What God Wants
August 11, 2000
(Based on an email conversation)
For a person to say they believe in a god, but doesn't know what that god wants from them, they are basically saying that they are worshiping a nonexistent being...
I was watching a bad remake of the Scarlet Letter a few weeks ago. The new one with Demi Moore and Gary Oldman. Anyway, the director took a lot of liberties with it and threw in
a lot of contemporary moral themes, especially dealing with religion. Basically
he turned the theme of the movie into "do what you want because who really
knows what God wants?" This of course is the question a lot of people have
been asking for years: How do we really know what God wants? Well, the next
night I was at work, and I was thinking about that question. I came up with two main thoughts about this
philosophy. The first deals with the existence of god, and the second deals
with the nature of god.
First, to ask the question "how do we know what God wants", infers to me that there is no god, or that there is not a good reason to believe that a god exists. The reason is that if no one knows what god wants, that means that no one has seen or communicated with him. God hasn't made his presence known by appearing to someone or multiple people to let it's presence, or it's will, be known. So, either the god doesn't exist, because it hasn't made it's presence known. Or, there is just no reason to believe in this god, because there are no eyewitness accounts of it. You can use the Human Action Model argument by saying that we attribute everything to a god, but that brings us back to my argument of there is no good reason to believe in a god. Plus, like Descartes would say, all ideas have to come from somewhere. The idea of a god would have had to come from somewhere. But if no one has seen god-or even communicated with deity-then either god doesn't exist or there is just no reason to believe in a gods existence.
Second, lets say a god does exist, and it just hasn't made it's presence or will known. In this case the god would be a lame-duck, impotent god. Lame because it is just apathetic and there-just kinda creating things and leaving them; bored and vain, just creating on a whim. Not intending to do anything with it. Impotent because the god either can't, or chooses not to, have any involvement with it's creations. No plan, no purpose, no cares-the god just doesn't do anything and is therefore impotent.
The god is also not omniscient because it doesn't have the foresight to create flawless creature and objects. Instead it creates beings that are in a constant need of maintenance and upkeep, and isn't willing to (or can't) keep them in control. If it was an omniscient god it would have known to create objects that are maintenance free. That way it would have no obligations to it's creations so it would never have to deal with them.
So to sum it up, for a person to say they believe in a god, but doesn't know what that god wants from them, they are basically saying that they are worshipping a non-existent being. A being that they have no cause to believe exists. Or they are worshipping an impotent, lame, vain, non-omniscient dead god. What I mean by dead is that any authority a person would try to claim from this god, such as priesthood authority, is non-existent, because a god like this wouldn't give any of its creations any authority to do anything in it's name. So to the person it is a dead god.
Between the two choices: believing in an apathetic god, or a God that takes an interest in His creations; I will gladly follow the latter. I will gladly and gratefully pay homage to a God that has a purpose for me as an individual, and who's glory and happiness is based on mine. I will gladly follow a God that teaches me all that He expects of me, and doesn't leave me guessing in the dark. A living God. A God that encourages two-way communication between Himself and His children. A God who speaks His will through living prophets, and directly to those who ask Him. A God who knows and loves me. As the scripture says:
"For Behold, this is my work and my glory--To bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." (Moses 1:39)