William James

William James
We must get by on what truth we have today, and be willing to call it error tomorrow.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

'America's Four Gods" (supposedly)

A poll asked the following question:

Researchers say there are four views of God among Americans, each view having about an equal share. Which God is closest to your view?

1. The Authoritative God: Highly judgmental of us and highly engaged in the ongoing affairs of the world
2. The Benevolent God: Minimal judgment of our choices but highly engaged in our well-being
3. The Critical God: Highly judgmental but not engaged in the world (mainly reserving blessings/rewards for the afterlife).
4. The Distant God: Non-judgmental and not engaged in world events. God booted up the universe and then left us alone
5. No God: Atheist or Agnostic

To which I responded:

Although the second choice comes closest to my view, I did not vote because I believe it may be misleading and would not do justice to my view of God. I view God as benevolent, but I would not quite say "non-judgmental". I think God does have great wisdom about right and wrong, and that he feels bad for us when we make poor choices. I have long rejected the view of a vengeful god who is petty, easily offended, and constantly waiting in the wings to deal out punishment and judgment. I believe that everything God does in relation to mankind is for our greater happiness and progression, and that God never acts out of anger. At those times when he allows us to suffer the natural consequences of our poor choices, I believe he is not looking down on us saying, "Ha, ha! Told ya so!" or "Who's your daddy?" Rather, I believe he is thinking, "Much as I would like to help you, and much as I love you, if I were to now intervene to prevent your suffering, you would not progress and learn as you need to." I also do not think of God engineering virtually every little trial in our lives to test us. In terms of physical intervention, intervention is an exception to the rule that God generally allows the laws of nature and human agency to take their own course. Unlike most LDS, my view of God is that he rarely intervenes in our lives apart from imparting comfort and inspiration to us. But I do believe he cares about us deeply and pays close attention to our lives and the choices we make. I believe my views are very much in harmony with the scripture that says God causes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust.

One of the great mysteries for me as a believer is determining why God sometimes intervenes and why at other times he doesn't. I cannot say, nor can I conclude based upon my life experiences that people have a statistically higher chance of a good result if they first pray or receive a priesthood blessing. What I can say is that in my own life, I am convinced that there have been times when God did intervene, and I was blessed. Sometimes, I am not sure whether a good result happened on its own or because of God's intervention, but I am content to give God the benefit of the doubt.

No comments:

Post a Comment