I’ve been posting answers to questions I get through email. Here’s another one…
Q: In your article “15 Things Jesus Didn’t Say” you state that ““By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have correct theology.” Of course, he did not say this. But are you saying that false theology is ok? In the same article you write ““Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you a checklist of things to do and not do in order to remain in God’s favor.” Does this mean that we are free to sin and God does not care about that?
A: Jesus had no theological or doctrinal litmus test for his followers. The chief characteristic he identified that authenticated whether someone was truly embracing his message was love. The disciples were all over the map theologically, and for sure had “false theology.” We all have “false theology.” Our best and highest notions about God are just approximate indicators of the truth.
On the second point, this is what I would say:
1. We are in fact free to sin. Right? If you want to sin, you are free to do so. No one is stopping you.
2. The checklist I was referring to are those things religion tells us we must do in order to be close to God, or be worthy of God’s love and acceptance. This stems from the false notion of a performance-based relationship with God.
3. You’re going to have think a little more critically about things than your question implies. I won’t even answer the part of whether or not God (or us) should care about something like inflicting physical, emotional, psychological pain or abuse on others. Any eight-year-old child knows the answer to that because it is self-evident.