Why doesn’t God use Faithbook?

 
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By Khaled Diab

If God wants to reach out to humanity, why rely on prophets and scripture when he presumably has the power to connect with each of us directly?

3 September 2010

An article I recently read posits that, even if we were able to create a foolproof experiment to prove the existence of God, it would not only spell the end of atheism, but also of Christianity (and I presume the same applies to the other monotheistic religions), because without faith there can be no religion.

But do we really need to wait for God to rear his divine face to lay to rest the spectre of religion? For the sceptics among us, this is figuratively a doomsday scenario, as we would have to live with our doubts until the Day of Reckoning comes, which we, of course, highly suspect won’t arrive, leaving us stuck in a sort of secular purgatory for all eternity.

But it strikes me that we’re asking the wrong question here. God may prove to be an impossible hypothesis to (dis)prove, but the same does not apply to faith itself. I believe we can test the veracity of religion, especially religious scripture which claims to be divinely inspired or even revealed.  So, here is my own modest attempt to test run religion and show that it is not worthy of our faith.

God, the author, or humanity, the ghost writer?

The holy books of the three Abrahamic faiths all claim divine authorship, or at the very least, divine inspiration. But if scripture contains the word of God (or his son), why do the monotheistic religious texts show such clear signs of human authorship and contain a recycled mix of older, often polytheistic, myths and legends (Sumerian, Persian, Egyptian, etc.)?

Moreover, if the message in scripture, like the Supreme Being, is timeless and for all time, why do they teach us values and standards that we would, otherwise, find reprehensible and unacceptable, such as slavery (in Judaism, Christianity and Islam), the subjugation of women, the slaughtering of your (read God’s) enemies?

In defending religion, many believers will argue that scripture appeared in the context of a different time and place and, so, not all of it is binding in the modern context. But if we go down the road of selectively choosing which articles of faith to hold on it, what’s to stop us from ditching it all and starting from scratch to create something more appropriate?

Similarly, scripture contradicts so many scientifically proven facts – and contradicts itself, such as in the case of the creation of the world in Genesis I and Genesis II – that it would cast serious doubt on God’s knowledge of the Universe he reportedly created.

Scripture v Faithbook

The Abrahamic tradition of religion is founded on the dual pillars of message (in the form of scripture) and messenger (in the form of prophets and even the son of God). The most fundamental question this raises is: what is the point of this?

If God is omnipotent and omnipresent, surely he could conjure up more imaginative and effective ways to communicate with his creations. As any good communicator knows, messages are often distorted or corrupted in their transmission. So, what better way to avoid confusion than to drop outdated and outmoded scriptures and communicate with each of us directly?

After all, we humble humans already possess the technology, if it were universally distributed, to communicate with everyone on the planet, and social networking sites already boast hundreds of millions of users. So, why can’t God use his omni-powers to create some sort of interactive interface, a sort of Faithbook, to talk to every human? I’m sure he’d have billions of friends (or should that be worshippers?) if he did.

Some might say that God doesn’t have the time to waste on this, but I thought he had all the time in the Universe. Others might argue that this world is a test of our faith and, by revealing himself to each of us, God would be making it too easy. Well, Adam and Eve lived by God’s side and still they disobeyed him – that’s the beauty of free will.

Besides, as they stand, the Abrahamic religions are exclusive clubs that only save those who belong to them. If God is as just and loving as they say he is, then surely he would want to offer all humanity an equal shot at salvation. By addressing us individually, God would be doing the ultimate to empower and enfranchise his creations – not to mention, hold us accountable – and to democratise religion.

Raise prophets by cutting out the middlemen

As purportedly the ultimate proponent of equality, God should not be elevating some humans above others. Yet, between us and him, he has elevated prophets and clergy. If God’s prophets are meant to be role models to us all, why are so many of them such unpleasant characters or commit acts which would otherwise be regarded as reprehensible, or at the very least unacceptable: stealing from neighbours, committing war crimes, sexually coercing women and killing their husbands, committing incest, marrying children, murdering siblings, and much more.

And even though many prophets had commendable attributes, they were human and are, hence, fallible, so it is best that God cut out these middlemen – and they are always men.

Humanity’s forgotten half

The human race is, more or less, evenly divided between men and women. Despite the insistence of religious modernisers and reformers that God is an equal opportunities creator, scripture seems to place men consistently a cut above women, and demands that women obey men.

Right from the word go, Genesis informs us that Adam was created first and Eve was fashioned out of his rib (or simply created after him, according to the Islamic version). Not only is this creation myth totally unscientific, it also makes no symbolic sense. With the human reproductive functions being what they are, one would expect that, if anyone were to come second, Adam would follow Eve. Even at the molecular level, we see that two X chromosomes result in a female, while an X and a Y chromosome result in a male, which might suggest that the male gender is more ambiguous than the female.

To add insult to injury, Eve leads Adam astray by convincing him to eat from the forbidden Tree of Knowledge. In the Islamic version, they are both blamed equally but, still, there are numerous passages in the Qur’an which stress the inferior status of women. For example, Surat al-Nisa (Verse on Women) informs us quite explicitly that: “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because God has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore, the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband’s) absence what God would have them guard.”

This raises the question of why God is such a macho, especially considering that there’s little actual difference between the two genders, and women have consistently proven themselves men’s equals in all walks of life. If, as scripture seems to suggest, women are so much more imperfect and fallible than men, why on earth did the Supreme Being bother to create them? Couldn’t he have just made humanity asexual? Or could it be because it was man who created God in his image, rather than the other way around?

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  • edner pascua

    Some reasons to mr khaleb diab regarding “why doesn’t god use faith book”

    1. I believed that god indeed used faithbook as you read this comment,

    God used his scriptures through the bible for us to communicate with him.

    2. Which is more sensible to believe that god really exist or not? The proof that god really exist is through the bible. The bible talks about ceasars, places, etc. which do really exist. Artifacts are already found to prove the veracity of the bible. Would you believed that the bible talks about our earth being round. Two thousand years ago people believed that the world is square. Not until the Spaniards (Spanish galleon) made expedition during the 15th century that they proved that the world is round.
    3. the bible doesn’t talk about purgatory coz it is not true. Purgatory was just added doctrines by some scrupulous religion. You can feed the bible to a computer and try to search the word purgatory and not a single word will come out.
    4. the second coming of Jesus Christ is like a doomsday scenario for those who have no faith in him but those who believed in him and will be save from the fires of hell for god promises an everlasting life in heaven.
    5. you said that the second coming is highly suspected not to arrived, it will arrive the bible talks about the end time is near when people will come through and fro and when knowledge will be increased. Nowadays people travel most of the time by airplane, cars, in and out of the country, even in space and moon, from back then this things are not yet been realize during that time. The bible talks about the past and the future

    God, the author, or humanity, the ghost writer?

    1. the bible are written by prophets and disciples of Christ who were allowed by god to be his messenger. why ask a human to write about himself and act as a middleman, why doesn’t god just appear to everyone of us and say I am god? I am not sure but I believed that most of us would not comprehend his wisdom and almightiness so he had ask prophets to write them out. God allowed this thing to be written for us (in the future) to read them. The bible had stood thousand of year and yet it is here to stay.
    2. the bible talks about love god, love thy neighbor, do not commit adultery, don’t kill, love thy enemy, etc. is this reprehensible and unacceptable? The bible tell us guidelines on how to interact. The bible doesn’t tell us to commit slavery and slaughter thy enemy. The bible tells us to love thy enemy not the other way around. In preaching perhaps god doesn’t want females to lead. But we are equal.
    3. the scriptures is in harmony with science, what instance did the bible is against science? The creation of the world? The bible talks about that earth is made out of dirt and it is indeed made of dirt. Big bang theory? Science cannot prove this, which is why it is called theory.

    Scripture v Faithbook

    1. for your information god is not omnipotent, where did you read this? is it the bible? I cannot tell you verses but have you read that god cannot lie? he cannot do certain things like lying so hes not omnipotent.

    2. god is not omnipresent, he created hell but he is not there. God is not with you while having adulterous act with someone other than your wife. So he is not omnipresent. God is not omniscient he doesn’t foreknow all future human actions and choices.

    3. god had direct communication with adam (read your genesis) but because of adam breaking the law by eating the fruit that was forbidden for him to eat this ties with god had been severed .

    4. did any one in your country had computer and cellphones ? Philippines is a third world country, would you rob them of their god, those poor persons who have no means to buy cellphones and computers to communicate with god. Would you rob matthew, mark, luke, john and everybody else (including your grandparent) of their salvation just because those gadgets were not yet been created in their time? Would there be a internet signal or cellphone signal that could reach him in heaven? I am already here in the city yet internet signal is low how much more in space.

    5. salvation cannot be bought it should be earned. We had already our free will and his rules are in the bible so its up to us to proved that we are worthy of his promise of everlasting life.

    6. god already promised/offered salvation evenly to us either your poor or rich, sinner or law abiders, members or gentiles, salvation is offered evenly. Jesus Christ said seek ye first the kingdom of god and his righteousness and all this things should be added onto you. God chooses which are due to him by setting standard. Is it hard to love your neighbor? Is it hard not to kill? Is it hard to not commit adultery? The commandments of god in the bible are not so hard and impossible to do, he wont give us what we cant bare.

    Raise prophets by cutting out the middlemen

    1. god created prophets and preachers for us to explain and further understand what gods message are. Prophets and preachers has equal shot with salvation if they commit sin and doesn’t repent they too will not inherit salvation as the same for us ordinary people.
    2. it is not for us to question why god appointed prophets. If were not for those guys we wouldn’t have the bible in these days.

    Humanity’s forgotten half

    1. males and females are evenly promised that if they keep faith and made themselves worthy of the promises of our lord they will inherit salvation. That’s about equal as you can get, being females doesn’t mean salvation is much harder for them and its nothing to do with chromosomes.
    2. I don’t know about the quran but my basis is the bible. Adam ad eve commit mistake by eating the forbidden fruit but if we should blame them we should blame adam more than eve cause eve was deceived by the snake (demon) and adam was not deceived by the demon, he know in his heart that if he eat the forbidden fruit he will be disobeying god coz god has a way of direct communication with adam
    3. I think females and males are equal in works please don’t belittle the works of women. If not for them we will not born. Don’t worry if jesus Christ will come again and he will choose us in heaven there will be male or female all will be equal.

    Im sorry khaleb im not so sure about some info (no verse in the bible sited) .this was a partial knowledge I acquire in a religious organization here in the Philippines in which im not a member.

    Via e-mail on 18 October 2010

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  • Steve

    Great post

    I have a number of comments:

    The article you start off quoting is poorly thought out. Evidence of God’s existence would not destroy freewill. You seem to acknowledge this later in your post when you talk about Adam and Eve disobeying God even when they knew him.

    I will not try and defend scripture, since I, like you see some serious problems/contradictions with the “holy” books. This does not mean to say that we should dismiss them altogether. While not very familiar with the Koran, I know the bible contains many pages of sound wisdom. Personally I find that God often ministers to me through passages of scripture that speak directly into the situation I am facing at the time. I believe that parts of scripture could well be God inspired, while other parts of it may contain cultural distortions.

    So how do I know what parts of the bible to trust, and what parts to dismiss? I don’t. That’s what makes my journey in discovering God such an adventure. I don’t have all the answers. I don’t believe anyone does, but I discover a little more about his character each time I spend time with him. I have come to believe that that is what God wants from all of us. He wants us to all embark on a journey towards discovering more about him. It’s okay if we never get there. It’s the journey that matters to him.

    Faithbook. Why should God advertise his presence as you think he should? You like most people seem to have this assumption that the most important thing to God is that we believe in him. I disagree. If at the end of our lives, atheists are proved wrong, we will all believe in him then anyway, so why the rush? The most important thing to God is that were seeking him. From experience I know that he wants to have a relationship with his creation. It’s the journey that matters to God, not the destination.

    I disagree that the Abrahamic faiths are exclusive clubs. I am a Christian, but I believe that salvation through Jesus is for everybody, not just for those that subscribe to my version of the truth. It does not matter if you don’t believe in God, or if you subscribe to some slightly different view. Of course there is only one truth, but how can anybody in humility honestly claim to have all the answers?

    One day, if atheists are proved wrong, we will all believe in God. Not only that, but we will all realise our need for him and how blinded we were. Sadly, until then, religion will continue to divide us.

    That should not stop us from looking for God. He is there to be found. He wants to be looked for. I know because I found him.

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  • Mathieu Henceval

    Haven’t you heard of “Faithbook”?

    Via Facebook

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