Thursday, February 04, 2010

World Without God

I'd like to ask a reasonable theist this: You are darn sure that there is a God. A supreme being. You have faith that there is someone at the helm shall we say. OK, just for a moment try to imagine a world, a universe, that is devoid of such a creature and ask you what this world would then look like? How it would be different from this God filled world?

Now we're going to have to get around the problem of believing in a God that created the whole world. If you're going to hang on to that then there is no gedanken experiment because then you'll get to argue that to imagine no God is to imagine that the whole universe doesn't exist and then we're done.

So, is there a theist out there who believes in a God of people but understands that this may not be the God of creation and that God and the universe evolved somehow 'naturally'. If so, then I need this theist to just keep the universe evolving naturally but drop the idea about there also being a God of man. OK, let's say Bob is this theist I am imagining.

Bob, if that is your real name, since you believe in a universe with a God, can you imagine what this world would look like without him? Could it perhaps be a world where sometimes bad things happen to good people? Could it be that naturally occurring spectaculars like tornadoes or Oprah sometimes take the righteous as well as the sinful? Would it be a world were people die never to be heard from again? Where the sick are not healed miraculously. A world where greed coaxes people to do awful things and where decent people lend a helping hand without being asked? A world where most parents are good at it and some suck?

I obviously contend that this is already that world so why not just drop the whole God thing and let's get on to problem solving! Bob, where do you see God in this world? What God-thing is there that can't be explained by naturally occurring phenomena? Now, Bob, if you say, 'it's a faith thing', I just get to say, 'what do you get for that'? What actual phenomenon can you point to that is the product of your faith?

Now, if Bob gets peace of mind, a calming effect, a shot of energy or confidence via his faith and praying well I'm ok with that. We don't live all that long and if something gives us peace that's fine. But Bob really shouldn't step over the line and pretend that that good feeling is a 'real thing' and they everyone should be doing it. Bob shouldn't be voting based on his faith. Bob shouldn't raise his kids to somehow adopt what works for him necessarily and certainly he shouldn't present his faith/praying as a real thing to impressionable children. Bob nasn't think that he can be a shit in this life then ask for forgivness and get a reward in eternity. Bob shouldn't be tipped toe around nor should we mistakenly think that he is automatically a good guy for finding a way to calm himself. Faith like meditaion, sensory deprivation, and back rubs should stay in the area of personal, special time and not be moved into the general arena of public opinion, thought, or politics.

C'mon Bob, let me buy you a beer!