Was God Democratically Elected?
By Dr Teria Shantall
In his book, Man’s Search for Ultimate Meaning, Viktor Frankl, the famous Holocaust survivor, had this to say about the narrow concepts of God as they are promulgated by some of the representatives of denominational and other forms of religion:
“They often depict, not to say denigrate, God as a being who is primarily concerned with being believed in by the greatest possible number of believers and along the lines of a specific creed, at that.”
Does God need to be democratically elected? Is belief in Him a political cause? Those who fanatically propagate their doctrines of belief with the aim of winning others over to their view of things, turn God into an object, something that can be manipulated at will. They define Him in accordance with their own chosen religious doctrines and project their own ideas of what kind of God they want or need, onto Him. Some write slogans on banners and march through the streets. The louder the shouts, the bigger the crowds, the greater the masses that prostrate themselves in submission to a religion or cause of their own making, the more deluded in thought they become
God can be turned into an idol of vain imagination!
But does He bend His knee to our ideas of Him?
The systematically indoctrinated and eventual blind and fanatical followers of the Nazi regime firmly believed that the “master” race possessed the “God-given” right to conquer the world and to enslave other nations. This dictatorial regime had the duty to protect itself against opposing world and value systems embodied primarily and above all, in the Jew.
Hitler therefore proposed that “the Nationalist Socialist movement must call eternal wrath upon the head of the foul enemy of mankind, the inexorable Jew.” “Hence today I believe I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: By defending myself against the Jew I am fighting for the work of the Lord” (quotes from Mein Kampf). The lie cannot carry much weight unless sanctioned as “the will of God” or at least “for the good of mankind”.
Did Hitler succeed in his aim? Will such twisted ideologies win the day?
One single individual can defy tyrannical regimes in a defiant stand against the “truth” of their hideous ideologies. Such an individual was Viktor Frankl, one among many others like him who triumphantly retained their humanity in their refusal to yield to the dehumanizing forces arrayed against them. Injustice and the suffering it causes, do come to an end. Outside the narrow confines of the inmate’s imprisoned existence in the concentration and death camps of Nazi Europe, the beauty of the world continued to exist. Liberated and walking through the open gates of the camp into the flowering meadows, Frankl sank on his knees and repeated these words from the Psalms over and over again:
“I cried to the Lord from my narrow prison, and He answered me in the freedom of space.”
God was not “dead”, as was stated at the time. Who can live with such a thought?
We need to experience God as the Alpha and the Omega, there at the beginning and also there at the end. If God only stepped in after things became so horribly wrong in the world, what kind of God would He be? Is God caught unawares? Does He need to make amends? Does He only rescue us when we are at the end of our tether? Must we move Him to have compassion on us; must our pleading at last reach His ear? Are our lives basically a mess and ourselves but objects of pity?
God must be there from the beginning to the end of our lives. How else can we trust Him, rely on Him; believe in Him. With all the hardships we have to go through, with all the painful doubts about the meaning of life we may have, we must believe that there is light at the end of dark tunnels. There must be an intended end in sight! We need to believe that the suffering caused by injustice, the malice and hatred of others, will end.
We need leaders, role-models, shepherds after God’s own heart, people we can trustingly follow and emulate. We want our lives to plot the same triumphant themes that those, who like Frankl, sought to maintain their humanity and triumphantly succeeded in doing so despite and even because of what they had suffered. We want to say: “Yes!” to life despite! We want our lives to be like theirs, like progress charts. They had their ups and downs, just like we do. But the downs are meant to awaken the desire to get up and out of it. The chart has dips and rises but draws a line of progression steadily upwards!
We need to believe that our lives were given to us for a preordained purpose. It must have intent, be given to us for a reason; have a destination. This is a faith that moves mountains!
If God be with us, who and what can be against us? This is what Frankl meant when he stated that meaning is always there to be found, in any situation. Those who do break through into an unconditional faith in the unconditional meaningfulness of life, find their entire lives, the good and the painful of it, flooded with meaning.
This kind of faith can state the following: We are NEVER deserted in ANY situation. Does the One who gave us breath and life not know what we are going through? Is He unconcerned or helpless and hands-off? NO! He knows exactly WHAT He is doing in EACH AND EVERY situation, and to which end. Evil will be conquered. Righteousness, joy, peace, the brotherhood of all men, will prevail. The trust in the Master of the Universe can be TOTAL. We can have what Frankl called: a Basic Trust in Being. This is a trust that somehow remains even though we may at times feel totally in the dark about things, or whether we fail to do the right thing, make mistakes and fumble about, or are fearful and cry out to Him. GOD ANSWERS, even when we do not hear or understand His voice. Our only requirement is to go along with the process, do what we feel we ought to do from moment to moment, and not do what we know we must not; cry if we feel like it; withdraw when we cannot take it anymore; shift our attention, or just go on with all of life’s other, also wonderful moments.
GOD DOES NOT DEPEND ON US. THAT IS WHY WE CAN TOTALLY DEPEND ON HIM.
We do not have to vote Him into office!