Keith L. Anderson, Ph.D.
The first thing I’d like to say is, if you do not have a working knowledge of or believe in God, the Bible, Jesus and the forgiveness of sin, please don’t read this piece. Two things I’ve learned to do as I’ve gotten older, are to stop having an opinion about issues I don’t know or care about. The second is to stop listening to people who don’t know enough about or care about the issue of topic at hand. For instance, I would be a fool to try and talk on and on about hockey. I have never watched hockey. I’ve only seen bits and pieces of it during an ESPN reports. I don’t care about hockey. I can’t name one professional player who plays hockey. So, anyone who would listen to me talk on and on about hockey would be foolish. Yes, I and everyone else in America has a right to our opinions about anything and everything, but a right to an opinion doesn’t mean squat, without some measure of knowledge regarding the topic one is commenting on. For me, the same goes for God and the Bible. If you don’t have a working knowledge of, or care about the Bible, you’re probably not going to be interested in this piece. And guess what? That’s okay! I’ve studied the Bible and have written many papers about it. The more I study the Bible, the more I realize what I don’t know. Run away from those who claim to attained all the wisdom of the Bible.
According to what I read in the Bible, we all sin. We all can be forgiven for our sins, because Jesus, the Son of God came to die to redeem us. And there’s only one God and He ain’t me or you. Redeem means to compensate for the faults or bad aspects of something. The bad aspect of man is sin. Understanding sin, doesn’t make any man or woman wise enough to be judge, jury and executioner, of another’s sins. That’s where this country has gone wrong in its belief in God. This misunderstanding has caused this country and perhaps other countries around the world, to create other gods. In this country we have created the God of America. We have the internet and computers that can allow us to see the world from our homes. With all of this new technology, and access to new things, we needed a God who would allow us to explore and experience it all. So, we created the God of America, an updated version of the God of the Bible. The followers of the God of America use guilt, public opinion and power to control those who don’t believe as they believe. The followers of the God of America, justify what they do or don’t do, based on how good it makes them feel. Many times the followers of the God of America do the exact opposite of what the Bible says.
I have committed many sins in my life. Of the ones I knew were sins when I committed them, I managed to do a great job of justifying my actions. No matter how far from the teachings of the Bible my actions were, I could come up with solid reasons to justify what I was doing. My actions or sins didn’t help create the God of America. No, it was the reasoning for my actions and sins, that help create the God of America. I wasn’t the only contributor. In fact most of us, had a hand in this creation of the God of America.
Here’s an example of a very familiar incident that most adults have heard of, or been part of, which helped create the God of America. There was once a man, who rode the subway to and from work every day. He was a younger man, in his middle to late twenties. He’d been married for three or four years. After a year, deep in his heart he’d realized that he’d married the wrong woman. His wife didn’t do anything wrong. In fact, when they were dating everything felt right. But soon after they married things started to change. The young man was bored and felt he was missing out on something he couldn’t quite put his finger on. He felt like he tried everything he could, to reignite the flame within his marriage, but nothing seemed to work. One day on the train a woman sat next to him. She was very outgoing. She struck up a conversation with the young man. As the days turned to weeks and the weeks into months, the young man looked forward to his train rides to and from work. The young man began to tell himself that he deserved this kind of happiness. One thing led to another and they began to meet for lunches. Soon their lunches had nothing to do with food and conversation. During this time, the young man kept telling himself, how he deserved to be happy. He reasoned that it was no one’s fault. He’d simply married someone who couldn’t keep his attention. After a while things just felt right with the woman from the train. The young man actually began to believe that God must have brought this woman into his life for a reason. His happiness began to justify his actions. Because it felt good, it must be right, right?
Imagine being this young man’s best friend and he explained to you with tears in his eyes, how happy he was. What would you do or say? What if his wife was also your friend? Would the God of the Bible really supply this man with a woman on the side because it was apparent that God had made a mistake in His romantic match making? Probably not. What I do know is, this is a very familiar situation in this country. Our justifications have put the institution of marriage on a very rocky road. In today’s society, amongst so-called Bible believing people, if my spouse doesn’t make me happy, I can exchange him or her for someone else.
This same type of justification by those who follow the God of America condones social hatred. The God of America says money, not love, is power. The God of America wants to separate the people of America, rather than bring together the people of America. The God of America judges those who disagree with Bible updates. By the way, there are both liberal and conservative followers of the God of America. That’s because almost anything goes with the God of America. It’s a matter of whether or not the liberal or the conservative thinks of it first, as to whether it is right or wrong. Whoever can get to the media first, to pronounce their philosophy, wins that particular battle, but the war rages on and on.
So, where are the people who believe in the God of the Bible? Most are hushed by the fear of guilt, slapped on them by the God of America followers. We cower in the corners of their churches, with the power of God at their fingertips, but the fear of the men who in Numbers 13, reported back to Moses that the people in the land of the Wilderness of Zin, were giants and could not be overcome, even though the God of Moses told them to go there and the battle was already won. Those of us who aren’t cowering, spend more time learning the letter of the law (the Bible), than we do understanding the spirit of the law (the Bible). We have become so very judgmental. Instead of doing God’s will (feeding the hungry, giving water to the thirsty, clothing the naked), we’re pretending that we know who will and who won’t be going to Heaven. This sanctimonious, judgmental attitude causes more people to gravitate towards the God of America, because in that system there are no judgments or repercussions.
Growing up we were poor. I remember one of the treats we had every now and then was ice milk or imitation ice cream. I grew up on that stuff. We’d put it on cones and make banana splits or milkshakes. To use it was ice cream. Eventually, when I got older I tasted real ice cream. The difference was amazing! By the way, I don’t see ice milk in the stores anymore. Apparently, an imitation isn’t a viable, long-lasting substitute, for the real thing. The God of the Bible teaches us about the highest form of love, for God and our fellow man. The God of America teaches about, what I love to do. Try the former, I think you’ll find that the difference is amazing!