I have always loved the concept of considering God as a loving father. It is this idea that lead me to question more and more the ideas being presented in Catholicism and eventually leave it behind. It is this idea that often causes me to find conflicts in other religions where I cannot see how their idea of God represents a loving father. When I see God represented as someone who does things that I wouldn’t consider doing to my worst enemy let alone my child it causes me to question.
I have realized that the problem is not with these other religions but in my idea of a loving father. My ideal father figure is a liberal, hippy father who makes me feel secure in his love, stretches and encourages my intellect, and never tells me I am not capable. I was blessed and my own father was a wonderful fit for my needs. The problem is that where I thrived with such a father there are other people who would not. Some personality types need a strict, overbearing father who keeps them disciplined and on the right path. Some personality types need multiple fathers to turn to at the different points in their life. There are even personality types who need an absent father to best reach their potential. We are all so amazing and different that there is no one-father-fits-all which will raise the perfect child in every case.
It strikes me that if this is the case for our earthly Fathers then perhaps that is what we need in our “heavenly Father.” Perhaps there is no one true religion for all and each of us is doing just fine by following the religion that helps us to be our best.