We were down in Texas, visiting with Hans and his family. While the four little kids were getting into mischief, the four adults were trying to have a conversation. We were discussing religion. I mentioned that one thing that I like about Judaism is that a person has the right to shake their fist at God now and then.
Hans piped up, “That’s nothing. When I was in Iraq, we had a chaplain. He told us, ‘When you pray, tell God to fuck off!’ This guy was a Catholic chaplain. He told us that we weren’t in Iraq for any good reason, and that things were all fucked up. He said that, if we were mad at God, it was okay to tell Him to fuck off.”
I am not sure if that guidance was theologically sound, but I can completely understand the chaplain’s sentiment. Oddly enough, there are precedents for this sort of thing in Scripture. Both Jonah and Elijah made it clear to God that they did not to hear from Him anymore. And Job, well, he wasn’t very happy with the Lord either. So, at last in the Old Testament, there are some examples of God’s chosen people telling Him off (in a probably highly sanitized version of what they actually said).
Is it good idea to tell God to fuck off? Maybe not. On the other hand, He has big shoulders. He will probably get over it. In some Christian sects, it is expected that people will praise and flatter God, possibly in the hopes that He will dole out a smidgeon of mercy. Prayers are heard, but they may or may not be granted. If a person is in a really bad way (Hans and his compadres in Iraq were in a bad way), and God does not respond to heartfelt entreaties, then why not tell Him to fuck off? What is there to lose?
I believe that God wants a relationship with the individuals that He created. Relationships are by their very nature rocky and difficult. Being angry with God means that a person is still in relationship with the Deity. There is still some communication. There is still the possibilty of reconciliation.
As Elie Wisel said, “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”
Frank (Francis) Pauc is a graduate of West Point, Class of 1980. He completed the Military Intelligence Basic Course at Fort Huachuca and then went to Flight School at Fort Rucker. Frank was stationed with the 3rd Armor Division in West Germany at Fliegerhorst Airfield from December 1981 to January 1985. He flew Hueys and Black Hawks and was next assigned to the 7th Infantry Division at Fort Ord, CA. He got the hell out of the Army in August 1986.
As the Voice of the Veteran Community, The Havok Journal seeks to publish a variety of perspectives on a number of sensitive subjects. Unless specifically noted otherwise, nothing we publish is an official point of view of The Havok Journal or any part of the U.S. government.