Freedom had been hunted round the globe; reason was considered as rebellion; and the slavery of fear had made men afraid to think. But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing.
~ Thomas Paine, Rights of Man, 1791 ~

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Why do we need saving in the first place?

I sometimes think it would be nice if there was an all-loving, all-powerful being who was fully in control of everything that happened. I can see the allure in such a belief, as a way of consoling oneself about the seeming chaos and uncertainty that surrounds us at times. In a world that can seem so out-of-control, it can be comforting to imagine that there is an all-powerful mastermind at the helm, silently but calmly working out some great plan.

But as enticing as this view might be, it never translates to belief for me, and the illusion always vanishes as soon as I give it a moment's thought. The picture is too simplistic, too disconnected from reality, and the problems with it too numerous, to warrant serious belief. It's like a fairy tale, intended to bring comfort and reassurance but then failing to deliver on its promise.

Why do we find ourselves requiring such a being in the first place?

If there really was an all-loving, all-powerful being who could heal us and make our lives better, why haven't they already done so? Or worse, why did they create this suffering in the first place? What loving being would invent suffering and then subject other beings to it?

After every major natural disaster, many religious people pray to the same god they believe caused (or at least failed to prevent) the catastrophe in the first place, seemingly without ever realising the contradiction. I can see why people would cling to any potential hope in desperate times, but if such a god really did exist, our situation would be a lot less like the beloved creation of an all-loving creator, and rather a lot more like destitute children pleading for mercy from an abusive parent!

If such a god really did exist, it would be the very thing we needed saving from!