So one of my friends broke up with his girlfriend. I was asking him about it, and was really shocked by his philosophy about it: he wasn't getting what he wanted out of it, so he broke it off. It was too much work. And this was so shocking to me because what I've always been taught it 1) relationships are hard work, and 2) relationships are about self-sacrifice. When I articulated this to him, he responded with his essential philosophy: that you have to take care of yourself before you can help other people. That there is no such thing as true sacrifice. That relationships are utilitarian, ways for you to use people to fix your problems.
We went deep in this conversation, talking about depression and suicide and drugs. And I got a chance to ask him, why does he believe in God but not the God I know? He told me about the God he knew, a lonely guy sitting in a bar, watching a hockey game, wishing someone would talk to him. Because the only times people converse with him at all is to thank him profusely or ask him for something. And the God my friend sees is just a being like us, with flaws and imperfections, who is lonely and wants someone to ask him how he is. My friend says that because we're made in the image of God and we're obviously flawed, God must have his share of imperfections, too.
We talked about Jesus a little bit, my friend saying how Jesus was a pretty good teacher, but it's far too narrow to say He's the only way. And when I explained that it couldn't be both ways, that someone who teaches narrow things must either be right or wrong, it didn't matter. We talked about the cross, and my friend said Jesus died to teach us about sacrifice, to show us that if he had to die, he would. [Because that's what love is . . .] We ran the gamut of absolute truth and philosophical consistency, but none of it seems matter, because this is a little more personal. Not intellectual understanding but heart understanding. How do we fix ourselves?
The lonely and flawed God in the bar has nothing to do with Jesus, a prophet who was brutally killed to teach us to live a sacrificial life. The God in the bar is lonely because he has no friends, because we see him as perfect when he's not. And my friend left for his class, leaving our conversation with a to be continued . . .
So, apologetics question of the day: how would you respond?