Unworthy God-Images and The Way

Currently listening to: Almost Killed Me by The Hold Steady

Walter Brueggemann, in his text A Pathway of Interpretation, says that the interpreter functioning in second naivete…

“…has seen God critically and is aware of God’s violent infidelity, but after criticism takes the God given us in the Gospel as the way, the truth, and the life.” (p. 29)

By this, I assume he means that the God of the Bible, who is sometimes portrayed as petty and jealous, as violent and vengeful, and as genocidal must still be affirmed as the way, the truth, and the life.  That is, one must become critically aware of the monstrosities and horrors that this God is given credit for and yet still affirm that this being is the way that Jesus calls us to.

The God portrayed as a violent, fickle, and cruel being is not a god worthy of imitation or worship.  I think that it is time for Christian theology to recognize these vindictive God-images for what they are–human projections reflecting the cruel uncertainty of the universe, rather than divine words about the character of God.  The God of the Bible is most notably a God of compassion, of love, and of healing.  To affirm that such a being is also vindictive, jealous, and cruel creates a bipolar, or perhaps two-headed, God.

A violent God breeds violent followers.  A God of love, on the other hand, can truly call followers to a life of compassion, as Jesus did.  If we must maintain that the Bible is accurate in its portrayal of God as genocidal, vengeful, and petty, then we must finally admit that this being truly is not the way to human salvation, and is not worth following.

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~ by eternaldode on 30 September 2009.

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