Thursday Godless quote

This comes from a long and contentious thread at Pharyngula, and is unrepresentative of most of the thread actually, but it’s one of those regular arguments for which I always wished a pithy response. Thanks, Tulse.

In all things, I have peace, because I know God loves me, and I know He has a plan, a purpose, and a destiny for my life.

Slaveowners had a plan, purpose, and destiny for their “property”, and cattlemen have a plan, purpose, and destiny for their livestock. Somehow in neither case are the objects of this attention comforted by this. Explain to me again why one should follow the alleged plan of an alleged creator? And do you always do exactly what your mother tells you to do?

If someone showed me incontrovertible evidence that a Creator existed I would be impressed and apprehensive of a being with that much power. I don’t see why I should be expected to love that Being just because of its power. Trust seems out of the question when the world could surely have been designed without cruelty and yet we know cruelty exists. If there is a larger purpose to the cruelty existing on this planet then it wouldn’t be a purpose to benefit the inhabitants of this planet, so again, where is the impetus to trust the Creator and be comforted by being a part of the Creator’s plan?

Categories: religion

6 replies

  1. Many Theists wrestle with this – those who don’t may not have thought about it too deeply. For example, any believer from the Abramic tradition who is not profoundly disturbed by the story of Job has probably not read it. The traditional answer, of course, is that there would be no good without the contrast of evil. Personally I find this uncomfortably close to sophistry. A meatier answer is that we divide events into good and evil from our limited perspective. The Creator’s perspective is bound to be somewhat more comprehensive and, almost by definition, beyond our comprehension. In other words, the ‘comfort’ comes purely from placing one’s trust in the Creator’s supreme plan, which in turn relies on an unprovable belief in Him (or Her). Not a great answer, I know, but there are many other conundrums in our universe that (so far) defy explanation. For example, we don’t know why the universe exists, but it clearly does (or at least I believe it does!).

  2. This is where I find being a pantheist such a help. The central tenet of my own belief structure is that all gods are equally likely (and therefore equally unlikely) and that therefore all religions are equally “right”. A sub-tenet is that the universe was created by a committee of the trickster deities while everyone else was off looking in another direction, and that we shouldn’t be drawing attention to ourselves, just in case they decide things need to be cleared up. *grin*
    I do find a lot more comfort in this, since it makes the gods more something to be blamed than worshipped, which fits my attitude toward them a lot more clearly.

  3. Meg, I rather like that. (Not really relevant, but my inner jargon nerd has just wondered just how many things a panenatheist would disbelieve).

    So who is the Queen of the trickster gods? The Great Maeve (may her furballs never crush us) or the Invisible Pink Unicorn (praise her shiny hooves)?

  4. A Panenatheist (as opposted to a Pantheist or a Panentheist) would merely need to
    (a) believe that all of creation was not a part of any transcendent creator
    or, if one allows a more eclectic etymology,
    (b) steal lots of small bread products

  5. Is this an appropriate time to point out that now is a really good moment to familiarize yourself with the the constellation of scorpio. Just as the waxing crescent is beginning to set, the constellation of scorpio (large and inimitable and easy to recognize) is hanging not far above that cresecent on the western horizon, its western limit looking very much like an anchor, closest to the horizon and its more easterly part, a large but easily distinguished spiral, trailing behind. I have a scar on my leg which I naturally associate with this constellation because I got it on camp in year 7, not long after a teacher taught us how to identify scorpio. It is a gravel rash that covers most of my left calf. Scorpio is a very big constellation. After the southern cross, I find it the easiest constellation to identify, rather like that big scar. Not at all related to belief systems but related to its near relative, sheer wonderment.

  6. In all things, I have peace, because I know God loves me, and I know He has a plan, a purpose, and a destiny for my life.
    Ignoring the flaky, cornball, calvinistic undertones, the quote is a beautifully affirming antidote to nihilism.
    Having experienced my own (kirkgaardian) dark night of the soul many many years ago, it was ironic to find the answers i was seeking lay not in intellectual pursuit of knowledge about existentialism, but in a inexplicable ‘damascus road’ event that occurred to me via a stranger in a floral dress.
    The questions for me, then, are not “do i believe there is a god that gives a shit ?” but the more problematic ‘how do i integrate and respond to the paradoxical concept of god authentically, and how much compromise is workable?

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