Benjamin L. Corey

Benjamin L. Corey

BLC is an author, speaker, scholar, and global traveler, who holds graduate degrees in Theology & Intercultural Studies from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and received his doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller. He is the author of Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus, and Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith.

No, God Isn’t Like Some Stephen King Character We’re Supposed to Fear

No, we shouldn't fear God-- God is not some violent clown.

Are we supposed to fear God? And if we did, would that be a good thing?

I’ve already tried that out, as over the years my view of God left little separation between him and an evil clown from a Stephen King movie.

In fact, my fear of God began the day I was introduced to him as a kid. I was the depraved sinner who was so bad inside that I had earned an eternity of torment– even though the brain that governs my decision making hadn’t finished developing yet. And not only had I already earned an eternity in the flames of hell– but my “loving” Heavenly Father was prepared to toss me into the lake of fire himself.

Of course, it gets worse. Being tossed into a lake of molten lava wouldn’t even kill me– the punishment the seven-year-old version of me had earned was so severe, that I would actually live forever and ever and ever, being tortured and burned alive in the flames of God’s hell.

Combine that with the fact that the Bible seems to repeatedly describe having “fear” of God as a good thing, I bought into the narrative hook, line, and sinker.

I had deep fear of God and supposedly, that was the “beginning of all wisdom.” However, instead of that fear being the beginning of wisdom it actually marked the day that functionally ended the very thing I was taught I had been created for: to have a relationship with God.

Let’s be honest: How does one have a “relationship” with someone so frightening that they might as well have come out of a Stephen King novel?

I really have no idea how it’s done. I’m not interested in even reading a book or watching a movie where the main character deliberately tortures and hurts people, let alone attempt to have some sort of relationship in real-life with someone like that. Even were one to attempt to have a relationship with someone who is willing to torture and hurt others, I don’t see how it could be a genuine or authentic relationship unless they too, took pleasure in the intentional torment of others.

Growing up I was taught there was good news in this story: Jesus could save me from what his dad wanted to do to me, because he took a violent beating in my place and can now protect me from him. All things considered, I spent years of my life actually believing this good news was pretty good.

Yet, too many years of trying to live within that narrative brought me to a season where I thought my faith had completely collapsed. I *just* couldn’t do it anymore– I’d rather believe in nothing than believe in an all-powerful being who’d dangle me over a fiery pit. More than that, I could no longer pretend that any such being was actually “loving” at all.

I suppose the biggest irony of my spiritual journey as a Christian is this: I was taught that Jesus could save me from a violent, angry God– and in the end, he actually did.

You see, when my faith collapsed I decided to start over and rebuild a Christian faith that was centered upon Jesus.

And when I did?

Well, I came to realize that the only way to describe what God is like is to describe what Jesus is like. Jesus claimed that he and the Father were one, and that when we see what Jesus is like, we’ll see what God is actually like. Even when the Gospel of John begins to introduces us to Jesus, it first reminds us that no one had actually seen God before that moment.

The only way to see what God is like, is to look at what Jesus is like.

It is God who trades up the opportunity to spend his time with the religiously pure, opting instead to recline at the table with messy people like me.

It is God who storms the halls of exclusive religion, who is busy disrupting the peace of those comfortably inside, and who clears a space for the outsiders.

It is God who stands with the condemned, boldly telling the crowd to put their stones down.

It is God who turns to them– turns to us– and says, “Neither do I condemn you.”

It is God who came and who so desperately wanted us to finally see what he is truly like, that he allowed himself to be raised high in the air on a hill outside Jerusalem for all to see.

It is God who refuses to be slandered by humanity in our descriptions of him, as if he’s some Stephen King character we’re supposed to fear.

It is God who exposed the vicious lie that we should fear him in the most dramatic plot-twist of all time– because it was God who refused to retaliate when we mocked him, spat upon him, pierced his body, and left him to die.

One must not miss the irony of the climactic moment when God’s true character was revealed to humanity: instead of inflicting upon us torture and torment, he let us do it to him

Even in that moment when his blood dripped and his body writhed in agony– a moment that would provoke rage and anger and hate in anyone– he looked upon the faces of those who did it, and forgave them.

Because of this, I stand in awe of God but I no longer stand fearful of him. I have chosen to believe Jesus when he whispers to his disciples and says, “When you see what I am like, that is the moment when you’ll finally see what God is like.”

No, God isn’t like some Stephen King character we’re supposed to fear– he’s gone to great lengths to show us that.

Today, my eyes are finally opened– it’s as if for the first time I see what God is like, because I finally see what Jesus is like.

And seeing what God is really like has led me to have something I’ve never experienced before:

A vibrant faith that is finally Unafraid.

 

 

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Benjamin L. Corey

BLC is a cultural anthropologist, public theologian, writer, speaker, global traveler, and tattoo collector. He is a two-time graduate of Gordon-Conwell with graduate degrees in Theology & Intercultural Studies, and went on to receive his doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller. He is the author of Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith, and Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus. In addition to his blog, Formerly Fundie, his work has been regularly featured by a wide array of media outlets such as TIME magazine and CNN, among others.

BLC

Benjamin L. Corey

BLC is a cultural anthropologist, public theologian, writer, speaker, global traveler, and tattoo collector. He is a two-time graduate of Gordon-Conwell with graduate degrees in Theology & Intercultural Studies, and went on to receive his doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller. He is the author of Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith, and Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus. In addition to his blog, Formerly Fundie, his work has been regularly featured by a wide array of media outlets such as TIME magazine and CNN, among others.

Maybe it's not the end of the world...

Days
Hours
Minutes
Seconds

But let's be honest-- this is pretty #$@%! close.

Trump's America
&
Franklin Graham's Christianity must be resisted.

Join the fight: Subscribe to new posts and updates from BLC:

It might not be the end of the world...

But let's be honest-- this is pretty #$@%! close.

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"Benjamin L. Corey demonstrates a profound misunderstanding of the Gospel." - 12/14/2014
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"Benjamin L Corey is a supposed professional writer?? I shake my head!!!"
- 3/22/2017
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What you think

Post Comments:

  • VisionaryJax says:

    But Benjamin, the Bible clearly says …

    Ha ha ha ha

  • Brad Denham says:

    To the writer of this article,
    Pure Marcionism.
    You do not understand the holiness of God.
    When you make the fatal mistake of divesting God of Holiness and believe only in His love, you end up with license to sin (which offends God/Jesus)
    When you make the fatal mistake of divesting God of love and believe only in His holiness, you end up with license for all kinds of atrocities (which offends God/Jesus).
    God and Jesus are one and both Holy and loving simultaneously (among other things) from eternity past to eternity future. To separate God (Holy) from Jesus (Love) does violence to the character of God.
    Explains why you also do violence to the scriptures and downgrade the fear of God while elevating the love of God at the expense of the holiness of God.
    Explains why you do not understand how God/Jesus act historically and currently, emphasizing sometimes holiness and at other times love (but never one without the other).
    Progressive Christians should really call themselves by another name. They are neither progressive nor Christian. You believe only in the love of Christ and have diced him up into “another Jesus”
    which He himself warned us about.

  • Bones says:

    Any chance any mods can piss this dms troll off?

  • Ivan T. Errible says:

    Church is boring.
    And the Fundiegelicals and the “Progressives” are still going after each other, hammer and tongs.
    Pathetic.

  • Bones says:

    Stephen Fry (who’s being investigated for blasphemy in Ireland) – “If there is a god what sort of god is it? A monster…” Q. “Do you think you’re going to get in? Answer: No. And I wouldn’t want to….and I wouldn’t want to get in on his terms…..”

    https://youtu.be/-suvkwNYSQo

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