Saturday, August 08, 2015

Facebook Faith # 54: Theological Ideas, Like Comic Books, Have Parallel Universes

I have seen this meme come up a number of times from my Christian friends on Facebook. I struggle with whether to engage this discussion, because I usually get the Facebook equivalent of the deer in the headlights - they don't know how to address my contention, because they are not even sure what I am asking.

In the case of this meme, it seems contradictory to proclaim that using fear as a strategy is unique to the Devil. How is God threatening someone with ETERNAL torture not a fear strategy?

Yet that is what many believers will claim. They will quickly shift gears into "God loves you so much, he provided a way to avoid Hell!" Not realizing, or refusing to realize, that their Savior is also the head torturer... and which role he plays depends on whether you are on his good side, or his bad side.

Believers tend to not worry about continuity. Like comic book writers, all contradictions can be explained by making use of parallel universes. In one universe, Robin dies. In a parallel universe, Robin lives on at Batman's side. Depending on what you want your story to say at a given moment, you pull from the theological universe of your choosing.

The last church I belonged to was BIG about referencing the LOVE of God on Sunday morning. They also believe that anyone who doesn't love their God back is going to Hell... but that part is somewhat minimized.

However, it is spelled out in their belief statements. One day on FB, I pointed that out to one of my former pastors, after he did a status update proclaiming the unconditional love of God. I began by quoting their church website:

The conversation went on politely for a few more paragraphs. In the end though, he seemed to maintain his beginning assumptions.... God loves you unconditionally AND God will send you to Hell for not loving him back.

Each idea in its own, parallel, universe.

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