Why do you ask, God?
Because the things you believe and tell each other about me, anyone not familiar with your religion, would have to ask what sort of father do you really think I am? So I’m asking too, Mark, what sort of father do you think I am?
I’m not liking the sound of this, God.
Mark, remember when I compared God with human fathers?
You mean ‘If you know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more does your father in heaven know how to give good gifts to you’?
Near enough, Mark. A LOT has been lost in translation and a lot of baggage added, but yes that one. The concept is simple - if you, with all your humanness, can be good fathers, then surely I can be too?
God, us Christians are fairly familiar with that concept, we probably know a lot more about godly fatherhood than the Jews did.
Hmmm. This might come as a shock, Mark, I’d like a wee discussion about the nonsense Satan and his servant Religion have taught Christianity and the similarities between you and the Jews.
God, really? Not another of these conversations!
Bear with me, Mark, Satan and Religion have fooled you Christians, it’s nothing new, they did the same to the apostles on a number of occasions…
Aye?? Fooled the Apostles??
Absolutely. Haven’t you read where they tricked the Apostles into thinking the non Jewish Christians needed to be circumcised? First the Jews, and now Christianity, you have been vulnerable to Satan and Religion for so long you have come to believe their most mischievous lies, you think they are gospel truth.
Nice one, God, I’m wanting to tell you to shut up. People won’t like this.
Mark, stop kidding yourself. You love it when I say things that provoke annoyance and outrage. You want to destroy Religion, you want to see him bleed for the damage he’s done to Christianity. It pleases you when I say things that ruffle religious feathers. Your real problem is that the things I say challenge what you personally believe - you think you’re free from Religion’s deceptions, but you’re steeped in them.
That’s a bit tough, God??
The things he has taught you are so poisonous it will take a lifetime before you are free of them. And even then, years from now when you see me face to face, you will be shocked at how many of his lies you still believe. Decades of hunting Religion down will not free you completely from his poison and deception. He is the most powerful and respected majesty in the demonic realm.
Religion is more murderous, more suffocating to personal freedom than any other principality or power. His greatest power is that he turns your attention on lesser kingdoms so that he can sneak in unnoticed.
He points at pornography, murder, violence, racism, but poses himself as a force for righteousness, the purveyor and foundation of all that is good, yet all the while he squeals with glee because you believe his lies. He is like the many denominations, sects and cults he has co-founded with you; ‘clean and white on the outside, and full of dead men’s bones on the inside’.
He has convinced you that you are in danger of punishment from me and lucky to be considered for salvation. But Mark, it’s not about salvation, it’s about relationship with the three of us, Father, Son and Spirit, and you’re not lucky to be considered for it, you were born for it.
You are not the sorry sin-infested mess he tells you that you are, you are the pinnacle of creation, as Paul Young’s masterful book ‘Eve’ states. You are the envy of the angelic kingdom, dark and light, and as John 3:16 puts it, I ‘highly esteem’ you.
God, can we stop a minute please. You know this is going to be too hard to swallow for so many well-meaning Christians. Can’t we take it a bit slower, there has to be a more gentle doorway to all this?
Trust me, Mark, this is the best approach - Religion’s power comes from the rules, regulations and fear, that he imposes on you. And his greatest victory is that Christianity’s twisted view of me turns others away. You think you are evangelising the world with truth, but you have given them such a destructive view of me, that most of them are genuinely bewildered. The nonsense you tell them has them asking the obvious question.
What question, God?
What sort of father do you think I am?
But, God, we think you are a good father. We even sing that song; “You’re a good good father”.
Yes, I am good. But you believe the opposite.
God, that’s hardly fair!
Mark, you sing I am good and the singing is intoxicating, just like any singing can be. You think you believe the words, but the things Religion has taught you, paint a different picture of me – they describe a mean and menacing God, intent on your punishment and harm. The nice words you sing about me are no match for the lies you believe.
But, God no, I think you’re wrong, we think you are a good father!
Actually, you don’t. You are convinced that you were born inescapably sinful.
Yes, but God, that’s us, not you.
You’re missing the point, Mark. You think you’re born sinful but you also believe that each of you is created by me. You’ve never stopped to think through the lie!
What lie, God??
Mark, if I created you sinful then it is not you, but I, who is at fault. You can hardly be blamed for the way you were created.
No, God, it’s not your fault, it’s our fathers’ or something.
Really? So I mix in something your fathers did when I create you, then I hold you responsible?
Well yes, apparently?
Mark, is it any wonder that the un-Christianised think you are mad and your God a tyrant?
Well yes, no, actually I don’t know, God. Arguing with you is difficult.
Mark, the accuser blinds you to the obvious muddle that you have come to believe. He has so messed your minds with Religious filth that those who hear what you believe wonder if you have thrown away your minds.
If you really are created in sin, then how can I blame you for that? And how can any ‘good, good father’ torture you in burning liquid, unless you say sorry for things you had no control over.
But, God, it’s not our sin at birth anymore that you throw us into hell for, that’s all changed, now it’s the stuff we do once we get to the ‘age of accountability’…
What do you mean ‘that’s all changed’, Mark?
Well, Christianity used to believe you threw babies who died into hell. For thousands of years we believed that, then someone was brave enough to suggest that was total codswallop. Eventually we changed what we believed and now, apparently, you only throw us into hell for what we do after we reach the ‘age of accountability’. Babies are safe from you now.
Mark, ‘the age of accountability’ is a concept invented by Religion and you, not me. A clever way to adjust but still hold fast to your insistence that I am a God focused on sin and punishment and throwing the guilty into eternal torture.
Punishment, God, not torture!
Torture, Mark. Flames that burn but never go out, burning people who can never die, but must endure those flames forever. No human, no matter how twisted, has managed to invent a torture so heinous and yet you attribute the idea to me, your ‘good good father’. Really??
Ok, torture. We believe you torture us in burning liquid if we don’t say sorry for the things we decide to do ourselves after we reach ‘the age of accountability’.
Yes, but until recently you Christians believed that I, your ‘good, good father’, would throw dead infants into hell if you didn’t perform all sorts of rites and prayers to persuade me not to. What sort of father do you honestly think I am?? Good men would refuse to follow a God who has to be persuaded not to torture babies – is it any surprise to that the un-churched are so horrified and disgusted by your beliefs?
But God we don’t believe that any more. Now you only throw us into hell…
Torture you Mark, say it, you need to face the grim reality of your beliefs.
Ok, torture. You only torture us for the stuff we do after we reach ‘the age of accountability’.
Yes, so you said. And Mark how old does a person have to be before he reaches this ‘age of accountability’ that you and Religion have invented?
No one seems quite sure, God.
So you are constantly in danger of being thrown into a lake of fire and tortured there forever, by this ‘good, good father’ that you call me, for any action committed after a certain age, but you’re not quite sure what that age is?
Well, ok that is kind of what it’s like, God.
Dear dear dear… What has Religion persuaded you to believe, what sort of father do you honestly think I am? Has anyone ever questioned all this?
Not unless they wanted to be called a heretic God.
That’s what they called me Mark, and Paul, and Elijah, and everyone else worth their salt.
Yes, but God, if we were to believe this stuff you’re saying, it would change everything. The basic tenets of our faith are that we are born in sin, and that you by your mercy, took away our punishment on the cross.
So if you were going to be punished, who was going to be doing the punishing?
Well, you apparently, God?
Mark, honestly? What sort of father do you think I am?
I’m running out of steam here, God. Running out of argument. Not wanting to accept what you’re saying because…
Because it would mean you needed to start again, Mark. Go back to the beginning, back to the garden when Religion first entered the picture and asked ‘Did God really say’? You need to go right back there and ask me. That’s a huge problem for most of Christianity, your leaders included, because most of you don’t know how to hear me, not in full sentences and paragraphs like this.
The prospect of asking me to redefine your faith, re-explain what this whole Father, Son, Spirit and human story is about is terrifying, what if you got it wrong? You’d rather stick with what you believe.
The Pharisees found themselves in the same predicament Mark, and now here you all are at the same place they were. They had taken a relationship I started with the patriarchs and reduced it to a set of rules and regulations presided over by an angry God, and now you have done the same with the truths I taught the disciples.
The Pharisees decided it was safer to stick with Religion’s lies than listen to me, and so they murdered me. And now you are all doing the same, murdering the truth so you can keep listening to Religion’s lies about a father consumed with your behaviour and punishment. Have you ever met any other father so consumed with his children’s behaviour as you say I am?
Well no, God.
What about punishment, have you ever met a father who would punish his children in the way you say I do, torture them, burn them alive, and keep them alive in the flames so the pain never goes away?
God, of course not. But you’re supposed to be more just than we are. Christianity teaches that your ‘justice’ requires you…
To be merciful, Mark?
Mark, mercy is required in the face of guilt, but we’re not talking about guilt, this is about injustice, about people accused of breaking laws they’re not even sure about and can probably not help breaking because of the state in which they were born. Neither mercy nor justice has anything to do with that, it’s a mischievous lie.
And anyway Mark, what sort of father is constantly using words like guilt when talking about his children? Have you ever met another father who would punish his kids for any crime, no matter how minimal, by torturing them forever?
So Mark, that’s why I’m asking…
What sort of father do you think I am?
My marriage came crashing down and me with it. The devastation began sinking in and me with it. Nothing I knew was the same anymore. It was horrible and I was terrified. I threw my pride to the wind and screamed (literally) to God.