Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Nature of God

I rarely post anything about atheism here. I have no particular reasons for avoiding it but my atheism is like my hair or my teeth -- I've had it for a long time and, with reasonable care, I'll have it until I die. However, when I tire of writing about the important questions out there I sometimes fall back on it.

About a month ago, I made a tongue-in-cheek comment on Facebook combining two commonly asserted characteristics of God with the nature of evidence.

Assume God is both omniscient and omnipotent

An omniscient god would know what evidence would cause me to believe in it. An omnipotent god would be able to provide me such evidence. But God does not provide me the evidence so:

  1. God is not omniscient or
  2. God is not omnipotent or
  3. God does not want me to believe in It or
  4. God does not exist or
  5. God is just being an asshole.

To which someone replied:

Just to nitpick you forgot a possibility: The point could be for you to believe without proof (best definition of faith i've ever heard) for some reason. Or perhaps God reveals himself to you all the time and you simply miss it.

Just to play white devil's advocate over here

Fair enough but I didn't miss those possibilities so much as I excluded them.

My argument is deductive and belief without any evidence whatsoever (faith alone) would necessarily exclude any such logical process -- Credo quia absurdum! If God has a choice in the matter (It may not) and is truly omnipotent then It would not have to obey any rules at all. Even the rules It insists we humans obey. If God is revealing Itself to me in ways I do not recognize what does that tell me about the nature of God? Not much really except It chooses to not reveal Itself. Which is the point.

The part about God being a asshole was deliberately flippant because, even if I assume the reports are reliable, there really is no reason to assume that God is playing an honest game. Heck! maybe the whole salvation thing is a con and our reward in the afterlife is determined by when we die -- odd numbered souls go to heaven, even numbered souls go to hell. I am not aware of any conception of God that requires It behaves as we humans expect.

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