If we ask what difference, if any, belief in God makes to a person’s life, I think it’s very important to put this in the context of just what sort of god we conceive him/her/it to be.
My current yardstick for an evil person
Is the loan shark, that obnoxious grasper,
Who preys on the poor and vulnerable,
With false hope, and cruel debt thereafter.
Their ‘service’ is in actual fact – theft:
Stealing from those with nothing to spare;
Fake light at the end of a very long tunnel;
All backed up by a grim thuggish snare.
What belief underpins their world view?
Is it simply that money is their god?
Is violence and cruelty their drug?
Or is there any logic to their fraud?
To flip this issue on its head: does
Belief in god entail moral goodness?
Though granted – one doesn’t have to
Have a god, to live in loving kindness.
If a loan shark did believe in God,
Would he have to stop his sharking?
This might seem like an odd question,
But I think it’s well worth remarking.
Yet maybe the crucial point here is
Just what sort of god we claim to own:
Is it a strong god of love or… just
Whose blood sacrifice will in fact atone?
An angry god who blasts out threats?
A distant god who doesn’t really care?
A militant god who wastes the other lot?
A middle class god who backs the winning share?
A non-god god who stands for nothing?
A cynical cod-god allowing us free reign?
A me-me-me god, suiting my immaturity?
The loan sharks’ god – devoid of others’ pain?
Is our god then simply our core value?
And as church goers, are we hypocrites:
That we in fact make our god in our own
Image and need – worshipping whatever fits?
The loan shark may have this virtue –
That he never claims to see – while we
Godly folk walk on the divine roadway,
Strolling towards a deserved eternity?