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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

6 Questions about God.

I've been reading quite a bit of "deep" stuff lately, material that both promotes and refutes tenants of organized religion.  Why?  As a firm believer in life-long learning, I don't believe in running away from questions, and the notion of who we are and where we came from is pretty high up on the "big question" list.  Speaking of questions, it's almost ironic in many ways: more I learn, the more questions I have (without necessarily garnering more answers, by the way).  And all of this is okay.

I'll also note that my intent with this posting isn't to disprove the concept of God.  I personally believe that all of this...the universe that we experience...can't simply be the result of some random act of cosmic chemistry.  However, I do have real issues with people, supposedly far more learned than a simple blog author, trying to explain and describe God in terms that are more reflective of them than they are of a all-present Creator of the universe.

Anyway, here are the questions.  Answers are not necessarily required.

Q1 - If God is all-powerful and all-knowing, why does He need us, mere humans, to worship Him?

Commentary -  The need for attention, the need for adoration, the need to be noticed, is a human quality.  In some respects it is almost a sinful trait when you think about it (sinful as in vanity).  Why then do we ascribe this quality to God?

Q2 - God made man in His image, and we describe God in masculine terms.  Does this mean that God has male genitalia?

Commentary - I know, this sounds like an incredibly stupid (and potentially blasphemous) question, at least on the surface, but that's not my intent.  Rather, the bigger question is this:  just how similar are we, mere humans, to God?  Many religious texts say that we were created in His image and we refer to God as a male.  These are very human attributes, so again, how similar are we?

Q3 - Does God hate? 

Commentary - This is quasi-related to question 2. God as been described as 
"love", and I could grasp the concept of God as something that is "pure love", but things get sticky when you start to consider the concept of other emotions, such as (and specifically) hate. Wouldn't the concept of an all-powerful Being feeling hate be an incredibly dangerous thing?
Q4 - If God knows the past, the present, and the future, doesn't that render the concept of free will moot? 

Commentary - We are taught as children that God gave us free will, yet if God knows what will happen in the future, then is there really a concept of free will in the first place? Think about it: God knows that you will sin today at 7pm, therefore from the perspective of God, your choice has already been made well before 7pm.  This doesn't sound like "free will" to me.  I know that this has been debated by others before (see HERE), using the example of the sun:  "knowing that the sun will rise tomorrow doesn't make the sun rise tomorrow"; however the logic of that argument falls apart when you consider the proposition that God (in theory) does in fact make the sun rise tomorrow.
Q5 - Why does God allow horrible things to happen?

Commentary - This is the "classic God" question.  If God loves us, why does he allow horrible things, such as floods, earthquakes, famine and disease to happen to His creations?  If the answer has something to do with testing us, then I have a bigger problem:  God, being all knowing and all seeing, already knows how we will react to the test, so why test us in the first place?
Q6 - Why does God allow humans do to horrible things in his name?

Commentary - If my child did something horrible using my name as an excuse, I would be:  a) Pretty mad and b) Very much inclined to make sure they didn't do it again.  Yet God seems to be okay with humans using His name to all manner of horrific things, including the sexual abuse of children.  Why does God allow this?  Remember also that in theory, God already knows that people will being doing horrible things in His name.

In the final analysis, I think that one mistake we humans typically make in trying to understand the universe around us is that we selfishly don't want to believe that it isn't all about us.  We say that "God created man in His image" not because we want to glorify God, but because we want to glorify ourselves.  We talk about a "vengeful God" because we want an excuse for acting vengeful ourselves.  We talk about God giving us free will because we want an opt-out of the deeper question of how God can both control everything but not control us.  Maybe, just maybe, it isn't all about us.  Maybe, just maybe, God isn't a old guy with white hair, sitting on a cloud.

1 comment:

Mike Sporer said...

Eckhart Tolle said something profound: "God isn't a being, he is being". Seems we have turned God into a being with human traits. That image is a production of thought. Maybe God is a verb rather than a noun.