Is God a narcissist?

God written in sand

Anyone who doubts that God has been created in the image of Man would do well to contemplate God’s supposedly bottomless need for praise. The God of the world’s three monotheistic religions is nothing more than an ancient tyrant writ large, reflecting the social hierarchy of ancient civilizations. God, like a Pharaoh, apparently requires an endless diet of praise, flattery and supplication. Without strenuous and continuous efforts at placation, God, moody and unpredictable, may lash out in ways that cause grievous harm.

The belief that God needs to be praised and flattered is a feature of all three monotheistic religions, but it is most obvious in Fundamentalist Christianity. I was forcibly struck by this fact in reading and writing about a family who recently lost a baby to a potentially preventable cause at a homebirth. During labor, the mother supposedly suffered a rare and often fatal complication, amniotic fluid embolus. Her baby died (though it is not clear whether the baby died before or after the embolus) and the mother ended up intubated in the hospital ICU.

The reaction of the family and its Fundamentalist supporters has been to carefully ignore the multiple disasters that have taken place, and praise God repeatedly and fulsomely for not having killed everyone involved. The mother was “led” by her religious convictions to make a foolish and dangerous choice to give birth at home; she was led by her religious convictions to ignore the signs that something was very wrong; she experienced a rare and devastating complication; the baby is dead; she is fighting for her life in a hospital ICU.

Other people might be angry at these tragic developments, but the family and its coreligionists simply ignore these disasters. No blame can be attributed to God, because God apparently cannot handle, and therefore must never be exposed to, criticism. God must be flattered by insisting that he is always right, no matter how cruel and tragic the outcome. Instead, focus is directed toward the fact that the tragedy has not been a completely unmitigated disaster. God must be praised for “healing” (i.e. not killing) the mother.

God, portrayed as an unreasoning tyrant, and must be placated like an unreasoning tyrant. God is just a bigger version of Pharaoh. Yes, God, you struck down a woman and her unborn child, leaving the woman desperately ill and the child dead, but we are ever so grateful that you, in your endless wisdom and as the result of your praiseworthy judgment, saw fit not to kill the mother, too.

The husband wrote on his wife’s blog:

Praises to Our Lord and the healing Master! [My wife] is truly a miracle of God’s healing power and a testimony of His strength. [She] was quickly treated for AFE (amniotic fluid embolism) when we arrived at the ER on Friday…

I know what the outcomes usually are and that my wife has dodge a bullet but I believe in the power of prayer and have been humbled by so many people praying for my wife. God is so good and is the rock in which our family stands!

God’s healing power? He’s the one who struck her down and killed their son. The fact that he didn’t kill her too is hardly a testimony to his healing power.

This is the same view of religion that is on display at major sporting events, as when a receiver scores a touchdown and then points toward heaven to give credit to God. Now we know why God has no time to address thorny problems like the starving multitudes in Darfur. He is too busy checking out who is praising him and awarding them touchdowns.

This God is a petty God, a narcissist who exists on praise and flattery. There’s no better sign that this God is nothing more than the creation of Man, the figurative equivalent of the carved idols of old. He is in every respect the image of a human tyrant, with all the worst foibles of any human being.