In 'The Road Less Travelled,' Scott Peck says the God of our youth is a second hand one. Just like family recipes, passed down and nobody questions the validity of the ingredients, we do not change them to breathe new flavor into the food. Same with God. Peck adds it is imperative we search and create an up close and personal relationship with God that evolves with us throughout our lives. If we are to grow into wise adults, it is necessary for our idea of God to grow with us.
When we accept a God, or a religion that is passed down to us we tend to accept the morals and the guilt of the family. They may be living unconsciously themselves without reflection. We tend to deny our sensuality, our pleasures and our desires. We do not risk a life of inquiry, change, risk, joy, failures and successes. There are too many oppressive rules. So how can we manifest a full passionate life with such a God?
While we tend to personify God according to our own familiar, that is our family way. God is usually thought of as a 'he,' invisible, and untouchable, 'up there' keeping a check on even our minor infractions in order to mete out a punishment. Is it any wonder that we fear God, if we accept this model or some vestige of this belief? Often the God of our youth has many parental aspects. For instance our belief about God may start with a harsh, angry father or mother with whom we may have to walk on eggshells in order not to arouse his or her wrath. We are too young to ask questions, we have no power, and they may not listen, so we stuff that exuberant, joyful, energetic self down to get by. Just as in the case of a cruel earthly father who is punishing, the parallel is drawn early in life that God will judge us thusly. The imprint of our God may be parental and punishing.
When we examine our relationship with God we will find that it is quite incongruent. On the one hand we have clergy telling us we are wretches and will have a difficult time getting into heaven leaving us alienated from a God who loves us, but will punish us with the 'burning fires of hell,' when we sin. On the other hand we are demanding in our prayers to Him. We tell him our Father God what we want, how we want it, and by what time. We do not believe we are part Divine in God’s image. Within the rigid rules and beliefs passed down to us, we attempt to humanize God into our own rather arrogant image. How convoluted is this kind of thinking. God is confusing when we examine the reality of what we are taught to believe and our mythical illusions? Be wary of one-sided solutions. Where is the mystery? This kind of teaching finds us mucking around tentative and fearful dealing with a God who is decidedly limited in love and power. Remember it is ourselves that interpret God, limited, stingy punitive instead of compassionate loving and available to us.