Orthodox America

"God is God"

A Mr. Crandal wrote in a recent "letter to the editor" of the Wall Street Journal:

As many organized religions struggle in their quest to become "mainstream," it's worth discussing the consequences.

What we call God, and how we define His image is not decided by the vote of the people...God created man (and of course woman) in His own image (see Genesis), not the other way around. God is God. Truth is truth, eternal and universal laws are just that-they exist and are immutable. We humans don't define and rearrange the laws of physics or any other scientific laws'; we discover them and then try to understand and apply them. So it is with God's laws. Whether people call themselves Jews, Catholics, Protestants or whatever, presumably they subscribe to the doctrines taught and believe there is some spiritual link to their God. We may call them prophets, popes or rabbis, but the idea is that our spiritual leaders can help people understand God's will, and thus help us live better lives. How can religions justify changing and reshaping their doctrines and beliefs according to the way the wind happens to be blowing?

Increasingly, it seems we live in a world where religion alters its beliefs to placate the demands of special-interest groups. We have feminists in this case defining God in their image, gays demanding that morality be redefined to accommodate their lifestyle, even ministers handing out condoms to their congregations. Organized religion reacts by attempting to jump through every hoop tossed before it. With religions trying so hard to keep everybody happy, they stand for nothing, subvert their own laws and end up giving direction to no one. In a society so desperately in need of guidance and order, our religions seem to offer very little. If you don't like this law or that law, that's fine, let's take a vote and change it. Put another way, let me quote from your article: "The way to respect the original words [of God] is to re-translate them as our understanding changes"

-Letty M. Russell, professor of theology, Yale.