God relates to his creatures by a kind of mutual, reciprocal judgement in kind, historically labelled “lex talionis.” This is taught by the light of nature in the obvious fact that humans are inherently symmetrical. Draw a line down the middle of a man or woman and the right side mirrors the left identically, but in reverse. We are structurally chiastic. So are all mammals, and the fishes. This shows that God judges his creation subject to this principal law or rule of wisdom. God loves us this way and opposes the wicked this way — by their own standards and deeds.
This has the important implicate that we are not to worship God, since there is no possible way that God can reciprocate if we do this. It is inherently frenzied and overdriven — a bit like the super-needy spouse who nearly worships the other. Consider that the metaphor of comparing Christ and the Church to husband and wife entails. A wife must NEVER worship her husband. That is extreme idolatry.
In other words, that guttural suspicion of the Atheists, that something seems almost inherently wrong and wrong-headed about religion is in fact correct; yet it is not what they suppose. We are (by the light of nature) to Love the Lord our God will all the heart and mind, and our neighbor as ourselves. But worship wrecks the spirit of men and causes and kind of warped condition that eventuates in the end in the broken mind and heart — the proverbial “religious crackpot” syndrome.
Prayer is merely fellowship with God and is perfectly fine. But worship is quite excessive and is to be shunned since God can no way respond to this, and it probably seems to Him quite syrupy, and not exactly manly (overdependent and too clingy). The Lord wants we all fathers want for their children — not worship — but he wants his children to be independent, tough-minded, competent, ready to thrive — to be fruitful, multiply, prosper, fill the earth and subdue it. He wants us to “handle it,” with humility, kindness, finesse and verve. He does not want groveling, but skilled problem-solving on behalf of the weak and needy; help that heals them, trains them and turns them loose to thrive and build their legacy.
In other words: get out there and win. John Madden famously said, “Winning isn’t everything; but I’d rather dress like a ballerina than come in second.” Amen, and Amen.