Falsely quoting God has gotten out of hand
Indiana Daily Student
Rejoice, ye mortal citizens of the earth, for God hath chosen once more to speak unto thee!
But fear not, humble humans. This time, the Almighty has opted to skip the burning bushes, flashes of light and rolling thunder of yore.
Is He speaking through prophets? No! Writing on stone tablets? Of course not.
These days, God chooses to communicate with his children via billboard. The Almighty apparently is also a fan of mouse pads, magnets, hooked rugs, welcome mats, screen savers and (gulp) bumper stickers.
I guess God's PR team thought he needed to get with the times and adopt a new "millennium" image. That whole omniscient thing just wasn't cutting it anymore.
Accordingly, God has jazzed up his delivery since Biblical times. This time around, God has developed a taste for sarcasm, veiled threats and tongue-in-cheek humor when dealing with his creation.
Here I am, a lifelong Christian, passionate about my faith — can it be that I've been misguided about my God all along? Did I miss the God boat? I thought he was wise, compassionate, loving, peaceful and kind — and now He turns out to be annoyingly trite?
I am sadly disappointed: Apparently, God has gone back on that whole "free will" thing. He's not into personal relationships anymore. Nowadays, he's into shoving his sarcastic message down our disenchanted throats.
It's a sad day for humanity when God is glib. Either God has changed a lot in the past five years or so, or someone else is using his name.
Maybe I should have done some investigative reporting before writing this column. I could call up the ad agencies mass producing his "messages" and the billboard companies plastering his name all over town. Perhaps he did stroll into a bumper sticker company and order the mass-production of cute phrases such as "Don't make me come down there."
As if he's not down here already!
"Your body is a temple ... right?" — God.
"See you Sunday." — God.
Maybe God really does take time out of his busy schedule to put up big signs stating "Is that your final answer?" Because I'm sure he watches "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" to break up the monotony of being an omnipotent being who created the universe and loves everyone.
Or maybe I'm right, and God's new smart aleck ad campaign is really the work of humans. I'm not saying that spreading God's message is bad — I'm just saying perhaps it's not wise to put words into God's mouth.
Really, is it fair to sign God's name to anything? If I plastered a billboard up in town that said "Hey, Coach Knight ... come back! — Myles Brand," I'm sure I'd get into all kinds of trouble. Just because you slap someone's name on a catch phrase doesn't mean it's true. We're talking legal issues here, people. I think it's high time God sued for libel.
There are many ways to communicate God's message of peace and salvation without stooping to zingy one-liners on bumper stickers.
Perhaps friendship, fellowship and investing personal time are better ways to spread God's love. While some might think these God ad campaign messages are thought provoking or funny, others are turned off by sarcastic comments about one's spiritual life or lack thereof.
I don't want anyone to turn away from God because they view him as domineering or threatening. As a Christian, I think such ads misrepresent my views: God does not pander to popular culture, at least in my experience.
He is sometimes subtle, sometimes unmistakable, but in every way effective without resorting to being glib and pushy.
If God has something to tell mankind, I'm sure he will find a way to do so.
This article first appeared in the Indiana University newspaper the Indiana Daily Student on Thursday, October 5, 2000 and is reprinted here courtesy of U-WIRE.
The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and not those of The Observer.
All Viewpoint Stories for Friday, October 6, 2000