Saturday, March 1, 2008

Wow, okay

A bit drunk at the moment, but I find that inebriation is often one of the more tranquil, thoughtful states of being. So, in regards to those who may happen to read this, my apologies.

Pertaining to the primary discussions on this blog, I was wondering what the other posters' reactions would be if in fact there was a god. Not necessarily the Christian Jehovah or the Muslim Allah or anything, but a god (or gods! not opposed to a pantheon!) in general. And not even an omipotent, omniscient deity, but just a being of greater power than yourself. How would you react?





Mostly a curiosity here, but something I nonetheless genuinely consider. What are your opinions if there really is a god? (And don't answer with "there is no god"...we know that option already)


Ragoth said...

I guess it really depends on which/how many god(s) there would be.

If it were true that the only god is the christian/jewish/muslim one (and yes, Zie, I know, I know, there are differences); then probably profound disappointment. The problem of suffering (theodicy) is unsurmountable if you really hold to the idea of a omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, and omnipresent deity. If you're willing to give up on any of those, then, okay. The only answers theologians have for the problem of evil are typically trite and not actually satisfying, and rarely logical. "Best of all possible worlds" goes about the same way as "the universe is fine-tuned for life." You have no standard to compare it again, so you're just throwing out a rather useless opinion.

Also, if you believe in an omniscient deity and an afterlife, life on earth is rather superfluous. Honestly, what's the point if god already knows whether you will be getting into heaven or hell? To make you actually commit the "crimes" that you will commit and cause harm to other people? To live a possibly quite moral life, doing things for others, but never able to cognitively assent to the proposition that someone died 2000 years ago as the culmination of the entire history of the universe, and we're pretty much living in the shit time before he's going to come back, and thus end up in hell anyway?

The real problem is that the monotheistic deity is not just. If he really cared about humanity, then there's a hell of a lot of things he/she/whatever could have done better, or could be doing now. "Hey, assholes, stop killing people in my name," spelled out in the stars or suddenly being heard in a booming voice by every individual on the planet...that could do it. Unless of course he wants it that way, but then I don't think we have a very just deity, and we're a lot closer to the Greeks and Romans than we like to think. At that point fear is the only motivation towards faith. I believe in/worship this god so that he will not hurt me. And I, personally, don't go for that. I'm sorry. I feel no reverence towards bullies.

I guess my response at that point would be the desire to put god on trial by his own laws and demand that "I'm more powerful" doesn't make it okay. We've fought hard to realize that might is not always right, that sometimes there are unalienable human rights (something that good ole' Yahweh never really established), and that by humanity's standards, our "creator" has utterly failed morally. "Desperate times" and "I made you" only go so far in this situation. It would take a lot of reasoning to make me even marginally okay with the state of the world IF there were an omnipotent deity lying around somewhere. There is probably an element of hate in that, but it's more just a fury at knowing that even one child starving to death is too many, that it's blood on the hands of a god who COULD do something about it, but CHOOSES not to. "God's hands are tied," or "at least the child is in heaven now and is so much better off!" really don't satisfy. What or who ties God's hands? Himself? Then why should we consider him just at all? We consider those who could have stopped a murder, but did nothing, as accomplices or at least partially to blame. If God is a creator, then he bears some responsibility for his creation's actions. If I made a product that wound up killing a lot of people, people would generally blame me for it. You've seen how long the gun manufacturers have had to argue that it's really people who kill people, not guns, and for the most part we've accepted that line, and I guess it really depends on how far back to want to trace a line of agency and responsibility, but there is some culpability there. They make a product which is designed specifically to kill a person. You can hunt with some guns, but say, a revolver, is only really good for killing someone else. Blah, maybe more on this part later...

I suppose I could consider a Deistic god. There's certainly no way I could disprove the proposition at this point. Just started things on their path and then went away, doesn't really interfere with anything. Of course, this completely ruins any of the monotheistic faiths (you can't be a committed deist and seriously believe the Jesus story - you've hit a contradiction in terms), and we have no way of knowing if a deistic god would create something like an afterlife or would even want anyone worshiping him. Maybe, just maybe, the deistic god is the ultimate scientist, and the form of worship that he loves best is rational thought and scientific undertaking (yeah, this is pretty much my god wet-dream). In that case, I'm set, and maybe I get to carve out my own little chunk of laboratory heaven, and KNOW everything. Ah, knowledge...

I know it sounds unlikely, and I admit that it is. At the same time, I find it no more unlikely than many of the stories people tell about what god wants. Problem is, nobody really knows for sure. God/gods seem to want a lot of often contradictory things, and we've all seen that if you step out of line you get blasted. The real problem of Pascal's wager: Which God do you choose to worship, and how can you be sure that you're right. Maybe a god is less pissed off if you're an atheist than if you're a committed believer of another deity. Who knows?

So, what does this leave us with? Pantheon? Polytheism? Pantheism? Some actually pretty weak or stupid god that has been embiggened by followers over time? Some of these options are quite a bit more in line with the state of affairs in the world, but then we're left with a feeling that we're either all screwed (in hell because we pissed SOME deity off), all okay (the deities don't really care, or we did alright by most of them, so good to go), or there just isn't an afterlife at all, and so why the fuck worry about it?

The only reason I could see to be considered with any deity is if there actually is an afterlife. "Blessings and curses" are really tied to living longer or dying sooner, and hence indirectly to the afterlife. Belief in a deity is typically in the shadow of the fear of death and desire for immortality. I admit, I'd love there to be a really awesome afterlife, but I find it hard to believe, and at that point, I'd really just be worshiping some god to try to get into it. "Cold" and "over-rational," maybe, but it's true. I don't need a deity to tell me my morality or how to experience the world; though if there were a deity it'd be fun to have a hotline to him "Say, God, this whole string theory thing...what's your opinion?" or "God, there's a genocide in Darfur. The West has decided to do nothing. Please, out of goodness, do something."

Stan Lee, for all his Stan Leeness, actually hit it pretty right with spiderman: "With great power comes great responsibility." Any deity worthy of worship (that is, powerful enough and able to intervene in human affairs), has a great responsibility that I feel they have utterly failed to live up to. So, I guess overall, disappointment is my response to the god hypothesis. We could do better.

The Rooster said...


DirtyGaijin said...

I write a few lines in a drunken haze and ragoth replies with a novel...this is why I miss hanging out with you, man. That and the food.

Ragoth said...

Hah! Yeah, don't lie. It isn't my enlightening wit or biting sarcasm that you miss. It's all the free or semi-free food that was moochable.

The Rooster said...

I feel like I am missing out on this lovefest! Y'all don't know me, but I bet you'd think I was cool. Because I read philosophy and listen to bands like Type O Negative.

Ragoth said...

Yeah, you'd probably fit in pretty well in our eclectic little group. So long as you're not a total post-modernist.

The Rooster said...

I loathe pomobabble.

Zie said...

1..haha. thanks ragoth. they are different
2. haha pomobabble. nice
3. i dont care if "God" is actually existent. One way or the other, I guess you would only "know" once its all over and then I'm pretty sure I will just be worm food, not in some or hell.

4. I've decided to only engage in mystical religions. Leave the "phenomenological" outside the realm of reason.. I wouldnt call myself an atheist.. i enjoy a good metaphor.