It would not be correct to say, “The devil made me do it.” Rather, what moved me to write this post was the coincidence in my reading this week of three people who had a problem with God.
The first I came across was that flypaper for idiocy Bill O’Reilly:
As CNN notes, O’Reilly has previously blamed the reports of his alleged sexual misconduct on the media, but now it looks as though he’s decided to throw shade at a higher power as well. “You know, am I mad at God? Yeah, I’m mad at him,” O’Reilly said on Monday during the latest episode of his web series, No Spin News. “I wish I had more protection. I wish this stuff didn’t happen. I can’t explain it to you. Yeah, I’m mad at him.”*
So, mad because God wasn’t his wingman.
The second person with a problem with God was alleged actor Mark Wahlberg. I discovered his problem with God in yesterday’s edition of the Guardian’s satirical question-and-answer feature “Pass Notes”:
Name: Mark Wahlberg.
Appearance: Contrite potato.
Why contrite? The actor is seeking almighty God’s forgiveness.
For what? For being in a film.
He’s an actor. Does he do this every time? A specific film. Speaking recently at a Catholic conference in Chicago, Wahlberg said: “I just always hope that God is a movie fan and also forgiving, because I’ve made some poor choices in my past.” When asked to elaborate, he said: “Boogie Nights is up there at the top of the list.”
So, the problem here is that God might just be a hostile Rotten Tomatoes type (always assuming that the heavenly being finds time off to visit the local cinema).
We have to go back in time 500 years for the third person with a God problem—Martin Luther.
In the October, 30, 2017 issue of The New Yorker Joan Acocella, reviewing several books about the reformer, wrote how “this passionately religious young man . . . discover[ed] his anger against God” [emphasis hers]:
Luther spoke of his rage at the description of God’s righteousness, and of his grief that, as he was certain, he would not be judged worthy: “I did not love, yes, I hated the righteous God who punishes sinners.”***
So, because Luther was certain of his own unworthiness, it was fine to hate the “righteous God.”
A number of years ago, I found myself feeling sorry for God. “Poor God,” I said to myself. How he was being blamed for all the disasters in the world, for the murder of humans created in his own image no less. A destructive hurricane or earthquake, with thousands of people killed? It was God’s doing, prophets and preachers, rabbis and imams exclaimed, because of man’s sinfulness (usually nowadays due to gay marriage).
A secondary thought I had was how chutzpahdic those prophets and preachers, rabbis and imams were to assume that they could read the mind, to know the reasoning, of the entity that was grand enough to create the heavens and the earth.
I have found a way to free “Poor God” from the hatred, blame, and scorn that has unfairly come his way over time. I have decided to assume that the universe was not his creation (hence not his to be blamed for), but was created in an enormous explosion some five-billion years ago (although I haven’t exactly figured out the small details—I do have my scientists working on them).
And so now God can proclaim: “Free at last! Thank God Almighty (oops, sorry about that). I’m free at last!”