^^^ A very nice reply to this OP Anfauglir ..... I anticipate some objections from the religionists!
Thanks Median - let me see if I can cover them.
1. God doesn't need/want anything. Those are just words for our benefit so we will follow his holy way
Well, quite. Hence a Proper God would neither need nor want prayer, or worship. Nor would it need or want anything from its creations, except - assuming it was a benevolent god - it would have the desire for its creation to be as happy as possible. I think I've covered that with my Blarke - that everything it does would be clearly and demonstrably for the welfare of its creation.
2. It would be so boring if we took away the bad and left the "good" (not convincing to me - how about getting rid of the "big" bad stuff but leave the stuff that helps us learn w/out devastation?)
Maybe - except, isn't that the definition of heaven, where we will apparently spend 99.9999999% of our existence? Sorry, that argument holds no water at all.
3. God has a "plan" (for our redemption) and we can't understand it fully but we have to go with it regardless b/c he is "King" (Kim Jong Il, in my book)
I addresses this in another thread, about this whole "we cannot understand" nonsense. If we can't understand, there are basically two reasons why this might be.
Firstly, that we don't understand now
, but will
understand in the future. If that's the case, then what will change? Either facts will be revealed later that make things clear, or we will in some way be changed so that we can understand. With the first, this means that any misunderstandings (and hence, all religious wars, inqusitions, crusades, etc) are the direct fault of this god, who is/has withheld this knowledge - because if we "got" it, away would go all the arguments and confusion and strife that they cause. So clearly a loving god can be withholding nothing.
The second alternative is that all the facts are available, but that we are not in a state to understand them. I will presume that NO Christian alive is in that state, because nono ever say "well, actually I DO understand exactly what god's plan is in all its facets". Therefore, it is (presumably) a state that we cannot attain until after death....when it is, of course, too late. Who created the rules? God did (apparently) - which means that, as above, all the confusion and strife is directly attributable to god. Whether through withholding of knowledge, or in the setup of the world, god has ensured we will not be able to understand his plan.
Personally, I have a deep, deep distrust of anyone who says "I'm doing all this for your own good - but I'm not going to explain why in any way you can understand". Which leads neatly onto the last point.....
4. A fantasy God isn't the real God. Obey Jesus or pay the price!
So there is a benevolent god, who wants good things for us. But it has made sure we cannot understand it, and if we choose wrong we will suffer forever? Sorry, but no - that second sentence simple cannot follow from the first.
The only conceivable way that the loving god could exist is if - after death - we (somehow) receive that full understanding of everything it was trying to do. We see the big picture, and we grok the whole thing. It all makes sense, we see how right it all was, and how god is, after all, super and loving and a Proper God.....and THEN, in full possession of all the facts, we can decide whether we follow him or not.
Trouble is......if there IS an understanding where everything DOES make sense.....then logically everyone will choose god at that point. And if that is what is going to happen.....then everything that goes on on this world is utterly, utterly irrelevant. Choose god now, or choose god after death, if we all go to heaven and all grok god in the end, then all the misery and suffering that goes on here is meaningless. And we're right back to the problem of a "loving" god who knows everything will turn out right in the end, but who still lets people go through all the hardships on earth without any point to it at all.
That's not a Proper God. That's a sadistic trickster, and not a god I'm going to choose to follow.