Sunday, 27 February 2011

Why should I believe in a loving god?

Q: Given observable fact is there a reason to seek a relationship with god?

What is wrong with the notion of a god that is purely mechanical in nature, that brings the universe in to being but has no other function. I believe that the movement of the watch hands are driven by a mechanism, even though I don't see it. The fact that it is there, and may be wondrous, does not mean that I need to seek a relationship with it.

Before me I do not see a world of beauty, but rather one of extraordinary ugliness, punctuated with glimpses of beauty, that we as humans tend to remember because we are naturally attracted to beauty.

Even if you do not hold the same view as me you must agree that there is ugliness, pain, sin, injustice and despair in this world. So while I don't have a problem with the notion of god (in fact I view god as rather necessary to a coherent understanding of a world with structure) why should anything lead me to believe that it is a loving god that I should try to have a relationship with.

Pain is observable fact. The usual defence to the problem of pain is free choice. Why should we believe that an omnipotent God needs to create a choice between the availability of free choice and lack of sin. We as simple humans may have difficulty in conceiving a world where the existence of choice means the existence of a choice to do bad things, but that is only because we are simple humans and live in a world where bad things are possible. Even we as simple humans can conceive of situations where there are multiple good choices and few bad ones, if god is omnipotent why did he not create a world where we had free choice, but that all the choices available to us were all manifestly good, loving, kind and graceful.

In short, why should I believe that god is loving, and that I should seek a relationship with it? What is wrong with the notion of a god that merely brings the universe in to existence is entirely impersonal, and has no other aspect to it. I would argue that observable fact points the the later impersonal god more than the former.

Response from NB: There can never be any real evidence that "the whole world is just a mechanism" - it's just an assumption. As we say in computing, GIGO.

The only coherent alternative is that the world is ultimately based on Love, not mechanism/matter/energy. If Love is the basis of the universe, then of course we should seek a relationship with the Loving Ultimate Creator.

Pain and love are both observable facts. Pain is clearly necessary to existence. We cannot possibly know what a reasonable level of pain in the universe is. John and I think that Love transcends pain, and that (even though my father and John's wife died of cancer quite young) Love is of infinite value and pain is finite and transitory.

In the end we have to choose. Pure logic cannot get us everywhere (as Godel proved). I believe that the logic points us to a loving God. I know that I would rather live in a loving relationship with God in Christ (and suffer logical possibility that I may be wrong, and that at death there is no Resurrection) than live a futile life in a "machine universe".

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