There is now, and has always been, a division among all religous people, all churches, and all religions.
One group chooses to believe in a God that is greater than anything that can be conceived by the mind of man, greater than ourselves and our own weaknesses. This group tends to accept that man was made with imperfections, that we will make mistakes, that life will often be a difficult struggle, and that the universe was designed to give us chances to learn from these struggles and our mistakes, while God continues to love us – all His creation – with infinite wisdom and grace, forever. This group understands that man should always strive to be better than ourselves, to be closer to God.
The other group believes itself capable of perfectly understanding God. They presume to know the very mind of God. They essentially make God smaller and more like us – so that, ironically, it becomes much easier to achieve “perfection.” This group believes God is a petty little creature, just like themselves, who would create everything and then punish our sins, give us disease when we’ve done something wrong, and make our lives difficult because of our sin. This group believes in a cruel God.
And at every step, every challenge we face, and every issue that touches on moral or ethical concerns, we find these two groups opposing each other. On one hand, you are free to believe God made people just to punish them. On the other, you are free to believe God made you just the way you are and gave you an entire universe from which to grow and learn.
The “small God” religious followers stood in support of slavery, they supported the witch trials, The Inquisition and Dark Ages, they fear education and knowledge, and they want nothing less than total domination over all people. They believe the Bible or Koran to be the literal word of God that cannot be questioned, in spite of all its contradictions and clearly wrong statements. These people will ignore or reject all proof of the invalidity of their beliefs, they will twist and contort common sense and reality simply to preserve their adherence to text they believe to be literal. And in every case, in order to make their reality true to them, they will again make God smaller and smaller, more petty, weak, contradictory – human.
The “greater God” group sought to end slavery, fights oppression, and allows people to free their minds and pursue whatever answers they want from whatever source they wish. This group believes God to be greater than even the contradictory words of the Bible or other religious texts. Whenever any preacher, politician or religious text contradicts their belief in a greater God, they can simply and easily reject those notions and continue to believe in a God that is greater than anything conceived by the mind of man.
Which side will you choose? Every generation must answer this question. Even if you silently follow one group or another, you have still chosen a side.
This schism has existed in all religions since the dawn of time. Some of us believe God is greater than anything that can be conceived by the mind of man. Some of us believe God is whatever we’re told He is by other men, preachers and politicians, who themselves either by ignorance or arrogance presume to know the very mind and will of God.
Those who believe God is greater than us will follow Him even when the Bible doesn’t make sense. Those who have made God a small, petty and stupid creature, more like us, will follow the Bible and dogma – no matter the amount of twisted and convoluted nonsense.
God gave us logic and reason – so let’s use them: If God knows everything, everywhere, through all time and beyond, then He knew exactly what He was doing when He created us. If that’s true, then you have two choices: (1.) Either God doesn’t punish us for our mistakes, or for being gay, or for eating shellfish, or wearing polyester pants with cotton shirts – (2.) or God is a stupid petty jerk, no more enlightened than a child using a magnifying glass to burn helpless ants.
Either God is great, or God is an mean little idiot that doesn’t deserve any respect or allegiance. If you are a student of history and religion, you’ll see the irony in what happens when religion makes God smaller: It actually replaces God with the Devil instead.
Again, it’s your choice.