Monday, June 10, 2002

Posts are in reverse chronological order.

God is not a Superman

There are some phrases I really don’t like to hear at the start of a sentence:

  • If I were God…

  • How could a loving God…

  • My God would never…

  • The God I worship…

There are of course many additional variants. And these don’t always mean something objectionable is about to follow, but often (some more than others) they do. What usually follows one of these opening phrases is a description (explicit or implied) of how that person wants God to be, despite what it says in the Bible.

  • How could a loving God allow a school bus full of children to be involved in a fatal collision?

  • The God I worship does not punish people because they were born a certain way.

  • If I were God I wouldn’t allow so much hate and evil in the world.

These are all devices for someone to remake a god in their image and ignore the God revealed in the Holy Scriptures. And the God they invent is usually a superman, or actually a super man. That is, imagine a person with elevated doses of all the best human qualities: loving, tolerant, compassionate, kind, gentle, patient, forgiving-- all raised to a superhuman degree. Throw in some limited power to create, but also toss in some grandfatherly sadness that there is much evil in the universe that he can’t control (how else to explain child molesters). There you have God as a superman.

As I said before in this blog, It takes an extreme sort of faith to modify God from what the Bible teaches. Making him “nicer” is only one of an infinite number of possibilities. Why are they so sure he is a loving, tolerant, but somewhat impotent deity-- dismayed by the evil in the world? Maybe he is the source of the evil. How can you know in which direction to take him (away from his revealed nature)? The only thing you can do is model him on “good person”. A super man-- just like us, only better.

Believers are not immune to these phrases, sometimes using them in defense of the faith. Then they just become poor arguments that are easily negated. One I have heard many times arises in the young vs. old earth debate. Often the young earth proponent, especially if he senses he is losing the argument, will say something like “The God I worship does not need 14 billion years to create the universe, He can do it in six days.” Which may be true, but leaves you susceptible to the counter attack along the lines of “Well then, couldn’t he do it in six minutes or six seconds?”

Just writing that reminds me why I am so uncomfortable with debates between believing scientists and believing anti-scientists. They just don’t “work” very well. Although both are believers, their vastly different approaches to reasoning usually produces debates that degenerate into ad hominem attacks, often with the scientist’s salvation being questioned. Oh well, that’s what makes being a Christian and a physicist so fun.

Poor Pitiful Scientists

As we all know, evangelical Christians are the one group that it is still PC to make fun of in the media. And among Christians, scientists are the one group of whom it is considered acceptable to make sport. So I am used to getting it coming-and-going.Truth be told, however, it is always fun to be on the fringe. I have been in many discussions among Christians where somebody, not knowing my background, blasts the "pointy headed scientists". It is not unlike being a politically conservative professor, as Dr. Byron will no doubt discover.

Short Post for now

Have to cut it short in order to make a 7:00 am dental appointment. If I were god there would be no need for root canal.

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