[Words of atheist or agnostic (?) heleninedinburgh will be in blue]
I’ve been dealing with several of the objections to God’s alleged character flaws in my series vs. Seidensticker (so far with zero response from him, after 14 critiques).
‘Character flaws’ is a pretty tactful way to put it. The flood in Genesis, perhaps? Sodom and Gomorrah?
God as the Creator has the “prerogative” to judge His creation when they have gone astray.
We have earthly judges (by analogy) who do the same thing. A criminal commits a crime. He is given a fair trial, found guilty, and is then judged, if deemed guilty. We’ve even had the death penalty.
But it’s inconceivable that God is the Cosmic Judge?
Well, your god is yours; ‘you do you,’ as they say. But I still think killing everyone on earth except eight people is not a moral thing to do. Would your god like it if one of us humans decided to kill everybody on earth?
We’re not God. That’s the whole point. But people who favor legal abortion love to play God, don’t they? They believe that a mother owns another human being (her own child) — just like chattel slavery — and can kill him or her at will. Of course I don’t accept that. I think it’s immoral and murder (by the abortionist). But the internal logic there is the same thing that is objected to when it comes to God, and it’s said that He can’t judge someone and kill them.
Imagine if everyone on earth were like an SS agent (think, Heinrich Himmler). We took out people like that in World War II and everyone thought it was quite moral. But if God does it, suddenly it’s immoral.
Well, with the Flood and Sodom and Gomorrah, that’s what the Bible says took place: the level of immorality was virtually universal and beyond repair. So God judged. I don’t have the slightest problem with it. I think it’s exactly what we would expect in a God Who is both perfectly loving and a just judge.
You mentioned Himmler. Just thinking about Goebbels. If he hadn’t killed himself he’d have been tried at Nuremberg and presumably executed, yes? Would it have been moral to execute his children too?
Not according to our legal systems, no.
And of course I know what you are driving at. In a blanket judgment by God there will be children who are killed as well. But they are not necessarily condemned to hell. God judges each soul individually. So yes, they may have to die young as a result of being in a hyper-corrupt culture (below the age of reason and guilt, as we Catholic say), but they have an eternal life in front of them and God will judge them justly in that respect.
In the atheist view, on the other hand, there is no ultimate justice at all. Since we are doing Nazi analogies, it would be as if the Nazis had won World War II and were ruling the world right now, doing all the evil they did while they were in power. In a world without God, there would be no ultimate justice. These Nazis would die and cease to exist. They would pay no penalty for their great evils (not even in this life if they aren’t defeated). Their victims would die and cease to exist as well, and never receive any good things. All they had was an earthy life which was a living hell under Nazi rule.
There is no justice or meaning or “happy ending” in that scenario. Many people in the world have a terrible life: and very often because of despotic rulers or bad social or religious systems. In the Christian worldview the unrepentant bad guys are judged for their evil (and will end up in hell). People who accept God’s grace spend eternity with God in heaven, in great bliss and joy, with no more suffering.
That is meaningful and just.
Oh, of course you know what I’m driving at.
If you were driving at something else, by all means inform me of it. It looks like you did have in mind what I figured that you did, based on your next answer [below]
Then why does your god make these blanket judgements? Surely it could do something more targeted?
In a blanket judgment by God there will be children who are killed as well.
The idea of innocent people who’ve had a bad life and wicked people who prosper all getting what’s coming to them is a lovely one. I’m going to have to be a spoilsport and ask for proof that that’s actually what happens, though.
And how do you know the Bible’s accurate?
See many related papers on that topic, that I have collected.
Judgment of Nations: Biblical Commentary and Reflections [9-21-01]
Photo credit: God the Father: woodcut by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld (1794-1872) [public domain / Wikimedia Commons]