This is a guest post by Michael Towns.
Several weeks ago, I wrote a small treatment entitled “Yes, God is a Child-Sacrificing and Misogynist Bigot”. The ideas were largely based on concepts that were elucidated by Blake Ostler in his latest work, “Fire on the Mountain.” In it, Ostler discussed the Akedah (the Binding of Isaac in Jewish parlance) and the sacrifices involved with polygamy. The provocative title was chosen on purpose. Regrettably, some people simply read the title and then proceeding to build a case against me.
Ostler brought up, in my opinion, some truly deep and astounding points regarding the lengths that God will go to in order to reveal Himself. Exploring the notion further, not only does God wish His children to know Him personally, but He wants a deeply profound and intimate relationship. Ostler himself draws extensively from the work of Martin Buber, who was a prominent 20th century Jewish philosopher. Buber postulated the idea that in order to truly know a person, you have to leave certain preconceived conception behind. (I would heartily recommend that you pick up a copy of Oster’s book.)
By way of example: if I have a certain neighbor who happens to be an attorney, and that is the only way I ever view him, then I never see the reality of who he is: a divine child of God and future god. Instead, all I see is an attorney at law and all my interactions stay fused to that myopic coda.
However, if I do in fact see the divinity in my neighbor (perhaps the attorney analogy is misguided), then all my interactions with him change. The potential for true friendship and intimacy grows leaps and bounds. He and I can go on to greater heights of spirituality.
So it is with God. If the only way I view God is that he is an advanced hedge fund manager in the mode of George Soros, dispending funding to any number of progressive causes like subsidizing birth control pills, then is it not possible that I am missing something profound in His nature? The shoe fits on the other foot: surely God is not a caricature of Ronald Reagan, lowering taxes and bringing down Iron Curtains with the rod of his mouth. If that is how some conservatives view God, then they are missing profoundly important dimensions of who God is.
Here is my point: God will reveal Himself to us, and he will not be who we think he is. In a way, he plays a heavenly hijink on us. He desperately wants us to know Him, and to cast aside our preconceived ideas.