The invisible sky bully; have you ever heard God referred to that way? Even worse than calling him the “invisible man in the sky” is the notion that God pushes people around because he is bigger than them. A real bully is often a coward, and throws his weight around or intimidates those smaller than himself with words. Those promoting the sky bully myth would have you to believe that God orders people to worship him, and sends to hell anyone that doesn’t. It makes it easier to not believe in a God that could be like that, or helps people to doubt there is such a God. In a way that’s good, because there isn’t a god like that.
Hell was created for the devil and his angels. The Bible teaches it was not originally meant for people to go there. Those that wish for you not to believe in God are giving a straw man argument. A straw man is set up to be easily attacked. Those arguing that there is a sky bully do not fully understand how gracious and merciful he is. He is not demanding our worship. If worship is not honest and heartfelt, God would rather not have our worship. Worship is an outpouring of our feelings toward God when we recognize his goodness and mercy, when our souls cry out in thanksgiving for all that he’s done. If you don’t believe he has done anything, then don’t worship. In Isaiah 1, the Hebrews are singing the songs, saying the prayers, lifting their hands; and God tells them to shut up and get out. What he wants is for the people to repent of the evil they do, and learn to do good works instead.
God is holy. I think many Christians do not fully contemplate the meaning of this. Only what is pure and holy and blameless can come into his presence. In the Old Testament, the Spirit of God dwelt in the tabernacle in the Holy of Holies. Only once a year did the high priest of Israel even enter the Holy of Holies, and he had to be sanctified and his clothing spotless for him to enter. In the book of Hebrews, Jesus is presented as our new high priest, but better than the original. Jesus offers a better sacrifice than the blood of birds or animals; his own blood. The one who did not know sin became sin for us. His blood is the perfect sacrifice. In addition, he is a more excellent high priest since he does not first need to be forgiven of his own sins before he can ask forgiveness of ours. He enters directly into the presence of God to intercede on our behalf. Not annually like the OT priests, but continuously.
God has surrounding his throne in heaven a multitude of creatures that constantly worship him. There is also a host of angels serving him eternally. Some fly over-head proclaiming “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty.” (see Isaiah, c.f. Revelation) He doesn’t need our worship. What he offers us, graciously, is to allow us into his presence, rather than going to hell which is our natural condition. We are born separated from God, because of sin and the curse. He is not content to just leave us that way, but offered his own Son to take our place. The wrath of God toward sin is great. But on the cross, Jesus has taken the sins of the world on himself. God was willing to offer his Son as a sacrifice, just like Abraham was willing to offer Isaac. Jesus was willing to receive the full wrath of God poured out on sin, so that we could be made righteous by his sacrifice. He took our place, so that we could join him in his place; seated at the right hand of God the Father.
God’s mercy and grace are infinite. He doesn’t owe us one thing, but offers everything. This life is short, and this world is broken. We can freely receive eternal life in a new heaven and earth, which is cause for worship. Not accepting the gift is one thing; to throw it back in his face by calling him a bully just adds insult to injury.