I don't know if you all remember, but my Dad and I don't discuss religion. Mostly because he lacks the ability to have a conversation about religion and not let it get personal.
Or so it's gone in the past.
However, the other night over dinner we managed to have a conversation without anyone getting their feelings hurt.
It started out as a discussion about Mother Theresa being named a Saint. Oddly, my Dad was raised Catholic but his parents had a problem with the church and left to become Mennonites-lite. So he doesn't know a whole lot about the Catholic church or what they believe since he missed out on CCD classes and actually participating in the life of the church.
So we went over how Catholic Saints are recognized and why people pray 'to' the Saints. Somehow though we segued into a theological discussion about the nature of God.
To preface, my parents are both currently non-denominational Christians. And in my opinion their understanding of Christian theology is less comprehensive than it should be. But that's fine, not everyone enjoys theology and arguing about things that can never be proven or disproven.
I know, I don't get it either. What better fun is there?
Still, they read the Bible and they *believe*, even if trying to pin them down on certain positions is like herding cats. You get nowhere but frustrated super fast.
Back to the conversation. In the discussion about how Saints are people who are recognized by the church as being in Heaven, not *created* by the Catholic church, we wound up talking about the omni's of God. Omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent.
My Dad has no problem with the all powerful, being *everywhere* parts of this. His wrinkle comes at the all knowingness.
His stance is that he thinks God can set something into motion but not know how it's going to turn out. That otherwise God might get 'bored' with knowing everything. Which is…not a sustainable theological perspective in the Christian faith, as far as I know. I did tell him to ask his pastor because presumably the man has had more theological training than, say, me who has had none. I doubt he'll ask though.
My argument against his theological opinion basically runs as follows:
1. Christians accept the Bible as the inspired word of God. God, via angels for the most part, spoke on occasion to people directly but other than that He gave people the information that He wanted to get out and let them write it in their own fashion.
2. Even though it is inspired and therefore there are different writing styles, etc., the Christian belief is based on the fact that God would not allow the important parts to get messed up. So anything that God causes to be said about Himself must be what God meant to have said about Him.
3. God says, in several places, that He knows everything. There are references through the Old Testament and the New. So God knows everything, according to the Bible.
4. God also says that lying is a sin. That's pretty much up near the front, starts in the whole Ten Commandments thing.
5. Therefore, if God says that He is all-knowing, but is not actually all-knowing, then you have two options. Either the Bible can't be trusted to be accurate on what is said of God - and therefore the whole thing must be called into question - because there was no divine editorial board, or God lied about being all-knowing. And if God lied about being all-knowing, then God has sinned. And God cannot sin and be a *good* God.
This is all, of course, assuming Christianity, which assumes Judaism as the base.
Pagans don't, as far as I know, expect 100% honesty from the gods, depending on which god they happen to be dealing with. But I could be wrong. Paganism, aside from a brief foray into the beliefs of my ancestors, is not really a thing for me. There's a lot about it I don't know.
Not really sure how Muslims would feel about the whole thing. I still have trouble with the whole belief that God caused the people to believe that they were killing Jesus but really it was someone else. It still feels a lot like lying to me. Which doesn't sit with the concept of a good God.
I don't know, maybe there's some deeper theological theory that I'm unaware of that makes it possible for God to set something up where He doesn't know the outcome, but it doesn't feel right. It doesn't mesh with my understanding of theology and divinity as a whole.
Another question he had that came out of this was why would God bother to create humanity if He knew that we would screw it up in about the first five seconds.
I told him that most(many?) people believe that God created out of Love. Almost like a function of being Himself. He didn't create out of boredom or loneliness or a desire to see what would happen, but because the purest expression of the Love that He has was to create …. everything and humanity as well. Even knowing that people were going to muck it up.
What do you all think?