How do you know god is nice?

As I have written about a few days ago, we cannot really define „good“ in the context of an omnipotent god. But can we at least make sure that he’s benevolent torwards us (if we assume he exists)?
Let’s assume that „god“ created the universe, so we can be pretty sure he’s omnipotent and also assume that he’s pretty much omniscient. But we cannot, from that assumption alone, know if he’s benevolent torwards us. Perhaps he doesn’t care? Perhaps he likes to torture humans? We can’t know for sure. To make things easier, let’s also assume that the bible (or another holy book, for example, the quran) are really god’s words and all the problems with this book can either be explained by reasons we don’t understand or by transcription errors made by humans. Also let’s assume, that this holy book tells us, that god loves us and wants the best for us.

So, do we now know that god is nice? No. We still don’t. It’s easy… We have two choices:

a) God is nice. In this case, the book is probably true enough (or all the wrong parts serve the goal to help us).

b) God is not nice. In this case, the whole thing can be a lie. For whatever reason, god is free to lie to us, to deceive us.

Do we have any way to really check it? Nope. We simply don’t have all the facts. We don’t know about this god’s motives, we don’t really know if there is an afterlife and how it looks like. We can either trust the holy book or not, which means, we can choose to think that god is good and hope for the best or not, but there is no chance to really know.

Of course, the world does not look like making all people happy is god’s top priority, does it? Children suffering horribly and dying two weeks after birth does not seem quite fair. Could god make a better world with free will and no suffering, by simply making us better people? Either he’s omnipotent, than he can. Or he’s not, then he’s no god. So if he can, he doens’t want to. But ok, let’s assume, the important part is the afterlife. What about hell? Does the child mentioned above go there, for example for not being baptized? If yes, that cannot be benevolent. If no, than not, either, because that’s nice for the little child but horribly unfair for everyone else who must do everything right for 80 years, while the child never had any chance to commit a sin… Taking god’s name in vein without the ability to speak is a little bit hard. Or is it fair, that the criminal who get’s shot by the police goes to hell, but the other one who didn’t get shot converts in jail, gets absolution and goes to heaven? The first guy simply didn’t have that chance. Or the little guy living on an island, never having heard from the specific god. Does he go to hell? If yes: Unfair. If no: Religion is obviously wrong.

So, in the end, we can’t know shit about god’s true motive, if he exists, if we assume he exists, then the world and the holy books indicate that he’s not really nice.

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15 Kommentare zu “How do you know god is nice?

    • That’s what Christians want to tell us… Good is absolutely good, Good loves us, etc. – None of which you can really know, even if, for example, the cosmological argument would really lead to the absolute proof that there was a god who created the world (it doesn’t, but for the sake of the argument, let’s assume that).

      • No. I don’t have a definition for the concept of „love“ used by Christians. It doesn’t seem to make any sense when applied to „god“ and the real world. Whatever the absolute definition of love may be for christians, it does seem to include letting children die horribly shortly after birth and then sending them into hell for being born in the wrong place. I don’t know what to call that. Do you? How do you define „good“ for your god? Is he? Does he love you? How?

    • Love is a human emotion, so of course there is not one single definition that fits all, but basically it’s a feeling of strong affection. In some (perhaps most) cases (in which I would use the word) that would include not wanting to see the object of your love harmed, yes.

      • Nope. And before you try the obvious: When reading the bible, I see no loving father there – the relationsship between god and humans can only be seen as an abusive one.

      • Nice try, but that is not where I was going. If you were a parent, I was going to ask you whether you discipline your children, withhold privileges, and so on.

        Here is the thing, while this world certainly has some wonderful things in it, horrible things also exist, but in the beginning, it was not like this.

        God created a perfect world, but through sin, man ruined the original creation, and God by His grace allows the world to go on, although horrendous suffering occurs, but someday He shall end all the suffering of this Earth, and invite those who repented of their sins to live in a perfect place where suffering does not exist and will never exist.

      • Would I discipline them? Sure. But there is a difference between discipline and torture. And would I torture them for being the way I made them? Hell no. Would I teach them to really love chocolate and then kill them for eating chocolate after I told them not to? No, because it’s as much my fault as theirs. Would I torture their children? No! Would I spike my house with death traps? Come on, no! etc.

        Sorry, if I look around, I don’t see „discipline“, I see randomness. Some good people suffer horribly, some bad people get really lucky. The world itself doesn’t care. Only we do.

        Sin is, in the end, god’s creation. He made it possible. He prepared everything, made humans, made the environment, so that humans would sin. Look at the story, the only thing I want to cry there is „Be careful, Eve, it’s a trap, god is waiting behind the tree to kick you! He WANTS you to do that!“.

        And no suffering while millions of people didn’t get saved? Honestly, how egoistical must one be NOT to suffer then? Knowing that they will not get eternity for completely human faults, for finite sins? Would you not suffer then for them? What does this lack of compassion make you? You just said, that you don’t care about others as long as you yourself are save and sound. Honestly, isn’t that a horrible thing?

      • God does not teach us to love something and then kill us for doing it.

        Nor does He torture children.

        We live in a world transformed by mans sin. God created a perfect place, we have ruined His creation, bringing on suffering. His grace allows the human race to continue, as He waits for every person who wants to turn to Him. When that time is complete, He will destroy what man has ruined, and for those who have turned to Him, He will provide the perfect place where sorrow no longer exists.

        Yes, on this huge planet, God did make one prohibition, that she and her husband not eat from one particular tree. They could eat from every other tree, and truly, they could have explored the entire world, and done everything possible to stay away from that one tree, but they chose to hang around that tree. Why? Because man does not like to be told. We want to find out for ourselves whether something will harm us, then when we do find out, and see that it was just as God had said, we blame. That is what Eve did. That is what Adam did. That is what you did in your comment.

        Concerning your last paragraph, the Creator did suffer for us. He did do something to take on the horrible suffering so that when the Last Day comes around, we will be able to enjoy eternal bliss.

      • He created Adam. Completely. 100%. All of Adams faults are part of god’s design. And then, when these faults lead Adam… to do what… seek knowledge? … he was punished. Now, that’s sick.

        And sorry, no. There are many things that have nothing to do with human choice. A brick falling down and sending a child into a coma has nothing to do with choice and a lot less with sin. Accidents happen, noone is responsible – except god, shpuld he exist. If he exists, he has a lot to answer for and he can really only hope that he’s omnipotent, otherwise he’s in big trouble.

        Why? Because god created them that way. End of story. God created them, their surroundings, etc. God was 100% responsible for them. There couldn’t have even be „bad influence“, because everything was god’s design.

        And don’t let me get started on that stupid blood sacrifice thing that makes absolutely no sense.

      • God created Adam with the ability to choose, and God gave Adam only one prohibition. Adam could have eaten from any tree of the Garden, and he could have roamed the entire world. That is not sick, that is exceedingly generous on God’s part! If you only had one prohibition, and you could eat from all the other trees, and you could travel all over the world, what would you do?

        Don Ruhl

  1. This is off topic, but I couldn’t find an email address for you so I decided to leave a comment instead. You can keep the comment unapproved or just delete it.

    I just wanted to apologize for deleting your comment on The Fellowship Room. It accidently got lumped in with some other comments that were getting deleted. I’m sorry about that; it was not done intentionally.

    Thanks.

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