Sunday, April 6, 2008

Spotting Silliness

Here's a real easy way to spot someone being silly when discussing theology or moral issues: when they use the phrase, "Well, the God that I believe in....", they're usually being silly.

The "Well" is important, as is the emphasis on the "I". It's debatable whether the word "God" as used in the sentence should be capitalized. One could contend that the "God" cited is most often imaginary and therefore not deserving of capitalization. However, the speaker usually doesn't understand that. They think they're speaking of something more-or-less real and unique, so I'll respect their intentions and capitalize.

See, the problem with saying the telltale phrase is that it really doesn't matter what kind of God you believe in. As soon as you think that God's nature is determined by your beliefs, then you do not believe in the objectively real God who created and sustains the universe. He is not altered by your changing whims. Believing in a God who wants nothing more for you than to pursue your own happiness, no matter how selfish or destructive that pursuit may be, is much like believing in a force of gravity that makes things float gently to the ground. Believe it all you like, but it does not change the reality of what will happen if you step off a high roof.

Interestingly enough, you rarely hear this phrase coming from someone who has placed their faith in the God of the Bible. The phrase is almost always trotted out to whinily defend behaviour that not so long ago would have been recognized as foolish or immoral by even those who considered themselves progressive secularists of their day.

I believe in God, but He is not "the God that I believe in." He is simply God, and will remain so whether I continue to believe or not.

Enough rambling. Here's a picture of me, beyond the catalogue's edge.

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