Sunday, January 28, 2007

Loving a God Who Hates

Awhile back I told you about an online antagonist -- someone from a conservative, culturally aggressive Protestant denomination -- who hangs out on a newbies' "learn about Christianity" forum I sometimes post on, who feels compelled to "fix," in so many words, the mainline/mainstream responses to questions.

He struck again this weekend. The initial question was about the idea of a "jealous" God -- the questioner asked how a God who is perfect could be jealous, and if in fact that was an indication that jealousy is a good thing. The mainstream responses were along the lines of discussing the use of language in Scripture -- that by necessity we can only use metaphors grounded in our own experience to describe a God much bigger and "other" than we are, and that the "jealousy" of God spoken about in Scripture is not an endorsement of the self-serving, controlling human variety but rather an attempt to emphasize God's special relationship with and covanental claim on the people of Israel.

So along comes this fellow, who either doesn't understand or doesn't agree with what's been said, and then goes on to make the rather remarkable statement, more than once, "God hates those who hate him and loves those who love him."

This is a head-scratcher: A proudly self-professing"Bible-believer" who can read the Gospels -- read about a Jesus who tells us to bless those who curse us, be good to those who are bad to us; who asks God to forgive the people who've just betrayed him, convicted him in a religious-political kangaroo court, tortured him and are now slowly executing him; who, according to the author of John's Gospel, "so loved the world" -- and come away with the idea that God hates people; not in a kind of metaphorical, hyperbolic sense, but for real.

Sometimes I just don't get Christians. I don't get them at all.


P.S. an after-thought said...

God loves even him. And maybe he isn't a Christian in the sense that some people define it, as "getting it" in regard to God's salvation.

What is that verse about heaping coals of fire on their heads? He needs a hot head.

Bag Lady said...

As usual, it has absolutely nothing to do with God, studying the Bible with integrity, or even religion/spirituality at all.

People who can't or don't want to see, won't.

If people close to this person, whom this person respects (assuming such people exist in this person's life) could hammer away at him with questions concerning the holes in understanding (much as cult de-programmers work--the good ones, anyway), there's some chance of daylight poking through.

But never underestimate the impact of personality/character disorders on a person's world construct.

Inheritor of Heaven said...

I think Jesus is pretty clearly for us and not against us. Your last paragraph states it perfectly well. I also wonder what that person thinks "good news" is?

LutheranChik said...

Interestingly, when I asked the question, on a discussion forum, "What is the good news?" I received variations on the theme, "The good news is if you do X, Y and Z, then God will save you and you won't go to hell." Oy veh.

Mata H said...

There was a great study done in 2006 by Baylor University and the Gallup poll people about Religion in America - and the conclusion was that Americans seemed to worship 4 different versions of God - depending on whether or not they see God engaged with the world or angry at it..the study is worth a look. Just click here for a summary and a link to the study