Wednesday, November 03, 2004


There seems to be two versions of God these days, and it is confusing to the uninitiated. It is easy to understand that we are all sinners and that it takes an acceptance of God and his Son to make it through the portals of Heaven. That part is simple, but the rest of it could be compared to Fuzzy Math.

Many of us have thought of God as a kindly entity, bestowing love and mercy on us sinful mortals, coming to our aid in times of trouble, ready to step in and give us a helping hand, the one who carries us through, giving us strength, leaving those footprints in the sand. He was always a combination of Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and our grandfathers rolled into one, a benevelent Creator who had all the answers to all of the mysteries of life and who touched us with a loving, gentle hand.

When this God sent his Son to earth, he left us a powerful message. He clearly told us to behave ourselves, love our neighbors and honor our parents. He clearly told us that the meek are blessed and shall inherit the earth. He did not bestow this legacy on the arrogant, the warlike, and the powerful.

I don't recognize this God in the God so many people seem to worship today. Their God seems to be wreaking vengeance, snorting fire, a dragonlike being angry with the human race, demanding obeisance, demanding childlike obedience, demanding a major role in every facet of our lives.

This concept of God seems to be akin to the same God who burned the witches in Salem, led the Crusades in their bloody path across the deserts, and fueled the wars that riddle the history books. It is as though someone, somewhere, dragged out an old concept of a comforting religion and turned the worshippers of this God into vengeful, angry sorts that approve wars, ignore casualties, and who like to flex their muscles. Years ago, Christians complained that the words to "Onward, Christian Soldiers" were too warlike. Today, they seem to be the Anthem.

Whatever happened to goodness, mercy and forgiveness? Are they still around or have they been buried in a religious fervor that is taking over America like a dread disease? And why does this inspired religious zeal always include the death penalty, strict punishments and maximum sentences? Why is liberalism, which boils down to the desire to see that every American has a full stomach, treated as though it is anethema to religious belief, that all liberalism is evil, that God demands accountability and responsibility from everyone but the president and his administration?

I'll admit I am vastly confused. I'll admit that the thought of Faith-Based government appalls me. I'll admit that I believe Thomas Jefferson is whirling in his grave, and that a Calvinistic, hysterically religious America scares the pants off me!

But it is confusing to know that people in our country seem to have dropped the merciful God for the vengeful deity, and seem less interested in the Jesus who bestowed alms on the sick, the crippled and needy, and far more interested in the blood-drenched atrocities of his violent death. He died for us, but does he want us to dwell upon his death, or his life?

I think these thoughts today, pondering them, but I will tuck them away tomorrow and go on with my life. What else can I do? But sometime, somewhere, perhaps a great truth will reveal itself to me. The merciful God will answer the questions in my mind....not flay me alive, scourge me, ridicule me or force me to believe what I cannot believe....but just give me peace of mind. That's all I ask. Not anger, not wars, not vengeance...just peace!