Do Joel Osteen and I Worship the Same God?

by C Michael Patton

What a presumptuous question, right? The presumption is in the fact that I would even pose such a question. The question itself presumes that I might answer in the negative. Chill. It is just a question. But your are right. The presumption behind the question does evidence my uncertainty as to its answer.

I was listening to Osteen the other night. He was very pleasant and had a lot of nice things to say. For the most part, except for his interjections of the word ”God” here and there, his speech was a typical motivational speech. He did not use the Bible, but he attempted to give the impression that he was. He held it in his hand the entire time.

Why he bothered interjecting “God” into his motivational speech, I can only suppose. Maybe because his speaking venue is called a “church”? Isn’t that what you are supposed to do at church? Mention God? Maybe its because they sang hymns and if you sing hymns, God needs to be talked about afterward. Or maybe it’s because he thought attributing his thoughts to God would give his propositions and stories more authority? It would seem that his placements of the word “God” were very strategic. It would come at pivotal points in his message. “God does not want you to be sick. You can have the best life now. God does not want you to be behind on your bills. You can have the best life now. God wants to make your dreams come true! The best life is here and now. God wants you to take a hold of it.”

In the end, I thought to myself This is not a church. This is not preaching. This is not Christianity. And, I wonder . . . is his God my God? Same name, yes some of the same characteristics, but that could be said of any god. However, if Osteen’s God and my God are the same, God may have a case of bi-polar disorder.

Now, this is not as far-fetched as you might think. People DO worship other gods just like people marry other people and have other kids. They always have. Since the beginning of time, people have found replacements for the true God by filling in the “gaps” that God does not fill to their liking. Whether it be a rain god, fertility god, sun god, or god of war, people have a desire to have their perceived needs met. In the old days, people would create a new god and give it an appropriate name…

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