Monday, January 4, 2010

Falsely worshipping God and worshipping false gods

One of the most pertinent and yet difficult tasks of a priest or any spiritual director is to lead the faithful to a better relationship with God and to broaden their appreciation of God’s often unfathomable ways. The task of any primary level catechist is to begin this in the mind of children, introducing God to them in ways that a child can appreciate and understand. As the child progresses into his teenage years, and then to adulthood, the relationship with God is meant to mature and develop along similar lines. The problem that many have is that this development somewhat gets stalled or remains stagnant at a late primary level, or for many, at the mid-secondary level, resulting in many adults who are 30, 40 or even in their late 50s having a very under-developed notion of God.

This often results in an idea of a God that seems more like an ogre or a ‘policeman’, one to be feared rather than loved; avoided rather than relating to; toxic instead of tender.

I suspect that this is why many seem to get angry with God whenever he seems to throw curved balls their way. These curved balls come in many forms, and usually, they are in the form of sufferings and failures, rejection and disappointments, illnesses and death. When these happen in life, and one is only rigidly holding on to an idea of a menacing or distanced God, hardly involved and loving in our lives, one can easily end up cursing God, hating God and placing a huge amount of blame on him.

Sometimes, I do get penitents telling me of their anger with God, and I often tell them that the only sin I see is that they have been worshipping a false God. Usually, they look at me puzzled, till I explain to them that the God that they have formed in their minds could well be so far from God himself. The god who inflicts pain arbitrarily; who enjoys seeing suffering and failures; who delights in harming creation by disasters and catastrophes simply does not exist. But does this mean that god does not exist? Not at all. In fact, the God who exists often works his love into our lives via entry points that are best accessible when we are unguarded and have let our defenses down. And most of the time, that is when we are most pained, weakened in suffering and failure, and hanging on by a thread.

Once we begin to open our eyes in a new way, to see God’s hand at work in ways that we never could before, we will be reminded of how God should be properly worshipped, and diminish our worship (or cursing) of a false and constructed god. Indeed, we truly will then be re-minded, having a new mind.


  1. I like what you said about - " God... often works His love into our lives....when we are unguarded and have let our defenses down..." - so true in many of my memorable life's moments ( God moments)It is precisely when I've had had the rug pulled from under my feet,... when I'm not so 'full of myself' that there is " room in my inn". On reflection - this may not be a bad thing - perhaps this was what Paul meant when he said..'for it is when I am weak that I am strong' ....unless he's a paradox-lover or a riddler !

  2. You are absolutely right dear Rev.Fr.Luke Fong.
    when I was doing a back-pack travel through asia and europe, going through lots of frustrations and disappointments. I was not complaining to the wonderful Lord, but rather thanking him for all the small wonderful gifts he has bestowed upon me and the others.For which he made my journey safe and memorable. rgds Lary.

  3. This is an absolutely beautiful entry. I am left speechless by the truth you have shared and can only say thank you. May it touch the souls of many.

    Pax tecum.

  4. On a separate note: When bad things happen I think people get angry with God because they believe that God has decided to "put them to the test." And they get frustrated because that test doesn't seem to end, and it doesn't seem to have any meaning/reason behind it.

    Why do bad things happen then? On my own, I've reasoned that bad things are necessary for growth ... without conflict/tension there would not be progress. Often, we pray to God for solutions to our problems. And we get frustrated because our God doesn't seem to be a God who answers. Is this because it seems as though God does not provide us with the answers/solutions we desire? Perhaps the point of the bad situation is for us to learn something about ourselves and others rather than to solve the situation?

    Also, why is the God in the old testament a 'policeman' God, but why is the God in the new testament a kinder God?