Dear Rabbi Rami,
Pastor Victoria Osteen says God wants us to be happy, and that when we are happy God is happy. How do you respond?
What does it mean to believe in a God with human emotions? How is this different from the Greek or Roman Gods? God isn’t a being who gets happy or sad, angry or jealous. I know the Bible says otherwise, but the Bible says lots of things we should have outgrown by now.
God for me is YHVH, not a being or supreme being, but be–ing itself. God is ever changing—Ehyeh asher Ehyeh, “I am becoming whatever it is I am becoming” (even God doesn’t know what is next). Of course you needn’t call this God. Tao is a better term, perhaps. And as Lao Tzu wrote, “The tao that can be named is not the eternal Tao.” In other words, the god you can name, worship, or reduce to any ism or ideology isn’t God.
Saying that when we are happy God in Heaven is happy is simply a way of making our happiness the center of our concern. The same is true when we say God wants us to be angry with or murder someone. This is simply human beings projecting on to God their own desire to kill those with whom they disagree or who get in their way.
Whether or not you believe in God, the god your believe in is a reflection of your self.