God Is the Ultimate OCD

I don’t think that Richard Dawkins spends this much time thinking about things that don’t exist. I think that someone would say that all my thoughts on God means that, deep in my heart, I’m not really a non-believer. One might say that what I’m doing is being petulant, and simply refusing to obey my Heavenly Father in the way that a child throws a temper tantrum whenever he doesn’t get his way. I am something of a prodigal son, who has left his father’s farm only to return when his money runs out. The reason why I keep coming back with questions about God, one may say, is because I, despite my claims, have not completely released myself from Him. Ok. They can say whatever. But lately, something has been bugging me. When I was church-goin’ I was a determinist. I believed that whatever I was going to do was not only known by God, but also determined by him. When I gave up the Bible thing, I simply shifted my determinism from hard divine determinism, to a more softer biological determinism (which makes absolutely no sense at all beacuse I also claim to be an existentialist). I took a couple of philosophy of religion classes, and still I couldn’t shake my belief that if God exists, then our lives are determined. The point upon which my belief hinged (and still does) is the question of God’s omnicience. That is, what does God see, and more importantly, does seeing it mean he caused it to happen? I tend to believe that what God sees happens (by necessity). I know that there are plenty of people who disagree. They argue that God’s seeing things does not mean that they necessarily happen, or that what God sees are possibilities, of which your choices are a part. So, even though God saw that you would be stabbed through the heart at precisely 9 am this morning, he also saw a world where you did not, and one where you were eaten by a shark instead of stabbed, etc. This seems kind of counterintuitive, as they say, to me. How can God not see exactly what will happen — HE’S GOD?!?! My question, it seems, is this: at what point does God’s all-seeing begin? Does it stretch back to the moment of creation? Is it that as soon as God said, “let there be light”, he saw all that was to come? If so, and even if there are an infinite number of possible worlds, did God see all that would happen in any possible world instantaneously (when he created everything)? That would mean that, no matter what possible world God sees, he would see what I did (or, since he presumably saw this when he created the world, saw what I was going to do)? I mean, if God sees what I will do, and he is infalliable, then how wasn’t his seeing somehow predictive? Unless, he only sees what I will do as I am doing it, and that doesn’t quite jive with that whole Book Of Revelation thing ( That is, God sees how the world is going to end, but everything up till then is totally blank?!? That sounds so wrong that I don’t even want to believe in any God that this is what’s really going on). I think for some, they see God’s all-seeing like we see a TV show. The plot slowly unravels in installments. God has a general idea, based on everything he’s seen so far on how things are going to turn out, but some plot points remain a little vague. God knows that I will definitely put on clothes today, but he didn’t exactly know that I would put on the dark blue Levis and black Pantera t-shirt. But this still sounds odd to me. (Especially since I totally strawmanned this point of view!). If God knows what we’re going to do like I “know” what’s going to happen on CSI:Miami next season (things will get blown up, Horatio will say something, slip on or slip off his shades and then exit to the right), then that puts God’s omnicience on par with educated guesses or worse, inductive reasoning. But Those hold the possibility that we may conjure up the occasional wrong answer — and God can’t be wrong. So, I ask again, if God sees what I will do in any possible world, at what point did he see me do it? If he saw my acts at any point in the past ( this is kind of funny, since I’m now placing a non-temporal being within my temporal “time”), then God must have seen what I was going to do, and since he is also all-powerful, I am subject to his will. So it seems that I’ve got it double. I am not only subject to God’s foresight, I am also completely unable to do anything but what he has already ordained that I shall do. Now, I realize that there’s a “massively irregular universe” objection coming if I say that we are subject to God’s will, and that I have no other choice than to obey. But one raises that objection against physical intervention from our heavenly creator. If every time I or anyone was in a dangerous situation, God did something to stop the bad from happening, that would create the miu problem. But God tends to be more subtle. He suggests, he gives visions, and visitatons from angels… we aren’t so much thrown into submission as gently glided into doing exactly what God says. No matter how I try to worm free will into it, I keep coming up on the problem that it seems to me that no matter what, God has already set everything up. I don’t see any way that the Puritans (at least on this point) weren’t right. I know that this, that is, the idea that our lives may be predetermined isn’t popular. It tends to give a person the uneasy feeling that no matter what they do, everything we do doesn’t count for anything. Whether we go to Calcutta to succor the poor, or run off to El Salvador to join a death squad, the outcome is beyond our control. Nothing we can do can influence our standing with God. That’s pretty depressing, especially if we see that we are destined to burn in hell, and that there is nothing that we can do about it. Oh well. I guess, when all is said and done, only time will tell. Which is all we can say about pretty much any other matter of philosophy. FIN

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