Take a quick read of Psalm 139 HERE.
If your god is limited to a human-like image, and in particular, if you share the commonly held instinct about god that he is a he, and that he’s just a little bit miffed at how badly human beings behave… then wouldn’t be unreasonable for you to read this ancient poem this way (as many do):
Dear Supreme Being in heaven:
I know that you dig through my thoughts; dig through my private life.
I know that you know everything that is going on.
When I’m thinking the nasty thoughts I think,
You’re sitting up there watching it all on your celestial monitor.
I know I’m not fooling you; not getting away with anything.
You know when I am sleeping, you know when I’m awake.
You know if I’ve been bad or good; I better be good… for goodness sake.
When I say bad things… you hear them.
Even if I cut that word off before I actually say it out loud;
You hear it anyway! You read minds! That’s what a powerful god you are!
So I am hemmed in… before me… behind me…
The hand of God is always on me.
I can’t get away from you. There’s nowhere I can go, no time of day to go there.
Your hand is always there guiding; toward the right, away from the wrong.
Sometimes when it’s dark… usually after 11:00…
I think I might get away with a thing or two.
But even then… darkness is not dark for you.
You have night-vision sight… like superman!
I’m really screwed here!
So… uncle! I give up..
I yield to you! You are the Superior Being
You made me… fearfully… wonderfully.
You wove me together,
Laid out my life for me… every moment of it… like a book.
You are the man!
You are in charge!
And so… I yield to you! Do I have really have a choice?
Phew! That’s harsh. Who wants a god like that?
To be fair, most religious folks don’t really talk out loud about their god in these harsh terms. It’s more of a tacit gut assumption deep inside many of us. We don’t say it out loud because we know god is supposed to be good and kind. But even though we don’t allow ourselves these kinds of thoughts, for many of us, these toxic assumptions gnaw away at our subconscious hearts. This is more the god of our gut-instincts than of our conscious minds. No wonder so many of us are voting with our feet; getting as far away from religion as we can.
Of course, this is not the only way to read this poem. However, to change this visceral reading, we must first change how we think about the god it describes.
Even though I’ve moved to a Tues/Thurs posting schedule, I’ll post more along this line tomorrow.