Wednesday, March 23, 2011

In which David B pretends to be a deep thinker

I’ve read a good number of mainstream Xian critiques of the Mormon view of God from various sources, and they generally leave me with a simple question, based on the common claim that the mainstream Xian view of God entails a God who/that is absolutely perfect in every possible way and exceeds in all things, namely:

What's so great about absolute greatness?

This probably sounds like a joke, but it’s a serious question. If a critique of the Mormon conception of God is that the Mormon view entails a God who is not as wondrous as the mainstream Xian view entails,* then why is that supposed to be such a huge criticism? I see no inherent reason that that should be a valid critique; it seems to me that it’s a critique simply and only because it goes against some people’s underlying assumptions about the nature of deity, not because it somehow is a problem with a conception of deity.

And remember, an argument like “Isn’t it better to worship an absolutely great deity than a limited though still great deity?” won’t hold for this—i want concrete arguments here, not arguments in the abstract. It might be better if life here on earth didn’t involve the ebola virus, for example, but proposing an earth without ebola doesn’t make reality any different. I’m looking for arguments that speak to reality—and i haven’t found any yet.

* Something i’m not ceding, but which i offer as a basis for rational discussion on this issue.


Heather the Mama Duk said...

Because that's just the way it is. And your tie is ugly.


marta said...

I'm from Utah (not Mormon) I thought this was true and funny

Chuck said...

hit the "next blog" button and ended up here so i will take a quick stab at an answer.
Belief in an absolutely perfect God, puts an end to my striving, trying and 'i'll do better' religion. There is not hope that i would ever be good enough to be in the presence of an absolutely perfect God. Bad News, that can then lead to good news. He has made a way, totally outside of my striving and ability to, by faith, have imparted to me, His Perfect Righteousness. Good News. So indirectly, the belief in an absolutely perfect God, puts an end to the burden of religion that says, you must do better, to be loved by God.
Thanks for this opportunity to "hash out" my own beliefs.
my blog
chuck bean

David B said...

@Chuck: Interesting take. It seems that your approach assumes that descriptions of an infinitely loving God don’t mean what many people take it to mean? Or are you saying that such a distance between God and us exists that it’s only resolvable precisely because God is infinitely loving, even if we’re not “good enough” to merit it? I ask because even though i suspect that the second option is more widespread in mainstream Xianity, i’ve had enough contact with certain strains of Calvinism that claim the former that i can’t make the assumption one way or the other.

But anyway, i suspect that that approach to it wouldn’t hold in the Mormon scheme of things, due mainly to the Mormon conception of divinity and humanity as different not in type, but only in degree—but i have to think this through a bit more before being really firm about that.

Chuck said...

tried to leave a comment twice
not sure why blogger keeps ignoring me

Chuck said...

so naturally it takes the comment saying that it isn't taking my comments, gotta love the irony.

so i will try again.

I was unaware of the belief in God being different only in degree. My belief is in a perfectly perfect God who is 'other.' This means the laws and commandments only serve to show me I can never measure up. Then on top of all that bad news is placed the "amazing grace" good news that God in sacrificial love has made a way for me to have His righteousness.
No more striving, trying and failing miserably, which was my pattern.
thanks for being willing to have this exchange, i enjoy learning and sharing.