Stop.

I’m sure I’m about to piss a lot of people off, and I must admit, I don’t give a flip.

I’m very tired of hearing “God’s love is unconditional; only God’s love is perfect, as human beings we are deeply flawed.” True. The problem I have with this is that it generally prefaces or ends a statement about how “I just can’t stand him, no matter how hard I try.”

First off, let’s take a look at the idea that God’s love is unconditional. I personally do believe that, in whatever form God may take, God’s love IS unconditional. But the prevalent image of God doesn’t love unconditionally at all. There’s a ton of conditions- you have to be Christian, and generally belong to a particular sect of Christianity. You have to be straight, monogamous, and self-sacrificing. (God does not love lusty gay men. Though I hear He makes exceptions for straight men who just can’t resist screwing the secretary.) In the United States, you also have to be a patriot and a capitalist (I imagine because socialists and communists are greedy, immoral, and often hippies.) If this is the model you’re using as a means to “love unconditionally” you’re doomed to failure.

The Bible gives lots of instruction, correct? And Jesus, who is supposedly the one we base our values off, had some pretty pointed views including:

“Love one another.”

“Judge not, lest you be judged.

“Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.”

““Jesus looked at him and loved him. ‘One thing you lack,’ he said. ‘Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’ ””

Restricting the basic rights of your fellow man is not very loving. When you insinuate they’ll go to hell for whatever they believe, you can be sure that the day will come when that action is held against you. And furthermore, if there is a world on Earth (Ceaser’s), and a world in heaven (God’s), then why do people insist on punishing those different on Earth? If you’re convinced that your homosexual neighbor is going to hell, then let God sort it out. There’s no need to cause them pain and damage here: if you are righteous and they are not, you will each gain your just rewards. As to the last, I grow weary of people passing a bum on the street and not even looking. Don’t tell me, “they’ll just spend it on booze.” Maybe they will. Or maybe they’ll buy a sandwich. You have no way of knowing, but faith in God should lead you to believe the best of them, because that’s what God is supposed to do: shine his light out from every single person. Don’t pat yourself on the back for sponsoring a child in Mexico: you spend at least ten times as much on Starbucks or your treat of choice in the year.

God did not give you free will and a brain with higher reason so that you could judge the people around you and only help the ones who fall in line with your beliefs. God gave you these faculties so you could learn to love everyone, and so you can learn to create your own miracles. When you “hand everything over to God,” you are neglecting the gifts you were given. Faith and self-empowerment can exist side-by-side. If God is behind everything, if every trial and test and action is His doing, then we are merely marionettes and he is the puppeteer. God wants you to be proud of yourself, and He wants you to take control of all the graces He bestowed upon you. Self-determination, used for compassion and transcendence, is what the goal of free will is. Free will is proof that God loves you, and that He trusts you. Now stop wasting it.

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