Monday, October 8, 2007

Faure way

5:25 PM Posted by: M., 2 comments

Have you guys ever read any Sebastien Faure? I picked up his pamphlet entitled, "Does God Exist? 12 Proofs of the Nonexistence of God" at an anarchist bookstore (good place for religious philosophy resources--the place is called "an anarchist bookstore") a while back and I just recently gave it a second read. There are a couple things that struck me about his writings, and about he himself. I would like to know what your opinions are of him as well.

Anyhow, in the first section of the text there is an "About the Author" section where it describes how Faure grew up in the Catholic church and schooling, and then he became atheist and and Anarchist later in life. One of the most interesting parts for me was the following excerpt: "The religion of God was soon superceded in his heart by a deep-rooted devotion to the welfare of mankind." This is something I have been thinking about lately. It seems to me that a lot of de-converts, and never-converts reject christianity because they reject the conflict between a "good god" and an unjust world, or rather, they cannot get over the Problem of Evil. I really, really had no clue about this until i became a de-convert myself. I really did think that non-believers were chasing sin or were hard hearted or selfish and that christians were really the purest caring people in the world (of course I must qualify that by saying there ARE a lot of purely caring christians in the world). This was all I was ever taught. Honest, it is embarassing now to admit I used to think that. I don't really have much else to say about this point, other than the fact that is has astounded me how many of us de-converts have a deep set need to fight injustice--or at least have a deep set distaste for it.

Another part of the pamphlet I found interesting is under Faure's proof called, "God could not have created without a motive: It is impossible to discern one." In that section he writes, "Let us examine God before Creation. God is alone, self-sufficient and perfectly wise, happy and powerful. Nothing can improve His wisdom; nothing can increase His happiness; nothing can strengthen His power. Such a god cannot experience any desire because His happiness is infinite; He cannot look toward any aim because nothing is lacking in his perfection; he cannot formulate any plans because nothing can increase His power; He cannot be determined to want anything because He has no need for anything."

Come to think of it, I cannot even really pull out why exactly I believed God created us when I was a christian. I might just be drawing a blank, but I am trying to remember why. Something about Satan detracting from the other angels or something. Or God created us for his glory. Or I dont know.someone please help me with this--I am probably forgetting a lot of places in the Bible where it talks about this. This is sad. I was an on-fire christian for the first 22 years of my life, and I can't remember this stuff? It is sad to me that I cannot answer this question, but somehow I was qualified enough to go on a half-dozen mission trips and save human souls from eternal damnation? I digress.

But faure's proof kind of makes sense to me. How could a perfect God create something imperfect, or even conceive that imperfection could exist? If everything we have comes from God, where did evil come from? Is God not the only creator then? so many questions!

I have a feeling that with this question, as with many we ask, my christian friends will reply with something along the lines of "we are mere humans, how can we know?" I will quote Faure once again to give a more comprehensive picture.
"They (christians) say: 'You have no right to talk about God the way you do. you present us with a God-caricature systematically reduced to the proportion which your comprehension is only capable of according. The God which you present is not ours. Our God you cannot conceive because He overtakes you; he escapes your comprehension. Knoweth ye! that whatever in the way of might, wisdom and knowledge might appear fantastic and immense even for the most pwerful man is only child's play to our God. Do not forget that Humanity could not move on the same level with Divinity. remember that it is impossible for man to comprehend God's ways as it is impossible for minerals to imagine the ways of vegetables, for vegetables to conceive of the ways of animals and for animals to conceive of the ways of men."

To that, Faure responds, "Are you (christians) not men, as I? does not God overtake you as He does me? Does not God escape your comprehension as much as He does mine? Or have you the pretense of moving on the same level as Divinity? Have you the affrontery of thinking and the foolishness of stating that with a simple flap of a wing, you have reached those summits occupied by God? Are you so presumptuous as to affirm that your finite mind has embraced the Infinite?... If the fact that I cannot conceive and explain God does not give me the right to deny Him, the very same fact, which also holds true for you, does not give you the right to affirm Him!"


OneSmallStep said...

**How could a perfect God create something imperfect, or even conceive that imperfection could exist?**

I've been asking this very same thing in a few other blogs. I don't think I'm getting answers. The front runner seems to be that we were created imperfectly, but had a perfect relationship with God before the Fall. Yet the Fall was completely our responsiblity.

The thing is, I don't see this explanation working in any other setting. Can a perfect and imperfect being have a perfect relationship? Isn't such a relationship only possible between perfect beings?

When we say that someone is perfect, aren't we saying that everything they do/produce is also perfect?

If an engineer builds something that behaves in a less than perfect fashion, who is held responsible?

Fun questions all around. :)

Heather (I've changed my profile name on my blog. It's OneSmallStep now)

Leopardus said...

Just recalling the Christian/Bible explanation for why God created things. Can't recall the exact scripture address, but it says somewhere that He created "for His own good pleasure". So basically He just did it for fun I guess.

Makes some sense I guess. But then just how much sense can one ever make of someone who's supposed to be omnipotent/omniscient/omnipresent/omnibenevolent/omni-etc ?