In December, 2011, I posted this brief article.
Christopher Hitchen’s Surprise
I ask this earnestly, not to troll: If Hitchens is getting a surprise, isn’t it necessarily a nasty surprise according to Christian doctrine?
Christopher Hitchens’ beliefs concerning God were nearly 180 degrees opposed to mine. Either he is in for a big surprise, or I’m not. Either he is meeting a Maker whose existence he denied, or I will pass on into nothingness when my life ends.
I greatly admired Mr. Hitchens’ talents as a writer and debater, but I believe that God is just and that, being just, God will honor the choice Mr. Hitchens took to be separated from Him.
* * *
After listening to some of the recent preaching by Slappy McWingnut (aka Elder William, The Lord of Satire) (No, I won’t link to it.), it seems that his view of God is nearly as far out of line from mine as was Mr. Hitchen’s, but in a different direction.
McWingnut preaches that his god is a “pissed-off” god who hates being interrupted by prayers. Another part of McWingnut’s schtick seems to be that one can keep this god from being angry by giving money to support his ministry. (OK, that’s a fair parody of a lot of “religious” scam artists.) McWingnut preaches his god’s hate.
The God I serve is loving, and because He is, He grants us the freewill to choose to love or not love Him in return. If we choose to enter into a loving relationship with Him, He is delighted. If we do not, He respects our choice.
If you check out the answers in the back of the book, you’ll see that God says that at some point He will gather those of us who choose to be His to live in His presence. You’ll also see that He says that He will honor the wishes of those who have chosen not to love Him.
My God loves everyone, including Slappy McWingnut.
UPDATE—I’ve had a question about describing God’s reaction to our love for Him as “delight.” In the opening section of Ephesians, Paul writes that God’s intention for us is
… εἰς υἱοθεσίαν διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ εἰς αὐτόν κατὰ τὴν εὐδοκίαν τοῦ θελήματος αὐτοῦ …
which can be translated as
… for adoption as children through Jesus Christ according to the delight of His will …
That word in boldface, εὐδοκίαν, literally means well-seeming or, idiomatically, delight. Most English translations render it as pleasure or good pleasure, but I believe that “delight” better reflects the joy that God says He finds in loving relationships with us.