Despite the noise of late and the negative rhetoric of an evil and dispassionate god I want to join the conversation and reply that I believe there is a god, not an evil, maniacal overseer but a compassionate Father who patiently watches his children grow and develop, not stepping in at every instance of discord or chaos but letting us chose, letting us experience and grow, knowing that the pain we feel, the anguish we experience will ultimately lead us toward perfection.
He is not an absent parent; he takes an active role in our behalf and has given us the greatest of all gifts, the ability to choose for ourselves. “There must needs be opposition in all things…” if it were not so there would be no beauty to perceive, no joy to experience, there would be no love or happiness. For in that simple but profound exercise of choice all of life is understood.
If I have the right to choose than so does my neighbor, and so does the stranger that I’ve never met and so do those that would do me ill. Taking the choice from those that are evil minded would also remove that choice from me. Man’s plan for happiness is a universal plan, not a specific instance for one and not the other. It’s like the air we breathe, it’s freely given to all, the good and the bad, take the air from the bad and the good also suffocate.
Choice is the process of how we progress or fail and ultimately how we learn. Those choices must be ours or our life is not ours nor will the consequences of those choices. The overwhelming sensation of first love would never be unless there was a balance of understanding of what it meant to have the opposite, the agony of loss, the depression and fear of loneliness. The pleasures of life could never exist without the understanding of pain or anguish. That opposition is imperative if we are to experience life and grow from those experiences.
You may argue against a god entirely and with that argument accept the inevitability and the finality of life when it ends. If there is no god why do we do good? If there is no god why do we care about our children or our loved ones? Where does love reside except within the patron of all love; and how can we love if there is no understanding of its opposite? The choice of a belief in god may be in question but the choices of life cannot be argued, we all have them. Those choices can be regulated or expanded depending on the disposition of those who claim control but the universal aspects of choice are eternal and can never be completely taken away.
The essential human trait of choice is not an evolutionary improvement but a constant human gift derived from God from the beginning. It was that gift that gave us all life, a chance to live, to grow; like a child striving for adulthood we strive toward God making choices, searching for our way home. That choice not only allows us to pursue lofty god like goals but also allows the despot and the evil free reign to pillage our freedoms, rape our independence and incarcerate are free will. Their efforts, however evil and self-serving do not negate the goodness of God nor his benevolent gift equally given to all.
The choices of others often cause great harm to the innocent and create havoc among the human family but god continues to allow for those who do harm in order to maintain the freedom of choice given to all equally. If he were to intervene and take away or stop the evil that exists the entire plan of choice would be forfeit and any chance of progress we had would be forfeit as well. The alternative of choice is force and God will not force anyone to follow him, it must be freely decided. By forcing one to do good he would have to coerce us all and that compulsion is slavery.
Believing in God is important but believing God is perhaps more important. He will act with justice in the end, with mercy proclaiming complete fairness to those who have been wronged, injured or harmed in any way. God is a just God but we have to believe that he is just and righteous and then chose to follow his plan believing that he will do what he said he will do.
“As for me and my house we will worship God….”