Something that Catholics get a lot of crap for is worshiping figures other than God, such as idols, Mary, and the saints. They say no, we’re not worshiping those people, we’re honoring them, as you would honor a war veteran or a hero. They’re role models. And I get it. I understand the distinction between honoring the saints and worship, and I don’t see anything wrong with considering the saints great role models if you’re religious (except in the case of St. Rita. But that’s a topic for another day.) I do, however, take issue with the act of worship itself, and what the supposed necessity of worship says about who God is.
Think about it. Why does God want us to worship Him, and why should we do it?
Here are some reasons I can think of, and my responses to them:
1) God is our creator. He made the universe, so we need to worship Him.
Well, ok. I like to paint. I sure do appreciate compliments on my painting skills, but I don’t want my friends and family to worship me for them. Compliments should be earned, so they shouldn’t come in a continuous stream. They should appear when they are deserved so that they mean something. Sure, if one believes in God, He would appear to have done a great number of good things. He is believed to have created the universe, so sure, praise Him for that. Thank Him for that. But why do that every minute of every day for the rest of your life, and expect everyone else to do that too? Doesn’t God expect us to do other things with our lives than shower Him with praise? Doesn’t He eventually (or instantly since he’s omniscient) get tired of people bowing to Him and repeating prayers like the Our Father (a.k.a. the Lord’s Prayer) over and over again? While writing this, I’m listening to my parents pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet, which is a repetitive prayer kind of like the rosary that is (surprise surprised) prayed using a rosary. It’s somewhat shorter, but it’s just as repetitive. Catholics are fantastic at repetitive prayer. They have a ton of prayers to choose from, and can combine them into advanced combo prayers like the rosary, which somehow are supposed to get them more attention. But now, God has to listen to a ton of people saying the same words over and over again. It’s like getting a form letter from every single person on Earth instead of a personalized message. It’s not more personal, and it doesn’t do anything to “build a relationship with God,” a goal I will address later.
2) Worshiping God will help us get to heaven.
That seems an awful lot like kissing up to me. Assuming it does help us get to heaven, that would mean that God only wants people who kiss His ass and grovel before Him to come to paradise. Imagine if you’re the smartest person in the world, and everyone else doesn’t come close to your intelligence. Wouldn’t you want to encourage the people around you to learn more, and to reach their full potential in the hopes that you can have some real intellectual companionship? According to Christianity, God would rather have a bunch of “faith-filled” people bowing to Him and singing His praise over and over again than real friends. A truly omniscient God should find this boring, but the Christian God loves it.
Which brings me to reason number 3:
3) Worshiping God and praying to Him will help you build a relationship with Him.
As nice as it feels to receive a compliment, I expect more out of my relationships with people than endless praise and admiration. I crave things like intellectual stimulation, companionship, and a helping hand when needed. If I wanted someone to praise me endlessly, I’d hire someone to do it. It would get old really fast, though. I’ve heard many times that prayer is how one forms a relationship with God, and that worship helps with that too. But what kind of relationship involves one person expecting constant praise and worship, and the other person giving it obediently? That sounds like the relationship between an evil villain and his terrified lackey. I mean, Voldemort has that kind of relationship with some of his Death Eaters. What kind of benevolent God wants his ass kissed? An insecure God, of course. But an all-powerful, all-knowing God shouldn’t be insecure, should He? That just doesn’t fit. Either God doesn’t need to be worshiped, or He isn’t the God Christians believe Him to be.
Seriously, what does God get out of being worshiped? I’ve seen TV shows where an evil character (usually a cartoon) grows more powerful the more people shout compliments at it, or praise. That’s not how God’s supposed to be though–He’s supposed to already have all the power He needs. He can do whatever He wants, and should be intelligent enough to expect more from His INTELLIGENT creations than perpetual groveling.
This video on YouTube posted by DarkMatter2525 let me know that I wasn’t the only one to see a problem with this, and it partially inspired this post. His channel in general has helped me view my former religion in a way I hadn’t before, so I highly recommend checking it out.