Taking Lord’s name in jest
Talk show host Bill Maher recently called God a “psychotic mass murderer” for initiating the Great Flood. It’s not the first time Maher has mocked God. Some of his classic lines include, “I think religion is a neurological disorder,” “The Bible looks like it started out as a game of Mad Libs,” and “Let’s face it; God has a big ego problem. Why do we always have to worship him?”
In 2008, Maher took all his atheistic anger and channeled it into his feature-length mock-umentary, Religulous. He concluded the film by saying, “The irony of religion is that because of its power to divert man to destructive courses, the world could actually come to an end. The plain fact is, religion must die for mankind to live.”
Maher, of course, is not alone in taunting God. There’s atheist Richard Dawkins, the late Madalyn Murray O’Hair and Carl Sagan, as well as the fictional Sheldon Cooper on TV’s hit “The Big Bang Theory.”
Rather than having a faithful fit over their arguably blasphemous statements, I find encouragement that this is proof positive of . . .
Grace is wonderful, but to me, freewill is way beyond “amazing”! God could have created us as robots who parroted praise and pious phrases, and everything would have been heavenly hunky dory. But He took an incredible risk by allowing us the freedom to praise Him or curse Him. To lift up His name in holiness or drag it through the muck of moral depravity. To reject or revere Him.
The sad fact that comics, film-makers, authors, and ordinary people have the ability to blaspheme their Creator is a testament to His amazing desire to have people choose to freely love Him or curse Him. Atheists simply prove freewill!
Mercy and grace
The fact that Bill Maher and his kind have not been reduced to a smoldering pile of ash and brimstone directly contradicts the assertion that God is a “psychotic mass murderer.” If I was God—and you should thank Him I’m not—every time someone asked me to eternally condemn something that annoyed or angered them, I would smite it with a blinding light, a deafening roar, and a suddenly a crater would appear where the object of their disdain once sat. And if you called me “psychotic,” I would send some truly crazy plagues to you and your household! Yes, “Jimhovah” would bring back smiting! (See Top ten things I (Jim) would do if I were God.)
But, like Christ, taking the brutal abuse in His final hours, the Lord of Lords allows his muddy creations to revile His righteousness. Mockers make a strong case for mercy and grace!
But we must not confuse freewill, mercy and grace with divine weakness. Jesus himself reveals His incredible restraint:
“Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him. And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, ‘Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?’” (Matthew 26:50-53)
Peter—the sword swinger—later writes, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
Since God sees all, I must assume He must watches the late-night comic’s monologues. (And I think He laughs at the good stuff.) But He must exhibit incredible restraint when He and His creations are mocked and ridiculed each night. Religious rants prove God’s restraint!
But judgment is coming: “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” (Romans 14:11) The only question is how: will your knees bow in reverence or buckle in terror. They will bow!
“Evil Jim” is looking forward to seeing O’Hair, Sagan, Dawkins and Maher fall flat on their faces in fear before the God they have denied and ridiculed. “Good Jim” is simply grateful for freewill, mercy, grace and restraint! And most of all praying for blasphemers to become believers.
© Copyright 2014 James N. Watkins