Your Father, Your God, and Different Interpretations of the Bible and/or Christianity
I talk about God a lot on this site. Abortion, the death penalty, sexuality, social services, slavery…
There are people who define themselves as Christians are both sides of every major issue. Have you ever wondered how one book could inspire such a wide variety of interpretations?
I have a theory.
Father’s and toddlers.
Most individuals equate God to the father they had when they were 3 years old.
That seems a stretch – try for yourself. Based on what you have heard from your family, what was your dad like were 3 years old?
Was he absent? Most likely you don’t believe in God, or if you do, you don’t believe God cares much about you.
Was he loving and present? Most likely your God is too.
Was he sometimes friendly, but sometimes scary? Again, there are whole denominations built around this idea.
Was he abusive? Generally, you would go into adulthood with a view of an angry, judgmental God.
Each denomination of protestant (aka non-catholic) western Christianity was founded by a particular influential theologian – Martin Luther, John Calvin, Ulrich Zwingli… It’s a long and distinguished list.
Each man viewed the Bible as pure and unequivocal truth. Unsurprisingly, their interpretations differed.
And with each one if you look at his early life… you understand why… More on that for a fuure post. Right now, we’re keeping it relevant to us.
If an individual receives spiritual education from a nurturing caregiver after junior high school, at times their view of God will evolve.
I’ve seen many examples of people who had a loving father, but got the religion “educated out of them” in college. Most of these folks will not become atheists. Instead they’ll choose a new form of spirituality. One that is gentle, supportive and benign, such as seeing themselves as “spiritual, but not religious”.
Does the theory apply to you? How did your relationship with you father during your toddler years impact your understanding of God, if at all?
Post in the comments and let me know.