God, if he exists, is no help, is he?

People everywhere are unsatisfied with the policies and the job performance of God. Polls are increasingly showing disinterest and disenfranchisement. God is no longer relevant to a generation which has spent the entirety of its formative years in the Age of Democracy, choosing for themselves that which is right and that which is wrong.

And now people demand a new king, a man of the people, a man they chose. The people demand to decide for themselves what is acceptable and what is not. If God is going to be Lord over them, then he must protect them, and he isn’t doing that. There is war, death, famine, AIDS, flu, poverty, preventable oppression and sickness.

The people are upset with the methods of God. Because there is no earthly way this makes sense.

The people want a new king, just as Israel demanded a physical, human ruler. The people are demanding that God be deposed for his ineptitude in regards to either benevolence or potency — they aren’t sure which. Either God is not good, or he is not powerful enough. Either way, he is underperforming and must go. They want their King Saul, their immediate, tangible results. They haven’t considered the flaws of created beings as rulers: they only want change, and someone who understands their plight.

But what if there was someone who understood the struggle in which all humans are forced to participate? What if this person were also deity? How much of a game-changer would that be?

This is the hope of Christ: he knows our plight, he knows our pain, he empathizes with the struggle and pain, and he advocates on our behalf. God wanted a direct connection to humanity, and humanity needed a way to God. This God that would otherwise not be relevant to our culture (unless you were Jewish), is now relevant to all and is working to bring about perfection and renewal in this world, for all.

I don’t understand everything. There is much room in my theology for mystery. I probably misrepresented some things already. There are logical paradoxes. But what I do know is that I have exhausted my mental resources trying to rely on my own capacity to know and understand. It is of utmost arrogance to claim God doesn’t exist because you don’t understand him. Of course we don’t! But for Christ, we wouldn’t even have any connection to him. Even with Christ, understanding comes slowly, because humans operate on a different level than Deus.

Imagine with me for one second that there is a Creator. The created could never outsmart or even fully understand the Creator, just as anything humans create cannot fully understand its creator (robot, computer, what-have-you). If there is a God, you should hope you don’t understand him: if you did understand him completely, he’d be human, at which point all hope would be lost. Humanity is engaged in a struggle, and the only hope is external. If my hope is in man alone, I have no hope.

None of this proves God’s existence. Don’t misunderstand: my point isn’t to defend or prove God’s existence. With words and logic alone, I cannot. My point — my hope — in writing this to be honest about the state of humanity, but also honest about the hope I have found in Christ. If you think my hope foolish, so be it. I do understand. The Bible itself calls the message of Christ foolish (until you have experienced it). I do hope and pray, though, that you will experience the hope and love and incredible peace that Christ brings. And I hope it changes you into a more hopeful, loving, peaceful person.

That is the hope of the world; not that man can change himself through internal willpower, but that an external force can draw the good deep from the well of your spirit, and fill you with things you lacked before.

That is why I am hopeful and optimistic for the future of humanity: when humans experience the indescribable peace and love of Christ, and connect their souls to God, they becomes a new creation. The old has passed away and the new takes its place. I pray and work for renewal in this earth, even while this earth seems to fall apart.

I’m sorry for preaching. I truly believe this and I truly have experienced this. I have no reason to lie to you and no reason to share this with you other than that I believe it.

Christ asked those who would later become his disciples, “follow me,”

That’s all. No contrived or forced prayer, no trembling or shaking necessary. Just follow him. Drop the selfish plans you had and pick up his: plans of love, peace, joy, and hope.

Thanks for reading,

Greg Tanis
918.430.9378
gtanis@oru.edu

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12 comments on “God, if he exists, is no help, is he?

  1. I like the humility comes that comes across in this post. You seem pretty open, so hopefully you will approve this simple, honest reply:

    What if we are missing the whole point? What if … as it has been suggested — that we are to good things without expecting anything in return … What if the whole point is … to live as if there WERE a God watching us WITHOUT believing in one? Why do we need to believe in God to behave as if God exists?

    Ok, maybe it’s not that simple to everyone. It sounds easy to me.

    • I fully understand your question, and did not address it in my post. I cannot address it, to be honest. I cannot convince you of something that is a fundamental difference. As far as I know, only your experiences and natural inclination can shape your fundamental beliefs, not logic or anything I say.
      You believe that man can live as if there was a God without the transformation I believe God brings.
      I believe that there must be an external transforming factor in order to change the nature of humanity.
      Basically, what it comes down to is this: I believe in man has a nature which tends toward depravity and uglyness and that God brings hope and beauty. You believe that hope and beauty can be pulled out of us by our own willpower. There is nothing either of us can *say* to change each other’s mind, I don’t think. And that’s ok. I think that at some point, though, the idea that you can be good on your own will fail. I can’t prove it, though.

  2. It WILL fail as long as we believe it will. There is no doubt about that.

    If you drop a small sample of us on an island where food, water & protection are unavailable, then it is extremely unlikely that no ugliness or depravity would take place.

    The reason that all 7,000,000,000 human beings on this planet, is not that the average human being is greedy and self-interested no matter what the conditions. It’s a good story, though. As a humble race of creatures, OF COURSE we are going to buy it. But, it’s not the truth … is a scheme promoted by the elite — that small percentage of us which are greedy, cruel and never satisfied.

    When basic needs are satisfied, the majority of human beings put social acceptance above everything else. If we weren’t convinced that we couldn’t, we WOULD take care of each other.

    • I agree with you, to an extent. And I do see the corporate and religious abuses of the idea that we need help.
      But the reality is that evil does exist in us (if not, from where does evil come?) as well as good. The evil will manifest at some point, even on an island with a few people. It is this evil, inherent in us, that I believe we cannot overcome alone. Obviously you disagree; and again, I’m not trying to debate you on your embedded theology. I cannot. But I do think you’re overly optimistic about your own nature.

  3. The reason that all 7,000,000,000 human beings on this planet [do not have their basic needs met]

  4. Will Bruhn says:

    Nice post brotha… Indeed the hope of Christ seems like a foolish kids story until experimented. Once tested, it’s as if your eyes are opened to who Christ really is, and why we need Him.

  5. There’s nothing embedded here. I’m seeking truth just like yourself.

    But, consider this …

    As long as we are not hungry or desperate for money, by nature: the majority (the great majority) of us are humble, forgiving, insecure, generous, submissive & credulous creatures. The prevalence of “faith” … suggests this. No one believes in God based on evidence, they believe it in spite of evidence. Is this not the mind of a humble creature??? If a human being is not following God out of fear of punishment or hope of eternal life, then they are following God, because it is the socially acceptable thing to do. Would that be the case if we were inherently greedy???

    The majority of people believe in God BECAUSE they are too humble and generous with their existence to stand up in a Church and yell, “HEY, THIS DOESN’T MAKE SENSE TO ME!” They tell themselves, “well, it doesn’t make sense to me. but, what do I know. I’m only human.”

    Who does belief in God benefit? It certainly doesn’t benefit the majority of us. I won’t throw numbers out there, but I’m sure you have some idea of how many good, God loving people will die of hunger this year.

    God is the perfect tale to protect the greedy minority … and, as long as we buy it … they will continue to control us and continue to destroy the earth …

    Human nature is the ONLY thing standing in the way of a peaceful world, but not because we are evil … because we are so easily convinced that we are.

    Ok, enough monopolizing your blog … like most humans, my desire to speak the truth outweighs my desire to go look for it. But, off I go …

    • Fascinating, for sure. I think you have a very different perspective of what it is to be Christian than I do. Perhaps liberation theology, as promulgated by Jürgen Moltmann, Francis of Assisi, and Leo Tolstoy (among many others, obviously) would be of interest to you.

      PS, everyone has an embedded theology 🙂 it’s inescapable. You, whether by experience or nature or both, are inclined to believe a certain way in regards to God.

      • I won’t argue over the semantics of the word “embedded” or get distracted by the inadequacies of words in general …

        I don’t believe in anything I’m saying … my understanding of current neuroscience tells me that …

        I may be universalizing a bit or a lot …

        It doesn’t really matter …

        The language of the argument is only as relevant as we make it …

        No historical thinker’s interpretation of their time can detract from our ability in the present.

        It’s IMPOSSIBLE for us to know how we would turn out — if left to our own devices — based on our own experience.

        The only thing I’m trying to point out is that if we possess the power to have faith in God without proof … then WHY would we not use that same power to have faith in ourselves?

      • Secular humanism does just that: applies faith toward humanity, rather than God. I don’t see the hope in it, but if that’s what you believe, I doubt I can convince you otherwise on WordPress 🙂

    • I think you may be universalizing your experience a bit, but I do understand your point and it is a valid position. In the end, I simply disagree, based on my experiences.

  6. Gus Caterina says:

    Thank you for the sensible critique. Me & my neighbor were just preparing to do a little research on this. We got a grab a book from our local library but I think I learned more clear from this post. I am very glad to see such wonderful information being shared freely out there.

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