January 6, 2007

Revising Definitions of the Christian God

Social Psychology Definition

Bishop John Shelby Spong thinks that human definitions of the Christian god need revision. Given that the concept of the Christian god appears to be logically incoherent, he may be right. The thing is, I'm not sure how many Christians will welcome his proposed revisions.
I, for one, have no desire to worship a God who is thought to favor the war in the Middle East in order to accomplish some obscure prediction found in the late first century book of Revelation, who suppresses women in the name of ancient patriarchy, or who is so deeply homophobic that oppressing homosexuals becomes the defining issue of church life.

Such an irrational, superstitious deity has no appeal to me and the attack of atheists against this kind of God is welcome. I also do not want to be told that the “true God” can be found either in the inerrancy of the Bible or in the infallibility of a Pope. Both are absurd religious claims designed not to discover truth but to enforce religious authority and conformity.
Sounds pretty good, doesn't it? Too bad he couldn't have stopped there. Instead, Spong is under the mistaken impression that atheists "are saying that the God they have encountered inside the life of the church is too small and too compromised to be God for their lives." Which atheists are these? I hate to disappoint the good bishop, but I think that most atheists would go well beyond this. At least, I know I would.

The problem isn't that this or any other god is too small; the problem is that there isn't any evidence that this or any other god exists.