Abuse of Power: A Fundamental Tenet of Christianity

GOD AS MAN

God is often anthropomorphized — and, with “anthro” being the Greek-derived prefix for “man,” I do mean anthropomorphized. Even at my liberal college, we had to whisper when we described the Holy Spirit as a she. The idea of God the Father is so inextricably linked to the Judeo-Christian mythos that any attempt to re-gender Him (or even render Him gender-neutral) hits a huge wall of resistance, not just from chauvinists but from bog-standard Christians who simply don’t want to go through the bother of changing. (I was a regular attendee when the Vatican re-translated the ritual elements of Mass in 2011 and changed, amongst other things, “And also with you” to “And with your spirit”. I bet there’s still people getting it wrong.) Ritual is ritual; comfort is comfort, and people don’t like shake-ups to the things they know. Especially when those changes don’t really seem that necessary. (“And with your spirit” may be more accurate, but was it worth the trouble?) Inertia is hard to fight, is what I’m trying to say. And God has been a He for a very long time.

GOD AS VIRTUOUS MAN

I have written before about Republican Jesus. We have talked about his example, and how selfish and callous he is. And we have talked about how there is evidence in the Bible to support this interpretation of the Judeo-Christian god. The God of the Old Testament is, to put it frankly, kind of a dick. He sets fairly arbitrary rules as tests of faith, and if you break them, He kills you without a second thought. He wields his power as He sees fit, without any real thought of the consequences that might befall His chosen people. If you study Exodus closely, you’ll notice that it was actually God’s will that Pharaoh remain resistant until the tenth plague was visited on Egypt. God wanted to kill all the firstborns. God wanted to fuck the Egyptians. And instead of just doing it outright, He forced the Egyptians to resist His plagues so that He could claim it was their fault. “They made me do it! It’s their own fault that their sons are dead!” Good times with the victim-blaming there, YHWH.

LOWERING THE BAR ON VIRTUE

God, so priests say, is omnipotent. He has the power to destroy everything; He holds our lives in the palm of His hand. But God is also all-loving, and has chosen to allow us to live. Therefore, we should be grateful to Him. Because, after all, choosing not to abuse one’s power is not something that just any old person with a conscience would do; no, it’s only something that an extremely virtuous entity would do.

GOD AS MORAL EXEMPLAR

This revelation, astounding enough in its own right, makes a number of Christian ideas, and particularly Christian-American ideas, look downright sinister.

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Perspectives in C

Perspectives in C

We don’t have the right to live in a world that satisfies our moral sensibilities. We DO, however, get to CREATE one. Here’s how we do it.