An atheist group in the UK paid money to post this sophomoric insight on the sides of London buses. (I could have come up with a much better use for the funds...)
They think God is a cosmic killjoy, a bully? That we can't have a happy life? That we have to spend our time in punishing moralism, or always trying, and failing, to "measure up"?
Wrong. Dead wrong.
Father Jonathan scoffs at this idea. God is the mystery in whom we live and move and have our being. There is a God - and that's why you can stop worrying and enjoy your life.
But remember that your actions have consequences. Jesus spells out some common-sense examples of thinking these things through:
- Hating is the moral equivalent of murder.
- Adultery is reducing another to a cheap means of gratification.
- Divorce makes vulnerable people more vulnerable (and in Jesus' day often resulted in destitution for the woman).
- Cursing and swearing implies that maybe you can't really be trusted.
So put aside your image of God as having "human" emotions and impulses. It's much more interesting than that.
Editors Note: We were discussing American fundamentalism a few years ago, and a friend from Australia commented: "I'm so glad you got the Puritans and we got the convicts!"