Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Riddle of Epicurus

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?

Then he is not omnipotent.

Is he able, but not willing?

Then he is malevolent.

Is he both able and willing?

Then whence cometh evil?

Is he neither able nor willing?

Then why call him God?

Question: Do you believe that there is a perfectly good God who love us so much and unconditionally?

Answer: With this the kind of world we live in, I don't see how we could. Unconditionally? This is God's love: Worship me or be tortured in the flames of hell forever. Sounds very conditional to me.

Another thing, not only does he not give us compelling evidence of his existence, he also supposedly puts his "message" in a book that sprouted more than 33,000 sects and denominations each claiming to be holding the truth and the "correct" interpretation of that book and those who do not agree with them are wrong and worthy of being tortured in the fires of hell eternally. They also accuse one another that they know the "true" interpretation but only rebelling and engaging in willful and conscious "twisting" of the "real" message of that book. How do they know these? They each say that the Holy Spirit guided and told them so. They also claim that if one will only be honest, carefully read and study the Bible, and sincerely ask the Holy Spirit for guidance, they would come to this "correct" interpretation thereby accusing the other 33,ooo + that they were dishonest, did not sincerely carefully study and read the Bible and did not wholeheartedly ask the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The thing is, many had done these and yet had arrived to drastically different conclusions. But of course the only way Christians (whichever sect you belong to) can get out of these situation is to claim that others:

  1. Did not genuinely ask the Holy Spirit to guide them
  2. Deceived by Satan (inspite of sincerely asking the Holy Spirit to guide them)
  3. Combination of 1 and 2 minus the sentence in the parentheses.
  4. Did not seek hard enough (thereby assuming others to be too lazy to continue studying which is an insult, an unfounded accusation, and judgementally presumptous to those who genuinely studied and arrived to a different conclusion and those who honestly remained to hold a different conclusion till their death. Also assuming that every person must arrive to the same conclusion if they would only seek hard enough. This is unfounded and falsifiable by various people who arrive to a different conclusion)
  5. Was not educated enough with "proper" interpretation (eq. Hermeneutics). They each claim to have "properly" interpreted the Bible.
  6. Simpy dishonest and insincere in reading the Bible that's why they arrive on a different conclusion. (Again an accusation based on (their interpretation of) the Bible.
  7. In rebellion. They willfully twist the meaning of the Bible inspite of the fact that they "know" real the meaning/interpretation of it
  8. Don't have enough faith. (I thought all it requires to move a mountain is small seed of mustard size faith? Much less, faith required to understand God's word.)
  9. One or more or all combination of the above.
You can see here that the Christians' escape goat is to throw wild and absurd accusations to others. That's the only way they could make sense of the Bible and the mess the Christianity is in.

With this kind of mess we are in, how are we gonna be able to know the path that God wants us to tread, if after honest, sincere, prayerful, and rigorous study we still arrive at different conclusions. On a personal note, I also honestly, sincerely, prayerfully, and rigorously study the Bible and yet I have arrived to a different conclusion. How are we supposed to come to the correct conclusion then? Why are we punished if we do not?

Note that I still haven't touched Islam and the numerous other religions here.

And if God "revealed" himself "more" to some people but not others making it easier for some people to get into heaven - then he's not a very fair god, much less an omnibenevolent one.

Is this cruel cosmic gamble we found ourselves in (we didn't choose to exist and be part of this cosmic shell game in the first place. We were forced to play without first considering if we would like to. So much for God valuing freewill eh?) characterizes an omnibenevolent God?

This gambling game in cosmic proportions is also cruel in the sense that we are being forced to make a dangerous decision in such a brief span of time with our eternal souls hanging in the balance. Died when you were 15? Too bad. Why is this God in such a hurry anyway? So much for "the Lord is good and his mercy endureth forever" and "God is patient".

I remember a pastor preaching, in a worship service I once attended, that the Bible is so easy to understand even a child will have no trouble understanding them. Give me a break.