Children of a imperfect God

So, one of my long-standing criticisms of Christianity is that it repeatedly makes the claim that God is perfect and we humans are inherently flawed, so much so that someone had to die for our sins.

Well, now, hold on a minute. Anyone who can argue there aren’t bugs in the human genome with a straight face is so delusional that I don’t think having a conversation with them would be useful. And we *know* the bible received a patch at one point – that’s why we’ve got the old and new testaments. One of my biggest criticisms of the bible is that revelations contains a place (Rev 22:18) where it says, in essence, “Do not patch this again” even though it’s still obviously a very flawed text.

Is it so hard to consider the possibility that there might be a God, but said God might be imperfect? Anyone who’s ever written software knows that only the very simple things work on the first pass. The human genome is *gigabytes* in size – is it at all surprising that it contains bugs? The bible is 4.13 megabytes – again, is it surprising that it contains bugs?

I think one of the big issues here is that humans are easily brainwashed / convinced of things that aren’t necessarily true. And once convinced, we tend to be very tenacious about holding onto our beliefs. I think it would be a very good thing, however, if we could acknowledge the clear, reality-testable concept that if there is a God, said entity is not a perfect being.

For that matter, the bible contains some very interesting contradictions. 1 Corinth 13:5 makes the assertion that ‘Love holds no record of wrongdoings’, which does in fact sound like a definition of perfect unconditional love. The Bible asserts God is love (1 John 4:8). Yet the bible is full of places where it claims God is going to send you to hell for actions you’ve taken in the past – this in fact is exactly what Rev 22:18 is saying – if you add to this book, we’ll send you to hell. This is a obvious and major contradiction.

I can’t speak with the same level of authority for Islam, because I haven’t read the whole book, nor have I been immersed in the culture which would help me understand it, but from a surface level view it appears to contain the same sorts of contradictions and improvements. The impression one is under is that our religions are being evolved – by human programmers in my view. I think these books are inspired by our imagination of what is divine, but I can say with great confidence that there is little chance they are inspired by a monolithic, unchanging being.

And, really, there’s nothing wrong with the idea that God might be imperfect. Certainly it takes human developers many thousands of tries to build complex software (and really, both religions and our genome have a lot to do with software insofar as they’re both strings of data that are interpreted and lead to results)

In fact, it’s a lot easier for me to live peacefully with the idea of a imperfect God than a perfect, never makes a mistake one given the reality I experience. The idea of God I was sold as a child is incompatible with the reality I experience, which as a result puts a noticeable size strain on my neural network any time I attempt to reconcile the two.

If the world could recognize the idea of religion as a memetically evolving thing – recognize that we’ve been wrong in the past and we’re slowly converging on right – it would undoubtedly make the world a better place. I see a lot of signs of this in the current catholic pope, which is encouraging, although he still hasn’t come out and said birth control is a good idea. (I do think it’s possible that he will at some point)

In fact most of my hatred of organized religion comes from the assertions it makes and the people who think that they should be controlling other people’s behavior based on what their religion says. In the worst form, you have shooting, raping, mutilating, and torturing others based on your religion, and then you have threatening, shaming, guilting, and inducing fear in others based on your religion. I’ve certainly read about the first, and experienced the second firsthand. None of these strike me as good things and it would be a good idea if all of them stopped.

2 Responses to “Children of a imperfect God”

  1. Alderin Says:

    I think that if there is a god, we really don’t want to attract their attention, and should desire that they stay well away from us. The last time a gnat attracted my attention, it was dead before I knew it was a living thing making that itch I felt. Us vs a god would be similar in scale, and possibly similar in other ways. I don’t believe that they’ve ever interacted with us, if they exist. I do believe that humans have a vast and impressive ability to imagine things, and to believe imagined things, and to communicate and share imagined things. Sometimes, these imagined things are brought about in time by a combination of our refinement of knowledge and desire for such things. Other times, our refinement of knowledge challenges the belief we invested in the imagined thing, no matter how great our desire for it. Gods, dragons, magic, artificial gravity, anti-gravity, faster-than-light travel… amazing things we’ve imagined, some may come, some may not. My money is on gods never showing up.

  2. Swipes Says:

    You write about a very small (versus the entire number in the world, not in the number of observers) subset of the world religions by only touching on two Abrahamic ones. What are your thoughts on God as observed in other types of religions?

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