Sunday, June 09, 2013

Proof that God is a Universalist

As anyone who has read my posts on this blog already knows I do not believe that a god exists, and certainly not the god described by most Christians or Muslims. I cannot prove that a god does not exist, but given what I know about the natural world, logic, and reason, I seriously doubt there is a place for a god in this universe. However, as an open-minded person, I must admit to a possibility that some kind of god exists.

Given that possibility, let's define what is meant by god. Most religious people believe that their god is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent. That is, their god knows everything, can do anything, and is perfectly good, fair, and just. God also is the entity that created everything we know about in the universe. But let's get real. Even the most conservative Christian would admit that there are certain logical impossibilities that remain impossible even for a god: God cannot create a stone that is too heavy for even God to move, for example. So let's define omnipotence as the ability to do anything that is logically consistent and move on.

Given these definitions I have concluded that if a god exists, and that's a big IF, then God must be a universalist: Everybody gets into heaven. Here's why:

God is omnibenevolent, so he is infinitely good, fair, and just. It would be unjust to condemn a person to the death penalty for jay-walking, even more so to condemn him to death by torture. It would be far more unjust to condemn a person to everlasting torture in hell simply for not having enough evidence to cause his belief in a god. So God has to do something about that. God is also omniscient, so he knows everything, including the past, present, and future events. He knew me before I was born. He knew when he created the universe that he was going to create me. If he did not know this, then he is not omniscient, by definition.

God also knows in advance when I'm going to die and how I'm going to die. More importantly for this discussion, God knows what the state of my mind will be the moment I pass away. He knows if I'm still going to be an atheist or if I have had a change in heart. Assuming that I still will be an unbeliever, he also knows that I will be going to hell, according to the Christian interpretation of the bible.

Now, given that God knows when he created me that I am going to be an atheist and, as such, will be going to hell, and given that God is omnibenevolent and is loathe to allow for me to go to hell (preferring instead that I go to heaven with him), and that he is omnipotent (having the unlimited ability to change my mind for me), then allowing me to die as an unbeliever is incongruous with God's personal characteristics as ascribed to him by the Christian faith. In other words, the Christian god would not create a person that he knows in advance would be doomed to eternal torment in hell. Doing so would make him the opposite of omnibenevolent.

Now consider free will and heaven. The argument that is used to mitigate God's problem with evil (why an all-loving god would allow for evil and suffering in the world when he has the power to stop it) is free will. God gave us free will and chooses not to tamper with it. That's fine except for the concept developed earlier: God may have given us free will to choose our own path but since he already knows in advance what we will choose he could have chosen not to create us in the first place. Some inconsistencies also arise with the concept of heaven. Heaven is supposed to be a place of eternal peace, happiness, and harmony. But doesn't that also mean that we will have no free will in heaven? If we have free will in heaven then somebody will screw it up just like they did on Earth when Eve ate the apple. It's inevitable. So if heaven exists, God will have to control our will in some way.

So, back to the moment of death for an atheist: Since God, being omnibenevolent and omniscient, would not create a person knowing full well that he is going to be doomed to eternal hell fire, then God must choose (or has already chosen) to change his mind about believing in God in the moment right before he dies. Thus, he is instantly a believer and accepts Jesus Christ as Savior in his last breath. And that doesn't present a problem for God's granting him free will because he had free will all his life, right up to the moment he died. He is not going to have free will in heaven anyway so what's one more second to matter?

Thus, to save God's credibility as an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent being who has granted us all free will on Earth, God must by necessity be a universalist, meaning that if any one religion has gotten it right, it must be the Unitarian Universalist Church. I do not belong to that church, but if I were a believer, that would be the one I would attend I think.

Even so, and even using this impeccable logic, it turns out this means that God has painted himself into a corner. If he is, indeed, omnipotent but in order to uphold his omnibenevolence he is forced to cause our belief the moment we die, then he is not really omnipotent after all. Such a quandary. Maybe this is the unmovable stone that God has to move.

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