Contradictions Revisited

Recently, I have discovered two gigantic contradictions in the beliefs that formerly colored the way I see the world. I find them amusing, and surprisingly quite simple. The first one is about free will:

Suppose someone came up to you, and said you could choose what flavor of candy you wanted out of his collection. It sounds like you have plenty of options. Then, the man says if you don’t chose the color he wants, he’ll beat you to death.

This is the sort of free will one can expect from the God of Abraham. You can choose to believe in and love him, but if you don’t you’re going to suffer for eternity.  This is not exactly what being free from coercion looks like. If you are being coerced to make a decision, you have no moral responsibility and no free will. What is needed for free will is absence of coercion, and the doctrine of hell is one of the most pernicious examples of moral coercion. Either there is no hell, or there is no free will. There cannot be both.

The second contradiction I have found concerns the nature of the Creator, who allegedly both omniscient and omnipotent. But, there is a problem: if God is omniscient, he knows how he is going to act in the future, and so cannot change those actions. Therefore, he cannot be omnipotent.

Now some believers might be disturbed by these frightening or uncomfortable internal inconsistencies in their theology. I suggest that the most reasonable and least odious alternative is the idea that God is imaginary, no matter who or how many illustrious people sincerely believe in him.

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~ by jsacc001 on June 6, 2009.

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