The Historian’s Theodicy

“The problem of evil.” Theologians and philosophers couldn’t have found a staler term to categorize the spiritual and intellectual catastrophe that is the question, “Where was God…?”

Where was God during Deir ez-Zor, Auschwitz, Darfur, and September 11th? Where is God when everyday people suffer and die from the most banal of causes. A non-stick frying pan, when scratched and heated, releases brain-damaging lethal fumes — where the hell is God in that? Imagine! The creator of the universe’s very existence challenged by kitchenware, and the best response Mankind’s thinkers can conjure is the crossword puzzle-sounding “problem of evil.”

The term I prefer is “theodicy”; the word’s Greek origin has an appropriately menacing sound. Yet, when I take a moment to examine the word’s etymology I find it nearly as insufficient as “the problem of evil.” It comes from the Greek θεός (theós, “god”) and δίκη (díkē, “justice”), meaning literally “the justice of God,” but more accurately rendered as “to justify God” or “the justification of God.” It was coined in 1710 by the German polymath Gottfried Leibniz. You may recall him as the fellow who believed ours is “the best of all possible worlds.”

The problems with theodicy are immediately apparent, loaded as it is with innumerable assumptions. One assumption is the very goodness of God; another is whether it is the divine, not humanity, who is in need of justification. And of course the most fundamental assumption is that God even exists (but that’s a topic for another reflection — for the sake of this essay, and out of respect for my own spiritual experiences, I’m going with the belief that some kind of divinity does exist). However, the most problematic assumptions are (a) that there’s a flawless divine plan, much less total divine mastery over events, and (b) that events are assailable as either “good” or “evil.” At the root of both these assumptions are the ideas of certainty and necessity, and the question of the relation between suffering and divine intention.

For these reasons I propose that the entire concept of theodicy be gutted and rebooted. How? By dropping talk of “good” and “evil,” eviscerating the gibberish of what we mean when we say “God,” and then asking a new question, one about the relation of chance and divine decisions. In other words, let’s be historians about our faith, and ask: how do we reconcile belief in God with contingency and change? The answer I propose: God is a storywriter, and we are partners in the plot. This is the core analogy of what I call “post-monotheist theodicy.”

(I) The crumbling

Let’s start with some deconstructions, some of which at first glance are “common sense,” others which are not:

(1) None of us are in any position to accurately describe anything as either “good” or “evil.” An example: the killing fields of the Khmer Rouge caused the exile of millions of Cambodians — an evil — but had that never happened, the Phoeuk family would never have fled to the United States, and I would never have met the first love of my life — a good. Thus, in the centuries-old churn of cause and effect, the labels of “good” and “evil” seem rotten. The human experience, for the individual and the species alike, is simply too vast and intricate to be reduced into a black and white taxonomy.

Axiom: history defies the absolutisms of moral theory.

(2) None of us can deny the role of chance and circumstance in God’s decision-making, but neither can we comprehend it. Why did God select Moses, John, and Muhammad, and not Aaron, James, or Abu Bakr? Why were revelations sent to the Hebrews and Arabians, but not the gentiles? The illogic of predestiny provides no satisfaction to these questions. Yet, were God entirely an opportunist, divinity would seem impotent in the face of time and place.

The answer that always made the most sense to me was that of Abraham Joshua Heschel: the prophets were chosen because they were capable of being chosen. They heard because they could hear. It’s a beautiful notion, but the logic is dangerously circular, not to mention it begs the question of which came first, God’s word or the prophet’s willing ear?

Axiom: history itself, as the theater of revelation, threatens the reliability of prophecy.

(3) None of us know what God is, or what “God” was. We as a thinking species have never known the true nature of the divine. Is it an entity or a force? Is it even an “it,” much less a “he” or “she”? In saying this I’m not trying to play semantics, and yet, semantics is at the heart of the problem, for Mankind’s few direct insights into divine nature, hard-won by our prophets and mystics, have all been lensed through the culture and language of their eras. In other words, what “God” meant to Muhammad was something immensely different than what it meant to Baha’ullah.

How has the term “God” shaped our understanding of God? We’ll never know, for the true story of our spiritual vocabulary’s evolution has been lost to time. Philologists and archeaologists are locked in eternal disagreement about what θεός (theós), אל (el), إله (lah), and even “god” (ǥuđán long, long ago) meant to monotheism’s polytheistic forebearers. Indeed, even the concept of polytheism is a point of contention. Were the ancients really believers in a haphazard array of deities? Were the earliest prophets true monotheists, or were they henotheists and monolatrists? Even the conception of the “one true God” has changed throughout the reign of monotheism. The 17th Century God of Leibniz was a deity of philosophers and scientists; today, it is a deity of lawyers and would-be gnostics.

Axiom: history challenges the very possibility of exegesis and theosophy.

(4) None of us can know with certainty that atheists and nontheists aren’t experiencing God — or that we monotheists are. The history of Indian religion presents us a difficult puzzle: Nanak and Arjuna both experienced a supreme personal reality comparable to the monotheisms’ Godhead, yet the Buddha experienced a supreme nonpersonal nonreality. Two experiences, one positive, one negative, one theistic, one without any regard for the notion of a deity, but neither no less ultimate than the other. How can “nirvana” and “moksha,” “enlightenment” and “transcendence,” both be descriptions of the same thing with such diametrically opposed language? — and yet, that’s precisely what they are.

I myself have tried to escape the term “God,” but I have found that all this accomplishes is an alienation from the very entity that I have sought all my life, and whom, whatever its true nature, I have experienced so intimately and joyously. Try as I might, atheism or nontheism are keys which just do not open the gate of my soul, and yet theism has been just as faulty a key for many of my friends who are no less hungry for spirituality than I. Are we like darkness trying to describe the sun to a light beam? Do we find ourselves constrained by not only the culture and vocabularies we inherit from our societies, but also by our own private, inner hermeneutics?

Axiom: history, both personal and of the species, challenges the very possibility of hierology.

(5) None of us can deny the role of chance and circumstance in Mankind’s destiny, but neither can we comprehend it. Whether you believe in evolution or not, the truth we can all agree upon is that humanity’s physical form is subject to environmental conditions, particularly nutrition and the availability of energy. So, too, does geography sculpt humanity’s cultural form, and our scriptures testify to this, bearing within them the chisel marks of time and place. Who would dare say that the Koran and Torah were not revealed in a desert clime?

The question now becomes whether the soul is as shaped by environment as the body. Yet, this is a terrifying and mystifying question. It doesn’t help that few seem ready to face the fact that genetic mutations are continuing right now, within you, within me, within our children, not to mention that there’s no telling what Huxleyan transformations may result from genetic engineering. What this means not only for the future of spirituality, but its past, is uncertain save for only one thing: change.

Axiom: the future threatens the reliability of history.

(II) The rebuilding

Change is precisely that element which is at the core of the new kind of theodicy which I want to establish here. I’m taking deeply to heart the Koran’s revelation, “Mankind is destined to march from state to state.” So, enough with deconstructions; now some reconstructions:

(1) The indecideability of “good” and “evil” does not prevent decision-making. Act we must, and act we always have, despite all our endless pretensions to certainty. Take the Second World War for example. Let’s face it: no one really knew whether Hitler was truly evil, but fight him the Allies nevertheless did, because we were convinced of his bottomless depravity. You can’t say we had “proof” in the form of the death camps, because for most of the war the full extent of the Nazis’ racial program was unknown. Moreover, it wasn’t our foes who used incendiaries and atomic weapons against civilian populations — it was us, the Allies, the “good guys.” For the sake of peace, we used evil means to end humanity’s greatest, most ravaging war.

Would we, should we, commit such atrocities again? Yes. The reason is that no higher standard, nor any a priori bases for judgment, was really needed for the Allies to combat the Nazis, nor are these required of Mankind to act in crises. Levinas’ “face-to-face” measure applies as much to societies as to individuals, and it provides sufficient ethical imperative needed for ethical action. Besides, no moral abstractions are possible, for as the Koran says, true knowledge is God’s alone. We have always acted in faith, both as individuals and as a species, even when we have believed otherwise. In fact, the worst atrocities seem to come not from avowed moral relativists, but moral absolutists, such as Hitler. Moreover, the case of Hitler suggests that humanity’s true relativists and true nihilists are those who cloak their uncertainty in the respectability of verity. Therefore, let’s admit the dimness of our perception and submit our actions to the churn of cause and effect, wherein hopefully they will be emulsified into a productive, rather than destructive, legacy.

Axiom: history creates its own ethical imperatives, and action requires only faith rather than certainty.

(2) We must abandon the idea of a priori necessity wherever it appears in our perspective. History is; there is no progress or regression. Our expectations of civilization are built upon precedence alone; there is no underlying formula for how human beings will always be. The universe exists neither for nor against us; rather, it is, as Marcus Aurelius saw it, fashioned of “things indifferent.” Nothing is steadfast; our bodies, even our souls, may one day transmutate. If there is anything “necessary,” it is forged within the cauldron of lived experience, forever reinvented in the crash of events.

In essence, I am calling for a return to a Stoic or Bedouin sensibility upgraded with monotheism or what we may begin to call “post-monotheism,” that is, believing still in whatever the term “God” once signified, but seeking a more ameliorate vocabulary. It’s not that post-modern Mankind is somehow jaded, as the existentialists and deicidists believed about modern Man; nor do we tremble and bow before the idol of contemporary technology’s God-like power as the Cold War generations did. Though our atomic and genetic power is certainly a concern, we must realize that science is itself subject to the vicissitudes of history. Who are we to have decided that technology will inexorably drag us to a post-human singularity? Perhaps the exhaustion of our planet’s natural resources will derail our information superhighways, obliterate sedentary culture and the division of labor, and return us to a neolithic-like condition we once considered merely a step in a linear progression. Conversely, the expiration of the earth could also thrust us into a spacefaring Cylonic post-human existence. Time, as always, will tell.

Axiom: patterns notwithstanding, history teaches that there is no necessity (necessity is not necessary).

(3) God is an enigma and power beyond the human — yet is accessible. What if “God” were nothing more than a codeword for Mankind’s absolute dependency upon immense natural and cosmic forces beyond our tools’ control? My own spiritual experiences suggest otherwise, but it’s an idea to consider. Certainly it aligns well with the message of our scriptures, from the Bhagavad Gita to the Torah to the Koran, especially the Koran. No race knew better the fragility of life than the Bedouin Arabs, subsisting as they did under the brutalities of the desert. When they roamed the sand-strewn ruins of Nabatea and the caravan empires of the past, doubtlessly they were impressed with the finitude of culture in the face of indifferent nature.

Even were Mankind to eventually engineer tools which could harness the very quantum mechanicum of the universe, the truth is we can never understand the reason underlying existence. When all is said and done, human consciousness is a Möbius strip, a string twisting upon itself, all the while revolving around a hole of ineffability. This gaping space is, for lack of a better term, “God,” a presence defined by its unpresence, yet also utterly immediate, intimate, immanent. I am now speaking from my own personal experiences of the loving femininity that has literally touched me in the moments of my worst desperate isolation. Humanity’s historical experience of the last few centuries has thrust the hope for God so far into the filament that whatever “God” truly is has become barred by ultra-transcendent, legalistic, and cruel visages; what remains is a caricature of the deist‘s negligent watchmaker, a divinity who might as well be dead, or whose demise would leave us none the worse. But spiritual experience flies in the face of historical experience: whatever “God” is, it is concerned for us — and it is reaching out to us.

Axiom: history itself, though it is the theater of revelation, is insufficient to account for or against divine concern and action.

(III) The new edifice

The content of the divine’s concern, and the way in which it is reaching out to us, are the issues at the heart of post-monotheist theodicy. The new theodicy of course raises new questions: if God yearns for us, why do so few of us experience her? And, is she helpless against the travesties of humanity’s freed will? As well as, how can we account for the wrathful “God” of fundamentalists? I do not yet have proposals for these puzzles, especially the last one, except to say that the “solution,” as it were, probably lies in figuring out the ratio between the hoped-for and experienced God and the unrelenting reality of contingency.

As to this essay, there comes a point when reason must give way to imagination; when logic, tired and spent, relents to allegory or analogy. Here is my proposal for understanding the post-monotheistic divine:

God is a storywriter.

We are characters in a drama that has been unfolding for eons, and is re-unfolding here and now in our lives. It is a drama whose playwright has a finale in mind but may be improvising the plot. Moreover, the characters of the drama may themselves be influencing the story’s course: their particular and multifarious aspects, the intricacies of their dreams and terrors, the collisions and collusions of their relationships, may all contribute to the playwright’s creative decisions. Perhaps even the very finale itself is open to alteration as together with God we unveil the true depths of the moral of the story. In other words, free will and divine will, chance and destiny, and contingency and inevitability, are neither mutually exclusive nor at war with each other, but interact dynamically.

Take for example Shakespeare’s masterpiece, Hamlet. I’ve read this play frequently and often sensed that somehow, though Hamlet was “nothing more” than a creation of Shakespeare, he was actually alive, propelling the story forward with the fuel of his own personality. To me the most critical line of the whole play is not his famous, “To be or not to be — that is the question,” but instead his dying words:

“O good Horatio, what a wounded name,

things standing thus unknown, shall live behind me!

If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart,

absent thee from felicity awhile,

and in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain,

to tell my story.”

I’ve long thought there are two avenues to interpret the ramifcations of this line: (a) Horatio was Shakespeare’s stand-in within the story, and so the play was the retelling; and (b) Hamlet was Shakespeare’s reflection or inner man, and the fictional Denmark the interior world of the playwright. According to the first intrepretation, Shakespeare was his own character’s best friend and compatriot; according to the second, the ghost of the king was Shakespeare himself, appearing as a deity-penman, urging and guiding the young prince toward the climatic moment of judgement. These two interpretations complement each other, for essentially they describe the mirroring and partnering of creator and creation.

Every author leaves his imprint upon his creations, but by writing’s end, in the experience of penning whole personalities and societies into being, the creations themselves leave their imprint upon the author. They are thus bonded in an intimacy, longing, and affection that bridges emotion, intellect, and soul, and together they work toward the establishment of a masterpiece.

So, to conclude, we may use the analogy of God-as-storywriter to approach once more the vicissitudes of historical experience: tragedy and cataclysm are the spilled blood-ink of ever-creation. It is as much in our pain and loss as in our joy and gain that the greatest drama has been, will be, and is this very moment is being written.

To paraphrase Hamlet, our tears are pregnant with possibilities not yet dreamt of in our philosophies.

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12 thoughts on “The Historian’s Theodicy

  1. My mom always refers to the whole world being a stage that we act our parts on, and then exit.

    First of all, I don’t really believe in God because it is scientifically impossible that there’s just one dude that created everything out there, I don’t think there’s anything out there bigger than us that cares about anything that happens on this little dot in the middle of billions of little dots out there.

    This freedom from a guy named “God” was astounding when I first found it, after leaving Catholicism. Suddenly, I loved my Muslim and Jewish brothers as much as I loved my Catholics, and didn’t think “they” were wrong anymore. Now I know they’re all wrong, but they are all also right.

    The books, all the books, all the writings that are out there on the subject of the divine are both right and wrong because the universe is infinite, and ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. When I found that out for myself, I felt more spiritually connected to the universe than I ever had before. I loved the birds more because I knew they were a part of me, and their singing brought me joy. I hugged my computer, because even though it’s made of plastic, it’s also a part of me because I’m made of atoms, and so is the computer.

    You see, to me, that force described as God is just the little intentions, that place in the road where something stops and makes a decision of what to do next.

    I loved your reference to your ex’s family’s escape from the Khmer Rouge. I had a dream that I met my greatgrandmother last night. She was murdered in the Armenian Genocide in 1915 when my grandmother was six months old. I didn’t know that in my dream, so I hugged her for what seemed like forever, something inside me knew that I didn’t want to let go.

    I think you’re struggling with realizing that life is pointless, I might just be putting my own thing on this, but I think we’re good enough friends now for you to refute what I’m saying instead of being offended. I just want to tell you, it’s okay to let go. You create your own point to life, and it’s the most amazing free feeling ever. I just make little points to my life, and connect the dots to weave a web of happiness. You are a part of the web, Namaste.

  2. Dear Chris,

    It was good to hear from you again! It has been so long. I am pleased to see you are as imaginative and broad-ranging a thinker as ever.

    I really enjoyed the thoughts, content, argument and writing of your essay. I think it is superb, displaying deep learning and careful thought, not to mention polished composition that pitches your thoughts at the highest register. I’m kind of blown away. As a philologist by training, I found your philological argument fully satisfying. I have often been intrigued by the Greek’s odd use of θεός, which can be applied to a female goddess (why not use θεά?!), the notion of divine intercession generally, the divine principle, or, obviously, a stated, male god of the pantheon. Incidentally, I also loved the Battlestar Galactica reference.

    I would like to see you tackle (in a more explicit fashion) a question I think is implicit in your analysis, namely, “If God is a story writer, and we agents in the divine’s plot, are not several story writers possible?”

    Have you seen or read Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America”? The second part (“Perestroika”) portrays (in part) a Heaven abandoned by God and left to be run by a quorum of angels, whose information is imperfect and efforts often misguided as they try to run a universe whose operation is a job for which they were not created. Not an exact parallel for your concept, I believe, but a tangible literary model, perhaps.

    I would be interested to see this story-writer approach applied to other theological questions like the concept of free will and the afterlife. If God is a story writer, do the villains of his story go the same places as her heroes? What about the equivocators – are they damned, as in Dante, to follow a blank flag forever outside the gates of Hell, or are their contributions to dialogue and characterization valued despite their inability to move the plot forward?

    Also, if God is a storywriter, are storywriters gods? Right now I’m trying for a cover-to-cover read-through of Herodotus’ “Histories” in the original Greek, and I rather like the idea of Herodotus, a born storyteller, as a god.

    Thanks for sharing your essay with me. I’ll pass it around. I encourage you to keep thinking, keep working, keep questioning, and you can bet I’m going to keep doing the same, albeit with smaller, literary questions.

    All the best,

    Leo

  3. Very deep. I’m going to have to think about this one for a while before I come up with a full response.

    One thing that does strike me is that, at least in my opinion, you do not need the concept of God to address the problem of evil. I am an agnostic, and personally believe that evil, in many cases, can be addressed through utilitarian moral codes that do not invoke God. There may also be secular arguments for deontological morality, although I am not enough of a philosopher to argue that point.

    Once again, great essay.

  4. Hey Chris,

    So I didn’t read your entire essay because it’s very very long, I’m very very hungover, and since I essentially don’t believe in God it’s hard to stay interested in an entire essay based upon “his” intentions. But I will say this: Using Hamlet as a metaphor, imagine you as Hamlet and God as the ghost-king-father-figure who visits you and asks for vengeance to be carried out in his name. Would Hamlet and his mother and Polonious and Laertes and Ophelia (not to mention Rosencrantz and Gildenstern) have been able to live long and happy lives if he just moved on? We are all victims of a kingdom we didn’t choose to be born into, forced to live under its constraints, as well as fight and die for it’s salvation, and Hamlet knows this all to well, which is the driving force behind his fall into madness. Well, this, and him thinking his mother is a succubus whore, which is why he turns his anger on Ophelia and tortures her. Man, I love that play. Anyways, Imagine a world without a king, without a God to thank or to blame, and suddenly we start accepting personal responsibility for our actions, as well as gain the ability to put the past behind us and live new lives as kings of our own destiny… Anyways, i hope your blogging is going well, and good luck on the search for truth in the valley of lies.

  5. Chris,

    Thank you for letting me know about your engaging writing. I wish you well in your intellectual and spiritual journey.

    To piggyback on Leo and Layal’s comments, I’d be quite interested to see you further explore the possibility that all of us are the storywriters that participate together to create meaning. God may only be a storywriter because fumbling humans together created the idea of God as a storywriter and as a force other than themselves. The responsibility of self determination can be as frightening as it is liberating.

    May we learn how to conserve our planetary resources for the furtherance of this great journey.

    Peace,

    cory

  6. Chris,

    I hope you don’t mind, but just a couple of things about the “problem of evil” and your answer to it.

    1.) This one’s kind of a throw-away:

    You say that we should include “chance” or “contingency” into our understanding of “God”– maybe God is in a kind of dialogue with contingent situations in telling a “story”. But I think the results of including anything like “chance” into the definition of God are more radical than you give credit. (It’s tough to know what an even partly “contingent” God might look like–and I think as soon as “contingency” is included in God, it kicks out all the “infinite” and “necessary” aspects of God real quick)

    2.) The “problem” of God as you identify it–and so the problem of every theodicy–has its root, I think, mostly in the issues of “omnipotence” and “teleology”.

    The problem the holocaust presents to the idea of God is that a God capable of controlling the world somehow includes the holocaust in some greater plan or scheme (eventually leading to some kind of big pay-off in the end).

    It seems like your answer, God as Storyteller, is just a modified version of Liebniz: you still rely on omnipotence (slightly more “contingent”) and teleology (there’s a big payoff in the end). Which means, I think, that you wind up with the problem of evil all over again.

    As “characters” in God’s “story” we’re left to ask: what kind of story could possibly be worth the holocaust? This objection is pretty much right out of Brothers Karamazov, so I’d even go so far as to say: what story or plan could possibly justify a single murder, death, etc.?

    Since I’m accusing you of being a Liebniz-lover, I guess it’s only fair to admit that I’m playing a charicature of Kierkegaard here.

    Good to see you, by the way. Let me know what you think of this.

  7. An excerpt from ’50 things your not supposed to know’ by Russ Kick always stuck with me. It was an exposition on a common occurence in medical literature when one author quotes a paper, but gets the quote wrong. A second author looks that the 1st author’s quote, copies it citing the original quote and therefore also getting the quote wrong. This pattern continues until many people now have cited the original paper mistakenly. This kind of mistake also happened when monks would hand-copy the bible(citation needed.) I feel this problem occurs in many fields, but holds particular significance in religious philology and exegesis. Different words communicate different things and little mistakes turn into obtuse fallicies. ( See Veggie Tales ‘Larry boy and the Fib from Outerspace’ to see how little lies can grow into big monsters.) My claim is mainly founded on the many versions of the bible my liberal Presbyterian background allowed its congregation to read. But this claim in errant philology can be applied to religious theory in absolute. If you are to assume that there ‘is and/or was’ one god that he ‘is and/or was’ ineffable to humankind than you would have to agree that the first religous theory was fallible. This flawed theory could only exacerbate over time with misunderstandings and misinterpretations. These mislead teachings can never reach truth. If the great religions of our day, complete with complex parables, legions of reasonings, and immense works of art and architecture are misleading and can not expound god, than you have to assume that god can in no way be represented in as simple a metaphor as ‘storyteller.’ I respect your attempt, but your logic has gone over my head.

    But I did enjoy your essay. Especially the joke about climbing. Scientific American Mind (June 08?) put out an issue with an article about brain damage in moutain climbers, so your speculation has some scientific evidence.

    Your post also has a lot of commas that you don’t need.

  8. It is always interesting and exciting to see people question problems like these; often people just readily (blindly?) accept whatever answer is thrown at them by ‘experts’ or figure its all questioning in vain since in the end it may not matter.

    The ‘God’ problem comes into play in your discussion of the problem of evil. Like a few of the other commenting individuals, I find it challenging to believe one being created everything and said being watches over us all at all times. Perhaps to book The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins took my uncertainty and gave my thoughts and ideas some concrete backing.

    I think the main problem isn’t the problem of evil, rather the problem of determining if good and evil really matters at all. Tracing back to your assumption that there is a higher being, we’d have to first determine whether the higher being existed in the first place and if so, does good and evil matter to them? I’m not questioning your faith here, but I am saying that good and evil are just human made terms; if a higher being exists do they subscribe to the same concept of good and evil that we do as a species?

    I do agree that good can come out of evil (at least in regards to our human concept of the terms), such as your love coming in part from a very tragic event in history. Whether or not some higher power brought these events to reality is yet to be seen although I’m sure many people would agree that no loving higher being would cause thousands to die so that a family would flee and you’d meet your love, but your 100% right that most would agree that finding your love was in fact a ‘good’ that did come out of what is generally accepted as an ‘evil’.

    I also agree that the concepts of good and evil are in our heads, your idea of evil might be slightly different then someone else’s idea. In social standard terms think of how some people find premarital sex to be evil while others find it to be good and acceptable. The same could be said about drinking, certain laws, musical tastes, and so forth. Hitler may be evil to all of us, but in his mind he was doing good. We can judge good and evil with our own scale of good to evil, but so can those that we deem to be evil.

    In terms of experiencing God, you make a great point that we can’t see inside each other’s heads to see who is experiencing God and who isn’t. But thats just another problem in the whole situation, is God just in some people’s heads ; is your God the same as some guy 3,000 miles away who believes God is a can of tomato sauce. (A slight reference to Dawkins). Your God might be a cool dude who loves all, while another’s God might be one who sees women as demons and cats as higher beings. The ideas and absurd concepts could go on forever, but the point is that the idea of God can and is different for many different people.

    All in all I enjoyed your post and found it offered some great ideas to this problem of evil. My only thing is that if good and evil is connected to a higher being, then we first need to solve the problem of God before assuming this being has anything to do with good and evil.

  9. Greeting,
    I am still studying in this article, but basic suspension of “is it Hitler was right?, it has been the President and his ministers for assassination?” In any case, we want religion

    Thank you

  10. lively read… spent better part of century half looking for the godhead… respons ible to say the least, so, i shall respond…
    scientifically, there is a segment of the brain that alerts us to the presence of others around us, where our collisions are minimized to say it simply… conversationally, there is also the same conglomeration of tissue diametrically opposed to this which assimilates information generating the cognition of ethereal beings…

    as you point out mostly of what we’ve witnessed historically, pretty much, can be explained no matter how disgusting, the depravity of man. examples almost always warrant the merit-able cross discussion as to the intrinsic elements and how they relate…

    my point is that we have within our selves the natural components necessary to develop a physical/mental dependency upon god.

    whether or not Adolf spoke with god, is immaterial, insofar as what Adolf has done with such inspirations…

    by the same token, when we found out (collectively) that something wasn’t attributable to god we (coincidentally or not ,) had less than admirable faith. the trouble with gratuitous examples is that these examples then convey the entire weight of discussion, thus a tangential dichotomy of no consequence.

    the god-head is not easily achieved, nor is it easily led, it is easily there. being that we have free will, and our free will affects others, good and bad, our choices reflect our education. Not all educations are the same,( pretty much feel that jeffry dahmer’s education was a little suspect), so, our choices are limited. if say for example, Genghis khan, rise to power, final outcome, imagine the rest. he is assured the faithful’s reward just the same as today’s evangelists.
    Genghis khans choices showed his stimuli… an appropriately educated modern evangelist choices reflect the vast material understood, the price is still the same, but now, the game differs.

    Genghis can kil, kil, kil, and still be assured his place.
    evangelist can not kil, kil, kil, for his place is not so assured, meaning the more responsibility we give ourselves towards the lord, the more responsibilities we need to maintain.

    it is not my intent in invoking such horrid imagery, to begin a discussion as to the ramifications of dahmer being christ and how that pans out.

    as noted time and again, those of whom deposes man from the ruling seat write their version of how we(people) got here. an example no mention of the tobas incident… none!!! well, that’s because we as people had much much more to worry about than lettin their decendants know about the single most devastating extinction attempt since the ousted of eden, the resultant dna bottleneck traces our ancesters to one of 2000 breeding pairs? point is not the actual numbers, which could amount the millions, but the fact our diversity stems from such little imagine the amount of dna walking (absorption and dilution) genepool to the five faces of man…

    the writer commands the readers response, if the reader is responsible, mostly since the reader can read, we can than assume the reader is responsible. but assumptions are only that assumption.
    god commands the believers response, if the believer has faith, the believer shall respond, we make no assumptions as to the believers faith…

    yes, however convoluted it seems to be, the more it is, because we have three boons from god, free will. is one of them.
    as the tree of life comes closer, so too will we become closer to what is important in our hearts. be it anything but the glory of god, then we are doomed.

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