Sunday, March 20, 2016

Is God a god of our imaginations?

Some folks might say, "Don't talk to me about the Bible. Of course they are going to say that there is a God. But what if God is just a creation based upon people's needs or imaginations so that they can feel like they are cared for?"  Those who have picked up this objection to the existence of God have been influenced by a strong intellectual current that has been around for the last couple of centuries.

It's origin comes from the influential German philosopher, Ludwig Feuerbach who pontificated this idea that God was made in the image of man, that God was a creation of the human mind. Sigmund Freud also contributed to this "A theological dogma might be refuted to a person a thousand times, provided however, he had need of it, he again and again accepts it as true."
thinking when he wrote,

So is religion then just a psychological prop for the weak minded?  Is it merely a crutch for spiritually weak?  Let's get to the real issue of this objection and answer it shall we?

Who is God and What is God Like?

Consider the nature and the character of the God of the Bible. If you and I were to make up our own god, does it make sense that we would created one who would make the harsh demands for justice, righteousness, service, and self-sacrifice that we see in the biblical texts? Of course not!  Would those writers of the New Testament and members of the First century church establishment have created a God who condemned them for their hypocrisy? Would a zealous disciple have invented a Messiah who calls His disciples to sell all that they have to the poor, and follow Him to their deaths?

The skeptic who believes that the Bible's human authors manufactured their God out of a psychological necessity hasn't even read the Scriptures very carefully. That same skeptic may have penetrated to the heart of New Age religion, but they have not, in all their slamming Scripture, understood the Bible.

If we were to invent a god to prop up our spirits, like Feuerbach and Freud propose, we would not create one who called a Mother Teresa to spend her life picking dying people out of the gutters of Calcutta just so they might die with dignity, knowing they were loved. We would not create a god that would call a Billy Graham to go all over the world and preach a gospel message and call people to repent of their sins.

No, we would invent a god of superstition -- the god who forecasts our future and can be persuaded (or bribed) through prayer or chanting or seances to do our bidding.  We would create a god who never condemns but only condones our most selfish inclinations and desires.  We would invent a god that would reflect something like a New Age deity.

But that is not the God who exists. This is not the God of the Judeo-Christian faith.  The God of the Bible and the Judeo-Christian faith is a God who demands everything from us -- most of all that we confront and not flee from reality.

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