Thursday, April 25, 2013

I Would be a Better God than God

One common theme I've come across in my discussions with Christians about things like the nature of God is this attempt to paint a picture of Him as beleaguered father, who has made the difficult but responsible decision to cut his children loose, allow them to make their mistakes, but still strive patiently with them and provide a way back to grace when they come and see my ways.

This metaphor of "God the father" of course is very well known, but I don't think people generally have an adequate appreciation of how literally this concept is understood. God the father has a relatable, emotional dilemma and is forced - just as you or I would - to do the right thing by us (his children) and just as anyone parent would understand, that right thing always comes with trade offs. 

This sort of personification possesses an incredible power. The sense of comradery and understanding from an all powerful being is one of the many tactics used from the pulpit that bring the ever malleable concept of the Judeo-Christian God to fit the emotional needs of a congregation. 

But it is a tactic that comes with baggage. 

Any time the notion of God made more accessible and is brought down from some abstract concept that is beyond our ability to perceive to a very human or physical basis, that concep is immediately brought down to a place where he can be scrutinized, questioned, criticized and yes, disproven.

If God didn't have an incorrect opinion on how the world began, or the timeline of certain historical milestones, then we would be oblivious to his failings on the matter. If God didn't behave exactly as you would expect the god of a violent Bronze Age tribe to behave, then maybe we would be more inclined to take him seriously in the 21st century. 

So how about fatherhood? What about the metaphor of God being a responsible father places his now relatable, human attributes under criticism. 

I was asked this question in a slightly different manner recently when a friend asked me how, as a hypothetical all powerful being, I would go about creating a world in which free will is possible and be loving at the same time? Clearly God, who is now brought down to relatable human terms, couldn't have possibly done anything different and his extension of free will is the only loving course of action for him. Right? 

So what would I do? It's simple really:

I would make it so that sin was not hereditary. 

As the creator of all living things and the rules we play by, God must have at some point decided to make it so that the sin of one man can render all of his descendants worthy of eternal damnation regardless of their personal decisions. 

Of course my main criticism against this is simply that it is unfair and very clearly not loving, but more importantly it is extremely unnecessary. I've asked a few theists this question, and no one hs ever even gandered a guess as to why it is either necessary or good. 

That is how I would be a more responsible God than God. I would not arbitrarily condemn every subsequent generation. I would respect free choice. 

How would you be a better God? 

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