The Relational God

And how Western Christianity turned God into a bad version of Santa Claus

Jonas Ellison
3 min readJul 29, 2019


The early Eastern Christian church was based in people’s homes and centered around dinner tables. It was a faith rooted in deep relationships, open invitations, communal living, and caring for those in need.

It wasn’t about getting together and worshipping a male deity in the sky. This is the kind of religion that early Christianity was trying to get away from. The central ritual of the faith at the time was the agape feast where human souls were gathered by the Holy Spirit to strengthen the bonds and the spirit of harmony, goodwill, and congeniality, as well as to forgive past disputes and instead love one another.

And then the West got a hold of it. Western rationality demanded a God that we could look at, point to, prove, mold, shape, and ultimately have control over (so as to ultimately wield control over other humans). This woo-woo dinner love nonsense was too airy-fairy for us.

So we created another anthropomorphic booming male God that was a precursor to the most terrifying version of Santa Claus imaginable. The focus shifted from simply loving, forgiving, and caring for each other to concocting the most elaborate ways to get on the good side of this dualistic ‘naughty or nice’ deity. You know, Jesus’s angry ‘daddy’. The one who could only find appeasement through the blood sacrifice of his son because we were so naughty. Yeah, that’s the God.


This played in perfectly during the enlightenment and the rational God and his kingdom became even more intricate. The disparate poems, stories, parables, testimonies, and accounts of scripture — each book written separately over a span of thousands of years to various audiences and faiths — was framed as a start-to-finish divine3 logical rule book that fell from the sky.

Just as we were figuring out the way the planets move and designing the printing press, we might as well figure this God thing out God too, right?

Western Christianity took God, ripped her away from the table, placed him in the sky, and fought for control over him.



Jonas Ellison

Not here on Medium much anymore. Head over to my Substack to see the latest: 👍🙏🤙