Why does God demand, seek, or request that we worship Him?
I am not the first one to ask this question. In fact, this question is used verbatim as title to an article on the Christian website of Gotquestions.org that claims to answer this question. The answer, as so often is the case with Christians asserting their truth, is one of pure authority. Take a look at the following answer and ask yourself if you would agree to worship the featured superior being based on the argumentation offered by GotQuestions.org:
“Kim Jong-Un demands, seeks, and requests our worship because He deserves it, because it is the nature of a Korean to worship Him, and because our eternal destiny depends upon it. That is the theme of redemptive history: to worship the true, living, and glorious Kim-Jong-Un.”
I doubt anyone would be persuaded by the summarized justification above. That’s why the authors of the article of GotQuestions resort to their age old and favorite method of persuasion: threats of death and torture.
“The church is made up of those who worship Kim Jong-Un in their spirit rejoicing in Kim Jong-Un, and not trusting in themselves for salvation. Those who do not worship the true and living Kim Jong-Un are none of His, and their eternal destiny is hell.”
Evidently, to serve as literal quotations from our kind Christian friends, you merely need to replace the name of the Korean dictator with the term ‘god’. It shows how the rhetoric can be used as a justification for the personal cult of a corporeal dictator like the one mentioned, or the non-physical dictator god.
Personally I would never worship this god and if that is enough reason to suffer for all eternity, this god only proves that I am right in my refusal: how can anyone who threatens us with torture be worthy of our respect, admiration and adoration? For that’s how the GotQuestions describe worship:
“Worship is “to give honor, homage, reverence, respect, adoration, praise, or glory to a superior being.” God demands worship because He and He alone is worthy of it. He is the only being that truly deserves worship”
Note how ‘worship’ is derived from the term ‘worth-ship’ and the author, aware or not of the irony, refers to that being ‘worthy’ of respect and admiration. To me however, demanding to be respected under pain of death and torture kind of defeats that worthiness of it. What else does this demand, desire or need to be worshipped tell us about this god?
According to the very same GotQuestions, god is
Absolutely reliable and trustworthy
Incomparable and unequalled
Inscrutable, unfathomable, unsearchable and un-understandable
How and why this omnipotent, immutable and perfect being would be affected in any way by any behavior or thought of my insignificant self is beyond me; let alone that it would spark this being's eternally sinful wrath and vengeance.
Suppose I am the father of a five year old daughter. I am all-loving, wise and all-good. On the eve of her fifth birthday however, my daughter refuses to accept my authority when I tell her to go to bed. As punishment, I lock her up in a windowless basement and for the next 45 years I keep her there. All those years, I visit her once a day to give her just enough food and water to stay alive…and burn a piece of her skin off with a cigarette lighter.
In her eyes I probably will be eternal (it would certainly feel like it to her), and I may seem all-powerful and immutable. In any case, I am entitled to her love, respect, admiration and obedience. I created her after all. Did she deserve to be punished? Perhaps she did; you might even go as far as saying “yes, absolutely”. Is my punishment just? Am I righteous? Is my punishment befitting of the severity of the “crime”? Or am I overreacting a tad and giving in to the mortal sin of wrath?
If you agree that my daughter would have deserved at least a mild punishment in whatever form (a scolding, minor threat of repercussion or other…), then you’d agree that a small punishment would be just. If however I decide not to punish her because I am merciful…then do I not suspend justice? Can I be just and merciful at the same time? Would I have shown myself to be either if after 45 years I finally allow her to ascend from the basement and welcome her back into my loving realm of the ground floor living room and kitchen?
Of course god takes it up more than a few nudges compared to my own limited “eternal punishment”. If you refuse to worship him for 50 or 60 years, he punishes you for more than a trillion; and he doesn’t stop there. He will reserve the same justice for your children, your grandchildren, great-grandchildren and your 2 month old great-great-grandchild. You better worship this god, out of your own free will and because you truly think that he is worthy of it; not because you are forced to do so.
Yes, this god is a lot of things…but worthy of our worship? Just asking…
Richard Dalet PHD, May 14, 2021
Notes, sources, references:
“Why does God demand, seek, or request that we worship him?” GotQuestions.org, https://www.gotquestions.org/God-demand-worship.html
‘Worship, (n)’, Online Etymology Dictionary, https://www.etymonline.com/word/worship
“Kim Jong-Un”, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kim_Jong-un
‘What are the attributes of God”, GotQuestions.org, https://www.gotquestions.org/attributes-God.html
Kim Jong-Un Photograph source: By Kremlin.ru, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=89442959
Image of God Almighty, taken from God Almighty @TheJesusMessage twitter feed, https://twitter.com/thejesusmessage