Jesse Custer Tells God: We Would All be Better Off Without a Needy Little Bitch Like You

jesse custer and god

Jesse Custer and God

One of our favorite television programs is the AMC hit Preacher. The show is based on a comic book series created by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon. Over its four seasons, Preacher was a Three Stooges-like finger in the eye of Christianity. Wikipedia describes the premise of the show this way:

Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper) is a hard-drinking, chain-smoking preacher who, enduring a crisis of faith, becomes infused with an extraordinary power. He embarks on a quest to better understand his new gift and literally find God, alongside his trigger-happy ex-girlfriend, Tulip (Ruth Negga), and new vampire friend, Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun).

Last Sunday, we watched the show’s finale, and boy was it a doozy! Jesse finally found God. Jesse’s life was filled with heartache and tragedy. God, played by Mark Harelik, told Jesse that everything that happened in his life was because he (God) loved him. And what God wanted in return was Jesse’s love. In what had to be the most epic line of the show, Jesse, told God NO! and then said, “We would all be better off without a needy little bitch like you.” (God became quite angry and homicidal when Jesse refused to love him.)

While Jesse’s words seem harsh, anyone who honestly reads the Bible and takes it as written has to conclude that God is a narcissistic deity who created humans for one purpose: to eternally love and worship him. God is purportedly all-knowing, all-seeing, and all-powerful. He is the creator, the sovereign ruler over all. Christians love to talk up the power and strength of their God. Humans are reminded that they are vile snakes in need of salvation; and that without God saving them, their lives are worthless, meaningless, and without purpose. If humans want a life worth living, God demands that they accept the blood sacrifice of his Son, Jesus, and commit themselves to loving and worshipping God all the days of their lives.

Heaven is the grand payoff for followers of Jesus. And what exactly will Christians do in Heaven? While preachers tell all sorts of fanciful fictions about what Heaven will be like, one thing is for certain: Christians will spend eternity prostrating themselves before the Christian God and praising him for being such a wonderful, magnificent, awesome God. This masturbatory worship will not be optional. Preachers remind congregants about all that Jesus did for them through his bloody death on a Roman cross and his resurrection from the dead three days later. Those of us raised in Evangelical churches have likely seen a preacher or two illustrate the love of God by spreading his arms wide, imitating Jesus hanging on the cross. Just think of how much Jesus loves you, preacher’s say. If Jesus gave his life for us, shouldn’t we give our lives to him?

preacher

Tulip, Jesse, and Cassidy

Have you ever wondered why any of this nonsense is necessary? Again, read the Bible without straining it through the spin of orthodox Christianity; without having preachers and theologians “explain” the text to you. Is the God of the Bible worthy of our love, worship, and devotion? I think not. Thus, it is not surprising to hear Jesse Custer say to God, “We would all be better off without a needy little bitch like you.”

An increasing number of people are realizing that they would be better off without the Christian God. All any of us needs is one another. If we are going to love someone, let it be our family, friends, and neighbors. If we are going to worship someone, let’s worship people who are worthy of our devotion. On occasion, I have told Evangelical zealots that my God is my wife, Polly. If anyone is worthy of my love and worship, she is. I have spent two-thirds of my life living with this God. She is better in every way than the God of the Bible. Polly has never demanded that I love and worship her, but over time, she won me over. The Christian God, on the other hand, did what, exactly, for me? Has he ever cooked me a meal, ironed my shirt, or any of the other countless things Polly has done for me over the past forty-three years? As I look back over my life, I see countless acts of love, mercy, and kindness done on my behalf by others. Where was God? Oh, he was there all the time, Evangelicals say, but just saying something doesn’t make it so. Generation after generation of people are told this and that about God and all his wonders. It is only when we take a hard look at life that we see that the God we have been told about is nowhere to be found. The only gods we see look very much like us.

In the end, Jesse Custer learned that God was not who and what he thought, and he didn’t need God to make it through life. A decade ago, I came to the same conclusion. Whatever “God” may or may not be, I’ve learned that I don’t need he/she/it; that if I must claim a God, her name is Polly.

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 62, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 41 years. He and his wife have six grown children and twelve grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

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6 Comments

  1. ObstacleChick

    Remember all the psalms and worship songs talking about how “He is worthy”? It’s like the writers and singers have to convince themselves that their deity is, indeed, wort all the time and sycophantic attention that this deity demands. That deity doesn’t heal people when his followers ask, and he doesn’t save them from natural disasters, but he sure is worthy (insert sarcasm here). A key component in my deconstruction was when I asked myself if I loved God, and the answer was no, and I actually think he’s a d!ck.

    Reply
  2. angiep

    OC – LOL! It was when I couldn’t turn away from the issue of suffering or explain it away, that I decided God was a purely human invention.

    Reply
  3. Emersonian

    I have always believed in an indifferent god. The idea of a god who somehow required worship and prioritized humans over all other forms of life never seemed reasonable to me. A higher spiritual organizational power? Sure. One that’s just as demanding, petty, and concerned with meaningless BS as us humans? That’s no god at all….

    Reply
  4. Brunetto Latini

    That show is on my list of things to watch. I saw the 1st episode and liked it. But there are suddenly too many TV shows worth watching, after years of nothing but stupid reality shows. I try to limit myself to 1 series at a time, and no binge watching.

    Reply
  5. Goyo

    Bruce, just the other day, I was thinking that if I could have any god at all, it would have to be the band, Rush!
    Each musician is a god, and together they make a holy trinity of incredible music!
    The only thing is, they wouldn’t want to be worshipped…
    I always thought heaven would be extremely boring, and after watching all the old people sleeping in church while the preacher was preaching, they would too.
    Can you imagine…”come on, brother bob, it’s time to go worship Jesus”…”but we just worshipped him this morning!”

    Reply
  6. Mary

    What a lucky lady your wife is to have such love and admiration.
    These religious far right people miss so much of the good things in life worrying about sin, afterlife and who’s special enough and pious enough to have it. They miss the entire point of living on this beautiful planet we are ever so slowly destroying.

    They will die just like the rest of us, but will never “get it” and live a life free of judgement and prejudices. They actually miss out on happiness because they are blinded by biblical rot.

    Reply

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