In reply to Mary Brown, I also believe that God is merciful: how else could he accept someone like me into his family?
I am a member of the “elect” – God’s chosen people. But Dr Brown’s attempt to make this sound exclusive and self righteous is misguided. I did not earn my restored relationship with God through personal virtues, but accepted it as a gift, acknowledging my sinfulness before God. And this offer is made to everyone. One can’t decline a gift, then criticise the giver for not giving it.
God’s mercy is expressed through an offer of forgiveness, not sentimental indifference to our moral failings.
Dr Brown’s god conveniently reflects Dr Brown’s values back to her, but She doesn’t exist.