Grace

Grace_wordle

Ironically, it turns out that it’s very easy to get pissed-off about religious ideas.

I used to wonder “Why should Islamists care what God I worship or how?” and “Why should the Christian Right care whether I pledge allegiance, pray aloud in school, or marry someone of the same gender?” … I mean, really, I don’t give a shit how they do things, provided they don’t force their interpretation on me! So what compels them to feel it’s right to interfere in everyone else’s life?  They seem to want to re-write the first amendment so that it reads “Every citizen shall adhere to the doctrine of the First Self-Righteous search, and congress will make no law that shall allow them to do otherwise.”

What is the use of “Enforced Fidelity”?  What good would it accomplish, if you could force people to simply go through the motions, mumble the prayers, unbelieving, adhere to the letter while abhorring the spirit? I could write an app to constantly print out “Glory be to God!”, but would that be pleasing to God? Especially since I could just as easily have written the app to print out “Glory be to ME!”

A friend of mine believes – sincerely believes – that there is no act of will involved in seeking salvation. None. He believes, and nothing will convince him otherwise, that the Holy Spirit drags the people God wants to the altar, and compels them to accept Christ …

Ok, where do I even start?

First, there’s the implication that God doesn’t want everyone.  Another of my friend’s beliefs is that before the beginning of time, God created each of our souls and choosing which would be the “elect” and which would not … in effect, he believes that some people are designed as inferior … as disposable … as stick figures to fill out the world and give the elect challenges …

Ok, what the hell would be the point?  If he’s chosen an “elect”, why not simply skip the whole suffering through life part, and take them straight to heaven?

Next there’s the implication that God forces himself on us … That the Holy Spirit just barges right in, uninvited, and forces us to get Baptized! We’ll skip the fact that there’s no Scripture at all supporting this idea, and the fact that there’s a ton of scripture to the contrary (“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” ~ Rev 3:20) … we’ll skip all the scriptural precedents and just look at the idea … remember that app I talked about? It can’t choose. Not in a zillion years. It simply does what I designed it to do, and nothing more. If it prints “Glory be to Scott”, does it really love me? By the same token, if a person is compelled to worship, designed to give praise, forced to love, is there any value in any of it? If all we are doing is exactly what we were designed to do, no more, no less, is there any chance at all that any of our feelings are genuine?

It’s the age-old idea of the “Love-Potion”!  IF you could make such a thing, if you could completely do away with a human being’s will, and force them to adore you, would you really want such a manufactured emotion? Quite apart from the horror of taking a person’s will away! Imagine it, for a second:  your worst enemy, the person you dislike the most in all the world, forces you to drink something, and forever after you belong to him … will joyously do anything he asks of you …

Can you imagine anything more horrifying than that?

I have free will. God doesn’t force me to love Christ.  I choose to do so – just as Jesus chose the endure torture so I wouldn’t have to.  There are very, very few things in my life I have any control over – but practicing my faith is the most precious of them!

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~ by dourscot on July 17, 2013.

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