Gary: Religion in the News. This week’s item is from the Associated Press, dateline Corvallis, Oregon: Former South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu joined several prominent theologians yesterday to urge religious leaders to work together to find a new image of God for the 21st Century. “No religion can claim to have the whole truth about the mystery of faith,” Tutu said. “The logic of faith will get through to even the dumbest of us.”
Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, spoke at a news conference before he addressed the “God at 2000” conference at Oregon State University. Tutu ended the conference with an address that followed traditional Christian teachings, talking about a masculine, judgmental God more interested in individual sinners than the universe. He credited prayer with helping resolve apartheid in his native South Africa and called on the faithful to pray for resolution of conflicts in places such as Northern Ireland and Kosovo. But Tutu also called on Christians to embrace other faiths. Author and theologian Marcus Borg, who teaches at Oregon State, invited Tutu and five of the world’s most influential religious scholars to talk about how the image of God has changed. Later, Tutu headed to Seattle, where he was scheduled to receive an honorary degree from Seattle University.
Tom: Dave, here is an Episcopal archbishop—well, retired, Emeritus, or however you want to describe him, but this man is an apostate. He is teaching a religion that has nothing to do with biblical Christianity. I mean, it’s in opposition to it.
Dave: Well, not only that, Tom. You don’t even have to talk about being biblical for the moment. Let’s just be rational. Let’s be logical. If God exists, are we going to create Him? We’re going sit around—we’re going to come up with a new image of God. What is the point of a new image of God, if it doesn’t reflect God? We will know nothing about God unless He reveals it to us.
Tom: Right. Nothing to do with truth.
Dave: No. Of course, He [God] has revealed Himself—His “power” from the universe. And we know His wisdom and power. We know His justice from our conscience. But other than that, God must speak to man. We must have a revelation from God! And the Bible is that revelation, and we can prove it!
So, what’s the point of these guys sitting around and talking about God, and we’re going to come up with a new image of God that’s going to suit modern man in the 20th Century! I’m sorry! I lose patience! It doesn’t make sense. And any atheist could tell you that.
Now, then, he talks about conflict. We’ve got religious conflicts here and there. How are we going to resolve these conflicts? The problem is, they’ve got different gods. If there was a one true God, and everyone was obedient to Him, there wouldn’t be conflicts! So the very conflicts that he says he’s trying solve are caused by the very thing that he recommends, that is, everybody coming up with their own idea about God!
“I’ve got my God, and He tells me to zap you,” and you’ve got your god, and he tells you to take over my territory, or whatever it is…. Look, if God has not revealed Himself to man, and He has not done it in a way that we can know for sure that He did, and we can prove it, and it is understandable to every ordinary person? We’ve got to look to some religious leader to tell us who God is and what He has to say? Then, Tom, forget it! There is no hope, and all of these discussions and conferences—I’m sorry…. These are bright guys, apparently…
Tom: Nobel Peace Prize winners…
Dave: They’re wasting their time, and they’re wasting our time.
Tom: They’re deluding us, Dave. You know, here, after all is said and done, we have a God, or numerous gods they’re making up as they go along—but then, he credits prayer with helping resolve problems. Prayer to what? To whom? To his imagination?
Dave: Prayer to which God? “Well, we’ve got a new image of God now. We pray to a new image of God.” Tom, I’m sorry. It doesn’t make any sense, and yet this is a tragedy! We have pastors in pulpits who believe this! We have so-called theologians, leading theologians, you’ve got the Jesus Seminar, for example. And they talk about “reinventing Christianity.” We didn’t invent it! We can’t reinvent it! If Christianity is not true, if Jesus Christ is not who He claimed to be, and the Bible is not the Word of God, then we have nothing! I mean, it’s your opinion against mine. Opinions change. We’re even going to have a “new image” for the 20th Century.
What is the point? If this is what God is, I would be an atheist! If this is what religion is, forget it! I don’t want to go to church. I don’t want to hear this nonsense. You might as well be a politician and come up with your plan! Well, we’re coming up with our “God,” and then our “God” has to go along with our plans, and He’s going to answer our prayers, instead of man bowing to God’s will.
So we’re back in the Garden of Eden, where Satan said, “You can be one of the gods.” And, indeed, that’s the problem. We’ve got about six billion little gods running around this world, each one trying to rule over his own little empire, in conflict with one another, making up their own ideas of God, if they even acknowledge some supreme being—and the supreme being, they don’t want him to be supreme. They want him to be a cosmic bellhop, and when they pray, he will give them what they want.
And there is no hope for this world until we all abdicate the thrones of our lives and come under a willing submission to the one true God, and if He can’t reveal Himself to us, well, I guess I’ve said it again and again—I’m sorry. I can’t understand, Tom, why rational people accept this sort of thing!
Tom: Dave, you know, sometimes when you read through the Old Testament, you read about all different forms of idolatry, and we’re looking back at that, and we’re thinking, It could never happen here! We would never stoop to that! Bishop Tutu and other religious leaders—they’re leading us into idolatry of the mind, which is maybe far worse.