Nietzsche is famous for saying “God is dead” meaning “we” killed God. A different approach might have been to say that God could be either a friend “or” a foe (because being a foe we would have to kill Him). However, thinking that God is “both” friend and foe boggles the mind and would be a contradiction.
With this in mind, news in more recent times related to Senator McCain being asked by Senator Gohmert to “take a rest in Arizona” (referencing overdue retirement). This happened because of McCain’s support for unsafe American (global) policies. The contradiction exhibited by individuals such as Senator McCain, was described as:
“we owe them all a debt of gratitude…
…Yet that does not give any one person the right to do harm to our country from a legislative position nor to put others in peril around the world by ill-conceived policy.”
In some countries it is illegal to work past the retirement age although it is possible to do a different job after retiring. However, Sen McCain is seventy-nine years old and he persists in pushing for yet another election as if four prior elections were not good enough. But still, some politicians by virtue of their wisdom might feel obliged to serve (their) people in their late years.
The problem is that Senator McCain lost his wisdom, or maybe even never had it, since he was always the maverick (already in capture which apparently continued to the end of his career), ending up his working life serving something else. He was neither the first nor the last that will happen to. Not that change is wrong (to be honest) – but sometimes it is.
One other example (of changing your expert opinion) is the South African sports scientist Dr. Tim Noakes that became known for his 1985 book on the “Lore of Running” and then in his early retirement, made a controversial “u-turn on fat vs carbo-hydrates” . Basically he wants me to eat fat (now), despite advice to the contrary from my dietician. Maybe for others he is not wrong, but for me, he is.
The common ground between McCain and Noakes is that in the beginning they were right for “some” while in their retirement they are right for “others.” Another point where they coincide is that they affect not just “their own” people, but everyone. They obviously think they are still the same person they always were and I would agree, but that is also where the catch is. On the one hand they are the friend while on the other they might have become the foe. (Same person, same guy).
In working life one could easily find the same with colleagues. For example, things will go smoothly when a colleague is in good spirits, but under stress the environment changes his/her temperament (either slowly or quickly), where it can happen that a complete (permanent) turnaround may occur. In other words, instead of working with you, he/she works for the competitor.
Little children show similar tendencies (on a daily basis). One example is that one kid would call another a “friend” to play with, subsequently changing completely by exclaiming that “you’re not my friend anymore” and “I’m not playing with you anymore.” They also extrapolate this to the old “let’s play house” game where they get “married, have kids while looking after grandparents,” but one week later they are not married anymore, because the girl picked another boy she wants to marry, and so the boy picks another girl –- right? That is permanent because neither of these two will ever play that game with each other again.
Are such contradictions possible in nature? Recently a century old tortoise started looking after a baby hippopotamus. This may be heart-warming, but nature is full of contradictions such as day/night and predator/prey. These contradictions are permanent and cannot be overcome, but the hippo is not going to eat the tortoise when it is fully grown. The point in nature is that some days are a lot darker than others and sometimes the predator becomes the prey.
So allow me to return to God and whether you believe in God is not the issue. One has to believe nature and if nature can change, then humans can change, and thus organizations can change. In fact the same nature, the same human, the same organization and the same God can change. God can save, but he can also punish, regardless of whether we understand it. Perhaps it would be better to accept and understand the change, rather than God. He might just become your foe despite being the same “you” and the same “God.”
The lesson for me is rather that change is not a step-function and therefore not binary either, because at least two things change simultaneously: the hippo and the tortoise and man and nature. In that sense God (and my nature) will always be my friend.