Happy Friday! Before heading out for the weekend, I’m going to throw out a couple quotes from an author I’m reading currently, Jerry Robeson, Ph.D.
- Talking about how amazing God is, he comes out with this gem of mind-blowing rationality:
Read Job 26:7. It is one thing to create this huge planet out of nothing, but then God hung it on nothing!
Wow! So it’s not too hard to create this huge planet [I’m already cringing at the solipsism], but it’s really something to “hang” it in outer space! This is absurd on several levels. First, if he’s indicating that gravity doesn’t affect the earth in space, he’s wrong. That’s why we’re in effing orbit around the sun and why gravitational forces are constantly acting on not only our solar system, but our entire galaxy. Second, if he means that gravity is acting on the earth, the construction of his statement makes it sound like we’re seconds away from just falling wildly through space until we land on the cosmic floor of whatever bigger earth’s sky we’re “hung” in. The third option is that he really is talking about gravitational forces in our solar system, but this would render his statement completely void of power and awe with an eight grader’s understanding of physics.
Enough already. These are the kind of worthless “look how big God is!” statements that I hear every fricking day. I would feel guilty for picking a straw man if massive groups of people weren’t actually saying these things. This next one’s even more common:
- One of the main points in this book is that God doesn’t do anything evil, but he permits evil to happen on the earth, which is the work of Satan. This seems to make sense as long as we’re thinking about God and Satan as equally-matched good and bad guys in a movie. But all that falls apart when you realize that, according to traditional theism, God is omniscient and omnipotent.
If I have a caterpillar in my hand and knowingly allow someone else to punch my palm, smashing the bug, when I could have easily moved my hand out of the way, I could in fact say that I hadn’t done anything cruel to the animal, and that I’d just allowed a cruel thing to happen. But would anyone actually buy this? When I have virtual omnipotence in the animal’s world and the knowledge that someone is about to smash it in my hand–and yet I do nothing–I am not free of responsibility in any useful sense of the terms. In the same way, God’s omnipotence and omniscience make him culpable for every disaster on earth that he could have prevented and did not. I don’t see any way out of this one.
Ironically, I also have scriptural support for the case I’m making against God’s morality here. In John 9, Jesus heals a man who was born blind. When asked who had sinned to bring this calamity upon him originally, Jesus replies:
Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. (verse 3)
In other words, “God’s in control.” Which is exactly what I was afraid of…. God’s work must really be displayed in the lives of these folks.
- Okay, one last thing. What’s with the servile capitalization of every pronoun related to God? This doesn’t bother me so much for “He” and “Him,” but it just gets ridiculous to make statements like, “God is the One Who is our Source” or “God says, ‘listen to Me.'” It’s just too much. Too too much.
Here’s why: capitalization in English is used mainly to distinguish specific things from general things. It’s not about respect. God and Satan are both capitalized, as are Roosevelt and Hitler. The sanctimonious capitalization of God’s pronouns reeks of obsequious, insecure sentimentality.