by Bil Aulenbach

Invented Gods: The Great Magician

This is the final part of a six-part series about the many different invented gods that Christians worship. Personally, I prefer to worship Creation. You can find Part 1 here, and Part 2 here, Part 3 here, Part 4 here, and Part 5 here

I have asked Christians why they believe in their versions of God and Jesus. Many answered, “I believe because of Jesus’s miracles, such as making the blind see, the deaf hear, changing water into wine, raising the dead, and walking on water—for starters.”

In other words, mainline Christians belief in their god and Jesus is based on miracles and magic. I call that god the Great Magician.

I see this god as problematic for several reasons. For example, I can go to Las Vegas or watch a television show (America’s Got Talent is my favorite) to see magic that seems to defy reality.

Next, I have a question: Were the miracle stories written as accounts of “real” events or as “little stories with big meanings”? (I heard that phrase in Sunday School eighty years ago, and it stuck with me.)

My third issue is that I am not looking for a god (I have one—Creation) as much as I’m looking for a Christ, someone who can give me the tools to live life to the fullest.

I have found my Christ—his name is Jesus, and his foundational tool is agape, the highest form of love.

So, my job is to find the well-hidden truths in each of these so-called miracle stories. Let me share some examples. I’ll start with Jesus making wine out of ordinary water. What this story really means is that the tools Jesus gives us can transform ordinary people into extraordinary ones—for example, Martin Luther King Jr.

As for the stories about making the deaf hear and the blind see, Annie and I have a daughter who is deaf and legally blind. We know a lot about deafness and blindness. It would take more than a miracle to make our daughter hear and see again because her hearing and sight mechanisms have been atrophied since her birth fifty-four years ago. The stories of Jesus curing the deaf and blind are about the transforming power of agape. I had a friend, a gang-banging, drug-addicted, tattooed lost soul who finally heard Jesus’s message while in prison and turned his life around, finished college, and became a positive influence in his community. A “deaf” man heard. A “blind” man saw.

The story of Jesus walking on water is about using the tools that he gives us to calm the storms that come into our lives.

I saw “dead” people come back to life while working in drug rehabilitation for years. I have seen a few people overcome this illness (drug addiction is a terminal disease) and live full lives. Too many drown either literally or figuratively. Sobriety allows the lucky few to live with the disease.

I have no interest in a magic god. But I do have great interest in a higher power and a Christ who can give me what I need to be all that I can be.

This ends my series about the gods we invent. I hope it has been provocative and helpful.

Who is your god?

 

Image courtesy of Karen Borter (CC BY-ND 2.0)

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