Christian business models have capitalized on the fear of God and the dread of dying over the centuries. Dogma that cultivates the fear of God, hell, and eternal judgment has been effectively used to motivate children and adults alike to adhere to church teachings.
As Christians become more conscious, these fear-based business models can be deconstructed using the Bible itself. In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus said that God was not the God of the dead but of the living.(67) Looked at through a spiritual lens, the nature of God is not “out there” but “in here.” Not for another time, but for this moment. God does not need to be feared like an all-powerful tyrant but can be loved as the ultimate Alpha and Omega of spiritual continuity.
The idea of an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent God is beyond human conceptualization. Indeed, the writers in the Bible described God in a variety of ways themselves, from many different perspectives. For example, John the Apostle recorded that Jesus said, “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”(68) John the Evangelist goes on to say that “whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.”(69) So, embracing God as love and spirit instead of as the man in the sky on a throne can be a good way to embrace God’s nature, especially since Jesus prioritized love as the greatest commandment.
While the nature of God can’t be described in words, how Christians conceptualize God can still be an important part of a conscious Christian practice. We can act as Christians, guided by God as love and spirit right here, right now. Wouldn’t this be a more conscious and Jesus-centric way than fearfully conceptualizing God as a man-like object in space? To embrace God as an objectified Old Testament being encourages people to take Bronze Age morality seriously. For example, consider passages that portray God as thinking slavery and selling daughters are okay (Exod. 21), and as approving the death penalty for torn clothes (Lev. 10).
The Bible can easily be used to embrace God as the God of this moment, of spirit, and of love. God does not have to be conceptualized as an all-powerful and unpredictable creature helping those he likes and hurting those he doesn’t. In spirit, God is not an objectified being. In this sense, God is closer to the idea of pure presence and pure love. With greater consciousness, we can see and celebrate that we are made in God’s image as spiritual creatures.(70)
In John 4:24, Jesus said we must worship God in the Spirit and in truth. In Spirit and truth, we can be present for life as it is right here right now. We don’t need to cling to the past or live in the future. Now is in this sense eternal. With greater consciousness, rather than being victimized, we can live lives of love and joy inspired by God as love and truth.
68. John 4:24, NIV
69. 1 John 4:8, GNT
70. Gen. 1:27