God is Good?

Back in January 2017, a few weeks before the pouting Cheeto was inaugurated, a friend of mine was killed in a car accident. When it happened, I was shocked and went through the process of questioning why it had to be him. I read all of the articles about the accident that I could find on the web just to make it real to me, because it was super hard to believe. He was a legitimately good guy but passed away in a tragic way. He wasn’t the first person to die tragically young, nor the last unfortunately. Hell, he wasn’t even my first friend to die under gruesome circumstances. It is quite common when people pass away, that their friends and family mourn and reevaluate life, especially when the decedent is someone genuinely liked. I created a Facebook account briefly, just to see the posts about my guy before deleting it and going on with my life. There were a lot of tributes and RIP posts and though he was deserving of them, I wish he could have gotten them at 80 instead of 40. 

The Catalyst

Today (about 2 months before this actual day) I read on the Nextdoor app that a drunk driver crashed into this person’s house. There was plenty of property damage, but no loss of life which is a great thing. The guy that posted about it titled his post “God is Good” and that immediately rubbed me the wrong way. The person that posted this is a bit annoying in our political debates, so I immediately had an unfavorable feeling when I saw his name. However, the main reason it rubbed me the wrong way is the petty, nature attributed to God. Yeah, I’m on this again…my apologies to the religious. I know for the people in the moment it seems like a miracle, and they are thankful that God spared their loved one(s). However, for those us that lost loved ones in a similar fashion, the last thing you’d hear is “God is good” in this instance, for obvious reasons.

Scale It

I am not religious personally, so in real time and after the fact, I’m not questioning or praising God for either outcome. That’s not a knock to anyone that does though, I am truly a “live and let live” sort of guy. My perspective is rooted in the grand scale of life and existence, so although I believe in God, I don’t associate human-like characteristics to the being, like gender or being temperamental and so on. For as long as I can recall I’ve been intrigued by outer space…not to the point that I was ever into Star Trek or Star Wars, but enough that I read about the various telescopes and observation sites across the planet for my enjoyment. That said, I believe there to be many possible instances of life occurring in our universe, too many instances for any deity to be fully concerned about the general feelings of any one person. When I was able to wrap my head around the fact that many of those tiny glowing blobs that I’d see in pictures were galaxies with billions of stars of their own, the scale of life changed for me.

With such a scale, even if I believed God were the jealous, judgmental sort of being described in Abrahamic faiths, that being would still have way better things to do than get involved in the day-to-day activities on Earth. That’s not me minimizing the abilities of God, rather me properly assessing our significance in the grand scheme. For example, if all there is in existence right now were equivalent to an 8-ounce glass of the purest water, and every human known to ever exist on this planet since the beginning was urine dropped in that 8-ounce glass, the water would still be clean and pure enough for a normal person to drink without feeling weird about it. In fact, the water would have fewer impurities than the water coming out of your fridge or RO system right now. OK, maybe urine was a bad example, substitute in Kool-Aid or those flavor gels people put in water. Either way, all that we as a collective have ever been on Earth doesn’t even amount to a single drop in all that there is right now, so an individual at any given time is infinitely small.  

What Do We Know

Maybe we as a society long for significance, and as a result, we minimize God to a scale beneficial for our perceived importance, stroking our collective egos in the process. A generation is a 25-year period, with that in mind, we are only 50 generations removed from the beginning of Christianity. We are only 85 generations from the beginning of Judaism, which borrowed from dynastic Egypt (Kemet) which goes back 207 generations…Kemet is purportedly predated by Atlantis, which we don’t have significant information on. So basically, we have a decent idea about the last 5100 years maybe, but even that has been corrupted by racism, classism, sexism and religion over time to the point that our current concepts would be vaguely recognizable to people from those origin days. As a reminder though, this planet has been around for a little over 4 billion years, and we can barely account for 5000 of them.

On The Lighter Side…Kinda

shallow focus of clear hourglass
Photo by Jordan Benton on Pexels.com

Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky that created the universe and the vast majority will believe you. Tell them the paint is wet and they have to touch it to be sure.

George Carlin

Those that know me, know I began to distance myself from religion, probably 21 years ago and I have officially identified as non-religious for the last 14 years. When I have that conversation with religious folks, they feel I’ve lost my way, they always say they’ll pray for me and my reactions to this have become more and more combative as a result. The interesting thing is they are usually very dismissive of my stance, without ever having done soul searching or an intellectual dive into their own beliefs. I’m always told that whatever their religion is, it brings them closer to God, but I wholeheartedly disagree with that sentiment, at least as it pertains to the direction of movement. Going back to that longing for significance, people overinflate their own value, drastically reduce God’s value and call that getting closer. And they say I’m lost. 

“So how does all of this relate to God’s nature of being good” you may be wondering. In my observation, God’s recognized goodness is directly related to one’s perception of their standing with God, as it relates to whatever incident inspires them to make the statement “God is good” in the first place. There seemingly is no consideration given to the grand scheme, rather the very specific scenario that played in their favor, or in the case of the Nextdoor post, the socially acceptable sentiment of a scenario playing in someone else’s favor. As long as it is not at their detriment of course. No one is saying “God is good” when the person right behind them hits for a few thousand on a slot machine. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t measure God’s value or attributes in this way at all. I don’t say God is good, bad or anything else really. I don’t have enough information to go on to make a judgment like that. What I can say is, I believe God is infinitely more complex than what I hear religious people give It credit for, and that’s good enough for me.

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