Is God Happy?

This essay is interesting, albeit with some significant areas for discussion (it appears to come from a published book of essays to be published soon). I’ll mention a couple of concerns:

Is it indeed true that: “Both Buddhism and Christianity suggest that the ultimate liberation of the soul is also perfect serenity: total peace of the spirit.”? I don’t think so (at least that’s not my belief), nor does this imply, as he suggests, perfect immutability. Even among those who believed in this kind of static immutability – it was only a divine attribute. Morever, there are many Christian thinkers who think a static immutability is problematic (and contrary to a robust trinitarian theology, among other problems).

Again, here’s another problematic assertion:

But love is a source of happiness when it is reciprocated, and God’s love is reciprocated only by some of His subjects, by no means all: some do not believe that He exists, some do not care whether He exists or not, and others hate Him, accusing Him of indifference in the face of human pain and misery. If He is not indifferent, but subject to emotion like us, He must live in a constant state of sorrow when He witnesses human suffering. He did not cause it or want it, but He is helpless in the face of all the misery, the horrors and atrocities that nature brings down on people or people inflict on each other.

I need only refer to that long shelf of books on theodicy in my office to suggest there is something severely lacking in this analysis.

I really like the New  York Review of Books; I remember fondly the days when a co-worker would pass me his copy after he was done with it! But it was never a place I went for orthodox theological instruction. Having said that, Leszek Kolakowsk looks like an interesting figure. Wikipedia attributes to him an interesting idea which I’d like to think about more:

His Law of the Infinite Cornucopia asserts that, for any given doctrine one wants to believe, there is never a shortage of arguments by which one can support it.

And here’s a quotation on the idea from his book Religion:

The law of the infinite cornucopia…applies not only to philosophy but to all general theories in the human and social sciences: it states that there is never a shortage of arguments to support any doctrine you want to believe in for whatever reasons. These arguments, however, are not entirely barren. They have helped in elucidating the stats questiones and in explaining why these questions matter.

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One Response to “Is God Happy?”

  1. Paul Peterson Says:

    I’ve observed something that somewhat relates to the Law of the Infinite Cornucopia: Anything that *can be* believed, actually *is* believed (by somebody, somewhere).

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