Ignore God, PLEASE!!

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IGNORE GOD

 

Ironically, the best way to live “godly” might be to ignore God. 

 I can easily imagine God saying, “You’re best off just ignoring me and focusing on what’s in front of you.”  How much energy is wasted trying to understand God or define God?  I have spent truckloads of time and energy building, tearing down, rebuilding, and renovating my theology.  For the most part it’s a joy to me.  I’m fascinated with God—always have been.  Its kind of a hobby.  How many times have I thought, “I got it!  I finally have a theology I’m comfortable with,”  only to change it a few weeks or months later?  I understand that it’s a lifelong process, that wisdom comes with age, that arrival would be even sadder than demolition and rebuilding.  So its not necessarily “wasted” energy.  But there’s an even greater reason to ignore God: often, my devotion to God (or my image of God at the time) produces unpleasant behavior and attitudes that would’ve been easily remedied had I just focused on the truth right in front of me. 

 I like this comment in I John 4:20-21,

 If anyone boasts, “I love God,” and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won’t love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can’t see? The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both. 

 

It seems obvious that interacting in any way with a physical person in the room would be easier than interacting with an invisible, unknowable God, let alone loving them. 

 

THE SON WHO SAID NO

Another NT passage (Matt. 21) that strikes me comes from a story allegedly told by Jesus,

A man had two sons. He went up to the first and said, ‘Son, go out for the day and work in the vineyard.’  “The son answered, ‘I don’t want to.’ Later on he thought better of it and went.  “The father gave the same command to the second son. He answered, ‘Sure, glad to.’ But he never went.  “Which of the two sons did what the father asked?”

Apply this to ignoring God.   You can be the son/daughter who says “no” and yet does the father’s will.   I take this to mean even atheism.  Say no to God.  God doesn’t care.  God shouldn’t care about lip service anyway.  Or even mind service.  So I’ve spent countless hours studying the holy books, praying, meditating, and contemplating the lofty things of God.  Who gives a fuck if it doesn’t make me a better person?   One could save themselves a lot of time and energy if they just said no to God and got busy figuring out how to be happy, how to be kind, how to navigate this hard life.   It’s hard for me to watch Christians criticize Oprah and “self-help” movements when I think she’s done so much to improve people’s lives.   This type of work is godly even though it often ignores God. 

 Jesus goes on to say,

 I tell you that crooks and whores are going to precede you into God’s kingdom. John came to you showing you the right road. You turned up your noses at him, but the crooks and whores believed him. Even when you saw their changed lives, you didn’t care enough to change and believe him.

                 They probably didn’t believe John because his doctrine didn’t match theirs.  The truth is that even John didn’t have perfect theology any more than the rest of us but the “changed lives” is all the evidence we need to know that they’re on the “right road”.  Don’t you just love the simplicity of knowing somebody by their actions?  It cuts right through all the mystery and speculation and theology about who’s right and wrong.  If they’re good people, they’ve got good beliefs; if they’re assholes they have shit for beliefs.  It doesn’t require a Masters in Theology to see that.  “By their fruit you will know them.” –Jesus

             HITCH

                Christopher Hitchens was one of the great prophets of our day.  He died December 15, 2011.  I cried.  His book, God is Not Great, is a must read for anyone wanting to subject their theology to harsh scrutiny.  Like God, Hitch doesn’t give a damn about your theology, its all gibberish to him.  He cares about your morality.  As a young teenage Christian, the image I had of atheists was Anton LeVay, angry satanic rock bands, pure evil.  (Demonizing one’s enemies is a common method of self-preservation.)  Hitch took the moral high ground and I’d never seen this before.  It was so exciting to see righteous indignation coming from that camp.  He was one who said no to God and yet did the work.  Well done, good and faithful servant! 

 JOHN LENNON

                John Lennon was another who said no to God and did the work.  His song, Imagine, invites us to dream of a world where our only loyalties are to each other.  I can’t think of a higher vision.  If God is good at all, this has to be It’s dream too.  This is the only definition of a successful creation.  Anything less and God gets a big FAIL.  Obviously humanity would too.   The notion of separation is the chief opponent of God’s dream for the planet and theology is the chief source of this notion.  Ignore God, PLEASE!  I beg you!  So does God.  Or at least ignore God enough to be a good person. 

 

“With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion. ” –Steven Weinberg

 NO FEAR

                 Obviously, this ignoring God stuff is only possible outside the context of fear.  Its not an option if humanity is in a hostile relationship with God.  In fact, the last thing you want to ignore while on earth is God.  Your naïve little ass will slide right into an eternal lake of fire. 

7 thoughts on “Ignore God, PLEASE!!

  1. Scott Haywood says:

    Thanks, Cass!! Nice insight!!

  2. Mike Stroud says:

    About every voice in me says I don’t have any business discussing philosophy, theology, and religion with people that have study these subjects in depth. I think you are a student of theology; I’m not. I’m mostly self taught in what I think of as practical ministry. I just want to help people experience and know the loving God I see in scripture. Despite several FB exchanges we’ve had on the subject I really don’t care much about “religion,” at least my definition of it. I’ve seen the toxic effects of religious extremism. I’ve seen and experienced what legalism can do to people. I consider myself a recovering legalist in many ways. All this to say, you make several points that I agree with – in part. I want to agree with more but just can’t buy into the paradigm that God does give a rat’s petutity whether or not we ignore Him. Maybe your godless paradigm is of a “god” idea that you see as far removed; maybe like a cosmic scientist viewing bugs in a test tube. The God I read of in scripture is the opposite; He wants relationship with us stronger even that we desire connection to our own children. The older I get the more I see the arrogance in my attempts to “figure out” the Creator, but I also increasingly see a simplicity the big picture, too. I don’t think it matters to Him that I can’t understand it all. I think He just wants me to rest in his outrageous love! As a homeless friend said to me about three weeks ago, however, “We make God too complicated.” Amen to that. I’ve even wondered if that guy is an angel.

  3. “Christopher Hitchens was one of the great prophets of our day. He died December 15, 2011. I cried.”
    If this doesn’t demonstrate the innate desire for faith and guidance, I don’t know what does.

  4. Don says:

    The next time you say “I got it”, you may very well have…

  5. Katharine Buffy says:

    I would forward this to every person I know but for the last four sentences. Either you mean them sarcastically (in which case a large part of your intended audience will miss the point) or you mean them sincerely. Shall I then ignore God, yet do the work of goodness, as the eternal fate of my soul hangs on my maintaining ambivalence rather than hostility? You would then have me held hostage to the game of defining the proper amount of ‘ignoring’ that allows good and prevents eternal hellfire. Sounds like traditional religion to me, dear friend.

  6. cassmidgley says:

    The last paragraph means to expose the absurdity of the separation theory of religions who erect a Creator angry at it’s creation. Fear is the antithesis of love and only breeds contemptible ideologies/theologies. The stark polarity of positions on this issue is perhaps the reason for your (and many others, I’m sure) confusion–this tenet (separation) is a central, codder-pin canon to modern Christianity (dearly valued) and to me it is THE most destructive notion to ever enter the human brain. So while I ridicule it, other’s haven’t even considered the fallacy of it; thus the sarcasm is not easily recognized.

    I do not have an intended audience. I’m practicing a writing method of “write for your self” (Stephen King) and let readers get what they get. I’m intentionally avoiding a posture of teaching or telling people what to think.

    Interestingly, the addition of the “no god” symbol was an afterthought and it turned out to be a big deterrent. I normally get hundreds of reads and many comments when I post stuff (on FB). This one got 2. It scared a lot of people off. Someday I may find the balance between intentionally not targeting an audience and intentionally excluding an audience.

    Thanks for the feedback.

  7. Katharine Buffy says:

    I wasn’t confused– I read it as sarcasm. I was positing the questions to help those who might not get it, and, additionally, hoping to elicit your clarification. Thanks : ) And I applaud your write-for-yourself mantra, however publicly you choose to do it.

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