A Better Approach

Talking with God today, I started asking questions about the differences in his attitude from the Old Testament to the New. The Old Testament God is a God of anger and wrath. He visits plagues upon the Egyptians. He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. And he engaged in many other outbursts of a less than gentle nature. The New Testament is, of course, about the life of Jesus Christ, who is both the son of God and an aspect of God, and is famous for saying such things as “whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.”

Was it just that Jesus was the part of God that is gentle and kind, or did God change, or at least change his approach?

He told me it was simply he had learned that many people respond better to the carrot than to the stick. They react quicker to the stick but more sincerely to the carrot. He pointed out to me that torture will get a confession out of a prisoner in fairly short order as they seek to make the pain stop, but that the confession is more likely to be false than true.

So what it came down to was that he decided it was more important to have people be good for the right reason than to have more people be good.

Or, to quote a famous song, “Be good for goodness’ sake.”

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