Does it matter what you think of God?

Is God good, or not? Sound reasoning certainly supports the goodness of God, but public opinion has been slow to agree. A humorist once jokingly referred to the tendency of various theologies throughout the centuries to ascribe to God the worst of human traits and failures. He said something to the effect that "God created man in His image, and man, being a gentleman, returned the favor."

There are probably very few people who haven't heard God described or depicted as a bad–tempered man in the sky, a harsh judge doling out punishments, a destroyer of life, or even the cartoon celestial accountant scheduling humans' eternal futures based on their good or bad behavior. These opinions and caricatures would all be moot and meaningless, were it not for the fact that people's beliefs about God have a profound effect on their opinions of themselves and others—and therefore on the quality of their lives.

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July 5, 2004

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