Thursday, November 30, 2006

Is God needy?

There is much about theism that simply makes no sense to me. And particular strands of that concept are particularly bizarre.

Consider the idea that this deity is all-powerful, all-knowing, etc. This is the most perfect being that supposedly one could imagine. And what are we supposed to be in comparison.

We are allegedly as far removed from this being as we could possible be. We would be like some child’s Play dough sculpture put up against Michelangelo’s magnificent David. The comparison would be comedic, perhaps even tragic. We are told we are horrible flawed creatures while the deity is total and complete perfection.

One Christian web site says that god “is the great and powerful Creator, and we, the insignificant and weak creation. Therefore, we humble ourselves and submit.” They say Jesus is god and “the knees of everyone born or created will bend in reverent homage to him.” They also note,”we must worship God because he commands it!” And if you look at the various web sites of different Christian sects they pretty much agree on this. God wants worship.

We are supposed to worship this deity because he commands us to do so and because he is worthy of worship.

Now I can almost understand why we humans would want to worship such a being -- if he existed. But what I don’t understand is how any perfect being would need our worship. Surely such a being has no needs. There can be no benefit to him at all. He would have no need of praise. Yet he commands us to praise him. Can a perfect being have any wants at all?

Not only does he apparently need this worship but he needs it for eternity. One contemporary gospel song says: “I was created to worship you.” A Baptist Church says: “Humans were created to worship God!” Another fundamentalist site says: “Man and woman were created to worship God and even the hosts of Heaven worship Him.”

So we are left with this perfect being who existed for an eternity and then suddenly creates hosts of heaven and humans. He creates them to worship him. What drove him to do that? Action takes places due to dissatisfaction. A perfect being can have no dissatisfaction and thus no motivation to act. He certainly would not need pathetic and sad creatures constantly telling him how wonderful he is. Is God the ultimate narcissist?

Humans love praise but then we are told we are frail and sinful. I see no reason that a perfect being would have any need of worship.

Now I supposed the typical Christian has not considered this issue. And when faced with this question will reply it is done for our own good. We were created to worship this deity because of our needs not his. But we only have needs because we were created. Certainly prior to our “creation” we could not have needs at all. It was not done to make our lives “better” than they were prior to the institution of worship since we didn’t exist then.

And most of us apparently worship the wrong deity or don’t worship him properly and sufficiently. And for that we are told, by many believers, that we will be tortured for eternity. Not really a good deal if you ask me. If you make an error and worship the wrong god it’s eternal damnation. If you make an error and don’t believe in any deity it’s eternal damnation as well. And unless one is a universalists then Christian theology says that most humans who have ever lived, are living, or will ever live will be tortured for eternity because they were not sufficiently worshipful and believing.

Well, that doesn’t sound like something that was created for our own good. It sounds like something created because this deity was a very needy being indeed. Is this god suffering from an inferiority complex?

Consider the cockroach. Of what benefit would it be to you if the cockroach worshipped you? In fact, what benefit would it be to the cockroach? Yet the chasm between being human and being a deity is supposedly much greater than that between the cockroach and man.

A perfect being must be perfectly content. A perfectly content being would have no reason to do anything. He certainly would not have a reason to create sad, pathetic, sinful creatures for the express purpose of telling him how wonderful he is. A real god would have no need of worship. Our words and worship would mean nothing.


Blogger Publius II said...

You're aware of course, that you seem to be using the word "wants" and "needs" interchangably at times? Certainly God desires us to worship Him, because according to Scripture that is one very large aspect of why we were created - to worship the Creator. But he does not "need" us to do so. It's simply what He desires.

November 30, 2006

Blogger GodlessZone said...

Wants are applicable as much as needs. Why would a perfect being have want of anything? Why would a perfect being want to be worshipped? Ego problems if you ask me. Inferiority complex. Narcissistic personality disorder perhaps.

November 30, 2006

Blogger Publius II said...

:) heh. If perfect creativity is a characteristic of God, would it not follow that he would then create? And if a perfect God creates, would it not follow then that His "crowning achievement" so to speak, would be a creature that had intellect and personality that the Creator could maintain fellowship with and could nurture as a father nurtures a child? Out of curiosity, do you have children? If you do, then you know what it is like to fellowship and nurture a child, and what great joy is brought through this experience. God does not need this experience, mind you, it is what he does to demonstrate his character and his Glory.

Also, you seem to be comparing the motives of God to the would-be motives of a human, if we were to act in the manner God does. Why is a human considered to have "ego problems" if he wants to be worshipped? Is it not because that human is obviously not worthy of such worship? Why would it be considered an "inferiority complex" to demand that we obey and worship a human? Is it not because again that human is not worthy of being elevated above another? You see, God uniquely IS worthy of such praise and elevation, and therefore, your appraisal of His wants, when He is completely entitled to those wants by nature, is inadequate and mistaken.

December 01, 2006

Blogger GodlessZone said...

The term "perfect creativity" doesn't mean anything I can see. Man is creative because he must be to survive and to improve his life. God needs nothing to survive and can't improve his existence. It has to be perfect hence no need to create. All you have done is replace the need to take action by calling that action creativity instead.

In addition if this deity made man his creativity was imperfect as the creature he supposedly made is imperfect. Not the first screw up either as he supposedly created Satan as well. Imperfect creativity.. And why would this perfectly contented being have need of fellowship? Was he lonely? Can he have greater joy than he would have at any time. Can he be sad? Can god have his feelings hurt? If so not perfect. You really talk in circles. God doesn't need to do this but he does to demonstrate his character? Why does he need to demonstrate his character? Doesn't he already know his own character perfectly?

Actually I do ascribe human motives to god because humans made up this fantasy. Their problem is that the endowed him with human like traits (what else do they know?) and yet try to claim he is not human. When you invent the fairy tale you end up make up a fantasy that really is internally inconsistent.

So keep in mind I can never actually speak of a god. I can only speak of the fantasies and imagination that various gullible people have about this non-existent being.

December 01, 2006

Blogger Indioheathen said...

Publius said:

"Also, you seem to be comparing the motives of God to the would-be motives of a human, if we were to act in the manner God does...

You see, God uniquely IS worthy of such praise and elevation, and therefore, your appraisal of His wants, when He is completely entitled to those wants by nature, is inadequate and mistaken."

Indioheathen replies:

If Yaweh-Jehovah does not have the motives of a human being, then why does he have a human-like ego that desires to be worshipped by human beings?

Your concept of "God" reminds me of one of my favourite lines from a motion picture:


I tell ya, let me give you a little inside information about God.

GOD likes to watch.
He's a prankster.
Think about it.
He gives man instincts.
He gives you this extraordinary gift, and then what does he do?
I swear, for his own amusement, his own private cosmic gag reel, he sets the rules in opposition--it's the goof of all time.
'Look, but don't touch'.
'Touch, but don't taste'.
'Taste, but don't swallow'.
And while you're jumpin' from one foot to the next, what is He doin'?
He's laughin' his sick, fuckin' ass off!
He's a tightass!
He's a sadist!
He's an absentee landlord!
Worship that?

Recited by actor Al Pacino in his role as the Devil "John Milton" in the 1998 film, "The Devil's Advocate". Screenplay by Jonathan Lemikin and Tony Gilroy.

December 01, 2006

Blogger coboble said...

What if God is Not Perfect yet is doing the best it can? Is god then worthy of your worship? This god would be worthy of my worship more so than one who could end the suffering, going on down here, but chooses not to.

I believe I have a need to believe in God. I know that Christ's teachings are a foundation of what I want to believe. I struggle with the lack of logic in every religion I have studied with.

December 02, 2006

Blogger GodlessZone said...

Coboble - There are numerous issues here. One is whether or not a deity exists. I do not think there is reason to believe there is. Second, do not confuse a want with a need. It would be nice if there were a god, depending on the kind of god he was. But wanting something is not the same thing as needing something.

You say that the teachings of Jesus are the foundation of what you want to believe. That is honest. You want to believe it. But that is not the same thing as saying there is good reason to believe it. Wants don’t make real. Just wanting something to be true does not make it true. And the more things you believe merely because you want them to be true to the more likely you are to run smack into reality and have problems because of it.

But I also think you may be making another error here. You might be confusing ethics with religion. Religion is a supernatural claim to knowledge based on faith. Ethics need not be religious. And I argue that religion is inherently against ethics. So it is possible to accept the ethical ideas that you think Jesus said without accepting religion. The two are not the same. Thomas Jefferson edited the gospels by taking out every reference to the supernatural, the divine and miracles leaving only what he felt was the earthly teachings of Jesus. He said that he accepted those teachings about Jesus only. So he accepted the ethics of Jesus but not the religion.

But I argue that we really don’t know what Jesus said as the gospels are an unreliable testimony of his words. And finally I also argue that if we do accept the gospels as an accurate source of the teachings of Jesus where they are good they are not unique and often they are not good such as where he supposedly said he came to bring a sword not peace or where he said his followers had to abandon family for him. Of course those comments don’t get much play because they are so unpleasant and since most people don’t read the gospels for themselves they are often ignorant of them. And then there are just a whole lot of statements which really make no sense at all and are thus open to any interpretation people want to impose on them.

December 02, 2006


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