One of the things that has always bothered me about religion in general is the notion of an all powerful (omnipotent) and all knowing (omniscient) God. These omnipotent being(s) are said to care directly for each an every one of us on a personal level and to be able and willing to intervene in our lives directly for good or ill. Much like the most popular version of the simulation hypothesis (SH1 — both ourselves and the universe are 100% simulated) it suffers from the too good to be true problem. Simply put an all powerful God can be used as an “excuse” to explain any feature of the world, humanity, or individual person including oneself, that one desires. The answer “Because God made it/wants it that way” can be used in any situation whatsoever to answer any question whatsoever and all discussion ends.
In addition to the too good to be true problem an all powerful God suffers from from various other logical and explanatory gaps, most notably the problem of evil. If, as almost all religions suppose, God is good and desires the minimum of evil, why is there any evil at all? After all he is all powerful couldn’t he just eliminate all evil with the brush of a finger. There have been a huge number of attempts to attack and explain away this problem by both religious and irreligious philosophers. Some strong arguments have been mustered but none have been completely successful and the problem remains unsolved to this day. In this piece I intend to show how a non all powerful God (from this point on referred to as non omnipotent/omniscient God or nOOG for short) can be used to address the problem of evil. Simply put the nOOG hypothesis says that God is actively engaged in an attempt to reduce or eliminate evil from the world but is circumscribed by his limited powers. By making the reduction/elimination of evil the focal point of God’s activities in the world and his (I will refer to nOOG as a he throughout for no reason other than convenience) interactions with man a number of key features of the modern world and the history of the world in general (since the dawn of consciousness in humans and the ascent of man) can be explained. The [problem of evil] is solved for the religious person. Unfortunately for nOOG and us the actual problem of evil has yet to be.
For this theory to be believed a number of key assumptions must be accepted. These are not listed in any particular order and I focus almost solely on earth and human beings. That is for purposes of this discussion only and I see no reason to think that any of the points I make could not easily be extended to include all worlds and all beings in this universe or all universes (if there is more than one)
- God is neither all powerful nor all knowing. He is nOOG
- nOOG created the world/universe by acting as “first mover.” He set everything in motion but has essentially “let nature take its course” from that point on possibly because his powers were/are limited
- Because nOOG let the world/universe evolve as it would without any interference from him evil arose
- nOOG is good, desires the minimum of evil, and actively seeks its total elimination from the world
- Evil is defined as any increase in chaos or disorder in the natural world or pain/suffering in man.
- Free will exists and is inviolable even by nOOG
- nOOG values humanity and the natural world and believes they are worthy of protection from evil
- nOOG has the ability to influence events in our world directly and indirectly though this power is limited in some fashion
- nOOG has the ability to influence/coerce man and all animals directly and indirectly though this power is constrained by free will for those beings that have a will and may be limited in other ways
- nOOG’s ability to coerce/influence man is weakest or non-existent at the level of the individual and strongest/most active and effective at the population level
- nOOG uses what powers he/she does have to actively attack evil via direct/indirect actions in the world and/or direct/indirect actions to/through man
- nOOG has been focused on the problem of evil since at least the dawn of consciousness in man and possibly since the “birth” of evil at some point in the distant past of the universe
Religion and nOOG
The Origins and History of Religion can be Explained by nOOG and the Problem of Evil
Where and why did religion originate? What was the first impulse in man to seek a religious explanation for the way the world was or how the people in it behaved? Were the so called prophets actually prophesying anything? Where did those prophets come from? Why is there more than one “religion’? Within each religion what was the origin of its moral code? Why are almost all religions focused on the reduction/elimination of evil and why to they all basically define evil and what is evil in similar fashions?
I do not intend to address each of the questions I listed above though I do believe the nOOG hypothesis could be used to provide an adequate answer for all of them. That said I think that most will be touched on in some fashion if one accepts the following story of the early history of man…coming soon!.
Science & Technology and nOOG
The Origins, Historical Role, Positive and Negative Impacts, and Possible Future Directions of Science & Technology can be Explained by nOOG and the Problem of Evil
How/why did science originate? What was the first impulse in man to turn to the natural world and away from superstitious or religious explanations for various observed phenomena? Why is there only one scientific method and why does it have the features it does? Why does the world seem to be trending toward an increase in the influence of science and technology? What might be the next big advance in science and technology?
I do not intend to address each of the questions I listed above though I do believe the nOOG hypothesis could be used to provide an adequate answer for all of them. That said I think that most will be touched on if one accepts the following story of the origins and purpose of science and technology…..coming soon!
The exciting conclusions. Stay tuned.