Questions from Theists: Who Are You to Judge God?

It’s not uncommon for theists to be taken aback when I criticize the alleged words, actions, and plans of their purported gods (such as here). Which often leads them to ask me….

Question(s):

Who are you to judge God and his actions?

Who are you to criticize God?

Who are you to question the wisdom of God?

etc.

Answer:

I’m someone who strives to live compassionately and rationally, in an effort to be good to others and myself. Such striving requires critically examining claims about truth, knowledge, morality, and purpose — such as the claims people make to me about gods, scriptures, and religions. We’re bombarded with many different claims of these types, and the only way to sort the worthier ones from the lesser ones is to be critical about them.

To be clear, when I render such criticism, I don’t think I’m actually criticizing God. I think I’m merely criticizing people’s claims about God. That said, I would criticize God, if He existed, and if (in my best estimation) his words and actions warranted criticism.

Any god worthy of my respect would appreciate the necessity of putting claims to the test and seeing how they hold up, to separate real ones from false ones, and would not have a problem with people honestly striving for truth the best they can.

If a god is indeed all-knowing and wise, loving and benevolent, and perfect in its plans and actions, then it should be able to come through such scrutiny without any problems. If my examinations of a god you make claims about do turn up issues of injustice, malevolent acts, and erroneous declarations, then the problem isn’t that I criticized your god, the problem is either with your dubious god or with you for worshipping it.

You might say that I cannot assess your god because your god is incomprehensible, and works in mysterious ways. However, if that is true, then you can’t assess your god either, and thus have no grounds for any claims that your god is wise, good, or whatever else. In any case, our limited mental faculties are what we have to help us navigate through the world, and we’re better off using them the best we can, rather than neglecting them because they’re not perfect.

I may not be immune to making errors when applying my critical faculties, but at least the critical process is more reliable than simply taking every claim and assertion that comes my way on faith. So, I’ll dare to judge claims about gods and their actions, while keeping my determinations, themselves, open to criticism and revision. If your god actually exists and actually is good and wise, it’ll understand.

 

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