Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Case For Faith Part 2

The second question addressed in the film is the question of evil. How can there be a loving, all-powerful God when there is so much evil and suffering in the world. Again, I garnered two answers given in the film. The first was that evil is a result of humanity's moral free-will. We have the freedom to choose not to do the right thing, and when we choose the wrong thing, evil is created. I have no argument against this, I believe it makes perfect sense. That said, I don't need the problem of evil to remain unanswered to disbelieve. There are plenty of other reasons not to believe in God. If the film had ended there, it would have made a few less arguable points. The question was raised, why did God give us free will when he knew it would create evil. The answer given is that he wanted us to be able to love him, and this requires free will. Why is God in need of our love? Why does he think that us loving him makes having evil in the world worthwhile? Even the ability to love each other may not make up for the pain and suffering going on every second of every day. I don't know what the world would be like without free-will or the illusion of it. I'm just saying that the ability to love might not be as valuable as freedom from evil and suffering. Personally, I think I would give up my capacity for love to be free from my pain. Hell, love causes as much pain as it does joy, so it cancels itself out regardless of the multitude of other suffering going on in the world.

Another answer given to the question of suffering, is that, if there isn't God allowing suffering for a greater purpose, the only alternative is that life is meaningless and painful and horrible and there's no reason for any of it and none of it matters. Basically, there has to be a God, because the alternative is too distasteful. Turns out this is not a reason at all, just an expression of a desire for things to make sense. Just because we don't like something doesn't mean it's not true, for pete's sake. The documentary would have been better off if they had left this piece of opinion out. Besides, just because things might not be exactly the way the Christians want, doesn't necessarily mean life is horrible and pointless. There are other alternatives, like the perspectives of other religions, but all of a sudden the pundits have forgotten that in favour of their black and white stance. Furthermore, there are non-religious options that don't require things to be so bleak. My favourite one is that the universe itself is intelligent, conscious in a way, and that we are in fact part of a teleological unfolding of the universe becoming conscious of itself. I don't necessarily believe this, but it is a nice idea, and at least as likely as some supernatural being existing somewhere that we can't see or interact with in any real capacity. The point is, we may be living in a Godless universe, but that doesn't mean it's a kind of meaningless hell. At the very least, we make our own meaning. Man is a meaning-making creature. We get to choose how we see our lives in the context of the universe, and contrary to swallowing doctrine, the process of making our own meaning is itself an enlightening and extremely valuable experience. People have difficulty because it seems so arbitrary, like pulling a world-view out of a hat, but, having gone through the process myself (and continuing to cultivate it), I can say that it's more like creating a masterpiece of art, and it includes reconciling yourself with the possibility of arbitrariness. Instead of being stuck in a dogmatic version of life, those of us who question what we are told can experience massive freedom in the liberty to create our own reality. Ask yourself this: is the Mona Lisa arbitrary?

Pffft. I must be Neitzche reincarnated.


I sometimes write things that I don't really mean or believe. These are not to be taken literally, nor as definitive statements about me or my beliefs. Thoughts and emotions are transient, and I reserve the right to change my mind, generalize, exaggerate, give strong opinions, or write other possibly offensive statements. I don't lie, but I may say something that's not true to check whether I believe it or not, or to make a point. Call it creative license. This is my blog, and do have the right to say what I want. I'm using it in creatively therapeutic ways. Whatever the reader may think of me and my words, please believe that my core intentions are always good and I never willingly hurt anyone.