Religious people are often comforted by statistics which show that the vast majority of people still “believe in God.” However, let’s take a closer look at the nature of this “belief.” A tiny minority believes in God according to the traditional Catholic faith. Many more are “cafeteria Catholics” who pick and choose which parts of the faith they will accept and which they will reject. Many cafeteria Catholics will still warm a pew on Sunday mornings. However, they tend to reject aspects of the faith that “don’t make any sense” to them. The next type represents the vast majority of “believers.” They claim to believe in God, but are uninterested in or hostile to all organized religion. “I keep faith in my own way,” they say.
This third type of believer has chosen an easy path. Their “God,” a God of their own making, never seems to contradict anything that the “believer” says, thinks or does. Their God can be appealed to in times of trouble, but otherwise minds his own business. What a wonderful God! To be more honest, this type of believer should say, “I’ve created my own faith” or “I’ve created my own God” or, most accurately, “I am my own God.”
Think about it: If I create my own religion and my own God, haven’t I made myself superior to that God? And, if I am superior to my self-created God, doesn’t that ultimately make me “God”? I think it does!
I’ve never confronted one of these “believers” with this argument. Maybe it wouldn’t be fair. Maybe the God these people claim to believe in does tell them to fast, pray and give alms. Maybe their God does tell them to follow the 10 commandments, repent for their sins, strive for sexual purity, learn humility – everything that the true God demands. But, if that is the case, why do they reject traditional Catholicism or even orthodox Protestantism?
These are the same people who usually say, “I’m a good person.” And I’m sure they sincerely believe that. After all, they would never accept a God who convicted them as sinners. Their God “loves them they way they are.” To be fair, these “believers” may “try to be good.” They may sincerely try to follow their conscience. The problem is that they have created their own set of moral standards. They always measure up to those standards, because they’ve created their own measuring stick. If they come up short, they can always create a shorter stick.
In spite of all this, these “believers” may have objectively good moral standards, and they may make a sincere effort to live up to those standards. However, what they fail to realise is that all of us are sinners. In that sense, we all deserve hell. It is only because of Jesus’ sacrifice that we can be forgiven. It is only through His grace that we can become holy and merit heaven. It is only through the true Church that we can receive this forgiveness and this grace. The biggest problem with deciding to be your own God is that you then have to really be God. You have to be your own saviour, and that is impossible. Those who claim to believe in a religion and a God of their own making are ultimately deceiving themselves.