Elizabeth Evans er.evans at auckland.ac.nz
Wed Mar 20 16:36:42 EST 2002

Philip wrote:
> > Now I don't see how it could be morally satisfying for either a
> Christian or an Atheist to blame God for the sins of the Church (much less
the God of
> several worlds for the sins of the Church in one of them).  A Christian
> know better, and an Atheist shouldn't have that option.

And Ania responded:
> Ok. I see your point. But that presupposes the existence of god/God as the
> original creator-entity. I personally do not believe in god at
> all, but I am willing to suspend disbelief in order to enjoy a work of
> or a damn good argument.
> Anyway, the whole thing makes more sense to my sceptical, godless self if
> the traditional view were reversed. (here comes my own take on
> this) God did not make us; we, or our distant ancestors, made god/s. God
is an entity
> which arose out of the collective imagination/ despair/ power of belief/
> whatever. It - the entity - became flesh, or more accurately,
> spirit. It can be as evil and twisted as its creators (that's us, folks!),
or as
> compassionate. It can be blamed for the evil it wrought, or that
> was wrought in its name. It could cease to exist if no-one believed in it
any more (I
> owe Gaiman for that last insight).

I started out to think: huh? how can you blame something if you don't
believe it exists? But then I understood you to say that God does exist,
except that he's a man-made creation. So in effect we can blame God, but the
real blame must surely rest with his creators, ie. people. If I'm wrong,
here, please correct me.

> Also, I think that Pullman, being an erudite man, is probably aware of the
> old dilemma: how can god be both all-good and all-powerful? the two
> possibilities cancel one another out. If god is all good, and evil exists,
> and he can do nothing to prevent it, he cannot be all-powerful. If he's
> all-powerful, yet allows evil to continue existing, he cannot be all-good.
> And then, the other old saying: power corrupts, and absolute
> power corrupts absolutely.
> I realize that people who believe must have some satisfactory answer to
> these dilemmas. I do not. I am afraid that 'it says so in the scriptures',
> whatever they may be, is not enough for me.
> Ania

Probably the reason that makes most sense to me is that evil is allowed to
remain in the world in order for the greater good to be brought out. I think
this all comes down to the fate of the individual - how dealing with evil
can make you a better person. (or a worse one, but the choice is up to the
individual). As you can see, my thinking is very woolly on this point. I
haven't been able to get my head around the relationship between the cosmic
and the individual, but I guess that's where faith comes in - one day I'll
get it!

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