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December 19, 2012 / compassioninpolitics

How do you deal with the paradoxes of God and Faith: Love and Judgement

Heres a question from a Skeptic, Agnostic, or Atheist:

What is it about organized religion that seems to make so many people fear God? Is an omnipresent God meant to watch us and judge us, or love us unconditionally? I find the first possibility worrying and frightening.

Love and punishment aren’t mutually exclusive. Yes there are perhaps paradoxes to a relationship with God. There are paradoxes to life and relationships with other people too. I think part of the problem is that the dualism intrinsic to the West means that when two things are integrated (sugar + salt) we assume they are separate and opposite–but their integration changes them. Assumptive questions like this question tend to mis the point in this regard. God is love, but he’s also glory. Your father was probably loving….he also probably had discipline.

A couple things–the question has a number of loaded terms and assumptions which really aren’t fully unpacked:

1. Fear. Fear is not always a bad thing–in fact if we didn’t fear something we’d probably die. I think we think of this term too negatively. We fear a number of things with good reason. Plus, the nature of the fear is one which is coupled with love for a Father. Its a balanced kind of fear.

2. Organized Religion. This isn’t a meaningful grouping for truly intellectual conversation. This is like saying all the people on a continent are the same.

I would suggest you also read this short article on dealing with these supposed contradictions or paradoxes.

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