Over the past several years, the news stories and the statistics about thousands upon thousands of people being murdered in the name of this or that religion have proliferated. Yet, among the many things I’ve never quite grasped about various gods, or the various manifestations of the supreme being, if you prefer that terminology, is how such deities can be omnipotent, while at the same time so powerless that human beings have to conduct all the massacres of non-believers, former believers, “infidels” who mock the deity, or not-quite-fully-brain-washed believers who question some aspect of the faith or the deity, or others that the priesthoods, clerics, mullahs, and ayatollahs declare necessary to be disposed of to glorify the deity or to remove those who would question the deity’s existence or purpose, a purpose far beyond our mere mortal minds?
I mean, if a deity is supreme, why doesn’t the deity do its own dirty work?
Or are the endless killings and massacres necessary to prove true belief? But, if the deity is omnipotent, then the deity already knows who has the true belief and who doesn’t. So are all the killings and massacres to prove the power of the faith to other humans and confirm the power of the priests, mullahs, ayatollahs, and other humans who have either anointed themselves as keepers of the faith or been anointed by other human keepers of the faith? Again, an omnipotent deity could accomplish the same thing with a clear, scientifically observed great miracle of some sort, thereby confounding the scientists and rationalists, and also saving millions of lives and clearly demonstrating truly awesome power.
Funny thing, though. It hasn’t happened.
All of which suggests a possible absence of an omnipotent deity who cares in the slightest about human beings. That being so, what is the point of the “faithful” slaughtering unbelievers and heretics – except to bolster the temporal [not spiritual] power of those who lead the faithful? By definition, temporal power has no impact on the various kingdoms beyond those on our poor battered Earth. Yet the most prevalent faiths that postulate the existence of as deity seem in their postulates to be less than enthusiastic about the amassing of power and material goods, even as their believers and leaders in effect do just that.
So… are those human servants of the divine misinterpreting the rules? Or are they just being hypocritical? Well… why hasn’t, over the scores of centuries, the deity set them straight?
That hasn’t happened, either.
One doctrine, close to the faith in which I was raised, raises the spectre that the deity gave humans free will so that they could choose good or evil – good meaning following the deity and the deity’s ensuing commandments, revealed but to a select few, among which is the commandment not to kill.
Given how many millions have died in conflicts over faith, might not a compassionate deity want to set the record straight? Or does all that carnage in the name of the supreme somehow please a deity? If so, what does that say about the deity? If not, why do so many think it does?
Or does it suggest that the concept of a personally-involved deity of compassion and justice might just have a flaw or two?