God is Not All-Good

God - MichelangeloThe Onion has published a very funny article, God Distances Self From Christian Right.

As with all The Onion articles, it starts with one jokes and repeats it paragraph after paragraph. In this case, it is quote after quote from God saying basically, “I’m not a bigot like my followers!”

God comes off as a pretty good guy:

“Many people hear my name in connection with the Christian Right and start to assume we are aligned in some capacity, and I’m here to say, for the record, that we are not,” God continued. “So let me just be clear: I don’t want women to get raped—not ever. I don’t think their resulting pregnancies are my divine will. And if a woman is raped, then she has the right to get an abortion, period. I do not agree with Mourdock. I do not agree with the Christian Right. End of story.”

Calling Mourdock’s comments “the last straw,” the Lord Our Maker explained that while in the past there have been a few areas where He and the religious Right have been in agreement, more often than not, in recent years, He and Christian conservatives have grown “actually quite far apart” on a wide range of issues.

Of course, the truth is God in the Bible is as bad or worse than the Christian right. I was just reading “Stephen Law on the Problem of Evil” in Philosophy Bites. He makes a compelling case that God is not good. It is just extremely hard to argue given what we know about the world.

One way of looking at the problem is by assuming that God is evil:

Right now I can see happy laughing children frolicking around in the sunshine. Why would an evil God allow that kind of thing? Surely a supremely malignant being would be interested in torturing us for all eternity with a red-hot poker, not producing rainbows and laughter and sunshine and ice cream. There’s just too much good stuff in the world for this to be plausibly the creation of a supremely powerful, supremely evil being. You can see that this problem—we might call it the problem of good—is just the reverse of the problem of evil. If you believe in an all-powerful, all-good God you have to explain why there’s so much bad stuff. If you believe in an all-powerful, all-bad God you have to explain why there’s so much good stuff. Actually, it seems to me that you can probably also develop some ingenious arguments to deal with the problem, why does an evil God give us a lovely sunset to enjoy? To make our appreciation of the ghastly dreariness and ugliness of day-to-day life so much more acute. Why does he give us fit and healthy young bodies? Well, he only does so for about ten or fifteen years. Then, slowly and invevitably, people slide into decay and decrepitude until they end up dying, hopelessly ugly, incontinent and smelling of wee, having lived out a short and ultimately meaningless existence. I mean, what better way could there be of maximizing suffering than giving you something good for a short period of time and then slowly and inexorably taking it away? Most of the standard theodicies can be flipped round. And when you flip them round in this way, they’re a joke. So, the question is: why do we take the standard theodicies so seriously? On the scale of reasonableness, I place an evil God very low down. But that’s exactly the reason why I place the good God very low down on the scale of reasonableness.

Who says philosophy and theology aren’t fun?

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

0 thoughts on “God is Not All-Good

  1. @Andy – Actually, no. I get thoughtful, kind of probing responses from time to time. But the only things that people get really mad about are my opinions on music and film. Very rarely I get someone ranting to me about politics, but I think its pretty clear if you come here what my opinions are. And there aren’t enough people around for it to attract trolls.

  2. I find that is actually really interesting, that you get more rants regarding art than politics. The value of art, which movies and music is just one example thereof, is highly subjective. I am far more tolerant of people’s taste in art than I am in people’s political persuasion. Too often are politics used as means to subjugate others based on frivolous determinations of ‘otherness’ based on race,culture, type of drug use, ect. Art preference is rarely used in this manor beyond defining some people as philistines. I guess what I mean is that politics impacts peoples lives far more than art and doesn’t respect the same diversity of opinion and point of view…if I’m rambling and incoherent its because I’m a little drunk right now (having turned to alcohol in absence of that sweet, sweet power of the poppy which never deranges the intellect but rather enhances it- if you know what I mean jellybean ;) heh heh) in which case I apologize for posting the ramblings of an intoxicated and alcohol-soaked mind.

    PS good thing about the trolls, I guess there are some advantages to having a limited readership, but doesn’t a part of you want a massive following? Even if its just an ego thing (nothing inherently wrong with wanting to be popular its how you use it)? i mean aren’t you, an obviously intelligent man who has real insights into the human condition, just a little bit jealous of the 100,000+ followers of [insert teenage idol here] twitter feed?

  3. @Andy – I think the reason I don’t get too many people yelling about politics is that people are so segregated. Why would a conservative come here when they know the truth can be found at Red State? I’m kind of surprised that I haven’t gotten much push back from libertarians. I would very much like to debate these people because I think of them as naive. And I have attacked them at length.

    All politics is in group/out group stuff; you are right. For years I’ve been trying to figure out what makes a person liberal vs. conservative. As best I can tell, conservatives have a strong sense of justice; they hate to see people getting away with their naughty acts. So I think it is something like liberals seeing themselves as compassionate and understanding, and conservatives thinking of themselves as righteous and hip (not marks). What is frustrating is that conservatives never get what they expect from their party–even in its extreme manifestations. Liberals sometimes do.

    Of course I want more readers. And I do slowly grow the number of people who read me regularly–probably about 100 people read me daily. Mostly, I just wish I made enough money to purchase dental insurance.

  4. Ah geez, that last comment was a good example of the dangers of drinking and commenting LOL. Unless you write for one of the major sites like huffpost, I think there may be a relationship between quality and quantity. Some of the best blogs out there have a small but dedicated following. I will never fully understand the need to consult celebrities’ opinions on issues they have no particular expertise on. Why do I care what Miley Cyrus thinks about gay marriage or any other topic for that matter? You should be proud of FC and HH even if you don’t get tens of thousands of visitors, both sites are very good.

    I have found that conservatives tend to be traditionalists and more authoritarian than liberals in addition to the traits you mentioned.

  5. @Andy – Regarding writing and blogs and so on: I don’t know that there is too much point to any of it. People have far too many choices for entertainment. I just keep doing it because I just keep doing it.

    Check out John Dean’s [i]Conservatives Without Conscience[/i].

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