Does Good Friday highlight a double standard?

We Christians call this Friday “Good;” but it’s the most heartbreaking day on my calendar. It marks the day when we refresh the accusation that God loved His guilty kids so much that He had His only innocent child brutally tortured to death, effectively letting the others off the hook.

Of course, ancient scribes painted a more rosy picture: They claim that God so loved the world that He “gave” His only begotten son. If we believe this, they say, God won’t torture us throughout eternity. Fear is a great control mechanism. Always has been.

Now we know what giving is—and what it’s not. Or maybe we don’t, so let’s check the dictionary, shall we: Give means to make a present of, to place in the hands of, or to endure the loss of; sacrifice. Giving does not mean handing over your child to sadists, knowing that they are going to nail him to a cross and subject him to a very slow and excruciatingly painful death.

How many loving parents would do this? More pertinent, who among us would be glad that our brother was murdered for a crime that we committed? Is gratitude the appropriate response?

I know that this is dangerous turf on which I’m treading. I’ve been told repeatedly that I cannot call myself a Christian if I do not believe that God sent Jesus here to be slaughtered so that I might live. In other words, if I were a real Christian, I would know that torturing an innocent man to death is not sadistic, if it is an act of God.

Let me be clear: I am not questioning any act of God. I’m questioning whether this particular act is God’s. Is there the slightest bit of the Divine tucked inside live sacrifice?

If we believe scriptures that say that God is Love, isn’t it incumbent upon us to ask: Does Love solve problems by killing any of Its children for any reason?

We Christians clearly have a double standard of behavior—and the standard is considerably lower for God. Fascinating stuff. It reminds me of a post I saw on Facebook several months ago. A minister shared a hypothetical scenario that went something like this:

There were two brothers. The older one, who’d previously served a couple of jail terms, had just been arrested again. If convicted, he faced a minimum of 30 years in prison.

His younger brother was studious, college bound and had never been in trouble. The minister said that the young men’s parents had asked if they should ask the younger brother take the rap for his brother. Since he had a clean record, he’d probably only serve 18 months. Afterward, he could resume his studies and go on with his life, while giving his brother a chance to clean up his act.

The overwhelming consensus was that the older brother should take responsibility for his own actions. It would be unfair for the innocent brother to sacrifice 18 months of his life for a crime he didn’t commit. Some even noted that the older brother seemed to be a habitual criminal and probably would be arrested again anyway, making a mockery of the younger brother’s sacrifice.

Where have we heard that story before? I was fascinated that these  Christians—folks who do not object to Jesus taking the rap for crimes he didn’t commit—didn’t see the parallel.

His sacrifice far outweighed an 18-month prison term. And guess what? Neither his death nor resurrection ended sin on Earth. But of course, the All-Knowing God probably predicted that.

So, if sadistically slaughtering Jesus wasn’t going to change the world’s behavior, why would God snuff him out a mere three years into his good news ministry? Isn’t it more likely that the Romans mentioned in the scriptures actually committed the crime?

We all know that this isn’t the first time in history that God has been blamed for acts of inhumanity. Just a few years ago, a world leader justified violence against God’s children in Iraq by insisting that God told him to do it.

Such outrageous declarations vilify God. But we so love the words written and repeatedly mistranslated by man that we have given our only begotten brains to the trash heap so that we can blindly believe that God would be so demonic.

We have a double standard: If a blood-thirsty posse approached the home of a guilty man, and his father pushed his innocent brother onto the porch, we’d declare that this father was pure evil. Why can’t we see the parallel when we read that God has done the same thing—and why aren’t we challenging such an implausible accusation?

This really would be a Good Friday, if we took time out to ponder whether we really believe that God is Love. It is impossible to believe that if we also believe that God does things that Love simply would not do.

Is that your Love crammed into that box?

“Freedom and love go together. Love is not a reaction. If I love you because you love me, that is mere trade, a thing to be bought in the market; it is not love. To love is not to ask anything in return, not even to feel that you are giving somethingand it is only such love that can know freedom.” Jiddu Krishnamurti

I was watching “A River Runs through It” on Netflix the other day, and smiled when I saw a wooden carving above the pulpit that said, “God Is Love.” Scriptures say that God is Love [1 John 4:8]; but most of us don’t know what that means. We can’t comprehend the vastness, the power and the unconditional nature of real Love. The same can be said for our comprehension of God.

God in a BoxWe see God through the only lens we have: Human. Our vision is myopic at best, egoic at worst, and assures distortion of the image. Our visual field is somewhat of a box—containing and confining. We’ve placed God there, where we can observe but not experience.

We’ve created and publicized God as looking human, living in the beyond. Before we could fly above the clouds, we believed that God and heaven were there. They weren’t; but at least there was sunlight, which is more than we can say for the darkness that astronomy and astronauts have found in the Deep Beyond. And oh by the way, they haven’t run into God up there, either.

Frankenstein is a rank amateur

We have bestowed upon God a crazed, conflicted, sociopathic human personality that would be natural for anyone confined to a box. In the bat of an eyelash and with the severity of whiplash, our God performs acts that are as angelic as forgiveness and as demonic as genocide.

Our God issues violent threats of eternal damnation, causes excruciating pain and suffering upon innocent devotees such as Job and Jesus, causes the sun to shine upon the wicked and the good, and welcomes prodigal children home—no matter how errant they’ve been. Did I mention that He’ll bring a pox upon your house? Not really. But He’s ordered you to kill your kids if they’re disrespectful.

According to scripture, a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways [James 1:8]. What does that say about the God that we’ve created? More important, what does it say about us as creators?

Love me, or you’ll regret it!

Our God is so small and humanly insecure that He demands worship. The scriptures we’ve written say that all things work together for good for those that love God [Romans 8:28]. What does that imply about those who don’t? Have we created a quid pro quo God for whom love is a mere trade?

Our limited perception of what God is and what God does makes it difficult, if not impossible, for us to wrap our arms around the notion that Love grants free will to Its beloved. Always and forever, as the song says. Wish it could be on Earth, as it is in Heaven.

If asked, we will tell you that we believe that God has granted us free will. Despite that, we’ll also tell you that we believe that God has gifted us with commandments. Our gaze is so transfixed on the God Box, we seem to have forgotten that commandments are the antithesis of freedom. Commandments control; they don’t liberate.

It’s amazing that it doesn’t occur to thinking people that it would be extremely sadistic for God to grant us total freedom, then brutally punish us throughout eternity for exercising that freedom. Wait a minute! We’re here for less than a century! Even if we sinned every day we’re on the planet, eternal punishment far exceeds any crime. That’s simply another dramatic illustration of how tragically we’ve demonized God—and how thoroughly we misunderstand Love.

The worst job in the Universe

Our God is so small and tyrannical that even though He is sovereign and can do anything He wants, He chooses the mind-numbingly tedious and distasteful task of keeping records of how we use our freedom, every minute of every hour in every time zone for every body. Why would God spend His precious time that way? Oh yeah: So that He can have documented justification for brutally torturing us at a later date. Please, are we talking about Satan or Love?

Beyond not being divine; that story line is disturbingly diabolical. It would be more merciful for God to simply force us to do what He wants. It would spare us the misery and spare Him the drudgery of watching bad acting on every stage on Earth for centuries—without intermission.

But oh! Forcing us to do the right thing wouldn’t grant us freedom, would it? And, boys and girls, if it ain’t freedom, it ain’t Love.


Let’s put our thinking caps on and consider: What would Love do? Well, real Love probably would create a what-goes-around-comes-around world. Haven’t we been admonished to judge not and condemn not? Not one but three gospel writers tell us that “with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again” [Matthew 7.2] In the Old Testament, it’s “an eye for an eye.” [Exodus 21:23]

Of course, the scribes were not referring to us as we know ourselves: as mortal bodies. We’ve seen many a body’s lifetime end without reaping what it sowed. But we’re not physical bodies. We acknowledge that with the belief that God will punish us forever. I’m sorry, physical bodies don’t last forever.

We are eternal souls, not the physical characters we’re portraying here on Earth’s stage. As souls, we will not escape the karmic ricochet.

Life is always fair

If God is Love, Life will always be fair. It’s the first Drama Queen Workshop Principle. In a whatever-you-do-will-return-to-you world, we have total freedom to choose our outcomes; we are punished by our sins, not for them. That frees us to choose our own karmic butt-whipping. It also frees God to have more joy-filled days. And hey, who deserves it more?

If we don’t know what Love is and what Love does, is it any wonder that so few of us truly experience it? Is it any mystery that we feel emptiness and longing? We yearn for that kind of love from others because inside us, where God really lives, Love seeks its own.

Remarkably, God’s love is so intense and the freedom it grants us is so overwhelming and unfathomable that we separate from it and from each other. Now God sits over there—in a heaven we’ve created in the Great Black Vacuous Hole beyond Earth’s atmosphere with no gravitational pull, performing menial and maniacal tasks, and woefully confined to a box.

And we lie over here, lonely and dying for unconditional Love.