Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – “What does God need with a starship?”

ReligionIt’s been awhile since I blogged about the claims of Rabbi Gellman of the one person God Squad. But today we have a curious column from him in my local paper. The title comes from Star Trek: The Final Frontier, where Captain James T. Kirk encounters a god, something that happens with some regularity to the crew of the Enterprise. Kirk suffers gods no more willingly than I do.

In Gellmans’s column, it’s the problem of evil.   The basic point of the column is it’s all the fault of humans.   The rabbi scolds the querent, how dare he question this god when he should just sit there and take it because it’s God’s will. The querent should be like Job, accept any misery as a “test” of his faith or should accept that any misery is God’s plan and that God’s ways are “mysterious”.   (my paper’s column was quite truncated, but the whole thing appears at the link.)

There are some large problems here:

  1. Why does a supposedly omniscient god need to test anyone for? It would already know the answer, so the murder of Job’s family, servants and animals serves no purpose at all. A good review of the book of Job is here.
  2. Why does a supposedly omniscient, omnipotent, and often claimed omnibenevolent, god need misery to make anything happen? It appears that it cannot think of alternatives or implement them.  This would make any claims of all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving wrong.

Gellman goes on to insist that anyone who questions the claims of Christians is “angry” with God. I suppose that might be true, if this god actually exists. Imagine a human that tested people when it knew the answer and tested by killing their families. Would you be angry with them? Or that said that your child needed to get agonizing bone cancer, and, honest, it would make everything better in some undefined way but never showed how this worked or that it did at all. Would you be angry with them?

Would you question?

Rabbi Gellman quotes Archibald MacLeish “If God is great, he is not good. If God is good, he is not God. Take the even, take the odd.” This is from MacLeish’s play “J.B.” (it’s about Job, with a much better ending which you can see in the plot summary) which rather than saying that it’s not God’s fault, it appears to say in context, that there is no point in a god that is this impotent or evil. It shows that Christianity doesn’t agree on what God does and why. It broaches the question, if this god is touted as constantly helping people in the bible, why doesn’t it do the same things now?

Gellman next offers the usual, “It’s your fault” claims, where humans make the wrong choices, which can be true, we can choose to pollute, etc. He does admit that it is a problem when natural disasters happen, but then it’s all our fault because we “get in the way”. He argues that we choose to live in danger zones; since there is no place on earth not in a “danger zone” from something. it’s rather hard to avoid them. If God made the earth, this god is rather inept at making a safe place for its supposed loved ones to live.  Recently, a Anglican reverend said to me that she found pointing out lack of reason in her religion disrespectful.   With this kind of lack of reason in religion, it’s someone’s duty to point it out before someone gets hurt by a similar lack of reason.

The next odd is where Gellman says that, well, let’s see the whole paragraph: “Genetic mutations that cause stillbirths or genetic diseases occur because that’s the way our genetic material sorts through mutations and achieves the natural selection that has made our brains larger and made us more perfectly adapted to the needs of our evolving species. They are part of God’s perfect design for adaptable life”. Perfect? I’ll be blunt, that’s a fucking strange definition of the word. This god is now responsible for evolution, but is somehow too inept to make it better than it is, which strikes me as a prelude into the “best possible world argument” that does its best to depower this god from the omni-whatever that the bible claims. This god hasn’t been able to figure out what humans have, how to have the good without the bad and how to fix what the rabbi now seems to claim that God screwed up in the first place.

He says that we should save our anger for the way we treat each other and not for how God treats us. I’ll say that I’m not angry at this version of the Jewish god, but I’d find it pathetic if real, considering all of the claims made about such an inept being.

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57 responses to “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – “What does God need with a starship?”

  1. Great post dear friend.
    Indeed, what does it benefit an omniscient being to test minions when it knows the results?
    Job suffers for nothing except god’s ego. We get no answers why we suffer from that book. The it’s our fault line can’t work here because it says at the beginning that Job was sinless before god.
    And perfect just got a new definition to include mutations. Believers are brilliant. They are in a class of their own.
    Pointing stupid in religion hurts someone’s feelings? Maybe they should leave the religion

  2. Does “less parasites” require much thought, much less Omniscience? How about more temperature resistant sperm? Or no appendicitis? No painful bone cancer ?Hrrm?

  3. The book of Job is not as you have been told.
    It is a glimpse into the spiritual realm between Satan and his continual accusations against God that he is innocent and undeserving of eternal condemnation.
    It is the oldest nook in the Bible.
    Jobs friends tried to convince Job he deserved the things that happened and he must have sinned. Job held to his integrity even though his wife said to curse God and die. He continued to love and trust God

    • The book of Job is exactly as I have read. You have made up you own interpretation of it to excuse your god’s actions. Satan is not presented as claiming he is innocent; Satan is depicted as God’s buddy whom he makes a bet with.
      So what if the book of Job is supposedly the oldest in the bible?

      Job did not deserve anything that this god allowed done to him. His family did not deserve to be murdered thanks to the accomplice God. Job questioned this god and this god was nothing more than a braggart, who in the end, acted like a mafia don in trying to make up to Job what he had allowed done, offering money and a “new” family.

      CCT, would you accept a new family from someone who intentionally allowed your family to be murdered?

      Incidentally, remember that on wordpress, often first posts are placed under moderation. That’s how my blog is set up.

    • When I first read your comment a yesterday, I thought you were joking.
      How could the book of job be about Satan and not ego?
      Job’s friends tried to convince him to be reasonable and Satan also convinced god to show his might. All of us know what transpires, unless you are changing the story

      • I do agree, Job’s friends were wrong. Job did not deserve anything that this god allowed to be done to him. Job questioned this god on what has been done to him and only got a bully’s response, with God claiming how dare Job question his god. And again, then we get this god offering a new family and money to try to cover up how badly god screwed up by its complicity in the murder of Job’s family.

        Again, CCT, would you accept a new family from the being that allowed your family to be killed for a bet that it knew the outcome of? Would you accept money from it?

      • The shadowy figure, aka “spirit” in the NIV supposedly appeared to Eliphaz and gave more excuses for this god.

        ““A word was secretly brought to me,
        my ears caught a whisper of it.
        13 Amid disquieting dreams in the night,
        when deep sleep falls on people,
        14 fear and trembling seized me
        and made all my bones shake.
        15 A spirit glided past my face,
        and the hair on my body stood on end.
        16 It stopped,
        but I could not tell what it was.
        A form stood before my eyes,
        and I heard a hushed voice:
        17 ‘Can a mortal be more righteous than God?
        Can even a strong man be more pure than his Maker?”

        As it stands, yep, Job is far better than his supposed “maker” since Job isn’t the one to say it’s fine allow people to be murdered for a bet.

  4. Satan wanted to prove to God as Creator that He made him(Satan) that way and that was why he rebelled against God. Satan said Job only loved and obeyed God because he was blessed. God knew Job loved him and trusted him for more than how He blessed him.

    • So, according to you, God allowed a good man and his family to be tormented for nothing but to show off to his gambling buddy because he already knew what would happen. Your god allowed people to be murdered for no reason.

      • Let’s look at what you said:

        “Satan wanted to prove to God as Creator that He made him(Satan) that way and that was why he rebelled against God. Satan said Job only loved and obeyed God because he was blessed. God knew Job loved him and trusted him for more than how He blessed him. ”

        If one reads Job, then we do have a god that allowed its supposed archenemy (but gambling buddy) to kill humans and abuse a good man because it wants to show off. This god knew that Job was a good man but allowed it anyway.

      • You may be sorry to say it, but I have reason to doubt it. Again, CCT, I have read the book of Job and your claims do not track with what the book actually says. In some places it seems that you are adding bits from Paradise Lost to this bible, and in some places you are ignoring what the book directly says.

        Doug has asked some very pertinent questions. We have a god that, rather than explaining that it was its fault that Job’s family was murdered and his resources destroyed, it tries to intimidate Job when Job asks questions of it. It tries to claim that Job shouldn’t question because this god can supposedly “hook” a mythical monster, or store up hail in warehouses. It’s the typical actions of a bully, And again, at the end, this god tries ignore his own actions by giving Job a replacement family? Again, CCT, would you accept a replacement family from someone who intentionally allowed your family murdered? Would you accept new wealth from this being that allowed your family murdered for no reason?

    • If you accept Bible God as omniscient, why would he “teach” Satan a lesson, knowing full well it would not alter his behavior, by killing people and making his servant suffer? That is not an act of goodness, but of vanity and evil.

  5. Beyond that, God wants people to have a choice in loving or rejecting Him. If God would change the hearts of evil men so that they wouldn’t do evil things and create suffering for others then God would take away Free will from mankind in doing so. We could no longer freely choose to love God.

    • CCT, there is nothing in the bible about your god wanting free will. Repeatedly, your god mind controls people to get what it wants, and in Romans it says that your god made some people to be saved and some people to be damned, no matter what they do. Add to this the idea of “miracles” and this god supposedly interferes in human lives all of the time in the bible, and if one believes the nonsense that Christians claim about miracles now, there is no free will when your god can change events.

      I have read the bible entirely, as a believer and as not. I know what it says. I am not someone you can lie to and try to pretend the bible says what you claim. Per your bible, we cannot freely choose your god at all.

      • why yes it does say that. It makes your claim “Beyond that, God wants people to have a choice in loving or rejecting Him. If God would change the hearts of evil men so that they wouldn’t do evil things and create suffering for others then God would take away Free will from mankind in doing so. We could no longer freely choose to love God.” Rather contradictory.
        A good part of Christianity says that predestination is ridiculous, while the others say its true ( I was a Presbyterian, so I know Calvinism well).

        Now, which version of Christianity are we to believe?

      • Not contradictory. Paradoxical.
        Both of these are true. God always knew who would believe. Those He predestined.
        Just because we can’t understand that doesn’t mean its not true. God is God. We are only men.

      • Paradoxical means contradictory, CCT. You may wish to check out a dictionary before trying to baffled me me with nonsense. Your claims are not both true, they are both baseless claims with no evidence at all. We have nothing in the bible about free will, and plenty against it. Your attempt to stuff free will into you religion is just one more example of how Christians make up their religion to fit themselves, not some god.

        It’s always curious to see Christians insist that no one can understand their god, except when they want to claim that everyone can understand their god. Again, you make contradictory statements, and you have no evidence for anything.

      • Did that. I’m right.
        par·a·dox

        ˈperəˌdäks/

        noun

        a statement or proposition that, despite sound (or apparently sound) reasoning from acceptable premises, leads to a conclusion that seems senseless, logically unacceptable, or self-contradictory.

        “a potentially serious conflict between quantum mechanics and the general theory of relativity known as the information paradox”

        a seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition that when investigated or explained may prove to be well founded or true.
        Only seems false. Actually true.

      • nice cherry picking of defintions:

        a tenet contrary to received opinion

        2

        a : a statement that is seemingly contradictory or opposed to common sense and yet is perhaps true

        b : a self-contradictory statement that at first seems true

        c : an argument that apparently derives self-contradictory conclusions by valid deduction from acceptable premises

        still waiting for your evidence, CCT.

      • Again, the only one saying that is certain Chrisitans who want to claim that their version of Christianity is the only “right” one, and who have no more evidence than the Christians who say they are wrong.

        Viktor Frankl spoke of the Christian god not wanting us to be automatons? In which book or quote? I know that Frankl wrote much about needing meaning in life, and that freedom was important. in conjunction with responsibility. I do not recall where he said the Christian god is interested in free will. Again, what is the reference from?

      • your blog post? You mean the one that doesn’t support your claims about what Satan says and does? There is no place at all where this Satan is “desperately appealing” to anyone. Indeed, Satan speaks few times in the bible and not one instance is this character trying to “prove that he has been unjustly judged by God as he awaits his sentence to be carried out. Not in Genesis, not in Job, not when he’s supposedly chatting with JC, etc. All we have are your baseless claims again.

        Your post is full of the usual fantasies that some Christians just love, the hate, the violence and having everyone who said that they were wrong punished. Revelation is one of my favorite books of the bible. The best part is when your God kills everyone who doesn’t worship it. Then, this god intentionally releases its suppose archenemy to corrupt more of the good people on earth who have been ruled by JC for an ‘aeon’. It does this for no reason, except that it needs one more big battle. Always good to see more evidence for no free will at all in the bible.

      • Did that. I’m right.
        par·a·dox

        ˈperəˌdäks/

        noun

        a statement or proposition that, despite sound (or apparently sound) reasoning from acceptable premises, leads to a conclusion that seems senseless, logically unacceptable, or self-contradictory.

        “a potentially serious conflict between quantum mechanics and the general theory of relativity known as the information paradox”

        a seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition that when investigated or explained may prove to be well founded or true.
        Only seems false. Actually true.

        That is a paradox

        Why do you think Satan is called “the accuser of the brethren”

      • Again, you pick and choose defintions, because the other ones say that things only appear to be true and are not true. Since you cannot show any evidence for your nonsense, there is no reason to think it true at all.

        the reason that Satan appears to be called “the accuser of brethern” makes not much sense. Who are these “brethern”? Who is the loud voice that says this?
        For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
        who accuses them before our God day and night,
        has been hurled down.

        I do like Revelation quite a bit. It shows that the claim of Satan falling hasn’t occured yet so the whole nonsense about this happening before creation is rather suspect. The whole story of the dragon pursuing the woman is very much like the claims of gods pursuing other other women, more evidence that Christianity is not very original.

      • As Mak has said, where is the freewill? What we have, in context with the bible, is that only those who this god allows to believe can believe. Romans 9, all the predestination verses that good Calvinists use and when JC says that he/God intentionally use parables to make sure no one but those they have chosen will believe.

      • I didn’t claim frankl said anything. I sited Frankl as a supporting evidence.
        But since you obviously want to distort what I say and take false issue even when I cut and paste from the dictionary. Or perhaps truly do have a problem that makes these things difficult to grasp, I will make this my final comment.

      • You said this “God doesn’t want us to be automatons. We choose to love Him despite all the suffering. Victor Frankl wrote about this. ”

        So, you did claim that Frankl said that your god doesn’t want us to be automatons. I have asked you where he said this and you have yet to show where, so you have not used him as supporting evidence since you cannot tell me where he supposedly said this.

        No one is distorting what you have said, CCT. I can quote you saying exactly what I have indicated. I have shown that you cherry pick when you cut and paste from the dictionary. That is not a “false issue” but the truth since you attempted to present the term “paradox” as something that is always true, which is not the case at all.

        You seem to wish to claim that I have a “problem that makes these things difficult to grasp”. Unfortunately, your lack of grammar makes it seem as if it is you who are having this supposed “problem”. But if you want to claim I “perhaps truly have a problem”, show evidence or all you are doing is being nasty to people who might actually have a learning disability by using such a claim as a baseless insult.

        You have created false excuses to try to make your running away seem honorable. You have been unable to answer anyone’s questions about your claims.

        Again, where in John 3 says anything about free will, CCT? Show me that your version of Job is the only “right” one. For someone who claims to be such a great teacher, you run away as soon as anyone asks you questions you can’t answer and you try to lie about anyone who questions your claims. It’s a shame that you are nothing new.

      •  “If we present a man with a concept of man which is not true, we may well corrupt him. When we present man as an automaton of reflexes, as a mind-machine, as a bundle of instincts, as a pawn of drives and reactions, as a mere product of instinct, heredity and environment, we feed the nihilism to which modern man is, in any case, prone. I became acquainted,” Frankl continued, “with the last stage of that corruption in my second concentration camp, Auschwitz. The gas chambers of Auschwitz were the ultimate consequence of the theory that man is nothing but the product of heredity and environment–or, as the Nazi liked to say, of ‘Blood and Soil.’ I am absolutely convinced that the gas chambers of Auschwitz, Treblinka, and Maidanek were ultimately prepared not in some Ministry or other in Berlin, but rather at the desks and in the lecture halls of nihilistic scientists and philosophers.”

    • CCT, have you ever disobeyed a person you could see? If so, seeing and knowing something is real does not take away free will. Secondly multiple characters in the Bible interact with that god, and yet still disobey it. So, as such, why is it impossible for your god to separate himself from a fictional character?

    • You say

      “Free will” “God so loved the world the He gave His one and only Son,that WHOEVER believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

      Where is the freewill in that statement?

      • It is the typical Christian “Stop paying attention to what is in front of your face and accept my preconceptions!!!” The basic cry of all anti-rationalist positions. Be it the religious, New agers, Ayn Rand fanatics, Uberfeminists, Antivaxers, Global warming deniers, racists, solipsists, Marxists, ufologists, and those that spout the words “alternate epistemology”

  6. I want this idea of God as having human qualities – he designs, he tests, he loves, etc. etc. to die already. How can he love? How can he design? I view God as whatever started the universe and everything, and that’s it. He set things in motion, and that’s it. It’s think that I attribute to God. God doesn’t love, designs, punishes or bears any responsibility.

    “, a Anglican reverend said to me that she found pointing out lack of reason in her religion disrespectful” – Oh my

    I think the book of Job is more than about still having faith. I’d say it’s about having faith in anything, despite all the troubles. It’s about not succumbing to nihilism. I haven’t done a close reading of it though. I might be wrong.

    • Then you have attempted to redefine God to excuse its failures. What you appear to believe in is a Deistic god, not the Christian one which is commonly called “God”.

      As it stands, there is no more reason to believe in a Deistic clockmaker god than there is the biblical one. It is an easier one to believe in, I agree.

      You should read Job, for it is not about faith but a man questioning his god on why horrible things are happening to him for no reason. Job doesn’t know the circumstances of the Judeo-Christian god’s actions that caused such horrible things to happen, but does believe he has the right to question this god because this god has made claims about what he will do for believers. This god gets angry when asked and proceeds to claim that since he is god and powerful, he should not be questioned, the classic might equals right claim. Job finally acquiesces to this tirade. Then this god tries to make up for an inexcusable action, intentionally allowing his supposed archenemy to murder, by giving Job a new family and more wealth. Brain, I have a question, one that many Christians refuse to answer, would you accept a new family from a being that did such things as what amounts to wereguild and still have faith in it?

      I am not sure if you were trying to claim that all atheists are nihilists. Were you?

      • You’re right. What I said is actually more directed towards the religious.

        What do you mean by “Deistic clockmaker”? If you mean some form of design, then it’s another thing I reject. My idea of God is merely what started the whole shebang, but that’s where his involvement ends. I think that’s the only attribute God has. I don’t belong to any religion, by the way. Scriptures are fascinating, but I don’t view them as holy or anything.

        I’m not well-versed in the debate whether my idea of God is real or not, though. It’s not a position I’m going to argue for.

        I have no idea if I would accept it or not. I might accept it because it’s better than nothing, and I might not because you can’t replace people. Will I continue to still believe in this God? Not as a good, kind and merciful one. I might believe in a harsh one that must be worshipped in order to avoid punishment, but not a just one.

        I did not claim all atheists are nihilists. Whenever I see people think the two are the same, i laugh. If you define yourself as an atheist, it still shows you care enough to have an opinion. What I meant was not losing faith in whatever values, morals and ideologies you have. I think religion was the only Big Idea that existed then, so that’s what they used.

        Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

      • If you are postulating a being that “started” something, it seems you are claiming that this god intended the universe as it is and that seems to indicate design. Do you see what I’m getting at?

        I’m glad that I misread you. Thank you also for the thoughtful comments.

      • I see what you mean. The question is, what designed? Did he design the mathematical laws, or the creatures themselves?

        The designer of a die is not responsible on which side it will land, but he made the options available.

        The designer of the material the die is made of is not responsible what will be made out of it.

        Where exactly do I stand? I’m not sure. I haven’t done a lot of reading into this subject. I definitely think that whoever God is didn’t design the planets, the creatures, etc. I’ll have to do more research before I’ll know exactly where I stand. Your comment was great though, gave me some food for thought.

      • Actually I think the Deistic God is quite a bit more believable than the Christian model of an omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren’t going to live up to his standards. The Deistic God only has the fallacy of appeal to ignorance, every other model of god has that and far more.

  7. Pingback: Live and Let Live – Blessings from Our Mother

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