favor-nehemiahI frequently hear others claim that they have God’s favor. It compels me to ask: Since favoritism isn’t fair, why do we think God does it?

Is God’s favor a spiritual truth or an egoic oxymoron? It seems that humans have always declared themselves “chosen” or “favored” by their god. Some even have written that God told them that they were favored. Fascinating stuff.

We love to feel special, don’t we? And we love to feel more loved than anyone else. It makes us feel safer in a scary world in which threats lurk around many corners and everything is constantly deteriorating, dying—or both.

What favor implies

As with other beliefs we hold about the Divine, we don’t consider the implications. We’ve agreed that there’s just one God, yet we impose regional and cultural restrictions on One who cannot be confined to a culture or region. Can we really win favor with the Almighty because of what we do, how and how much we worship, and what rules we obey when practices considered sacred in one culture are sacrilegious in another?

God's favor can turn everything aroundWhich part of the One God are we offending and which part are we serving? Which part favors us because of our particular practices?

Cue up the Superior Dance music

This “God’s favor” concept fulfills our egoic need to feel superior: “God gives us attention and blessings,” we sing, thumbing our noses. “God gives us whatever we want: great jobs, homes, cars and perfect mates. God even helps us pass exams and win sporting contests.”

Meanwhile, millions of our siblings in other parts of the world do not even have clean water to drink. God does not favor them? What kind of God would withhold life-giving water from His child? (Please fill in the blank: ___________)

Generally, if you want favor, you have to worship God a certain way: our way. Ours is the only path leading to a god whom we’ve limited to a gender and confined to a spot in outer space.

Do you see what I see?

If we took the blinders off our I’s, we’d see billions of God’s children who’ve never heard of our path. If we dared to turn a discerning ear to the things others told us to believe, we might even wonder why God only told some of “His” children how to get back to outer space. Instead, we complain that we ordered grilled onions on our double cheeseburgers and they were raw.

Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto MeIf we had a modicum of “whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers” empathy, we might be pained that millions of our siblings are living without God’s favor, suffering through droughts, famine, civil wars, tent cities, sexual abuse and genocides. Instead, we boast that by virtue of God’s favor, we are protected from harm.

So children who are molested by pedophiles are not favored? Those whose homes or homelands are destroyed by natural disasters are not favored? Babies born in war-torn or famine-stricken areas are not favored? Women worldwide who are victimized by rape and other abuses are not favored?

What kind of God would protect some, but not all, of His children from these traumas? (Your answer here, please: ___________)

I asked you to fill in these blanks to encourage you to think about your beliefs, and the ways they (and you, by extension) demonize God. We claim “God is Love,” but ascribe behaviors to God that bear no resemblance to Divine Love.

Divine Love is universal. It does not reward some and harshly punish others. Divine Love does not judge or condemn, kill, crucify or cause human suffering. And oh, by the way, Divine Love is not capricious; it does not play favorites.

We hurt no one but ourselves by believing before thinking. We are so afraid of being ostracized or criticized by those who want us to blindly parrot their beliefs that we join their chorus and sing their refrains claiming that God does things Love would not.

We’ve done this for centuries; we can stop at any time. We can start by examining the concept of God’s favor: what it implies about the god we serve—and what it implies about us, as members of the global human family.


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6 Responses to God’s favor: Spiritual truth or egoic oxymoron?

  1. Dante Hamilton says:

    Thanks Pat for sharing! When will the paid workshops startup?

    • loudmouthinthebalcony says:

      Thanks, Dante!

      Paid workshops online? The free series gave me an opportunity to see if that platform was a good fit. Until I figure out how to make online workshops much more interactive and can incorporate DQW’s group play, I think I prefer onsite workshops. I’ll keep you posted–or maybe you can host one! Now THAT would be a powerhouse Meet-up! LOL

  2. Michael says:

    I appreciate this blog perspective on an important and challenging issue. Because its face[s] has been around for centuries, in various cultures, in diverse ways, it makes me wonder if it’s some kind of archetype. Especially when you look at the deep foundational roots this ‘favor’ has in such religious/racial examples such as the Jewish people. How does one contend with a 4000 year old psychic infrastructure that hinges on being ‘the chosen people’. Of course this plays itself out in many other cultural contexts as well. Aspects of contemporary Christianity certainly has its examples. You forgot to mention in your post how God also favors certain folks [Christian of course] with Oscar, Emmy, Grammy, and Golden Globe awards. I don’t include ‘Peoples Choice awards’ as I think they are more pagan.

    It is indeed time for individual consciousness to mature so collective consciousness can move beyond the conditioned silliness and at times pathetic limitations of beliefs [that of course inform actions] to a level that actively seeks to engage and support diversity. This means looking at our defenses, denials, grandiosities, and other goodies that are all indicators of personal AND cultural narcissistic wounds.

    • Wow, Michael!

      You covered it all in a couple of paragraphs. (And you made me wonder if my daughter would have won in her Grammy category had we publicized that she was Christian. LOL!)

      As always, thanks for your learned insights. I enjoy reading your comments.

  3. Saint says:

    No need to say much…I feel the same way when people talk about God’s plan for their lives. It seems to me that God’s plan is that we have the free will to do our thing…if we work within clearly established Universal laws we will be rewarded…if not…we pay the appropriate consequences…GOD IS NO RESPECTOR OF PERSONS…God bless. Peace…Saint

    • No more a respecter of persons than the wind or the rain. In the 21st Century, most of us still believe in an intervening male god who capriciously involves himself in circumstances. “He” will help one child pass a test–or, as Michael pointed out, win a Grammy (but not my child)–but won’t keep another child safe from a pedophile or genocidal maniac. We keep trying to fit God into the ancient model. The only change we make is shifting “His” location. And it’s getting farther away!

      After we saw that God really wasn’t at the top of a mountain, we decided that “He” must live above the clouds. After air travel proved that God wasn’t up there, so we decided that “He” must be in Outer Space–in the blackness, no less.

      Space travel has taken us into that blackness, and again–nobody’s bumped into the God man created. Who knows WHERE we’ll put our “can-only-be-in-one-place-at-a-time-just-like-humans” god next?

      Why have brains or go to school if we’re simply going to continue thinking like our ignorant predecessors who put human limitations on what God is, what God does and where God can be? At some point, we’re going to evolve beyond myth–or dare to read myth to see how similar current thinking aligns with it. Perhaps in another age, not this one.

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