God was a god of love. The greatest commandments were to love the Lord your God and to love your neighbor as yourself. Love was patient, love was kind, love did not brag and was not arrogant, love did not seek its own, love did not take into account a wrong suffered, love forgave all things and endured all things and hoped all things. Love never failed.
When Jesus healed the man crippled from birth, he had explained that it was not caused by some secret sin on the man’s part, nor some secret sin on his parents’ part. It was just a thing that happened. Bad things happen to good people. Good things happen to bad people. Rain falls on the just and the unjust alike.
Jesus never left people suffering because it would make them better people. He healed them. He fed them. He got furiously angry when they were abused by those in power. He said God loved us like a parent, a good parent that wouldn’t give their son a snake when he asked for a fish. God didn’t cause people to be born disabled as a punishment or so they could learn to be better people.
Jesus said the people that would be at his side in eternity were those that gave food to the hungry, water to the thirsty, hospitality to the stranger, clothed the naked and visited the sick and imprisoned. The people that would remain with him were people that actively tried to alleviate human suffering while they were alive. The people that failed to help alleviate human suffering while they were alive would be sent off into the outer darkness, even if they had performed miracles in his name.
Was this the God I knew? The God I was raised to believe in? The God I had prayed to constantly over the years while my soul was in agony over the life I believed He wanted me to live? Was the God I served loving? Was He patient, and kind, free of arrogance, forgiving, not seeking His own, enduring all things? Or was he a cruel, malicious monster that handed out suffering like candy?
The God I was raised to believe in deliberately made me a woman and placed me in a hierarchy that caused me enormous pain and suffering. He made the hierarchy. He told me to obey that hierarchy. The God I was raised to believe in made people gay and then said they weren’t allowed to have love and sex. The God I was raised to believe in demanded obedience, and a failure to obey would result in punishment, and perhaps even eternal torment. There would be no forgiveness for those that ended up in Hell. The God I was raised to believe in allowed people to be born with severe disabilities, allowed humanity to war on a world-wide scale, allowed children to suffer and die, even though He had the power to put a stop to it. He was the one that created us. He had the power to unmake us or alter us. And yet, He let us suffer.
My God was a malicious monster.
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