Psalm 14 — New Revised Standard Version

Fools say in their hearts, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds;
there is no one who does good.
The Lord looks down from heaven on humankind
to see if there are any who are wise,
who seek after God.
They have all gone astray, they are all alike perverse;
there is no one who does good,
no, not one.
Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers
who eat up my people as they eat bread,
and do not call upon the Lord?
There they shall be in great terror,
for God is with the company of the righteous.
You would confound the plans of the poor,
but the Lord is their refuge.
O that deliverance for Israel would come from Zion!
When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people,
Jacob will rejoice; Israel will be glad.

And The Fools

And The Fools

Are the “Fools” Really Fools?

An apologetic for monotheism,
a denunciation of godlessness,
a blow to atheism:
this is one of the intentions
of this Psalm.
I meet people
every day who
deny every tenant of Christianity,
ridicule its existence,
and basically hate God.
But I have been thinking
lately that they might be right
in thinking this
because of the model
of Christianity
with which they have been presented.
Some notions that some Christians hold:
that there is a loving God
who will cast sinners
into a fiery hell,
that homosexuality
can be “cured” by repentance
and salvation,
a denial of science
and the scientific method,
judging that which is
uncomfortable
as a sin,
that claiming the name of
Jesus in some magical formula
is the only way to avoid hell,
that it is somehow OK
to fear and hate other races.
The list goes on and on,
and I wonder how anyone
could possibly be a Christian
if that was the only Christianity
they encountered—
until I remember that being a Christian
should be more about following Jesus
than about claiming Jesus,
and that Christianity
if it is based only upon
doctrine, theology, dogma, judgment, or fear
is faux, false, phony Christianity!
And those
who can’t buy into any of this
sham that masquerades as Christianity
are not fools to deny all of that — however,
they are missing out
on a lot of love and affirmation by doing so.
I do not,
will not,
believe in
or follow a God
or be part of a religion
that is either designed
to encourage and mollify our fears
for purposes of
by naming them as the “norm”
by which others might be judged,
or worship
at any altar built
upon the premise that it is
the only possible altar
at which God can conceivably be worshiped.
When Christianity is molded
around the words and deeds of Jesus
it is a system worthy of my worship.
When Christianity inflicts wounds
instead of facilitating healing,
it is not for me,
and neither is its God.
So I say to any
who think that the God
or the form of Christianity
they have encountered is
sick, or evil, or irrelevant
you are probably correct,
but I strongly suggest
that is not the only
form of Christianity out there.
There are entire communions and churches,
denominations even,
who actively seek to
walk Jesus’ path,
the one that loves unconditionally,
facilitates healing in the world,
affirms all, and welcomes all.
Such is the Jesus-centered Christianity I follow.

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