If God is totalitarian, dictatorial and tyrannical why reject Him and Him alone for being so? After all, let us assume that God does not exist and we live in a strictly materialistic universe. Christopher Hitchens is now subject to the totalitarian, dictatorial and tyrannical rule of entropy, hunger and thirst, evolution, death, gravity, genetics and countless other things which demand upon him.I know you've said before that God is 'personal', and I think you've said before that one of the drawbacks of 'a strictly materialistic universe' is that it and its general constituents (entropy, hunger, thirst, death, etc) are 'impersonal'. I still don't understand these god things you keep talking about, and certainly not how they could be 'personal', but I'm willing to accept that you're correct for once about a consequence of 'a strictly materialistic universe', and that whatever it is that you try to convey when you say 'personal', that's not something that applies to the universe.If I understand what you mean by 'personal' at least marginally, I'm guessing that you'd say humans fit the description. Since Hitler and Stalin seem to be pet touchpoints on this site, let's use them as a examples.Can you see any difference between Hitler personally, intentfully, purposively dictating that a virus be designed which kills Jews, as opposed to natural, impersonal, unintentional, unmotivated processes 'dictating' that a virus arises which happens to kill Jews?Can you see any difference between Stalin personally, intentfully, purposively enforcing a totalitarian system in which anyone who does not provide complete obedience to the state is put to death or in a labor camp, as opposed to natural laws impersonally, unintentionally, and without motive being impossible to disobey?Can you see any difference between either of these guys personally, and intentfully using their power for cruel, unreasonable, or arbitrary purposes, as opposed to natural laws impersonally and without motive being cruel (hyperbolically speaking) and unreasonable (figuratively speaking) and arbitrary (in an impersonal sense) ?Given that 'personal', especially as it relates to non-humans, has not been made at all clear yet, I'm sure there's some dodge by which you could claim that being 'personal', when it applies to your god, has all the good stuff you want to associate with personhood and none of the problematic things that come along for the ride as well. All manner of choice and 'purpose' and 'meaning', without any of the responsibility, accountability, or burden of blame. I hope, however, that should you ever get around to making yourself clear, you won't take such a dishonest route.
As a Christian when we use the term "personal" and apply it to God we mean the God has a mind, intention, purpose, will, sentience, thoughts, and emotions in and of himself. This is what the Bible means about humanity being created in "his image". God has being. God makes selections because He wants to. Nothing he does is happenstance or coincidence - far from arbitrary! Hunger is "impersonal" because everyone gets hungry. Hunger does no pick or choose who to afflict. Another good example is disease. The cold virus will hit you no matter who you are, what you believe, or where you live. It's arbitrary.
Thank you, Marcus. That's along the lines of what I'd expect of the term 'personal', and I appreciate that you didn't take the dodge I mentioned. So, to refine the examples a little bit: In 'a strictly materialistic universe', disease is impersonal. It will hit you now matter who you are, what you believe, or where you live. It cannot know that you will suffer, it cannot care how you feel, it has no intent or purpose that includes vile green gunk clogging up your orifices, and it certainly could not have chosen to do otherwise. It's got all sorts of unpleasant power over you, and there's nothing you can do about that dynamic, but it's not power driven by a person.But if some person with total power over you does something nasty to you, that's a different story. They're deliberately picking you out depending on who you are or what you believe or where you live. They're choosing to act, even though they know that you will suffer. Even though they could care how you feel, they choose not to. You are afflicted and someone's intent and purpose includes vile green gunk clogging up your orifices, even though they certainly could have chosen to do otherwise. They've got all sorts of unpleasant power over you, and there's nothing you can do about that dynamic, and that power is all driven by a person.Yes, either way you're stuck with a case of the creeping crud, but only in one case is it deliberate. Only in one case did a person choose you should suffer. Only in one case is it someone's fault. Only in one case is it merely happenstance or coincidence.I'm still curious if Mariano can see any difference between the cases.
As a Christian, i have to agree with you that some of what you say is true what you say about God is true:1. God does pick you out.2. He does choose to act3. He knows that you will suffer and to what extent.4. And we are subject to his intent and purpose.However I must disagree with you on the following points:1. It's not always about what you believe or who you are.2. Of course God cares about what happens to each and every one of us. 3. His power over us not unpleasant. The God who has revealed himself through the Bible shows us that your conclusions are faultyActs 17:26-28 says that God put each every one of us in the life circumstances we find ourselves in so that we can best find Him.Romans 8:28-30 tells us that all things work together for the good of them who love the LORD and called according to his purpose! And that purpose is to be made as much like Jesus Christ as possible. This includes hurts, tragedies, diseases, and every bit of suffering we endure. I know what you are thinking: How can catching something like Malaria bring me closer to God? Short answer is...I don't know. If you need Malaria to bring about the purpose God has for you then you will have Malaria is all I know. Consider the Patriach Joseph's life recorded for us at the end of Genesis. He was sold into slavery by his own blood brothers, accused of attempted rape of his master's wife, and thrown into jail. What did he do to deserve any of this: NOTHING! All of this in a span of 20 years and then he becomes second only to pharaoh in Egypt. Then when he becomes the second most powerful man in the known world, he had the oppotunity to punish his brothers. He could have had them executed. He didn't. He forgave them. Joseph told them: What you meant for evil God meant it for good to save the lives of many people. Did Joseph suffer? Yes. Did it hurt? Yes. But he knew it was bigger than him.Oh and before you complain about me making my points using scripture...remember that you got God's attributes of sovereignty and power from the scriptures.
To avoid the risk of this tangent going too far afield, I want to repeat the original quote I was responding to:If God is totalitarian, dictatorial and tyrannical why reject Him and Him alone for being so? After all, let us assume that God does not exist and we live in a strictly materialistic universe. Christopher Hitchens is now subject to the totalitarian, dictatorial and tyrannical rule of entropy, hunger and thirst, evolution, death, gravity, genetics and countless other things which demand upon him.To paraphrase, "why reject a person for having negative personal attriutes when one does not reject a non-person for having attributes that, in a person, would be negative?"By asking the question, Mariano seems to be unaware of any distinction between unavoidable consequences of the choices of a person with complete power over you, and unavoidable consequences of the impersonal regularities of 'a strictly materialistic universe'. Also, by asking the question, Mariano seems to be open to gaining some understanding of why someone would draw a distinction between the two.I make no complaint at the moment about you using some scriptures, but your commentary is largely irrelevant to my point at hand, since I don't think it adds any understanding of why one would reject a tyrannical/dictatorial/totalitarian person but would not reject a tyranny-like/dictatorship-like/totalitarianist-like non-person.If you feel I misunderstand you, would you please clarify how it is that what you are writing serves to help someone understand why one might reject a totalitarian person but not a totalitarian non-person?
I'm afraid that you misunderstood alright: God is not a non-person. As for what i have said previously all backs up that God is not a person. I also explained about why there is suffering. But i agree in hinsight I did not say why we can reject Hitler and Stalin but love God. Ultimately I'd answer that Hitler and Stalin were but men. They took upon themselves the authority to determine who lives and who dies that they had no right to claim or exercise. God on the other hand has the right and authority to do whatever He wants, when He wants, how He wants, and where He wants. Scripture tells us that what ever He does is just even when we don't see the big picture or how it is for the best. We can only see bits and pieces, God has the masterpiece in mind that He is creating. "Who are you to answer back to God?" - Romans 9
Sorry, I mean that God is a person!
Potter - Clay. If YHWH wants to torture us, then HE has the authority. Stalin is only a man.
God does not torture people. He has only our best interest in mind. Suffering always turns out the best for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. You are going to suffer anyway in this life as a consequence of sin, might as well live knowing that you will be better for it instead of just ending up in hell.
Marcus, would you please re-read what I wrote? I did not claim that your god is a non-person. I did not ask you to explain why there is suffering. While your hindsight statement is accurate, it is not in agreement with anything I said.Hitler, Stalin, and your god are all persons. Good so far?The natural forces of 'a strictly materialistic universe' are impersonal/not-a-person. Still with me?Mariano said "If God is totalitarian, dictatorial and tyrannical why reject Him and Him alone for being so? After all, let us assume that God does not exist and we live in a strictly materialistic universe. Christopher Hitchens is now subject to the totalitarian, dictatorial and tyrannical rule of entropy, hunger and thirst, evolution, death, gravity, genetics and countless other things which demand upon him.", do you agree?A rough paraphrasing of Mariano would be "I don't get why someone can reject a person for having certain negative personal traits, when they seem perfectly willing to accept a non-person for having certain traits which are superficially similar to things which, in a person, would be negative." Does that sound in the right ballpark to you?I am not trying to answer the question Mariano didn't ask, of "Why would someone reject God but accept Hitler". I am trying to answer the question he did ask, of "Why someone would reject God (a person) but accept natural forces (a non-person)".
I think that the overall point is being missed since it is the perspective of Christopher Hitchens who jumps out of God's pan and into the materialistic fire.Purposed or not, volitional or not, chosen or not: he is not free.Marcus, thanks for the assist.aDios,Mariano .
God does not torture people. He has only our best interest in mind. He made Hell. He calls those whom He chooses. The elect are saved. The rest go to Hell.The Bible says God is our enemy.
Mariano, does that mean that you continue to see no difference between to two positions?If so, are you still interested in understanding the difference?If not, would you kindly explain why you asked the question in the first place?
B.A., while I appreciate your attempt to reinforce my point, you're also a little bit off. The discussion isn't yet to the point of considering the positions of rejecting one thing or another. There's a lot that can be easily said about the difference between the positions, and I'm sure Mariano and the Marcuses have no difficulty understanding plenty of differences between the positions... but that's not what Mariano asked about, and it's not what I'm trying to help him with.I'm getting at the situations. Situation one, Mariano becomes agonizingly ill due to a bit of circumstantial happenstance. Situation two, Mariano becomes agonizingly ill because some person... be it Hitler or God or Stalin... decided they wanted him to become agonizingly ill, and they do so in a manner which makes it clear that they have all the choice possible in the matter and he has none.