Sunday, March 24, 2013

Your God Is Too Small

The upper quotation in this meme baffles me.  (Well, so does the title: families are not forever, not in Christianity.  Jesus was explicitly hostile to natural families.)  Yahweh, the God of Judaism and Christianity, is everywhere.  It never ceases to amaze me how religious believers whittle down their own deity.

I recall how the ultraconservative Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga tried to deal with the problem of evil with an analogy: If you run out of gas on a lonely road on a stormy night, it doesn't mean your friend is a bad person if he fails to help you, because he didn't know you needed help.  (This was published in 1974, before cell phones.)  Plantinga really seemed to believe this move would work.  But if you run out of gas on a lonely road on a stormy night, the God of Christianity knows it.  He could add some gas to your tank without leaving his throne.  Or he could inspire another driver to take a detour down your road and notice your plight.  There are other arguments which might work better, but Plantinga used this one, and it's typical of the ways theistic philosophers have dealt with knotty problems in the philosophy of religion.