateful as the god they follow... They were much better people before they became a Christian.

They serve an "either/or" kind of God.

You can't love God and believe differently than I do.

You can't love God and drink alcohol.

You can't love God and be a democrat.

You can't love God and go to that church.

And so my friend is depressed and confused. He wants to live a life for God, but the only God he knows is one on which he wants nothing to do with.

1 comment:

GailNHB said...

Powerful post. Challenging. And worthy of deep consideration.

Is that the God I believe in as well? It certainly used to be, but not anymore, thanks be to the God I'm coming to know nowadays.

Keep on writing and challenging yourself (and me) to think, to learn, to grow, and to be transformed into the likeness of The One Who Loves Us Most.