The Danger of Seeking God

If we're passionate about a false conception of God, evil can happen. Alan Hirsch discusses having a clear conception of God through Jesus.

Questions for Discussion and Personal Reflection

  1. Is pursuing truth one of the most important things a person can do?
  2. Do you agree that evil happens when we get passionate about wrong things?

It was William, uh, Temple, an archbishop, uh, many years ago in— I think about 50 years ago in England— he said that if your conception of God is radically false, then the more devout you are, the worse it'll be for you because you're opening your soul to be molded by something else. It is much better you be an atheist. When you get God, the concepts of God wrong, when you get him wrong, and you get passionate about wrong things, evil happens and I think, uh, it's, uh, and hence, it's very important to get a kind of a handle on what we dealing with here because in a sense, all bad religion, uh, comes from a bad conception of God. Uh, if someone believes that God is violent, then clearly religion becomes quite a violent affair. Uh, if God is, is, is seen purely from the area of judge, uh, and, uh, someone who, who, uh, is over, against us and not for us, it's, uh, apparent that, uh, religion actually becomes, it takes the very nature of its conception of God. For us as Christians, our understanding of God is bound up with who Jesus is. Uh, for us, uh, we, we want to know who God is, we look to who Jesus is, and we have a very clear conception of that. We have content there in, in the Gospels particularly, we know what he is, and I, I actually honestly said, "I'm, you know, I'm fascinated with this person of Jesus because if God's like that, I think he's got me," and when you look at the life of Jesus, he's this amazing person who, uh, you know, who, who gave people a huge amount of dignity and respect, who engaged people in their spaces, uh, touched people who most other people wouldn't go near, gets angry with people who bind other people up, and he comes to set them free. Uh, I think you've got to get a handle on that: what does all that mean? Um, but getting in touch with that and, and, and pursuing truth seems to me to be one of the most important things human beings can do because falsity and lies abound, and deception is real, and it's important to get it right, so truth is very important in the equation.