Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Why Pick the God of the Bible?

Oh yippee goody hooray - I've found more snark-worthy materials over on EveryStudent.com "Exploring questions about life and God". This is a college-oriented apologetics smattering of Josh McDowell, et al.)

In other words, consider this post 1 of a series on EveryStudent.com writings. (Really, I went through a few other articles and the MST3K-style narrator in my head was working overtime on quips and quibbles.)

The feature column on the site poses the question "Why Pick the God of the Bible?" Why indeed? Let's explore further.
Human nature likes the freedom of picking our own "God." Why pick the God revealed in the Bible?
The unnamed author (byline credit goes to the site itself - talk about self-referential!) gives us seven "reasons" to pick Biblegod, which I will mock in turn.
  • The nature of God - A God Who is Greater Than We Are
Humanity has made some great strides in recent years. We can live longer than our ancestors, (twice as long) fly faster than the speed of sound, (damn skippy) and access the world from a computer keyboard. (Or Blackberry. Or iPhone. Or Kindle. Buy me a Kindle. Please?)
Still - it seems like we're off to a good start here, very upbeat and positive about the state of our species... Right?

Every decade, we see rises in violent crime, the divorce rate, and teenage suicide. Thousands of people around the globe contract HIV every day. Hundreds of millions of people experience chronic hunger. The list could go on. For example, (list does go on).
Well that was a short honeymoon.
If humanity is God, it doesn't appear that we're doing a very good job of it.
Well, humanity isn't god. Atheism isn't "humanity in place of god" it's just "humanity. no god's need apply". Humanity doesn't possess godlike powers or attributes, so expecting god-like performance standards from humanity is ludicrous. And of course, this means GOD'S not doing such a great job of it either now, is he? I mean, look at this list! Violence, teen suicide, and - gasp! - divorce. (Why are divorces so expensive? Because they're worth every penny! Ba-dum-duh.)
Even with heightened technology, we still have crime, divorce, racial strife, and government-imposed hunger. Therefore, wouldn't it be better to have a God who is greater than humanity, a God who has the ability to take us beyond where we can go on our own?
A god who has the ability to take us beyond where we can go on our own, but who has apparently thus far not been sufficiently motivated. Now we're told that the reason we know God's all-powerful is because he said so. A lot.
He says, "It is I who made the earth and created mankind upon it. My own hands stretched out the heavens."1 "I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me."2 "I am...who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty."
I've got a three-year-old and one of his favorite words is "Mine!" (Think seagulls in Finding Nemo.) He says "mine" about his toys, "mine" about my toys, "mine" about everything. This supposed defense for god's "greatness" sounds like my Little Man on a really bad day. "My planet! I make! Mine, mine, mine!"

Funny, no?
  • The nature of God - A God Who Can Be Known Personally
    It's popular these days to think of God as some kind of force-field that exists in all things. But even if all things exist and are sustained, moment by moment, by God's power, there can be more to God than that. For example, wouldn't it be better to have a God who is more like a parent, sibling, or friend? Someone you could talk to, share your problems with, receive guidance from, experience life with. What's so special about a God that's impersonal, unknowable, distant?

Gee, I guess deism is on the rise. That'd make our Founding Fathers pleased no doubt. And I'd love to know the logic behind "all things exist and are sustained, moment by moment, by God's power". My big brother's a physicist, and I'm pretty sure he didn't mention this as part of the physical laws. And "wouldn't it be better" is not a justifiable defense for "therefore act as if it is". This kind of thinking is at best sloppy, and at worst delusion. The whole Word of Faith nonsense is based on "wouldn't it be better" if I had lots of cash and "wouldn't it be better" if I never got sick or had to go to the doctor. Wishing doesn't make it so. Reality is necessary.

And one possible benefit of a god that's impersonal, unknowable, and distant is that no one ever fought a war for that kind of god. No one ever claimed to know the heart, mind, and will of such a god. No one ever prayed their child to death talking to an impersonal, unknowable, and distant god. So yeah, I'd have to say that's pretty special. Of course I'd rather see people apply critical thinking to all aspects of their lives, and not leave their god-belief blind spot unchecked. But I can sure take a deist over a theist any day. Though I have to say, for those who still think god is somehow necessary to explain life and the cosmos, "In the course of history, every mystery ever solved has turned out to be not magic."
In spite of his grandeur and "otherness," the God of the Bible is knowable and wants to be known. Though God is not visible, we can talk with him, ask him questions and listen to him, and he will give us answers and guidance for life. He often gives those answers and guidance through his Word, the Bible, which many have called God's love letter to us.

Though Casper the Friendly Ghost is not visible, we can talk with him, ask him questions and listen to him, and we can run around the house saying "Boo!" all the time, but that doesn't mean Casper is real. And the Bible has to be the most violent, hateful, anti-female "love letter" ever written. A love letter that tells rapists how much to pay the girl's father after. This is getting long though, so I'm gonna break for now. I'll get to the other "reasons" in the upcoming week. Till then, Godless America.