“George Bush hates the environment.”
“Obama is anti-American.”
“John McCain is a warmonger.”
“Hillary is a control freak.”
“Bill Clinton has no morals.”
“Reagan only cared about the rich.”
These are just a few of the extreme statements that otherwise fairly reasonable people bandy about every day. And of course, none of these statements are the least bit reasonable, just as most exaggerations are not. So I guess there should be no surprise when we encounter exaggerations about God from otherwise reasonable folk ( Well, not all of them are ever that reasonable, now that I think about it ):
“You know,don’t you, that by getting your Catholic husband to attend your Protestant church that you have condemned him to Hell?” (This was said by an in-law to a young wife, overheard by myself at a party.)
“How does it make you feel knowing that your dead atheist friend is in hell?” (This spoken by a local youth group leader to a lesbian teen ager at her friend’s funeral. My daughter’s fiancé was witness to this.)
“Your mother is in one of two places. Either beside our lord or burning forever in the fiery pit of hell for all eternity, where there is never ending pain and only weeping and gnashing of teeth. Since she was not a believer let’s hope she chose Jesus on her death bed.” (A ‘friendly’ comment on hyper-reformed website, which I think is just a tad ironic.)
“I don’t have to ask people what their troubles are. I know what the source of everyone’s trouble is and I also know the only prescription; Jesus Christ”. (Another comment on another fundamentalist website.)
“God hates fags and they will spend eternity paying for their abomination.” (Fred Phelps)
“It’s just as well for her there’s no such thing as divine judgment.” (Christopher Hitchens on Mother Theresa)
This is the way people talk – in extremes. Barry Goldwater once said that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. I’m sure that Stalin would have heartily agreed with him.
I would guess that most, if not all, extremist feel that they have the moral high ground or at least have access to the undisputed truth. And of course they all cannot. My question is; do any of them?