What if God is a big, fat meany?

Ah the great debate: Does God exist?

For many atheists (myself included) the idea of the Judeo-Muslim-Christian God is contradictory, and this is a large reason we do not believe in Him, nor want to. He is omnipotent (yet He allows suffering and death to His followers), he is omniscient (He created us knowing the horrors of what we would do and that some would never believe in Him), and he is omnibenevolent (however He will send the non-believers to hell).

What if God did prove, and I mean with your empirical senses and logic, that he does exist. However He is this mean God who has been and will continue to banish non-believers (Hindus, Buddists, etc.) to hell. He has the power to stop the suffering of even his believers, but doesn’t. He tells you that you must love Him and worship him and you will go to heaven. But if not when you die you will get nothing.

My question to you all is:

Given this knowledge would you love Him? Would you even pretend to love Him, go through the motions so you can have an eternal afterlife of joy? And then have to live with him for eternity.

BTW, I am not attempting to insult anyone’s faith. I am assuming people that have faith in God have found a good reason for why the things that he does that I perceive as mean (not allowing everyone into heaven despite their belief) are actually a good thing.

I am asking you to consider if he were a mean God. Liked to make us suffer and such.

Hope I did not offend.
Carry on.


No, I wouldn’t believe nor would I pretend. If the dude’s omniscient, what’s the point?

(Shrugging shoulders) Well, if he is mean like you say, or if he is some sort of Cosmic Policeman waiting for us to slip up so he can squash us (as some Fundamentalists seem to think), everyone who ever was or ever will be, is doomed from the start. Going through the motions would make no difference. Something was stated about vomiting lukewarm people somewhere in the Bible. You’d still be doomed. I say, if he created everything and everyone only to send it all to hell, then it was the most monumental waste of time and effort ever.

Maybe I’m not the right person to answer here and I’m not sure if I’m even going to give a good answer. I’m not much of a Christian. The veracity of the events in the Bible isn’t that important to me; also, I don’t believe that people outside my belief system are automatically damned, so I can’t answer you there. That said, I believe in a God, or whatever you will call him/her/it, if for no other reason than that there is an order to the universe and I didn’t do it.

I guess the best answer I can give is that my "belief in a loving God” is more an acceptance that I don’t know God’s plan and I have to accept God’s will, mainly because I will never understand it. I can only gain a small understanding of my place and purpose in the universe. It is God’s will that bad things will happen to good people. I can try to ease human suffering, but for me to fundamentally oppose the fact that this happens would be useless, like trying to win at poker by complaining about the hands that I’ve been dealt.

In her book, Amazing Grace, Kathleen Turner tells about speaking at a college when someone asked her how she could “get so much comfort from a religion whose language does so much harm.” Turner’s reply was that she wasn’t seeking comfort, she was seeking salvation. There have been a few times where I have seen good come out of human suffering, but I am not rooting for God to wipe out civilizations or damn entire cultures and I’m not trying to get God to give me a nice place in Heaven. I’m just looking for my path.

Ha, I mentioned this in **Aesiron’s ** thread. If God existed, and turned out to be a nice (perhaps helpless) god, I would have about a million questions before I even thought about loving him.

I would definitely not love a mean god.

Umm, Did you ever read the Old Testament?

He IS a big meany. (Don’t know about the fat part)

Moses, who got the children of GOD out of slavery in Egypt, taps a rock twice instead of once and “NO SOUP FOR YOU!” can’t go to the promised land.

Order Abe to KILL his own son as a loality test. Then at the last possible moment says “Psyke!”

Rains fire and brimstone on Soddom and Gahmorra just because they wanted to have sex with some angels.

David gets his girlfriend preggers and to punish him, God kills the baby. David is doing a good job as king so he stays and the baby dies.
The list goes on and on.
Basically the relationship of man to God changes over time. There is God the big bully, who slaps you hand when you try to stick in the fire and just tells you, because I said so that’s why. Then there is God the law giver. God lays down an intricate set of rules to follow. Then you have God the friend. (like Jesus) Who has only a few vague rules and will make a judgement call on you.

Then of course there is God who lives in you cat and talks to you and gives you a list of things to do.

Yep. Because I’m a selfish bastard, and a mean God is okay with that.

This is not the forum for debating or proselytizing, so take this strictly as IMHO. I will not defend these views here, I merely present them in a highly simplified format. The Readers’ Digest version of my beliefs, as it were. They are not uncommon views. If you want to know more the information is freely available. As always, YMMV.

God does, indeed, allow suffering and evil. We were created with the ability to chose our own path. Evil, which always results in suffering, is a choice we make. In order for God to put an end to evil and the suffering it causes He would have to A) make us all perfect, mindless robots or B) wipe put all humanity. I’ll take option “C”, thanks - free will at the price of death and suffering.

Yep. Children of good people don’t always turn out to be good themselves yet, even with this knowlege, good people continue to have kids. I’ll leave it to others to debate the merits of this existance versus no existance or a radically different existance. Paraphrasing cornflakes, we, as imperfect beings with a finite lifespan, cannot begin to fathom the “big picture” plan of a perfect, infinite Being. Try if you like, it’ll just hurt your head.

Again, it’s that whole “choices” thing. He provides the options, we choose. God sends no one to hell, people make that decision all by themselves. Too many people like to blame God (or credit Satan) for things we do all on our own.

As for non-believers who have never heard the Christian gospel, I personally believe that they will be judged based on what they did know - the other side of “To whom much is given, much is expected”. The cynics among us may call it a sliding scale of judgement.

Yep. What you choose to interpret as hateful, I choose to interpret as the loving option. What you choose to see as God’s actions toward people I choose to see as peoples’ actions toward each other. It’s all about choices. I’ve made mine.

So, a flesh-eating bacteria is the result of humanity’s bad choices? Earthquakes and hurricanes are brought on by free will?

This is my beef with Jackson’s argument.
These are NOT the three choices. These are the three choices of your limited mental capacity. I am not saying this to be insulting. We all have limited mental capacities. And THAT is why we do evil things. Our brains are wired for certain behavoirs probably due to how we evolved, and perhaps having to do with the nature of life.

However, one COULD imagine that if there were a god he could have formed our minds to think and act in other ways that would NOT cause evil AND still have free will and not be mindless robots. Once again, if he’s omnipotent it means he could do anything.

If this deity proved his existance to me, I’d probably worship him. Love him? Nope. Worship him? You bet. I think he’d appreciate that. Hmmm. Maybe not.

Luckily, he’s about as real as the Wizard of Oz, so I won’t be losing sleep over it.

Originally posted by me:

I will not take your bait, jsgodess. Fish elsewhere.

Interesting thought but no, I can’t imagine a situation where we could both have free will and yet not be able to make bad (or evil) choices. I freely admit that I don’t know everything, but to me free will means the ability to make any choice I want. Of course, I’ll have to accept the consequeces of those choices as well. Did you have a scenario in mind or was this just a thought experiment?

Not a scenario, really. I find it interesting that you can’t imagine that. I’m a big science fiction fan. Do you read scinece fiction? A lot of sci fi authors write about how the human race is now in it’s “adolescent” phase, where we fight each other and do evil things, but that we will grow out of it and the human race will become this utopian culture. I can imagine this, and think it would be wonderful, but I don’t believe that will ever happen. Our species, and probably most species evolved this evil nature for whatever reason (survival of the fittest, etc.) and we will always fight about something. So in a sense I see how you believe we must do evil things with free will in a realistic sense, but I’m surprised you cannot imagine us having free will and always doing good things to each other. I am not sure I can believe we could have evolved any other way. But I can imagine it.

I must reiterate that I respect your beliefs and hope I did not offend you in any way. My thought experiment was supposed to be “imagine God does these things that I (and other non-Christians/Muslims/Jews) perceive as mean for reasons that you would perceive as mean”. Ghanima’s answer is something of what how I would have answered the question myself.

No offense taken, PC. Actually, I found it to be an interesting question. In answering “yes” to the question I added the “why” behind the answer.

I also find this “utopia vs. free will” thought experiment interesting but I won’t highjack this thread any further. Passengers are now free to roam about the cabin.

If God exists and is Evil, then I oppose God and hope every other sane Human does too. Just because something is too big and powerful to fight does not mean it should not be fought against.

So far he has done a pretty good job on the suffering department.

I would fake it until we could overthrow the system but God might see my true intentions. I wouldn’t want to worship a diety I considered indifferent, callous and abusive. But if I wouldn’t get the afterlife if I didn’t I suppose I could somehow find a way to get along, at least until humanity figured out how to create our own afterlife (we went to the moon, why can’t we make an afterlife?)

I agree with Bippy completely. If God were to be so reprehensible (think of a Hitler in the sky, if you will), then how could I pretend to love someone just to cover my own ass? Even if that means eternally. It would be like tacit approval of his/her/their actions.