One of my friends pointed out a most glaring omission from my list of ways that we play God. Sometimes the things right under your nose are the hardest things to see.
My omission: religion. By definition religion is man’s attempt to reach God. Around the world are many systems designed to understand interpret and direct our path to God. It is when these systems actually replace God that our religion becomes playing God.
On a systemic level this is often seen when a religious group demands adherence to itself over and above a commitment to God. This is easiest to see in cults but is pervasive in every religion on earth.
I grew up in an evangelical church and for some strange reason I thought that everyone who did not attend my church was not really following God. This may have been naivety on the part of a young boy, but I think it points to some unspoken thoughts that were generated by that particular religious system
In our search for truth using religion as its sole source puts us in reliance to that system and forces us to limit what truth may be in its entirety.
In a personal way we can see people who use religion as the standard for truth. It is easy to place our own interpretation of the scriptures as the truth. I have seen this often, even in my own life, and I am regularly disturbed by the damage that arrogance, self-righteousness and dogmatic rhetoric inflicts on people, in the name of Christian faith, love and discipline.
Knowing that I am right puts me in a place where I often do the most damage to others.
So how does using religion for our own self-protection or self-promotion help us to play God? It puts truth in a box, limiting truth to the parameters that we give our religion. It makes us dependant on man’s interpretation of who God is and not into a relationship with Jesus. It puts the form of religion above real truth. It builds a safe controlled world that neglects to let dependence on God step outside that box.
It fails to let us see truth as it really is, replacing it with a false sense of wisdom and knowledge. It makes us feel we can control what truth is and we are the masters of truth when in reality it is truth that is the master of all that is true.
In our search for truth even religion does not replace truth. Religion may be based on truth, but truth is not based on religion.