The first problem is defining God as the source of all goodness limits one’s thoughts. There are a lot of passages in the bible where God violently performs heinous acts, but Christians still say these acts must be good, because their God is defined as good. The existence of evil makes more sense when God isn’t defined as a perfectly benevolent being.
We can argue that altruism is a biological adaptation. (See here.) Or, that non-Christians possess it, and apart from a system of morality, it is nearly universal among living things. Even wild animals are sometimes protective of lost human babies.’
Assuming God is benevolent takes a lot of reasonable possibilities off the table. if God created everything then he also created evil, which raises the question of whether he was partly evil, and this is apart from the bible stories. If it were proven that there is a God, it would probably leave open the possibility that there there could be other Gods who were partly responsible for the evil we see today.
The line of thought I am espousing makes more sense for people who have tried their hand at writing fantasy. Basically, if you imagine yourself possessing the powers of a powerful entity that could change the world, your actions will surely differ from those of God, for better or worse. Your morality is unlikely to be the same, especially if your knowledge is different.
It is very easy to imagine becoming bored and meddling with your subjects, which is what the Gods of many religions do. If I were to become a anthropomorphic God, I probably would occasionally become a prankster, or show off my powers.
Leave me alone.
I would argue, the most humane God is one who hardly interacts with his subjects, (because they would be unworthy of his time, and he would follow a sort of prime directive.)
If this God were to be fair, it would have tightly controlled emotions, and be a very passive onlooker. Yet, that is the most boring kind, and not good for story-writing. Writers tend not to write about such impersonal Gods, to which we cannot relate. Hence, we have OP Gods that intervene in the lives of the less powerful, like kings and patriarchs.
Upon composing a story about acquiring divine powers and becoming corrupted and rather megalomaniac, someone might easily step back and think, “this could be a method by which the divine myths were written.”
(A.k.a. Why Haruhi is more than a wife; she is the best God)
For now, I posit that God is capable of being bored which is why he had to create the world. He did not feel complete. He wanted restrictions, events and adventures because he was so desperately lonely in that empty void at the beginning. In other words he was flawed with certain human emotions from the beginning and he needed to create something to make his existence less miserable.
This would be be a good point to talk about Haruhi. In that anime a goddess creates the universe to be a fun place to amuse her, since she is at the center. Except if everything went according to her plans and she knew everything and had infinite power the universe would would be would be a boring place. So she dumbed herself down according to one interpretation. She became a nearly ordinary school girl with somewhat human friends. And then she forgot she was God.
Likewise a hypothetical god wouldn’t be able to have a meaningful non-slave relationship with us unless unless he were brought to our level. Such a human God would not feel satisfied being like a human to an ant. He has two options – elevate his creation or lower himself. The first is very Mormon thinking and seems unsatisfactory, like creating creating a game for all players with all the cheat codes on.
He must dumb down his powers powers or he will never find the happiness and freedom from infinite crushing loneliness that comes from being among peers.
(This is from the episode where where the universe conspired for a lead singer of a band to become sick, simply to allow her to dress up like a playboy mascot, and sing at the concert.)
>(I don’t see a problem with) defining God as the source of all goodness limits one’s thoughts.
1) It rests on a shaky premise, 2) it leads to circular reasoning.
Why is X good? Because God made it.
Why is X moral? Because God has said it.
Why is God good? Because he is good.
Why is virtue good? Because God is virtue.
Couldn’t a vicious killer use the Nuremburg Defense at Final Judgement though? “When I killed those people I was just following God’s orders – because he programmed uncontrollable rage into my DNA. And then he organized all of the chance events in my life while aware of how they would shape my personality… ultimately, my fate was always predisposed. I maintain my innocence.”
>You are responsible to your own behaviour after your child’s choice, though, but God takes His responsibility in that.
I think the biblical God is more likely to blame his creation for their sins (and his own mistakes). Sometimes when he forgives them, he’s forgiving them after blaming them for debacles he caused.
For example, he blames us for eating from the tree of knowledge, even though he engineered the garden and did practically everything possible to encourage us to eat from it. (He puts the tree prominently in the center of the garden, uses reverse psychology “Don’t eat from it,” drops a sweet-talking snake next to it, doesn’t guard the tree.) If we hadn’t eaten from the tree there would be no story in the bible. Original sin is necessary.
Later he sends Jesus to suffer, and die, to forgive us because two of our ancestors ate the fruit to acquire more knowledge (which is a great sin, so don’t go reading anything subversive.) It’s an unnecessary sacrifice, and it would have been easier for him to have just forgiven us. Except God couldn’t forgive without the sacrificial blood of Jesus, or the blood of some other animal.
I actually might do very reprehensible acts if my unlimited and unmatched power went to my head. Many gods did in fact impregnate their siblings or lust for their daughters. Likewise, my values could erode if I had no one to forcibly tell me, “No! You mustn’t do that!” Even a noble soul might lose their way after being given free rein for 6 thousand to 14 billion years.
>If God isn’t benevolent, He isn’t God.
What if creation was an act of evil though? There is so much dukkha/suffering, and countless humans and animal species live pointless lives. Perhaps he enjoys watching suffering as much as he enjoys spoiling a few of his chosen few.
Is it so hard to define virtue without saying “X is the definition of virtue?” We are ready to attribute all of the good in the world to God, but none of the bad. It’s double-think.
tl;dr version: Haruhi > Yahweh