My Whole Expanse I Cannot See…

I formulate infinity stored deep inside of me…

May 6

God loves us, maybe…

I’m not a religious fellow. I’m Catholic enough to believe in Hell, and that I’ll probably go there. God and I aren’t really pals lately. Still, I love talking about religion.

So, Catholics believe in God the Father, God the Son (Jesus) and the Holy Ghost. They’re three separate beings, but they add up to the One True God. Nobody really knows how this is possible, it’s just supposed to be believed. It’s supposed to be taken on faith that They’re separate, but One.

Now, God of the Old Testament was often pretty harsh and vengeful, He fucked over plenty of people. Jesus, His Son, however, was all about love and forgiveness. Jesus, the Prince of Peace. The Holy Ghost is also supposed to be quite loving, very kind. Currently, They’re all said to be in Heaven, Three as One.

I often wonder if just because Jesus loves us perfectly and forever, couldn’t God still be hardcore and fuck us over when He feels like it? Could the One God actually hate us? Of course, He can’t hate us if He doesn’t exist at all.

Personally, I believe in God, but I don’t think He cares one way or another what happens to us. What about you?


17 Comments so far

  1. Ziztur May 6th, 2009 3:01 pm

    As you could have guessed, I am obviously going to respond to this post.

    I am an atheist and a naturalist, so I don’t believe in any kind of supernatural thing, including any god.

    Given this, I often like to talk to people about their particular beliefs in their particular version of god.

    According to some Christians, unbelievers or people who have not accepted Jesus don’t count as the Christian god’s children. Instead they are children of Satan. Then you accept Jesus, you automatically become the Christian god’s loved one.

    So yes. According to some brands of Christianity, their god is very hardcore and will really fuck you over, ’cause you’re one of Satan’s little street urchins.

    Lots of people think god, heaven and hell are “what you make of it”, but I think that’s a crock of postmodernist BS.

    I think religion is mostly just an artifact of the process of natural selection. It’s pretty obvious that religion evolves right along with the culture it is an inseparable part of.

    **goes and gets the can opener, cranks away at a can labeled, “refried worms”**

  2. swartzfeger May 6th, 2009 3:04 pm

    You’re talking about deism, check it out.

    Also, google/wiki the differences of triune godhead between catholics, orthodox, mormons, eskimos, ninjas, etc.

  3. Shannon May 6th, 2009 3:08 pm

    I am not a religious person, but I do believe a God out there exists in some form or another. I agree with you. I don’t think God cares what happens to us.

    Lots of religous people say that they think God all has a plan for us…you know, “let go and let God” and all that. Ultimately, I think it is all about what we choose to do with our lives and the decisions we make. I believe in destiny to a point, but it is still up to us to make do with what is put before us. Whatever we do and how our lives turn out is in our own hands.

    Sometimes I think we could all be one huge reality show for God to entertain Himself with. You know…He puts us in situations and waits to see what we’ll do and how we’ll react. Kinda fucked up perception in a way, but still possible nonetheless!!!

  4. Beany May 6th, 2009 3:14 pm

    I went from being very religious (believing in hell/heaven) to being an atheist to being an atheist and reading extensively about religion. I read many books by Karen Armstrong and feel that religion serves a purpose to many who need a frame of reference and guidance to live their lives.

    So my view is that I’m the only one who cares for me and only I can facilitate that.

  5. Matthew Dyer May 6th, 2009 3:49 pm

    I’m an agnostic who was raised Catholic. I figure I’ll find out how it all works when I do; or, I won’t exist anymore and it won’t matter.

    For some reason this reminds me of a line from “Jesus, Etc” by Wilco. “Our love… our love is all of God’s money.”

    I think that sums up my beliefs. It doesn’t matter if there is or isn’t a God if we don’t love each other, even if it’s a messed up kind of tough love. Loving your neighbor is the first step towards loving yourself. If God can be three in one, why can’t we be six billion in one as well?

  6. Jeff P. May 6th, 2009 3:58 pm

    Technically I’m Agnostic, which for me means I’m basically an Atheist who isn’t sure. I have a hunch that there is no god or Messiah(s), random shit just happens and when you die you don’t go to heaven or hell or anywhere. The matter which made up your body deteriorates and reorganizes itself in various forms in the natural world/universe, but you as a person are gone, forever. That’s just my gut feeling though and doesn’t prove a damn thing. But if there is a god I bet no human has ever come up with an accurate idea or description of what that god is, wants or does. I completely reject the Judeo-Christian concept of god. I find the idea of an omniscient omnipresent being with human emotions who has absolute control over everything ridiculous. I don’t think a god would have the same emotions as a human. It seems strange to me that god would be angry, happy, or sad. Also I’m not sure any hypothetical god could even be described as a being. Maybe it would be more like a force. I can’t imagine that there is an actual god that has much control over anything. But I don’t place much importance on whether god exists or not. To me it doesn’t matter. I think either god doesn’t exist or if it does it has no control of what happens to anybody. I definitely don’t believe in hell. I think hell was a concept invented by humans used to scare the crap out of others in order to control them. The idea of an afterlife of any kind does not appeal to me. Let’s say there is a heaven. At some point one might get bored. I sure as heck wouldn’t want to be bored forever. That sounds absolutely awful to me. So I hope when I die that’s it and I completely cease to exist. I’m very comfortable with that idea.

    Music is my religion.

  7. Kara May 6th, 2009 7:29 pm

    Yeah, what you’re explaining sounds a great deal like deism, which is where my beliefs lay currently. I was raised Catholic, but no one in my immediate family was really into it. I’m pretty sure my brother and I had to make it through Confirmation to appease my VERY Catholic grandmother.

    A fair number of our founding fathers were deists: Ben Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson. They weren’t big fans of organized religion and frankly, neither am I.

  8. Ormolu May 6th, 2009 8:13 pm

    I was never religious, but spiritual instead. Over the years, I think I’ve settled into my beliefs.

    I believe in a Creator, but my relationship to it is similar to how my own creations might feel about me. I wonder if they believe in me too.

  9. Eileen May 6th, 2009 8:58 pm

    Are you mad at God Michael? It is understandable if you are. You have had more challenges than any one person should have to deal with. But that is not reason enough to go to hell. Besides He is probably looking forward to one big DEBATE when you get there. Make Him wait a long time…

  10. Jen May 6th, 2009 10:27 pm

    This is fun. Religious talk.

    I mean, technically, according to the doctrine of the trinity, there would be no way for the big God to hate you, but for Jesus to love you (which I can tell you, because I am now officially a MASTER of theological studies). They’re all the same, they all have the same will, the same hates and loves. The only way for God to hate you and Jesus to love you is if Jesus wasn’t really God, and the real God is a total dickhead. which is totally possible.

    But I think the real God loves us, she affirms everything, she is love and goodness and hope itself. I’m not talking about the Christian God, though. I am just saying wherever there is a spark of beauty, that’s God, that’s the thing worth loving and seeking and worshiping. Shit, I hate how new-agey I sound.

  11. michael May 7th, 2009 12:03 am

    Eileen: I’m not mad at God, but I question Him a lot, and I don’t particularly feel respectful anymore. Maybe I don’t believe enough, or in the right way. If Hell exists, going there wouldn’t surprise me, especially considering the last year.

  12. Rachael Starke May 7th, 2009 1:18 am

    Hi Michael,

    I’d say I just randomly found your blog, but I’m a Christian – we don’t believe in randomness a whole lot. 🙂

    I’m also a fifth-generation preacher’s kid who hated God and everything to do with religion. I still remember the day I told God (who I also told myself I didn’t believe in) that He could go to Hell.

    Six weeks later I knew He was real. And I eventually even learned that He actually did go to Hell, so I didn’t have to. That’s what Jesus’ life on earth, death and resurrection are all about.

    That was almost 20 years ago. It’s funny. I was just talking to my husband tonight about all the things I thought I knew or thought were real when I was younger, and how almost all of them were total lies.

    But the one thing I know, that I would die rather than deny, is that God is real, and that He loves me. All that Jesus was and is prove that.

    And He loves you too. He loves you enough to remove all the distractions that most of the world lives in and for every day, just so that you can know for certain just how God loves you.

    Thanks for asking. 🙂

  13. michael May 7th, 2009 2:03 am

    All: Thanks for the comments so far, interesting stuff.

    Jen: I haven’t seen that kind of beauty in so long, but I do remember it. It’s funny, you’re the second person who’s described God to me that way. I wish I could see that spark again, and feel the way I used to.

    Rachael: I hope you keep reading. 🙂

  14. Jeff P. May 7th, 2009 10:18 am

    Really? You think you’ve done something bad enough to warrant a trip to hell? I personally don’t think anyone deserves hell. To me the concept is really sick and messed up. Out of all the ideas associated with christianity that is the one I have the biggest problem with.

    I’m curious though. If hell exists what do you think it is?

  15. Jen May 7th, 2009 10:58 am

    I’m with Jeff P. Who deserves eternal torture? What finite crime would warrant eternal punishment? It’s crazy.

    Mike, I promise it is all still there, beauty is still around. It is all in our manner of looking. There are certain things that jolt us into seeing it, like love and success, and certain things that blind us to it, like loneliness and futility, but the world hasn’t changed, it is still the same roar of pleasure and woe it has always been. If you strain, maybe you can find the eyes to love the whole thing. and then, fuck God, cause you will have saved yourself.

  16. toni May 7th, 2009 2:49 pm

    I guess being taught how to make the sign of the cross before I can even walk, being told that I will eat moldy food I didn’t finish from off my plate in this lifetime in purgatory PLUS going to Catholic grade school, high school, and even university makes one believe in God, and on bad days only go as far as doubting his existence. God has been drilled into my brain whether that is to my advantage or not.

    Anyhow… personally, I feel that it’s not that God does not care what happens to us. It’s more of like him watching us live and learn and grow and when it gets too much, we get to choose from three persons, whichever form we feel most comfy with, to whine to and get guidance from, hehe. Also, God is never about hate.

    I see the world as an interplay of natural laws, that which we can not control, and universal moral laws where we have a role to play in everyday of our lives (check out CS Lewis’ “Mere Christianity”, good read for anyone)- – and also as something that I can never understand, like St. Augustine’s dilemma with the Trinity and his encounter with the boy digging a hole in the sand.

    As a kid I feared Hell, the place with fire and demons. Dante could have been my next door neighbor and his trip to the inferno something I overheard him tell my mom about in hushed tones over our gate. Now at 28, I still believe that there is hell. It is anywhere where love is not. It is where one had the option to do good but chose the easier way. As for the fiery place where there is grinding of bones and grashing of teeth… it may be out there somewhere, who knows? But I am betting that it is empty.

  17. Rachael Starke May 12th, 2009 3:39 am

    Hi Michael –
    Well thanks, I will. 🙂 I’m really overwhelmed this week with some projects, so I haven’t had the time I would like to take to learn more of your “backstory” (I see you’ve been featured on the T.V. version of TIA – I listen to the podcast version, but don’t get Showtime so haven’t seen it yet). But I was praying for you this week, and then just this evening, as I was doing some research for a talk I’m doing at my church, I found this article on Hell by a writer and pastor I really, really respect. Several of your readers had questions about hell, and he describes it in a way I haven’t seen before, but it rings very true.

    Your last commenter isn’t actually too far off – emptiness and lack of love are very big parts of it. I find it interesting that he sees all the stuff about fire and brimstone as metaphor – a human construct too weak to define what is actually far, far worse.

    But I love his closing statement:

    “…it is because of the doctrine of judgment and hell that Jesus’ proclamations of grace and love are so astounding.”

    Well, I’m up waaaay too late, but didn’t want to got to sleep before sending you that. I hope it’s helpful…