So much stupid crap has been done in the name of God that I’m surprised He hasn’t changed His name.
Take the Crusades, to begin with, starting in 1096. (Stay with me – this won’t be as boring as it sounds) The crusades were a series of 8 major expeditions by Christian armies to retake holy sites which had been seized by Muslim armies. The soldiers of Islam, took these sites as holy to Mohammed and Allah, which is the Arabic word for God, and the Christians responded by taking them back. First was the seizure of Antioch, Turkey, home of the first Christian church, then was the expedition to re-take Jerusalem, and so on, for almost 300 years. Both sides were fighting and claiming ground being soaked with blood in the name of “the God of Abraham.” The difference was simply whether you traced the family through Isaac or Ismael from there.
Not that I’m even trying to be exhaustive here, but then you have the Conquistadors of the Americas, forcing “savages” to convert to Christianity as they were systematically killed, raped, and plundered by the Missionary Conquerors. I’m going to go ahead and establish this here: this is not the God I know.
Once the New World was settled, European settlers began doing the same thing on the West coast of Africa that those on the East Coast had already set up. Slave trade. Learning from the practices at the Horn of Africa, that warring tribes (Somalis and Oromos, for example) would sell their captives to docked ships owned by Indians or Muslims or Christians, the settlers of the New World started the same trade on the Northern Coast of the Gulf of Guinea with what is now Ivory Coast, Benin, etc. This is how voodou came to New Orleans, because the slave traders would insist on the conversion to Christianity of the Africans, and the Africans therefore mixed the tribal religions with catholicism. But honestly, I don’t think it was my God they were worshiping, even though they claimed Christianity and used a Cross.
The Puritans who escaped Europe to settle and then burn “witches” at the stake and persecute people who differed with them on small points? Nope. I don’t think so. My Bible says to let Him separate the weeds from the good crop and for me to love my enemies and bless those who persecute me.
After the U.S. Civil War, the modern political party system emerged, sadly with the first KKK being used to overthrow Republican state governments in the south. And who were they serving?
God, of course, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the same God I serve, or they wouldn’t have been overthrowing governments (against Romans 13) and they wouldn’t have been murdering (10 commandments??). And I can’t find anything that justifies the concept of racial superiority in the Scripture either. Just sayin’.
As far as I can tell, both parties, and millions of people worldwide, have been claiming the name of God throughout history, and certainly in the 21st century, to justify and rationalize their own selfish hunger for power and wealth. They use His name recklessly in everything from political commercials to selling products. It bothers me. If I were God, I would smite them all for abusing my name, and then change my name and start over. But He’s nicer than me.
I can see that in the people that serve the same God I do. Mother Theresa comes to mind. I don’t believe she discriminated in the streets of Calcutta. She loved. That’s my God.
Billy Graham pastoring presidents regardless of their party or policies. He belongs to my God.
Bishop Desmond Tutu, ushering in peace and equality for South Africa. I believe he knows my Jesus.
My God does not sanction “grabbing women” as sex objects or having affairs with interns, but He forgives both. He does not approve of kids – rich or poor – getting drunk at parties or people ignoring laws for their own benefit, but He died for all the above. He does not destroy people to gain power.
Sorry for the ramble. It’s just that in the past few days I’ve been disappointed by more and more people, and I think that if all these people did all these things in my name, I would be very hurt. And I might disable them from using my name. But I’m glad He’s more merciful than me. And nicer.