Oct 03 2009
I should probably get around to reading Dawkins’ God Delusion. The man may be irritating, but from the few snippets I’ve read, he seems to talk sense.
I got into an argument with a priest a few years ago, who tried to spin the whole ‘bad things happen for a reason’ thing and we may never know that reason as it’s all part of God’s plan. I asked him if he then believed in presdestination, predeterminism, fate. He replied to the contrary, saying that we were all given free will by God and can chart our own courses.
This bothered me greatly. I didn’t (and don’t) believe in God and I was having a great problem with the fact that he did. His belief bothered me. I’ll acknowledge that’s a failing on my part. Who am I to question his beliefs? Can’t we all just get on with our lives, each of us keeping our own beliefs to themselves, I thought.
But – he wasn’t. He was not in a church – it was the afters of a wedding – and he was foisting his beliefs on me and telling me why I was wrong and why I should believe in God. So, I persisted too.
If he believed in choice and free will, I queried, then how could he also peddle the ‘God has a plan’ nonsense. He backfooted and said that choice and free will are an inherent part of God’s plan. I argued that this made God (should he, she or it exist) an inherently bad/evil/flawed deity that purposely made sure that bad things could happen, that he encouraged his subjects to cause pain to each other. The priest was iritated by my suggestion that God was evil, but couldn’t sufficiently explain his belief to me without falling back on the vicious ‘God has a plan’ circle.
In truth, I was the one who came out of the conversation frustrated and angry, while he was blissfully calm in his ignorance. Perhaps it would be nice to have this psychological cushion to fall back on at all times. When things are bad, he can just rest assured that his creator has a plan for him, that he serves a useful function in the world and will be rewarded in the next. Fine, I may not be comforted by the fact that this world is all we have and we have to make the best of it, but at least I’m not hiding my fear of the unknown behind a mask of religious beliefs.
I did not have further conversations with that priest that evening.