I’ve been thinking lately about God, assuming He exists. Mainly, I’ve been thinking about the Judeo-Christian biblical conception of God, and asking myself, crazy as this sounds, if He exists, Is God a sociopath?
I pose this question seriously, and apologize in advance for offending anyone by probing this idea. But consider:
You are expected to worship Him.
You are expected to acknowledge His perfection.
You are expected to live by His standards.
You are expected to fear His Judgement.
You are expected to please, not disappoint Him.
You are expected to do penance when you’ve strayed from His rules.
You are expected to be in awe of, and fear, His omniscience.
You are expected to be in awe of, and fear, His omnipotence.
You are expected to prize His love, and fear His wrath.
You are expected to seek, and follow, His guidance.
When He feels unheeded, He licenses Himself to unleash cruel, violent, devastating rages (see the Flood, among countless other examples).
He is a punisher.
He is perfect.
He has no guilt; yet He instills guilt.
He “made,” and he “works,” the world and universe from “above,” sitting in Judgement of all who deviate from Him.
He is infallible.
He is unaccountable.
He is callous—a cause of, and silent witness to, untold violence and suffering in the history of humanity.
He is “entitled”—to judge, and punish, as He likes.
He is controlling to a highly pathological degree, for all the reasons stated above.
He is merciful, so long as you heed Him. Otherwise, He can be merciless.
He expects to be idealized and treated like a God.
He rages, and inflicts the cruelest of punishments, when He feels defied.
His word is the bible.
Now you tell me: If I were describing a human being in these terms, what conclusion would you draw? I suspect, if you weren’t feeling defensive, that you’d conclude that we’re talking about someone with a case of seriously malignant narcissism edging, perhaps, into the realm of sociopathy?
But, of course, I’m describing the Judeo-Christian God.
Think about this: from the earliest age, this is your almighty Father figure. You are taught to worship Him, seek His love, His mercy, accept His perfection and infallibility.
You are taught that His word is final; His wrath is justified; to feel shame before His eyes.
You are taught to have to work hard to earn your way back into His good graces, and to be grateful for His forgiveness.
His judgement is final, and even terrifying.
Now if this is the Father figure we’ve been raised to heed and idealize from birth, is it not fair to wonder how much this relationship—with God—might predispose us to end up with a sociopath?
Does one’s adult relationship with a sociopath not replicate, in certain ways, one’s relationship with God?
I pose this as food for thought, nothing else. But I will follow-up this post in the next several weeks, to further flesh out my thoughts, factoring in, as well, your initial feedback.
(This article is copyrighted (c) 2010 by Steve Becker, LCSW.)