I follow “faith and doubt” as a topic. It is not an active topic so certain posts linger in the feed. One is a post entitled, “Zap them God! Break their Teeth! The Imprecatory Psalms.” For reasons that I couldn’t explain the title of this post caused me to laugh every time I read it. Today I checked the posts under the faith and doubt topic and there it was, still number three in the feed, and once again I laughed reading the words: “Zap them God! Break their Teeth!” But for the first time I decided to take a moment and analyze why this post title makes me laugh.
It comes down to this, I think. We humans are ego-driven beings. We want justice when our fragile egos are offended. Now, I can’t walk up to an offender and break his teeth, at least not with a moral conscience and without impending arrest. So, I ask God to do it for me. After all, if God does it then it must be just. And God will surely do it because he loves me and wants for me all that I desire, including harming or embarrassing some person who caused me to have a clear moment of realization about myself, or in some other way wronged me whether actual or according to my own perception of the events.
I once worked with a devout Christian woman who prayed for God’s punishment upon anyone who upset her. She prayed that their projects would fail; that they would be fired or for some other embarrassing act to occur that would make her feel vindicated and justified against the wrong they had committed toward her. What she felt unpowered to do she called upon God to do for her. To be clear, my reaction to the title has nothing to do with the content of the post. I am simply reacting to words which I identify with the absurdity of the human ego like that of my coworker and those like her.
Over the years I have managed to obtain a small bit of self-wisdom. I know that “this too shall pass and tomorrow is another day”, a better day most likely. I also know that occasionally I need someone to slap me in the face with the truth because my view of the truth can sometimes be rather skewered. Do I want to break teeth at times? Yes. Like the Psalmist, and every being that existed between his time and mine, I am human with a frailty of emotion and exalted sense of self.
In the post the author seems to be trying to reconcile a loving god with what some perceive as a troublesome verse, an exercise that must be conducted if someone believes that God wrote the bible. To respond to the content of the post I will say that it is not a problem for me as someone who considers the bible a man written text. I understand that such troublesome verses were written by people, like my coworker, who wanted to receive justice through the implied might of God. But I do appreciate the title and being able to enjoy a moment of levity when I read, “Zap them God, Break their teeth!”