“How Do We Know God Is Love? “
Ask a handful of Christians and most would immediately point to the bible. Some will even quote chapter and verse. Many of those same people will go on to say, “I try to live by the bible. I take god at his word.”
I made the same claims.
In looking back, the evolution of my journey is coming into focus. From fervently making the case for Christ to eventually leaving that all behind, I’ve experienced the roller coaster ride that faith can be.
From thrills and chills to stark and dark, I battled many inner conflicts.
I’m amazed at how hard I worked to make my conflicts play nice with my Christian expectations. It’s mental gymnastics and I have an interesting example to share to illustrate it.
About six years ago I attempted to start a blog about my exit from Christianity. I don’t remember what I wrote, and at some point, I deleted it, but I’m sure it was a rough and raw read.
Well, just yesterday I ran across a blogger who wrote a post in response to my old blog. Weird, huh? Of course, the links he included led to nowhere since I’d deleted it, but I read his response anyway. Apparently I wrote about Genesis 19 where Lot offered his daughters to be raped in order to spare god’s angels.
I suspect my post was full of vitriol. It was a rough period combined with a rough biblical text. However, I found the bloggers response to my post helpful as I ponder the chapters of my own life for this blog.
He did in that post precisely what I did for decades when faced with bible conundrums like Genesis 19: he took to the gymnastics floor with a routine I knew well:
- Ignore that god, our champion and rescuer, did not rescue the virgins or even rebuke Lot for such a deplorable suggestion.
- Deflect by declaring that no reconciliation is necessary between the Old Testament and the New, with no attempt to explain why he believes that.
- Re-work the text by suggesting that because god didn’t SAY he approved of Lot’s behavior, we cannot conclude that he did.
Lot is just one example. God actually used rape as a prize for a battle won as recorded in Numbers 31. (Now, THAT’s a fun read.) And there’s certainly more where that came from.
This brings us back to my original question: How do we know god is love?
If I were to ask this blogger, I wonder if he’d answer like most Christians: We know because the bible tells us so and I believe the bible. This leaves me to ask the next logical question:
If you trust the bible to prove god IS love, why do you distrust it when it proves he is not?
At one point in time, I was this blogger’s sister in Christ. But I don’t hear compassion or understanding in his response. Just the same mental gymnastics I used to do.
I understand where this blogger was coming from. It’s hard to defend god from His own word. It’s a tough spot to be in – and an even a tougher spot to get out of.