Dialoguing with the good people at Debunking Christianity has produced some interesting (and some trivial) observations. I suspect that we will forever be at an impasse, but such is the nature of conviction.
I suspect, given my lack of attachment to any particular concept of God, that they will never be able to convince me of God's inexistence. After all, they could pick each concept of God apart, to which I would simply say, it's no surprise that concept didn't work. God isn't a concept.
I also suspect that, unless I hand them some vivisection of a being wearing God's name badge, they will never accept the possibility of God's existence. After all, God is, as I have said so many times, not empirically evident.
But that doesn't mean we can't have a good time, does it?
Anyway, responding indirectly to a discussion going on over there, I thought I'd post a story that comes from Taoism which presents us with a very foreign concept of the divine. I was asked why I chose to attribute to God only the "good" traits, and not the "bad" ones. Good question. I think a Taoist would ask such a question. Anyway, here's a story which comes from the book I'm currently reading, Chronicles of Tao: The Secret Life of a Taoist Master, by Deng Ming-Dao.
Once a beautiful and richly dressed woman appeared at a house. Naturally, the owner of the house welcomed her. He was dazzled by her ethereal loveliness
"May I ask who you are?" he said.
"I am the Goddess of Fortune," she replied. "I bring luck to unhappy children, heal the diseased, grant children to the barren, bring untold riches, and fulfill every wish and supplication." The owner of the house immediately straightened his robes and bowed low before her, and personally gave her the honored seat in his home.
Before long, another woman came. She was bent over and hobbled. Her face was desiccated, misshapen, wrinkled. Her hair was tangled as dry rice grass. She stank. The owner was indignant and rudely demanded to know why she was trespassing.
"I am called the Dark Lady. Wherever I go, the rich go bankrupt, high officials fall in disgrace, the weak die, the strong lose their might, women weep endlessly, and men mourn."
The owner immediately seized her staff to drive her away.
But the Goddess of Fortune stopped him, saying, "Those who would honor me must also honor her, for wherever I go, the Dark Lady inevitably follows. We are as inseparable as a shadow to a body. We cannot live apart."
The owner immediately urged both goddesses to depart, now very much afraid that both might stay. The wise lead their lives this way.
In Taoism yin and yang are literally two sides of the same coin. The emphasis is on recognizing that their apparent duality is really a unity. While the person who asked me why I would ascribe "good" to God, but not "bad" may not have known this, but they were offering up a kind of Taoist critique.
If we recognize that if everything comes from God, and God is One, then everything comes from a kind of fundamental Unity; what do we make of concepts like "good" and "bad" as they relate to God? Is God the source of both?
This is an interesting twist to the problem of evil, which does not rest on criticisms of God's omnipotence or omniscience. This says, omnipotent or no, omniscient or no, if there is a God, then God - by virtue of being God - is responsible for the bad with the good.
Process theology has the best answer to this, but that answer will have to wait for another time. For the moment let's ponder the question.
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