DOES GOD CARE?

This is the second of two posts. The first asked DOES GOD EXIST? Here we consider whether God cares for us.  To make it worth your trouble reading, I have taken a different approach to the subject. Consider these examples.

Generally, most people ask whether God cares in the context of a tragedy. Tragedy is not the subject of this post. Fortunately, I am not in the midst of a tragedy. Neither, apparently, is (joesix), the instigator of this post. Thus, I just seek to answer the question for its own sake.

Does God care? Why do we wonder if God cares for us? When we suffer, we feel small and vulnerable. We become afraid. We want help and sympathy, and only God has the power to give us what we need. Then we need to know:  Does God care?

When we suffer, we doubt God. We doubt He cares. If God does care, then why does He allow us to suffer? Why does He permit evil? Unfortunately, nobody knows the answers to those questions. We just know He cares.

How do we know God cares about us? We see the evidence of His concern in the arguments for His existence.

Argument from Design

Because the universe exhibits the characteristics of design, careful attention to order and beauty, we presume the existence of a creator, God. If God went to the trouble to create a universe that supports life, doesn’t that show that He cares about all living things. If God went to the trouble to carefully design us, does that not suggest He cares about us?

Psalm 139:13-15 Good News Translation (GNT)

13 You created every part of me;
you put me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because you are to be feared;
all you do is strange and wonderful.
I know it with all my heart.
15 When my bones were being formed,
carefully put together in my mother’s womb,
when I was growing there in secret,
you knew that I was there—

Argument from First Cause

The Argument from First Cause is also known as The Kalam Argument. Because the universe exists, someone had to create it. That someone must be God. What the Kalam Argument demonstrates is that God exists apart from the universe. God has no beginning. Before there was a universe, God existed. Yet there was an instance the universe came into being. As a deliberate act God created the universe, thereby — in the most exacting detail – creating everything within it.

Matthew 10:29-31 Amplified Bible (AMP)

29 Are not two little sparrows sold for a penny? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s leave (consent) and notice.

30 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

31 Fear not, then; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Argument from Conscience

The Argument from Conscience makes use of that self-evident thing we call a conscience. That conscience demonstrates the existence of the Being who gave each of us a conscience.

What our consciences help us to understand is that God is holy and that He expects us to be holy. Consider these questions.

  • Would a holy God create sentient creatures and then ignore what He had created?
  • Would a good and considerate parent just walk away indifferently from his or her own child?

If God cares enough about us to give us a conscience, then we know He cares about our conduct. He wants us to do what is good, not what is evil.

Even in that time before we knew of Jesus Christ, God made certain we know the difference between what is right and what is wrong.

Romans 2:12-16 Good News Translation (GNT)

12 The Gentiles do not have the Law of Moses; they sin and are lost apart from the Law. The Jews have the Law; they sin and are judged by the Law.13 For it is not by hearing the Law that people are put right with God, but by doing what the Law commands.14 The Gentiles do not have the Law; but whenever they do by instinct what the Law commands, they are their own law, even though they do not have the Law.15 Their conduct shows that what the Law commands is written in their hearts. Their consciences also show that this is true, since their thoughts sometimes accuse them and sometimes defend them.16 And so, according to the Good News I preach, this is how it will be on that Day when God through Jesus Christ will judge the secret thoughts of all.

Argument from Desire

Within each of us is the heartfelt desire for a holy God. Thus, the Argument from Desire seeks to prove that God must exist because the desire for God exists.

Psalm 63:1 King James Version (KJV)

O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;

Do we desire a God who does not care for us? Of course not. Our desire is for a God who cares about us. Therefore, the Argument from Desire presupposes a holy God who cares about that which He has created.

Pascal’s Wager

Pascal’s Wager does not prove the existence of God. Pascal’s Wager is for those for whom all the other arguments have proven inconclusive. Our choice to believe or not believe in God is a bet. With this wager, we bet on the existence of God and what He has planned for us in eternity.

  • If we live as if there is no God who cares about us, then if God exists, we risk losing everything.
  • If we live as if there is a God who cares about us, then if God exists, we have the opportunity to live with Him in heaven.
  • If God does not exist, then what does it matter?

What Pascal observed is that  is the futility of not believing in a God who cares about us. When we believe in a God who cares about us, we have everything to gain nothing to lose.

Matthew 6:19-21 New Living Translation (NLT)

19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

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I am just an average citizen interested in promoting informed participation in the political process.
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24 Responses to DOES GOD CARE?

  1. Pingback: DOES GOD EXIST? | Citizen Tom

  2. joesix says:

    You raise some interesting questions. Let’s see if I can address them all without balking at the fact that you cite the Bible for much of your evidence.

    Argument from Design

    Your argument here first assumes that there is order to the universe, when it actually looks very chaotic to me. Asteroids randomly pummel and destroy planets every day as galaxies slowly move toward one another in anticipation of greater destruction. On this particular little planet, humans meet their ends from random violence, diseases, accidents, and if we’re lucky, old age.

    You and I may not be living in suffering and tragedy, but countless people are. Seventy years ago, over six million Jews, Poles, Roma, and homosexuals were shot, gassed, burned, and starved simply because of who they were. Eleven years ago, 3,000 Americans were killed at work with no warning. Even today, Syria continues to murder dissenting citizens in a civil war that began with a single act of children’s graffiti. There is great beauty to the universe, but there’s also plenty of horror to counter it.

    Argument from First Cause

    Because the universe exists, SOMETHING must have created it, not necessarily someone. That creator may have been God, dumb luck, or those marble playing aliens at the end of Men In Black. If it was God, then where did God come from? Belief in Him and His benevolence doesn’t answer everything, it only creates more questions and contradictions.

    For all we know, we may just be some mad experiment. Our existence alone doesn’t mean that our creator (if He/She/It exists) has any love for us. We humans are just a small blip on the universal timeline comparatively (check out Carl Sagan’s cosmic timeline to see just how comically young we are, if you haven’t already).

    Argument from Conscious

    When I was a kid, I had some pet Sea Monkeys. I created an entire ecosystem for countless little brine shrimp. Their lives — past, present, and future — all depended on me. For all intents and purposes, I was their god. Then one day, I got bored of Sea Monkeys, stopped feeding them, and they died. I think I got an ant farm next.

    How can we be sure our creator is not as curious and careless as seven year old me? How can we claim our sense of consciousness is so unique and inspired? How can we claim to know the difference between right and wrong when we still can’t agree on that as a species?

    Argument from Desire

    I have a desire for an ice cream sandwich right now, but that doesn’t change the fact that my hands are still ice cream sandwichless. We can create the idea of God by thinking about Him, but that isn’t enough to create an actual all-powerful creator whose own existence is based on His creations’ belief in Him.

    Humans have had a heartfelt desire to know the meaning of life since we first developed larger brains. Before we had the tools to examine the boundless night sky or the bacteria on our skin, we attributed everything to a single creator similar to ourselves. But technology has progressed and so too have our brains. We can explain the origin of the universe without having to rely on the existence of a Judeo-Christian god.

    Pascal’s Wager

    I actually took this approach when I was still just a curious agnostic. I wouldn’t be surprised if all agnostics felt the same way. I was terrified of denying God’s existence and then having to explain myself at His feet before being thrown into an eternal hellfire of untold horror. But if there is a god (in the religious idea of Him), I can’t believe He’s so narcissistic that He would punish His creations just for having some doubts because He hasn’t shown up for a few millennia. An all-powerful all-knowing deity would also be able to know what I truly believed, so what use is there in denying how I feel? Pretending to believe in Him (even though I really didn’t) would also seem to negate the idea of free will that people like to attribute to Him.

    There’s plenty to lose by believing in something you know isn’t true. Time and self-respect are the first things that come to mind.

  3. Sel says:

    Joesix how do u know (or rather what makes u believe) that god is not “so narcissistic that He would punish His creations just for having some doubts because He hasn’t shown up for a few millennia”??

    • joesix says:

      Sel, why would you want to pray to a god so narcissistic? At any rate, I’m pretty confident that we’ll all be okay considering that any deity so self-absorbed as the one described in the Bible would definitely show up at least once every few centuries.

  4. Citizen Tom says:

    joesix – You do like to make unsupported assertions, don’t you?

    Where does the Bible describe God as narcissistic? Before you respond, I suggest you read the verses you cite as proof in context and reference a good commentary. Otherwise, you will just embarrass yourself — again.

    Sel – Thanks for visiting and thanks for the comment.

  5. joesix says:

    “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

    “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.”

    “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.”

    Those are just three from Judeo-Christian religions’ most well-marketed list of ten. He literally says He is a jealous god. I couldn’t make this stuff up. I’ll skip the George Carlin 10 Commandments routine and offer you this good commentary from Epicurus:

    “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
    Then he is not omnipotent.
    Is he able, but not willing?
    Then he is malevolent.
    Is he both able and willing?
    Then whence cometh evil?
    Is he neither able nor willing?
    Then why call him God?”

  6. Citizen Tom says:

    joesix – There will come a time when you very much want God to care. Hopefully, you turn to John 3:16. In fact, the Book of John is a good place to start reading the Bible.

    • joesix says:

      There was a time when I thought He really was there and did care. After a while, I realized I was just talking to myself, putting trust in an idea rather than working on fixing my problems with my own will. I understand that many people don’t have the same luxury. Like I’ve mentioned before, I have no problem with people believing whatever well-marketed fairy tales they want. I only feel the need to inject my opinion when I see the zealots try to impose their beliefs on others through government legislation.

      • Citizen Tom says:

        When people read the Bible, some see in it a partial explanation that explains why we were made and why our world is in such a mess. What is more important, they see God cares; He has redeemed us.

        Has God done what you or I would have done? No. We are God’s creations. He made the world His way. Why? How? Just exactly who is God? You know how His mind works? Yet you have it all figured out. God is a fairytale.

        And so, merely to save us from zealots, you inject your opinion. And if Socialism is not about zealots trying to impose their beliefs on others through government legislation, what is it about?

      • joesix says:

        I don’t claim to know how God’s mind works as much as you do. I’m more likely to say that He doesn’t exist at all. And if He gave me free will, He has no one but Himself to blame for me believing the blasphemous things I do. An all-powerful, all-knowing deity would be able to know what I truly believed, so what use is there in denying how I feel? Pretending to believe in Him (even though I really didn’t) would negate the idea of free will itself.

        Socialism and any other political philosophies I don’t ascribe to are at least rooted in facts — they try to make rational assumptions based on undeniable evidence rather than the ancient text of one religion that can be interpreted countless ways.

  7. Pingback: OF GOD AND NARCISSISM | Citizen Tom

  8. Citizen Tom says:

    joesix – God gave you the brain and the senses you need to perceive His creation. He gave you a heart to know right from wrong. And what is more than most of the human race, He gave you the opportunity to read His Bible. If you waste all that because of self-interested pride — in narcissism, you have no one to blame but yourself.

    Facts about Socialism. :lol: So when has Socialism worked to the benefit of the people for any length of time? Look carefully at the politicians who support government-run social programs. Read the Constitution with some respect. Then explain how all the wonderful gifts given by generous politicians to the common man could be constitutional. They are not? Oops! Then explain why something so wonderful has to be based upon lie after lie after lie.

    What Socialism involves is as old as government. Want proof? Check out a book entitled “Politics” by Aristotle. Throughout recorded history would be tyrants have pitted the poor against the rich. For additional edification, here is something short. See: http://notablequotesnsuch.wordpress.com/2012/07/07/democratic-dialog-ode-to-the-welfare-state/

    • joesix says:

      You talk about pride and then claim to know one of the only ways to perceive all of creation. Care to lecture me about irony next?

      You can also remind me when I claimed to be a socialist and how that relates to a discussion about religion.

      • Citizen Tom says:

        You call God narcissistic and you lecture me on irony? And yes, you called God narcissistic.

        But if there is a god (in the religious idea of Him), I can’t believe He’s so narcissistic that He would punish His creations just for having some doubts because He hasn’t shown up for a few millennia.

        If God does not operate your way, then He must be narcissistic? Why would God need our advice?

        Do I claim to know one of the only ways to perceive all of Creation? I am not certain what you mean by that, but I presume you are talking about the Bible. Either the evidence supports the Bible or it does not. If it does, and I obviously believe it does, then the problem (narcissism perhaps) lies in ignoring the evidence.

        Given that the early Christians who saw Jesus crucified and resurrected died rather than recant their belief in the resurrection of Jesus, I find it difficult not to believe the Bible. People do not die defending the truth of fairytales.

        Why Socialism? When your political beliefs justify stealing, those political beliefs have become your religious beliefs.

      • joesix says:

        I called the Biblical version of God narcissistic and brought up the fact that He uses three of the Ten Commandments to remind everyone of how awesome and jealous He is. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with having a narcissistic god if you subscribe to the belief that we are created in His image. I personally like to strive for a little humility in myself and I would thus assume God did too (if He existed and if He created me in His image).

        You seemed to suggest before that religion, Christianity in particular, was the one and only way to understand God, or inner peace, or om, or optimum thetan levels, or however other religions describe that sense of. . . let’s call it “nirvana.” I apologize if I interpreted your previous posts and comments incorrectly. Perhaps we actually agree that that feeling of enlightenment is not found solely in one religion or nonreligious philosophy.

        If I had to define my religious/political beliefs, I certainly wouldn’t call them socialism. I’d like to consider myself an avid follower of unrestrained curiosity, a zealot focused on asking difficult questions rather than settling on vague answers.

  9. Citizen Tom says:

    joesix – The fact remains you called “the Biblical version of God” narcissistic because that version did not fit into your conception of God. What is sort of funny is that you don’t realize the extent our Christian culture has shaped your conception of what God should be like. What is sad is that you have not studied the Bible.

    If you want to take issue with what I said about Exodus 20:3-7 King James Version (KJV), I suggest you comment on http://citizentom.com/2012/07/08/of-god-and-narcissism/.

    Whatever kind of zealot you are, you condone stealing.

    • joesix says:

      In addition to merely experiencing American “Christian culture,” I studied the Bible for about six years. I read and interpreted an additional midrash portion for my bar mitzvah on top of the standard seven aliyot. I later worked as a teacher at a Sunday school and religious preschool. If that’s not keeping myself open to the Biblical idea of God, I don’t know what is.

      Whatever kind of blogger you are, you’ll have a hard time rationally conversing with other people if you assume that all taxes are a form of stealing.

  10. Citizen Tom says:

    joesix – When someone does not know what they are talking about, where is the kindness in keeping them ignorant?

    Consider your double-standard. You want me to behave as Christian, but you are perfectly happy to acquaint me with what you think are my faults.

    You want to know what Jesus thought of telling someone the truth? Check out: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+23&version=MSG.

    • joesix says:

      I don’t claim to be a Christian. I do try to retain some sense of modesty and recognize that words such as “ignorant,” “truth,” and “evil” are all relative.

  11. Pingback: THE SEARCH FOR THE MOST VIRTUOUS VERSATILE BLOGGER — PART 9 | Citizen Tom

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