(this started as a reply to a thread in another forum, I decided to move it here and start my own thread)
If God exists, then I am wrong and he loves me and I just don't understand.
If God doesn't exist, then I am right but it doesn't matter because everything is random.
If God is real and loving, he's smart enough and merciful enough to understand why I have a hard time believing in him.
If God is real and not loving, then I don't want anything to do with him.
But God being real but not loving seems unlikely. The world is too wonderful for a cruel creator to be behind it. But it seems too cruel for a loving creator to be behind it. As William Blake put it when speaking of the cruel violent Tiger: "Did He who made the lamb make thee?"
That's probably why Blake (and others) have so often thought about the idea that there is more than one God: one cruel and uncaring, the other loving but somewhat impotent. If that's the case, there is no way to know it.
I come from a Christian upbringing, so my thoughts do tend to flow from that tradition. And I do think there is something unique about Christianity, because it places such an emphasis on grace over karma (no disrespect to other religions intended). Christianity, if true, is about God coming to us rather than us working for God.
But does God come to us? If Christianity is true, then the act of eternal salvation is such a wonderful gift that we really have no right to demand anything else. A horrible life full of pain and torture and suffering is a blink of an eye compared to an eternity of Heaven. So God could give us no help at all on Earth and still be worthy of gratitude.
But is that the kind of being God is? Someone who is content to leave children to be r*ped in the PSU showers? Is Mike McQueary more responsive than the creator of the universe when it comes to actually helping children? I know we can argue about predestination and all of that, but there comes a point where actions speak louder than words. And the fact is that if God exists, he has witnessed and does nothing about preventing billions of s*xual assaults.
Why? There may be reasons. Many have been proposed, none seem satisfactory to me. But just because I don't know an answer doesn't mean there isn't one.
The way I see it, if God does exist, his choices and actions are completely unknowable. If God doesn't exist, then the universe is cold and hard and random but at least knowable. You can make predictions and plan your life around the natural universe, you can't make predictions about the supernatural. So even if God does exist, it doesn't make sense to pay a lot of attention to him. You do your thing, and he either will do his thing or he won't. The only wrench in that is what if that keeps me out of heaven? Well, I *want* God to be real. I *want* God to be loving. I *want* to believe that He died for my sins. I want to go to heaven. I long for those things. And I can't believe that a truly wise God would not understand why I am so confused. As the character of Thomas More says in "A Man for all Seasons":
"He will not refuse one who is so blithe to go to him."
If God exists, I have to believe he will be happy to see us and will understand our doubts. If he doesn't exist, that will itself be punishment enough.
Edited by Jacob S (01/29/13 11:08 PM)
"As long as the child within is not allowed to become aware of what happened to him or her, a part of his or her emotional life will remain frozen . . . all appeals to love, solidarity, and compassion will be useless."
-- Alice Miller