God — Nature of

      One can only marvel at humanity for having created such a wild and bizarre idea as God! Apparently the procedure was to think of certain admirable or feared attributes, imagine each attribute extended to an infinite degree, and then combine them all together into one fantastic chimerical Entity. This definitely shows the amazing elasticity of the human imagination, but a closer examination also shows the absurdity of the whole excercise.

      For one thing the usual result of this imaginative enterprise is to come up with a concept of God that is logically contradictory and incoherent. For example, it is generally supposed that God is both omnipotent and omniscient. But as Richard Dawkins remarks in his book The God Delusion (2006), “it has not escaped the notice of logicians that omniscience and omnipotence are mutually incompatible. If God is omniscient, he must already know how he is going to intervene to change the course of history using his omnipotence. But that means he can’t change his mind about his intervention, which means he is not omnipotent.” (pp. 78-79) Dawkins then quotes the following little verse which brings out this difficulty nicely:

Can omniscient God, who
Knows the future, find
The omnipotence to
Change His future mind?
    —Karen Owens

      An even more serious logical problem for the usual conception of God as “omnipotent, omniscient, and all good” is what is known as the PROBLEM OF EVIL, the clear incompatibility of the existence of an all powerful, all knowing, all good God with the obvious existence of evil in the world (including things such as the deaths of infants from natural causes, for which no human can reasonably be blamed). This is a more serious problem because even many theologians themselves recognize and worry about it. [In fact, as Dawkins remarks, “theodicy” (the branch of theology concerned to vindicate “divine providence in the face of the existence of evil) keeps theologians awake at night.” (p. 108)]

      Besides being logically inconsistent, the supposed nature and concept of “God” is strange and incoherent in many other ways as well. Attributes generally come in degrees, as with size, power, knowledge and so forth, but nothing in the real world ever has any attribute to “an infinite degree”. A rock may be small or large, but what in the world would it even mean to say that there is a rock that is “infinitely large”?! In the same way no actual entity in the universe can sensibly be said to be “all powerful” or “all knowing”. If such a thing is imagined to exist at all, then it can only exist in the imagination.

      The supposed character of God as a wrathful ego-maniac who we should all be tremendously fearful of—while at the same time loving!—is also bizarre in the extreme, as the following item brings out:

There was an Old Man with a Beard,
Who said: “I demand to be feared.
    Address Me as God,
    And love Me, you sod!”
And Man did just that, which is weird.
    —Roger Woddis

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