Western religions have some peculiarities, it seems to me. They believe is a separate monotheistic God who created mankind for companionship with Himself. They believe this God is love, infinite, omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. Man, however, was supposedly given freewill and wasted little time in running amuck with it.
If we are to accept the Biblical version, God creates man. Then in the interest of providing companionship for this newly created, He creates woman. They are placed in a beautiful garden of paradise with complete freedom with one major exception, they are not to eat the fruit of one particular tree. Of course, they soon failed which meant they were now unfit companions for God and were booted out or paradise and into a world where only by sweat, toil and suffering could they survive.
Now, even though the first two creations failed miserably and are subjected to continuous hardship, God now steps up production and begins profusely creating more to populate the entire planet with all of the newly created suffering the same fate of hardship as the first two. Furthermore, now all of God’s creation is condemned to hell because they are all incapable of living sinless or meeting His standard. However, God provides a remedy for man and man is free to accept or reject it.
Now, the above, it seems to me present us with a whole bunch of interesting questions which I wish to offer for the readers consideration.
The Bible teaches that man has been a major disappointment and source of frustration to God. In other words a big pain in the butt to the Almighty. Now, if God is an all knowing and perfect being why on earth (pun) would He create disappointment for Himself. Did God one day decide, gee whiz, I’m bored, I think I need a little frustration in my life? I know, I’ll create some stubborn cantankerous rascals and call them man and woman. Man will think he knows it all and woman will continuously prove him wrong. Man will think he is invincible and woman will seduce him and wrap him around her little finger. Now, that should keep me entertained.
As mentioned above, God is condemning everyone He creates, either because He is passing the guilt of the original failure on all the rest or because all the rest is incapable of living sinless anyway. Either way, all are condemned. The obvious question, of course, is why did God put a tree there that would lead to their failure in the first place? The standard religious answer is that it was necessary for them to have free choice otherwise they would be nothing but robots. This would imply then that God is not omniscient after all. If He had known there would have been no need for the test and he could have saved not only Himself a lot of disappointment but the man and woman from all the embarrassment and needless suffering. Furthermore, if God was looking for companionship and did not know and was surprised and disappointed why would He respond by creating billions more to suffer likewise?
If, even at this point in the creation story, God can see quite well, omniscient or not, that the vast majority are failing the test and failing to even accept His remedy, why then, continue to create sentient beings for eternal punishment? This simply is not consistent with either wisdom or love it seems to me.
The old argument that God must give man free will to insure that man is complete and not a simple robot just does not hold water. In trying to absolve God of the horrors of condemnation, religions have devised all sorts of conventions. They say, God simply gave man free will and if man goes to hell, man sends himself there, not God. But that is very shallow reasoning and a total distortion of freedom. Man is given two choices. Do this or be damned to hell. That is the same kind of freedom a jealous husband gives his wife when he says, love me and I’ll share my millions or reject me and I’ll stab you in your sleep. Another example being the thief with gun in hand saying hand over your wallet or take a bullet to the chest. Such is not freedom but coercion, plain and simple.
Furthermore, we are taught that man is incapable of living sinless, so who’s fault is sin? Is man guilty of that which is beyond his control to avoid? Must man ask his creator for forgiveness for the way he was created?
If God is love, would love rule by fear? Yet, is that not precisely what evangelism is doing when they travel all over trying to save people’s souls by pounding their fist with one hand, waving the book with other and shouting, be saved or be damned? Would love be gratified by people coming into the fold out of fear? Would a God of love employ such tactics?
There are very reasonable answers to all of this but too lengthy for this article but will follow soon.
Oh, and it’s not to be found in Western religion.