Today The Atheist Missionary posed a question: why worship God? This is how he put it:
Even supposing I accepted that there was a transcendent source of good and value, why do I need to worship that source?
I’m not sure what sports you played growing up but one of my favorites was rugby. It was a challenging game and, for someone whose skills were as limited as mine, the feeling of scoring a rare try was almost indescribable joy. However, that feeling was enough for me. I didn’t require the adulation of spectators or my teammates to enrich the experience of scoring. The accomplishment was enough. Sure it was nice when the crowd cheered or my teammates patted me on the back but I didn’t need that. I certainly didn’t demand it. Now think of your Yahweh scoring celestial touchdown after celestial touchdown. Why would He want worship from lowly humans and, better yet, why would lowly humans bother to worship Him? We owe our biological existence to our parents and yet we don’t worship them. I don’t get it. Wouldn’t a simple thanks suffice?
It would seem that TAM’s incredulity toward the concept of worship directed to God arises from a rather unfortunate comparison between God and a high school jock who loves to hear the fans chant his name. Needless to say, bad analogies are like bad maps. If you follow one you will end up far from your intended destination. (How’s that for clever? A good analogy to describe bad analogies!)
Think about it like this. What would be the proper response if Aung San Suu Kyi walked in the room? Would you slouch over, yawn, and refuse to acknowledge her presence? Or would you leap out of your seat, bow and blush as you gushed superlatives describing your appreciation for her bold and courageous stand against Burma’s tyranny? If you say “Neither”, I would hope you’d still see the latter as more appropriate than the former.
But why is it proper to express deference to and appreciation for a revered human rights activist? Because she needs your praise like a jock feeding off the chants of the cheerleaders? Hardly. The reason is because this is the proper way to respond.
If it is proper to respond with this kind of deference to a human rights activist then how do you think you ought to respond to the maximally perfect creator and sustainer of all things? And if you’d box your teenager’s ears for continuing to slouch in Aung San Suu Kyi’s presence, what’s the proper response toward those who slouch before God?