People Hate God.
It sounds offensive to voice it, doesn’t it? In our world today, strong opinions are both loved and hated. We love to voice extreme opinions (ie, “I hate ____”) and then turn right around and decry extremism (especially religious extremism). We love extremity in our comforts, leisure and entertainment, and yet pat ourselves on the back for holding up the Aristotolean creedo of “all things in moderation.” However, I digress…
In all of this searching for the most extreme of everything, there is one place where everyone seems to agree that moderation of opinion is of the utmost… religion. The only problem is that religion is the one place where moderation should be completely avoided. Not because it makes you look like an uber-liberal hippie-weirdo, but because your choice of religion can kill you. They say that what you don’t know can’t hurt you, but here, what you claim ignorance of will not excuse your soul.
I remember that in my old youth group there was a leader that was the grandson of a relatively well-known charismania preacher from the 60’s. Pretty much every time he preached he would bring up the same tag line that “the first line in the wiccan Bible… says ‘do whatever self wills’!” Now, I have no clue if that is true or not because I have never really been possesed with desire to read the wiccan Bible. However, regardless of the truth of that statement, I see the principle being continuously infused into society at large. For example: “Abortion should be legal so that we can have sex whenever we want with no physical consequences!”
While that seems heavy, there is another component to my ramblings today. The idea of religion and religious affiliation. In the world of academia and the pluralistic secular market, there seems a special level of hatred, much like Dante’s “lowest ring of hell”, reserved for religion. I’ve often wondered about this phenomenon. Why in the name of all that is peaceable would we have such bile held in reserve for something that is attempting to show the world a way to live in peace, blessedness, and relative tranquility? The reason for both of these components is very, very simple…
People hate God.
The question to be asked is, “why?” While the specific answer will vary depending on who you talk to, I’m going to give a very abbreviated look at it here. While the typical judeo-christian answer would be the fall of mankind depicted in Genesis 3, I’m going to refrain from going there. My personal belief is that society has done a masterful job of teaching humanity that their highest goal is to satisfy their various cravings. “Bigger! Better! Younger! Sexier! Happier!”…… these are the buzz words that elicit a desired response. However, all of this, as the writer of Ecclesiastes would say, “Is a chasing after the wind… hunger is never satisfied… the ocean is never full.”
So what happens is that if we believe that there is a God, we then have to believe that we must have a certain response to Him. With most religions, this involves what Paul described as a “circumcision of the heart” (read: a quelling of sinful passions). Because the idea of disciplining our various desires is so foreign to our mindset, it draws out of us a naturally rebellious response. We revile the discipline, and afterwards reflect that rebellion upon the disciplinarian. To that affect, I have a very hard time describing lost people as “searching for truth” or “hungry for God.” Why? Because until their mind has been regenerated through the work of salvation, they are still the servants of darkness and, by extension, hate God. The unsaved are not victims of God’s lack of effort… rather, they are active antagonists of the most powerful being in existence. It’s a different topic, but it should be noted at this point that this is why Hell makes sense.
As Bill Watterson once said through his cartoon alter-ego Calvin, “They say that the world is a stage, but it is obvious that the play is unrehearsed and everyone is ad-libbing their lines.” I would say that is a disturbingly accurate assessment. Being creatures of urges and desires, humanity has an almost animalistic drive to fulfill those urges regardless of how sinful or “wrong” they may be. However, in most religions God calls for his followers to suppress or otherwise “overcome” these urges. Because it is continuously hammered into our skulls that we have been given the inalienable right to the “pursuit of happiness”, we fix our ire on the one who tries to tell us otherwise. Yes, without salvation, people hate God… and society’s various ills are all spawned on that single fact.