Good God! (don’t you wish there was one?)

There is no agreed definition of God. Some say He is infinite, others say He is maximal, others say He’s just powerful. Some say God is the creator and don’t elaborate at all. But the one characteristic that many religious people do seem to agree on is that God is good. It is not that God is a good guy, but that by definition He is good. Therefore, if He’s not good, He’s not God. This is why atheists question the character in the Books: if I can make you question His goodness, you should also question His existence. This is (either accidentally or condescendingly) mistaken for being angry at God, often coupled with the snide question “how can you be mad at a God you don’t believe it?”

One commenter has asked whether I wish there was a good God and whether I’d want Him to save me. The question is a little confused; I don’t assume I need saving. In fact, it’s a self-fulfilling solution; religion offers both the problem of damnation and solution of salvation. It’s a neat little package. But without religion, you don’t have the issue of damnation so you don’t require the solution. I don’t want to be saved from drowning, because I’m not. (Although, the religious would have you believe I am.)

Questioning a ‘good God’ is an interesting one. I’m not convinced such a thing is easily described. God, according to many religious people, has a tendency to punish people for thought crime. That’s not good, and therefore needs to go. God, according to many religious people, could stop natural disasters but doesn’t. Therefore, either natural disasters or God’s ability to stop them needs to be stricken from the record. (If it is the former, then that would be good.) According to many religious people, God is watching us and judging us… I’m sure you can see where this is going: I can’t begin to imagine what a ‘good God’ would look like. I don’t know how many of His habits have to change and how many of those that do have to change are actually integral to His definition.

By the time I have reduced God back to such a time I would call Him “good”, I’m not sure what good He would be.

72 thoughts on “Good God! (don’t you wish there was one?)”

  1. The problem is, you are applying your definition of “good” to a superior being. If God exists, in a manner commonly thought of, and if He cares what we do or think or whatever, then HIS definition of good is the only one which matters to Him. Our definition matters only to us, and if they don’t match with God’s, that’s too bad for us .

    For instance, we have a cat who thinks that he should eat 24 hours a day (or at least every moment that he is awake). Therefore, we are considered “good” only during 10 minutes or so each day…

  2. This post begins with an assertion that, “there is no agreed definition of God.”

    Then to support that claim the author provides a grocery list of attributes or adjectives.

    However, God is not an adjective, God is a noun.

    And that noun is, Creator.

    There is nothing religious or difficult to understand about that definition.

      1. “Tornado” is a noun. What was achieved may not be desirable, but you will be hard pressed to find anyone who will agree that no tornado has ever achieved anything…

      2. Allallt,

        You evidently need an elementary school refresher on basic grammar.

        How arrogant must you people be to think you can redefine English grammar just so you can make your silly atheism work out for you.

        FWY, any time a word like “tornado” is preceded by the word “a” it means that the word “tornado” is a noun.

      3. Great. Tornado is a noun. Excellent.
        The thing is, the word tornado isn’t destructive; the actual thing is.

        So, if God is a noun, we can agree and move on. It’s an asinine thought, after all.

      4. Allallt,

        Your laundry list of adjectives never achieve anything, either.

        If you read your own post, you would realize that the topic is the definition of God, which has nothing whatsoever to do with whether nouns achieve anything or not.

      5. Allallt,

        In the end, mockery is all the bloviating atheist has.

        You certainly don’t have the education or the intellectual wherewithal to muster even a rudimentary argument.

      6. I like your style: you make a point not worthy of an intellectual response (‘God is a noun’), and then claim the problem rests not with your comments but with the reply.


  3. Well said … another excellent post in a long string of them!

    This is a telling question: would you want there to be a “good god” a “saving god”? A good god would save us from … what exactly? Certainly not natural disasters: Bibles get saved while people die (see recent SC story) under the current “good god”. Save us from ourselves? Where is the growth in that?

    Maybe an even more telling question would be: if there were a god, what would you want him to do? Once we leave childhood, we no longer need our parents, per se, but it is nice to continue to receive parental love, which has no physical form. Is that what a “good god” would provide?

    1. Steve,

      If you ever bothered reading the Bible for yourself you would learn for yourself what “good” and “saving” mean when used as adjectives to describe God.

      Steve, an adjective is a word that tells us something about the noun it precedes.

      Since the Bible is a collection of ancient literature whose purpose is to describe the nature of God, man and universe, it is a good source of reading for somebody who wants to find out about God, good, bad or otherwise.

  4. Bravo Allallt! All very sensible to me.

    By attempting to use/speak the theology and language of the Abrahamic religions you’ve exposed wonderfully the circus of their flawed human logic started orally c. 4,000 BCE and continued flawd scriptural exegesis from c. 650 BCE (Paleo-Hebrew manuscript) through 325 CE (Nicaean Canonization) and up to roughly 660 CE (Quranic Canonization). It is easy to see how overly convoluted the “nature of God” becomes over a 5,000 year period covering roughly half a hemisphere of exponential cultures, wars, and conquests! It’s actually somewhat comical to EVER think a singular consensus of God’s nature can be imagined… assuming of course some degree of monotheism exists.

    1. Professor Taboo,

      If you had the even the slightest idea about language you would understand that Allallt’s post is nothing but incoherent gibberish born of ingrained ignorance.

      It is no coincidence that the Bible was used for centuries as a tome not only to teach ethics and morals but also basic literacy.

      Give it a try.

      1. 1st paragraph: your personal opinion.

        2nd paragraph: Which “bible” are you referring to exactly? For convenience, an abbreviated list, oldest to newest, each modified ethics/morals from previous traditions to make it their own…

        Zoroastrian bible (aka Zend-avesta)
        Hindu bible (aka Shruti)
        Buddhist Scriptures (aka Tipitaka)
        Hebrew bible (aka Tanakh)
        Jewish Eastern Orthodox bible (aka Septuagint)
        Catholic bible (aka Alexandrian canon)
        Protestant bible (aka 1599-1825 CE canons)
        Islamic bible (aka Quran)

        Several of these bibles above have variations within the general religion.

        Your last claim “…but also basic literacy.” is much too vague and doesn’t specify a context or timeframe.

        If you mean literacy for the emperors, their courts, rabbis, governors, nobility, imams, caliphs, etc, then yes. As those “divinely appointed” boys were indeed educated in their culture’s folklore and systems of ruling before taking their thrones or positions over their populace and kingdom. However, these leaders and sub-leaders were a very tiny number compared to their ILLITERATE subjects and citizens who compelled/coerced to believed in folklore, superstitions, AND especially their appointed place in society. Why? Pure survival.

        All throughout ancient history, on all the primary continents, rulers knew too well that if too many subjects, peasants were educated (literate) as well as they themselves were, divinely-appointed rulers risked perpetual revolts — which is why being “divinely empowered” or rather enforced popular superstitions — reading and writing from the gods/God was reserved strictly for the ruling classes. It maintains control and power. Hence, if you’re using “basic literacy” to mean for the general masses or population, then you are grossly mistaken on your ancient history, particularly that of the common man and woman.

      2. Sorry, you cannot use a book to prove itself; that is an invalid logical argument. Otherwise, you would have to accept the Bible as the word of God because it says so in the Bible.

      3. Ah but zande you make the comical mistake assuming the bible CAN be compered to every other book under the sun.

        Your own defense condemns you, but you will neither see nor admit your ignorance of the very books you appeal to.

        WHERE oh WHERE in you lovely ko-ran does your little god al-lah offer one suggestion of love and life to anybody other than mus-lims?

        Look in vain, it’s not there.

        Meanwhile, the bible, as God’s word, is offered and open to ‘whosoever will,’ from every kindred, tongue, and nation. Jew, Gentile…….oops a problem here, God is no respecter of persons, but al-lah is found to be fraudulent.

        In addition, maybe you have never seen the first scientific statement ever given, concerning space, time, and matter: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.’

        Can you not see your own dizzying ignorance? No, you can’t.
        Your ignorance knows no barriers, and once again, God and His word are proven light years ahead of your petty bitchin.

        The ko-ran knows NOTHING of the grace of God whereby sinners are freely justified………..frauds are a dime a dozen, and God’s word exposes them all.

      4. Just once I would love to see the host of this blog cite your return comment as deplorable………….and irrelevant.

        But i’ll wait in vain, but tkx for putting forth the mind numbing emptyness of godlessness, which is seen moreso in your cut and paste, than the initial infraction.

        Nice work zande, you are a grand examplar of atheism which promises everything and delivers nothing.

        Bravo. Hear the seals clapping and the hyenas laughing at your animal behaviour.

      5. Of course I know your intent. I have been to the circus before. Your barking hardly makes your points legitimate.

        Guys like you are dime a dozen zande. Your footprints reveal godlessness at every step.

        But your comprehension of depth. How about He who holds the keys of Orion? Deep enough for ya?

      6. Don’t mean to patronise, but is the sound recording not enough evidence for you? That seems inconsistent with what I know about you.

      7. A sound recording would be quite good evidence. So you are not talking about the alleged locker room chatter many years ago, but something recent and well documented?

      8. All I heard about was the claim of some comments made in a locker room, and I doubt there was a recording made there. If someone said it happened, I would insist he be investigated to make sure he had nothing against Trump or anything for Hillary before I’d believe him. Thus “alleged”.

        Now about a “recording on a bus”. I did a search and found what you are talking about. OK, that is not alleged, that is shown, and perhaps this is what I thought I heard about, just not in a locker room. If I heard “locker room talk” and missed “recording” and “on a bus”, I might well have made an assumption that it occurred in a locker room and was unsubstantiated.

        In any case, what I see is that in 2005, in the company of another man, he was crass in talking about women and his relationship with them, like this hardly ever happens. It CAN show an unacceptable view of women, but it also can show relatively normal (particularly in the past) behavior between males. I think very highly of women, but have said unacceptable things in my past.

        This recording was made by professionals, apparently with Trump’s knowledge, so people knew it existed. For 11 years. And nobody thought to make a big deal about it until a critical point in the election? By people who were rabidly for Hillary and viciously against anyone conservative? What he said way back then was terrible, and if it accurately reflects his CURRENT view of women, it is a major strike against him. Just like what he said about Mexicans was terrible if he really meant it. But I notice that he tends to open his mouth without his brain in gear, and in the case of the Mexican statement, if he had just added a few words, he would have been quite accurate.

        So maybe he has a terrible opinion of women and certainly stuff which is or seems to be evil comes out of this mouth. On the other hand, I think that “saving” the recording to use against him at the most effective time with the nation’s future at risk, is equally evil as what he said in the recording.

      9. I hate that you’re making me do this: ColourStorm is right, President Trump and his pussy grabbing ways are irrelevant to discussing how moronically wrong ColourStorm is.

      10. The Bible can be compared to all other books, unless you’re question begging (in which case you can be ignored).
        The Midiannites and Canaanites might take issue with your comment. I’d ask them, but they’re dead.
        ‘In the beginning…’ is not a scientific statement, unless you’re question begging (in which case you can be ignored).

        A light year is a unit of distance.

      11. Allalt, the statement of ‘in the beginning God’ includes the seed for science, history, geography, knowledge, the understanding that it was purely by design, that there is a differentiation between the sexes, that animals are and only will be animals; while humans may act like animals, they are distinctly human, all due to the Designer, also know as God.

        The existence of God much to your chagrin, is hardly a matter for debate. But maybe you and a few of your friends can figure out how to throw a handful of sand in the air, only to create perfect order, with all the particles, representing bazillions of universes of sand, ALL revolving around each other, creting life and order, without hitting the ground………..

        But your conscience knows this already, that’s the point of scripture. God is good like that.

      12. It’s not a scientific statement. It is not what differentiates any thing, all really differences are discoverable independent of the Bible (including genesis). You don’t know my mind and I don’t see that a conscience know anything.

      13. I’m sorry allalt that the larger point escapes you.

        You do not need to suffer from the bane of academia’s inability to see the Grand Designer.

        And yes, your conscience naturally repels godlessness. Sorry to say it, deny it all you want, but it is hardwired into you, courtesy of He who wants His creatures to not enjoy the fog.

      14. Good God allalt. God gave us brains to be scientists, using His tools and materials.

        He is kind enough to point the way. And yes, the greatest scientific statement made, was:

        In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…………’

        ….recorded long before man ever heard of space, time, and matter, all included in the very first verse of scripture.

        But nothing to see there right, so move along…………

        Yeah, ok, sure.

      15. Yeah, allalt, I needed all of 1/2 a second that you are clueless because of your stubborn admission that
        God is, and you are not the little god you pretend.

        And yes, this is the determination when one casts out the Giver of all life. As I said, a liar.

      16. This is a great scatter-bomb of bullshit. Not this comment, but your contribution (and I use that term loosely) to the conversation taken as a whole.
        You keep changing the subject and attempting to be just provocative enough to dissuade your interlocutor from holding you to the previous comment, because the new one is also provocative.
        Luckily, you miss the mark occasionally. This comment is a good example: trying to take this comment in the context of the rest of the conversation highlights its meaninglessness. I’ve not admitted any such thing; your accusations don’t map onto the conversation at all.

        When you do that, it remind me what we were actually talking about. So, I’ll bring us back onto the topic…
        Can you defend your claim that ‘In the beginning…’ is a scientific claim?
        You can define ‘scientific’, if you want. But if you don’t, the loose definition I will be running with is ‘accurately maps to what published academic consensus currently says, without additional concepts’.
        That’s open to you revising it, if you want.
        Don’t disappoint me with ‘do your own research’, because all that is is avoiding the question.

      17. Here’s a tip for ya allalt. Your brilliant scientist Einstein was proved wrong by Hubbel as to the egress and regress of the heavenlies.

        In other words, pure guesswork, known as ‘facts,’ was promoted as the ‘new knowledge’ of the day.

        Einstein was no dummy ya know, but he fell short, meanwhile back at the ranch, God was God, and men were still playing in the sandboxes of ignorance.

        And I’m here to tell you that a million ‘scientific’ facts will not move a cement mind that is stuck on godlessness.

        Ask Sagan or Hawking.

      18. That does not follow. I did not say the Bible (or the Quaran) was not valid, only that neither can be presumed to be simply because it says it is. Imagine someone says “I am the President of the United States because I say I am the President of the United States”. The first part of the statement may be true because there is usually one person who can truthfully say it. But the second part of the statement is meaningless babble whether or not the first part is true.

        And my faith in “Christianity” is independent of the Bible’s validity; it comes from my relationship with God. Now, my faith in any “Christian” who says the Bible is the word of God because it says so in the Bible is shaky, as that person obviously does not know or refuses to follow the rules of logic and that means that what they say has to be scrutinized much more carefully.

      19. Do you think you’d be Muslim it you happened to be born to Muslim parents or in a Muslim country? To write that differently: what about your experience exclusively convinced you of Christianity?

      20. I hope I would not have accepted the dreary view of life and God which would have been pressed upon me in a Muslim house or country. But then so many do accept that without apparent question, so I can’t say for sure. I did not have any religious impact during my upbringing, so I can’t say how childhood indoctrination would have affected me.

      21. I echo JZ’s reply: “Bingo!

        That was my/our point exactly. Whose version of “God’s nature” or “God’s goodness” is any more reliable than another’s? Except through endlessly debating whose “bible” has more/less veractiy? All three of the Abrahamic religions claim perfection.

      22. This is worth taking with a little context. In another comment in here, EC has said he takes his personal experience as validation of the Bible. (I challenged him on whether his personal experience validates Christianity specifically, or just the religious culture he was raised in. That discussion is available in this thread. I think his answer lacks introspection.)
        In another discussion entirely elsewhere (can think where), EC has admitted he knows personal experience is entirely unconvincing to others; a non-communicable path to ‘knowledge’, for it lacks a method of verification and of scrutiny.

      23. Very relevant points Allallt. Thank you.

        Personally, I have no issues whatsoever with an individual or a group of individuals privately practicing a “faith” — i.e. behaviours of individual (placebo effected) faith/expectations. There are in all probability just under 7.5-billion INDIVIDUAL forms of “faith”/expectations, none purely factual than the other 7.4999-billion. It is when the group-mentality (mob) feeds off of each others intensified emotions that suddenly faith-fervor becomes inerrant omnipotent truth. History has more than adequately shown that fever-pitched fervor often leads to ill-founded elitism, violence, war, and/or genocide, at the least never-ending fragmentation, e.g. some 30,000 various denominations, sects, orthodoxy, ad infinitum.

        Keep faiths private and individual, people would likely be much more humble in the bigger picture of life — they would hopefully realize & embrace their actual position on Earth and among all others. But this is my opinion. 😉

      24. I’m not sure what religious culture I was raised in. I was raised in the United States, in semi-rural Pennsylvania and central Illinois academia, with NO religion of any kind from either parent. So any religious culture I was exposed to was intrinsic to the United States culture of the mid to latter part of last century.

      25. Well yes, but how much did it affect me? If my parents didn’t preach or exhibit Christianity, school didn’t mention it, none of my friends were and the closest I got to church was next door (that’s where our house was, and it was a Unitarian Universalist church so not that “Christian”), then I suspect the impact was minimal.

      26. I think I’ve shared with you before the story of my friend who was raised secularly in a Muslim country and then had a massive religious experience and attributes that to Allah…

        Religious experience always appears to be inline with the religion of the country.

      27. It was wrong about morals, though.

        More importantly, to re-focus everyone on the comment SoM made leading to all this semi-coherent blather about what SoM thinks he knows about language, SoM said this: “God is not an adjective, God is a noun.”

      28. I think we’ve got somewhat sidetracked by me pointing out SoM’s silly comment. The point is we’re not talking about the nouns and adjectives; we’re talking about the reality being claimed.

      29. Agreed Allallt. His personal opinions are rife with presuppositions and do nothing to add to your posts and discussions. I wanted to point out that for the Xian apologist, any discussion about “their God” must come from their specific canon and exegesis because all want to be elite, supreme. Their own descriptions of their God’s nature has never identically align with at least 7 other prominent God-descriptions, if not more. So who to believe? None. None of the 8 prominent religions I listed can claim exclusive rights to understanding God’s nature anymore than another. Instead, he/they would rather get completely bogged down, or into “semi-coherent blather” as you appropriately put it, than discuss the core facts reasonably without having to resort to childish insults.

        Perhaps I should ignore him/them, huh? If you’d like me to, for the sake of constructive informative dialogue, I will.

  5. “According to many religious people, God is watching us and judging us… I’m sure you can see where this is going:”

    My guess is lotion, fapping noises, and heavy breathing.

    You’re right that a good deity isn’t easily described. Defining good is enough of a chore without having to attach some omnipotent super frienemy to it.

    1. Sirius,

      This post is about the definition of God.

      A laundry list of adjectives is not a definition.

      It’s because you provincials (atheists) don’t understand English, that defining something so simple seems so difficult.

      God is the Creator.

      See how simple that was?

      Now go out, get an education, train your brain to think rationally, and then try it yourself!

      It’s easy!!!

      1. Hey SOM!

        Since you’ve just now picked up the difference between adjectives and nouns, I totally get why you don’t understand that “frienemy” is the noun that I used as a label for your deity. To be honest, I am quite surprised that you feel your deity isn’t omnipotent or super, though.

        What happened? Is he not sending enough altar boys your way?

  6. “Questioning a ‘good God’ is an interesting one. I’m not convinced such a thing is easily described” Yeah, I agree, pretty logical.

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