"When you stand before Him, what will you say?"
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In Talk Back 35, David Harris asked: "Let's just say for the sake of consideration that there is a God. When you stand before Him, what will you say?"
Following is my reply to Mr. Harris.
There are far more assumptions involved in this question than simply assuming there is a god.
- You are assuming, not just that there is a god, but that there is exactly one god, not many.
- You are assuming that this one god is your Baptist version of god, not the version of god followed by one of approximately 30,000 other Christian denominations - each of which has somewhat different beliefs.
- You are assuming that this one god is not the god of one of the approximately 10,000 other non-Christian religions in the world.
- You are also assuming there is an afterlife - an assumption which does not necessarily depend on the existence of a god.
- You are also assuming that in this afterlife, we actually get to meet this god and talk with him or her.
- You are also implicitly assuming that this post-death encounter with a deity is part and parcel of some sort of judgement process.
- There are more assumptions that you are making, but why bother going on.
The point is, there is no more reason to accept any one of those additional assumptions than there is to accept the assumption that there is any god of any variety. Each one of these assumptions lacks objective evidence. And your biblical package which justifies you making these assumptions in your mind has the same validity as the package of holy scripture offered by any other denomination or religion.
I written on this before, when I took the position
"First, prove to me objectively that there is a god, any god. Only then do we need to discuss which particular deistic religion, cult, sect, or denomination happens to have the minor details correct."
So far, no-one has really been able to take up the challenge of providing that proof of a god.
But, suppose in some unexpected afterlife, I do encounter an entity who claims to be the Baptist version of god. Then what will I say?
First of all, I will challenge him to prove he is what he claims to be. If there is an afterlife, I would expect it to follow the same rules of logic as this world. I will not accept arbitrary claims. I will still want proof that this entity is what it claims to be.
Secondly, I will challenge this being's authority to exercise judgement over me. After all, he only claimed to be the god of the Jews, not of followers of other religions Perhaps Christians subsequently have accepted him as their god, but I have not. He has no claim upon me.
Thirdly, I would also question his moral authority to judge me.
- To base salvation on belief clearly lacks any element of justice, particularly as no clear grounds for belief in this version of god over others is provided to the living, let alone believing in a god at all.
- Also, elementary justice requires the punishment to fit the crime. Eternal punishment fits no crime.
- The genocides ordered by god in the old testament render him morally incapable of providing justice
- The millions of deaths in god's name in innumerable holy wars over several millennia also render god morally incapable of providing justice.
- The second commandment with its "visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation" shows this deity is incapable of rendering justice, but is prepared at any moment to condemn the clearly innocent out of injured pride.
- Again, I could go on with more examples, but why bother? The point is made.
Should I meet your god on Judgement Day in an afterlife, I will tell him he has been judged and found wanting. I will deny he has the moral authority to judge me.
And if there is an afterlife, I intend continuing to exercise my free will, not the questionable dictates of a questionable deity.