Sunday, April 13, 2014

Actually, "God plays the villain" all the time

It is interesting that Baden seems to accept, though in a wishy-washy manner, that God can be a "villain." There are a few points that I do agree with him despite having different reasons and interpretations. For instance, I agree that when it comes to explaining/accepting the existence of evil; "This is our problem, not the Bible’s." I would differ from him in some fairly obvious ways. Namely, since the Bible is a work of fiction created by us the impetus in figuring out evil still falls on us. Even if you insist on the Bible being some type of supernatural work it still would not be the fault of the Bible directly. The Bible is pretty clear that God is a tyrannical psychopath so it is not likely to help us with examining the nature of evil in any meaningful way.

This line of thought leads to some other differences I take with the overall approach and implications of Baden's "When God plays the villain" piece. The title suggests it is only an occasional thing that God is the bad guy. How does that not eviscerate some of the most commonly held beliefs about God. If God is the supreme being and the creator/source of all things then God must the origin of evil. God cannot "play" the villain since God is the villain. It is equally true (within the context) that if evil is always present then God is constantly rather than occasionally the villain. This in turn leads to a variety of dilemmas and paradoxes for theists. How can an all-powerful and perfect God be both benign and malevolent simultaneously? How can an absolute divine being create freewill? If humans cannot violate the basic traits of  a perfect entity (Omnipotent, Omniscient...) how can we possess freewill or any responsibility or meaning? And so forth...

Overall, it is an interesting piece. I enjoyed reading most of it but was a bit disappointed with how he winds it down. I should have seen it coming despite hoping for something more substantial. The very last sentence was an all too common theistic dodge.
"In other words, it is our changing concept of God, over two millennia, that is responsible for the moral dilemma. It’s our problem, not the Bible’s."
No, in other words, bullshit. Every version of the God concept is problematic. The concept is by its nature a paradox. It is from its contradictions and incompatible components that makes it a dilemma.

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