In my city, we get these magazines called “Living” in our mailboxes every month. It doesn’t matter if you call and ask them not to waste paper and postage, the company continues to send them regardless. I’ve given up and just resigned myself to flipping through the “magazine” (it’s rather more of a mailbox infomercial) to get an idea of what this publisher thinks people in their target market are like.
Every month, without fail, they have a piece on god, usually written by one of the editors. April’s magazine talked about the miniseries “The Bible.” The author, Michelle Wallace, writes this:
Now a word to the skeptics of God’s story. You say, “Parting of seas, men swallowed by a giant fish who lived to tell about it. And the craziest of all, God becoming a man, dying and defeating death so that I could live forever in a place where no sin or suffering will be allowed!” Through the years I’ve tried to logically reason it out, but it always comes down to faith, and honestly, I can’t think of a better plan. I’m a sinner, in need of a savior. And, God doesn’t override my will; He gives me the freedom to choose.
Here’s the thing, if your god is unable to bring the literal parting of the Red Sea. If this doesn’t fit into a logical and reasonable realm of possibility, so you dismiss it offhand, then your god is too small. He’s not the God of the Bible. And, the god who can be contained within my limited and reasonable capacity, is not a god big enough for me.
Let me recap what the author said in the first paragraph: I’ve tried to understand these outrageous Bible stories. Gee, I just can’t–they don’t really make sense. But I believe anyway!!! I’m a naughty, sinful girl, and I need someone to save me.
And her “plan” to reason things out is faith. Faith is not a plan. Faith means you close your eyes and jump. There is no plan to it. She tried to understand, but couldn’t, so what the hell, she’s a believer! Now I know why people make stupid investment choices. I know why they give their money to shysters who call over the phone promising huge returns. I know why they buy swampland.
Remember the writer is supposed to be swaying doubters. In the second paragraph, she says that she doesn’t want a God she can understand. (Huh?) “And, the god who can be contained within my limited and reasonable capacity, is not a god big enough for me.” These two paragraphs are full of contradictions. If your god is so complex that you can’t figure out how he parted the seas, if you cannot, by your own admission, understand him, how can you know the mind of god? How do you know he’s giving you the freedom to choose? How do you know he’s not “overriding your will?” Maybe I’m missing something: how can some folks speak on god’s behalf and claim to know his will, when they also say he is too complex to understand?
This is all terrible logic. The only thing I hear besides me, me, me is dumb and dumber. Can you imagine turning in a paper to your science professor that says, “I don’t understand how the human heart works, but I’m a believer that it works!” Give me an A and send me on to the next class!
Seems to me that what this author really wants is a fantasy. A fairy-tale. A complex, super-human version of man and a happy ending. Some one to save her from herself. May I suggest she start with Fifty Shades of Gray?
I’m sure glad this writer is not teaching my kids or making my laws. But you and I know that she is teaching her kids and she is voting in our leaders, and for every one of her, there are 10 more teaching in the schools or making our laws. These folks are either limited in their reasoning abilities or just flat-out crazy. I think it’s the former.
That’s why I sometimes feel as if we’re watching dogs chase their tails.