Bob  Burney

In the year 1890 a German scientist named Friederich Golz performed an experiment on a number of dogs that involved the surgical removal of the neocortex of the animals brains. He was surprised that when the temporal lobe was removed, the animals were more tame and calmer than before the operation. The beginning of the procedure later known as a lobotomy was born.

Within a few years lobotomies were being performed on humans and the procedure took America by storm in the ’40s and ’50s. It was radical, yet simple. If a person’s actions were not “acceptable” to society—you simply removed a portion of their brain. Much of their personality was either removed or altered—but they were certainly more acceptable to the general population. Sadly, there were hundreds of instances where families, trying to get rid of difficult relatives, would submit them to a lobotomy.

It seems that to many, the God of the Bible has become quite unacceptable to society—at least certain portions of His personality. His holiness makes us uncomfortable. His justice seems a little harsh. His righteousness seems totally out of touch with our culture as a whole. So, what are we to do with a God that makes us feel uncomfortable and inferior? It’s easy, we perform a lobotomy. We simply perform an operation to remove the offending attributes!

That sounds outrageous, of course, but it is happening in the Evangelical world. You don’t have to look far for examples. Not long ago the rage was a novel named “The Shack.” It presented a God that was far more palatable, more gentle, more feminine, more understanding, more weak than the God of scripture. After all, the God of scripture demands that sin be punished, that righteousness prevail, that His children die daily to the power of a cruel instrument of execution called the Cross. The God of the Shack was something like a lobotomized God, where all the offending characteristics had been surgically removed by a very sharp pen. The danger was never what The Shack included about God—it was about what was removed. Yet many never even noticed that the operation had taken place. In fact, they liked the “new” God.

It’s not hard to find this gentler, kinder God. Turn on the TV or radio and you are likely to hear a Reverend Johnny Glitter Teeth smiling broadly and telling his congregation that God only wants good things for them. Think happy thoughts and God will give you all you want whenever you want it. You will hear wonderful platitudes like, “turn your scars into stars” and other wonderful possibilities.


Bob Burney

Bob Burney is Salem Communications’ award-winning host of Bob Burney Live, heard weekday afternoons on WRFD-AM 880 in Columbus, Ohio.

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