Appropriate relationship with God involves recognizing God as the ultimate good.1 This is relevant because, for some individuals, if they believed in God currently or at any time, they would lack belief in God's goodness (i.e. they would be dystheists).
• Matthew 12:24-32 -- “This man [Jesus] casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons.” And knowing their thoughts Jesus said to them, … He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters. “Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come."
• Peter van Inwagen: “We can imagine no sign that would have to be the work of a necessary, omnipresent, omnipotent being. Any sign you might imagine you could also imagine to be the production of a contingent, locally present being whose powers, though vastly greater than ours, are finite.” [“What Is the Problem of the Hiddenness of God?” in Divine Hiddenness: New Essays (eds) Moser & Howard-Snyder (Cambridge, 2002), 29.]
Appropriate relationship with God involves genuine reverence and desire for God as God (i.e. not treating God merely as a means to an end, behaving in relationship-like ways, worshipping, praying, etc., just for things like…
• Thomas Nagel (Philosophy professor at New York University): “I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. … it isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want a universe like that.” [The Last Word (Oxford, 1997), 130.]
Appropriate relationship with God involves moral transformation on the human's part (loving and worshipping God, rather than the enemy: sin). This is relevant because, for some individuals, if they believed in God currently or at any time, they would not accept moral transformation, continuing instead to put sin first.1
- Revelation 3:16 -- because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.
• Matthew 7:16-19; 21-23 -- A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. … So then, you will know them by their fruits … “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, …,’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’
Appropriate relationship with God trusts God with all power and authority, not being jealous or feeling it would be better elsewhere. This is relevant because many individuals, upon entering into relationship with God, would unacceptably struggle with bitterness/resentment towards God, feeling things should be done differently.
Appropriate relationship with God trusts God's decisions in allowing suffering (perhaps for greater goods). This is relevant because some theists might forever struggle with agreeing to God's permission of suffering.
Apropriate relationship with God is formed in a way reflecting God's authority and sacred-relational nature. This is relevant because, for some individuals, if they came to belief in God, they would only do so having condescendingly sent God through impersonal hoops of their own making, like a circus animal. Making God submit and cow to their demands could permanently affect the divine-human relationship.