God as a crutch?


I have been thinking for some time that our conceptions of God are for our inclination of an accountability that is larger than ourselves. Most cultures have something transcendent that provides perspective, accountability and instills a sense of hope and purpose. All of this provides a cohesion of sorts, a means of understanding ourselves and others in this world. For the most part that understanding is helpful and, in most every religion, the view provided is potentially gracious and loving.

In writing these thoughts, I admit that they stem out of the Christian perspective in which I have been raised and schooled rather than a broad pan-religion perspective. But in the Christian tradition, sometimes I wonder if God isn’t a crutch for us. In our certitude that God is just, that he has a plan, that there is some sort of consummation imminent at some point (although the ideas of what kind of consummation are many and different) and that “heaven” is our destination, we might just be inclined to live our lives and not be agents of any real change.

What I am asking is whether our future oriented faith and our belief that God has righted everything through Jesus, with the implication that all justice is also a future reality that is only in God’s hands, provides quite a soft pillow for us to sit on our butts. My experience in Christianity is that there is very little that really orients us or compels us to be present and mindful in this world, to find our connection with this world and its inhabitants (except of course to convert them to our religious belief so that they, too, can have the future hope of heaven).

That is the particular part of the Christian faith that makes it less and less compelling to me. Now I realize that in the Bible the teaching of Jesus was very much located in the present. However as the centuries have passed it seems that there is much more emphasis on future other worldly realities, less on this world, its people sharing the planet with us and helping us to live in this moment. For that help and influence, I have been reading and looking to other religions (Taoist and Buddhist) which understand much more of a mindfulness in the present moment and a profound connection with this world and all of us who inhabit it. And, quite frankly, I find that they make a whole lot of sense, as I attempt to understand myself in this world, how I should act and behave and how I see and understand others. If God made this world, loves it and seemingly wants to heal it, why should “his followers” disregard it, abuse it and set their focus and aim on some eternity elsewhere?



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