Friday, September 7, 2007

Forming a Picture...

In a recent conversation over on Memoirs of an Ex-Christian, a user named Laughing Boy made the following statement:

I understand why atheists feel this way.

They believe life is all there is. Once you die it's all over. Anything that causes suffering in this life is bad. When life ends, all possibilities cease. Anything that shortens life, anything that causes us to feel pain or sadness is bad. If God exists He just wants His human pets to be happy and contented.

To obtain this view, the atheist has considered, in a very elementary way, a couple aspects God—omnipotence and goodness—while ignoring all the other concepts that necessarily go along with the Christian concept of God—free will, sin and its consequences, eternal life, ultimate purposes, etc. With this distorted view of God as a foundation, the atheist is dumbfounded that anyone could believe that such a god exists.

I understand. A god so conceived is either nonsensical or evil.
There are more issues here than in Senator Craig's family, that's for sure...

The very first issue, of course, is this basic premise that omnipotence is an "elementary" concept when really, it's the basic concept: No omnipotence, not a god. Without this tenant, any type of god isn't--well, a god!

Further, the second "elementary" concept stated is the "goodness" factor--and let's face it--most people wouldn't want to worship something they didn't consider good, now would they? Again, the supposed "goodness" of the Christian god is also a basic concept--one that, without it, he wouldn't really be the god Christians make him out to be!

These two concepts that Laughing Boy is so quick to say are "elementary" (Are you also picturing him smoking a pipe on a foggy London cobble-stone street under a gas lamp wearing a trench coat trying to solve a crime?) are THE driving forces behind the worship and faith of the Christian god: Supposedly, he created (hence, all powerful, aka omnipotent) everything, including man, out of love and for his glory; and then he supposedly let his kid die so that we could all worship at his feet in heaven for eternity (hence, goodness). Without either one, you don't have the Christian god so many are willing to proselytize, worship, and convert others for! To say that boiling god down to his supposedly "elementary" qualities is not "an accurate assessment" is to miss the point. After all, without either hearts or brains, we wouldn't have life, and hence, we wouldn't be human; even to only have one would not be a life.

Hence, for a god to not have both omnipotence and goodness means he isn't a god!

At the very least, he's a supernatural being on a ego trip. At the most, he is a psychological imagination that speaks to our deepest fears and wildest hopes--that this life isn't all we have...

Saying that we aren't factoring in "enough" of god to form a picture of who he is isn't the problem--it's the fact that god can't logically or reasonably live up to what he's supposed to be is the core issue, the real issue--and if god can't meet the basic requirements (omnipotence and goodness), there really isn't much more to discuss, is there?

As Kevin correctly surmised:

I've been taught that you look after the lilies of the field and the birds of the air, and that we should not be concerned about our basic needs because you care far more for us. But Father, do you not care for those thousands of individuals who die annually in Africa from disease and chronic starvation? Why do you meet my needs, but not theirs? Aid organisations work around the clock to fight what seems like a loosing battle, but I do not see you helping them in any way.

I'm beginning to think, Father, that you are either incapable of helping, unwilling to help, or ignorant of what is going on. If you are unwilling to help, how can I have any respect for you: an all-powerful being that can make all the difference, but willingly chooses not to do so?

How can I love you, Father, if this is what you are?
As Douglass Adams would say, That About Wraps It Up for God...

4 comments:

Kel said...

Yay! My blog is still the first one under "Blogs I Enjoy Reading." And guess what? I now have real internet capabilities, so I should be worthy of your title.

I hope your vacation went well. I still have to figure out some dates for our end-of-summer shindig, but my schedule is fast being taken up. I'll let you and Kia know soon.

Up for lunch anytime soon? We owe you!!

Kel said...

P.S.: Hmmmm...those long posts are starting to remind me of another Hughes I know! ;)

Sylvia said...

Ja
Can you give me Megan's (cousin)myspace address??? I looked for it and couldn't find it. Send it to giamsexy
thanks
Sylvia
ps you'll have your money by next week. =)

Sylvia said...

Nevermind! DUH!!! i'm an idiot...it's on your blog here...sorry..