Saturday, 2 May 2009

Divine Tyranny


A very common thought amongst Xians is that god blesses those who more closely follow god's wishes. The more you chose to do what god wants, the better he makes your life. Whether it be through making you happier and more content or monetarily, god demands obedience (for our own good of course - or so they say) and rewards those who follow his wishes. Conversely, we can see that those who do not toe the line have calamity befall them until they ultimately meet eternal torture.

So, how is this different from what most tyrants do? Take someone like Saddam Hussein. Did he not reward his loyal friends (key word being loyal) with riches, while those that opposed him were tortured. I don't see how we can separate the actions of god from those of others that have abused power in the past.

This sort of alleged behavior by god really just re-enforces the idea that god is simply a human construct, that god was modeled after the ideas of people. There's no reason for an all-powerful god to resort to such heavy-handed tactics, but it's what we might expect if this god were completely fabricated by people that saw the world work in this way.

23 comments:

Pine said...

GCT:

In the OP you wrote: "A very common thought amongst Xians is that god blesses those who more closely follow god's wishes."

I don't believe this. Good things happen to 'evil' people and bad things happen to 'righteous' people.

"So, how is this different from what most tyrants do?"

If your view is that we all start at neutral, and then either move towards "disloyalty" which ends in punishment or "loyalty" which ends in reward, then I can see your problem. The Bible asserts we are not 'neutral' subjects who will choose faithfulness or unfaithfulness, rather the Bible teaches we are convicts on our way to death row. In His mercy the Judge has provided a reprieve, but if you reject the reprieve He will allow the sentence to be carried out.

"There's no reason for an all-powerful god to resort to such heavy-handed tactics, but it's what we might expect if this god were completely fabricated by people that saw the world work in this way."

I agree. God is not using 'heavy-handed' tactics to try to win people's loyalty. He is offering the condemned a reprieval from their just conviction. If God's ultimate goal were to win every person's loyalty, then there are much better (IE: forcing them) ways to go about it. If God's goal is to be just and yet merciful as He displays His characteristics in the Universe, then He's doing just fine.

GCT said...

Pine,
"I don't believe this. Good things happen to 'evil' people and bad things happen to 'righteous' people."

If that isn't you, then good for you. I was thinking of some Xians I do know, a couple comments I've read recently (elsewhere), sects like Xian Scientists, and also programs like the prosperity ministry (or whatever it is called). That this sort of thinking is prevalent is not up for debate IMO.

"If your view is that we all start at neutral, and then either move towards "disloyalty" which ends in punishment or "loyalty" which ends in reward, then I can see your problem. The Bible asserts we are not 'neutral' subjects who will choose faithfulness or unfaithfulness, rather the Bible teaches we are convicts on our way to death row. In His mercy the Judge has provided a reprieve, but if you reject the reprieve He will allow the sentence to be carried out."

This is different from what I'm talking about. I'm talking about the reward vs. punishment aspect of a tyrannical dictator. Even so, I fail to see how your view is any better.

"God is not using 'heavy-handed' tactics to try to win people's loyalty."

If "Obey me or suffer" is not heavy-handed, then I'm scared to know what you think would be heavy-handed.

"He is offering the condemned a reprieval from their just conviction."

It is not just to be guilty by virtue of being born.

"If God's goal is to be just and yet merciful as He displays His characteristics in the Universe, then He's doing just fine."

If committing genocide, ordering rape and genocide, torturing, and convicting people based on simply being born are considered "doing just fine," what would it look like if he weren't "doing just fine?"

Karla said...

GCT, maybe I can explain a little better. I can see why you could see it that way.

First, life with God on this earth isn't free of pain and sorrow. Christians have trials and sorrow just like everyone else living in this world. Jesus doesn't promise us that we won't. Granted, you will hear some people make such claims. Jesus didn't.

Second, there is a principal that doing things God's way is going to be better than doing it against His way. Now this is going along with God is good and so what He wants for us is good and so it is good to be in His will. Now this does not mean that when bad things happen to us for doing things another way doesn't mean He is making those things happen to us, but that we are reaping the results of doing things our way.

Just like when a child touches the stove the mom told her not to touch, the mom isn't punishing the child when the child get's burned, the mom told the her to touch it so the child wouldn't get burned. The child touching the hot stove and getting burned is the child doing things the wrong way and reaping the result of that wrong. The good way would have been to do what the mom willed and not to have touched the stove. Make sense?

GCT said...

Karla,
"First, life with God on this earth isn't free of pain and sorrow."

Why not?

I have many issues with what you wrote, but to stick to the OP...

You can not deny that people claim that god does good things for people who believe in the right way. This makes god into a divine tyrant. If you don't share those views of your co-religionists, then so be it, but that specific theology is laced with problems (not that your theology isn't, as I can name quite a few off the top of my head, like your claim that god is in control of all, except the bad things that happen to us...)

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