Hilzoy: "I'm baffled by people who say this, and not just bc I wonder whether they took the same view when Obama was President:

In His Hands: David it is God who chose and anointed President Trump for such a time as this. To judge God and His choice is a critical error. Your hatred for anyone is not God's fault. Remember hatred comes from satan and it is he whom you are joining forces with in hatred...

Suppose God does choose political leaders, at least in the sense of knowing that this particular creation would involve this leader, and creating it anyways. If I believed in an omniscient, omnipotent creator of the universe, I think I'd have to believe that this was true: if God is omniscient, s/he foresees everything, including all political leaders; given that knowledge, s/he created this world anyways. This is true for all actions. So, for instance, an omniscient creator had to foresee each and every crime ever committed, and for some reason s/he decided to create the world anyways. Thus, in just the same sense in which God "chose and anointed" Trump, God chose each crime.

Also, obviously, if the fact that Trump is President means that God chose and anointed him, then the fact that Hitler was Chancellor of Germany means that God chose and anointed him. Ditto for every horrible ruler ever. If you believe this (as I said, I think that someone who believes in an omnipotent, omniscient creator should think that God foresaw e.g. the Holocaust and chose, for reasons best known to him- or herself, to create this world anyways), and if you know ANYTHING about history, then I think you must conclude that God's ways are, indeed, unknowable to the human mind.

But also: that the fact that God chose to create a world in which Trump becomes President does not mean that s/he intended us to like Trump. It's standard Christian theology that God created this world knowing that Adam and Eve would sin, leading to immeasurable grief, but that this is still the best possible world, since only their sin could call for Christ's redemption of humanity. ("O felix culpa" and all that.) But it doesn't follow from that that our response to sin should be to accept it. On the contrary: we should fight it in our own hearts, and work to mitigate its effects on others. That's the point! If sin is in any way worth it, it's because of the good responses it enables. And those good responses do not include saying "yippee, I guess God must have chosen and anointed SIN!"

Similarly, if God created this world even knowing that it would include the Holocaust, it does not follow that THAT is OK. His creation leaves our response completely open. For many people, the idea that anything might make it OK to create a world including the Holocaust is too much to bear. I think that any Christian who is not deeply troubled by this needs to think harder. But NO Christian should say: it happened, so it must be part of God's plan, so let's just celebrate it.

That would be sociopathic.

But so is its close relative, "to pass judgment on any of the things that are part of human history, and thus things God must have foreseen." @inhissilence wrote: "To judge God and His choice is a critical error." This is true if taken VERY literally: we do not know the considerations that led God to create this particular world, the one in which Trump is President. But @inhissilence seems to mean something different: that since God created a world in which Trump is President, we do not get to judge TRUMP. You don't get to say that unless you're willing to extend it to all leaders in history (including Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin, etc.), and also all actions (which God also foresaw and allowed.) (Think of your own Most Awful Action Of All Time.) If we don't get to judge these, at least to the degree necessary to think: I should oppose this—then I honestly don't see what remains of Christian works.

@hilzoy: You are wise., @hilzoy, yet you seem to think that Evangelical Christianity is a system of thought, rather than a collection of verse-sized weaponize texts to be deployed to induce obedience to the wills of those who, in Max Weber's term, "live off religion"...


#noted #2019-10-10

Comments