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Author Topic: Eleison Comments - Is God Selfish (no. 992)  (Read 560 times)

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Offline Matthew

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Eleison Comments - Is God Selfish (no. 992)
« on: September 17, 2022, 10:36:33 AM »
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  • CMXCII #992
    September 17, 2022
    Love, if not freely given, is amiss.
    God wants us free to choose, or not, His Bliss.

    A reader writes in with an objection to the goodness of God which he knows to be false, but which nevertheless perturbs him, and to which he has for a long time found no answer that satisfies him. Here is the problem –
    1 To command somebody, “Love me, or I will blow out your brains,” is both selfish, because it is self-centred; and ridiculous, because threats cannot produce true love.
    2 But God says just that when He says to His human creatures, “If you do not love Me, you will go to Hell.”
    3 Therefore (it is Satan that speaks) God is both selfish and ridiculous.
    In order to answer this objection to the love of God, let us see firstly what is the truth about what God says to His human creatures when, by Himself creating their immortal souls and infusing them into the material bodies put together by their two human parents, He brings human beings into existence: “My dear child, by giving you life and free-will, I mean you so to make use of your life on earth that when you die you will have deserved to share My eternal bliss with Me in My Heaven. But I will not force you to come to My Heaven, because if I forced you I would make you into a robot, and robots cannot enjoy My Heaven. I will leave you entirely free not to come to My Heaven if you do not want to do so. Choosing Hell will be entirely your own decision.
    Now it is true that powerful influences such as the world, the flesh and the Devil will do their best to make you prefer Hell to Heaven, and it is true that a majority of men to whom I give life, end up by preferring Hell to Heaven, but in every case that will have been their own free choice, and I will no more have forced them to choose Hell than I force anybody to choose Heaven. And note that the more evil have been the influences they will have resisted in order to prefer My Heaven, the more glorious and happy that Heaven will be for them. So the evil has a purpose, and while I do not want it, I do want to allow it, precisely so that I can make it serve the eternal bliss of those who refuse evil.
    And if you object to Me that in the modern world the confusion and the evil are overwhelming and are too strong for many souls to resist, I reply to you that whenever the evil really does become too much, as in the time of Noah (who still resisted it), I can intervene, as I did with the Flood. In fact the Flood saved for eternity many souls that would otherwise have given way to the corruption, so it was a great act of My Mercy. In the 21st century, just wait for Me to give you a great Warning, announced notably by the four girls of Garabandal in Spain in the 1960’s. It will give a great help from all the confusion towards salvation through Jesus Christ, but only if souls themselves freely choose that they want to be saved.
    Now let us apply these truths to the three propositions of the original objection above –
    1 To say to anybody “Love me or I will kill you,” is selfish if he who says it says it primarily himself to be loved. But God in Himself is in utter and unchanging bliss. Only externally to Himself does He gain anything by souls sharing His bliss. That bliss He wants for them primarily for their sake, not for Himself. Nor is God ridiculous. Of course He wants no forced love. He leaves us entirely free to love Him, or not.
    2 It is true that if we do not love God as we should, so that we die in a state of mortal sin, then we will have deserved Hell. But once in Hell, a large part of the torture will be to see with the utmost clarity just how easily I could have saved my soul, with all the help and graces that God gave me in my life on earth. But freely I chose not to want His help, and so what I am suffering now is entirely my own fault.
    3 So God is not at all saying, “Love Me, or I will blow your brains out.” He is neither selfish nor ridiculous.
    Kyrie eleison

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    Offline Charity

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    Re: Eleison Comments - Is God Selfish (no. 992)
    « Reply #1 on: September 18, 2022, 07:19:56 PM »
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  • CMXCII #992
    September 17, 2022

    Here we have His Excellency Bishop Richard Nelson Williamson putting his imaginative narration into the instructive voice of God Himself:
    "In the 21st century, just wait for Me to give you a great Warning, announced notably by the four girls of Garabandal in Spain in the 1960’s. It will give a great help from all the confusion towards salvation through Jesus Christ, but only if souls themselves freely choose that they want to be saved."  His Excellency immediately follows his imaginative narration of God by referring to it in terms of "these truths" as seen here: "Now let us apply these truths to the three propositions of the original objection above --"  With all due respect to His Excellency and in full acknowledgement for all the good he has done for so many souls, -- why, oh why does he continue to preach Garabandal as if it was some sort of Bible truth, as if it came straight from God?

    Offline Incredulous

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    Re: Eleison Comments - Is God Selfish (no. 992)
    « Reply #2 on: September 18, 2022, 07:38:34 PM »
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  • Garabandal... what to think? :popcorn:

    Recall reading the attached, "Memoirs of a Spanish Country Priest by Father José Ramon Garcia de la Riva"

    You could say he was a local native from a nearby village and knew the children, the dialect and the culture.

    I would conclude he endorsed the apparition, but one point he made haunted me. 
    He said that the children never saw the Blessed Mother's feet. 

    Bp. Williamson laughs at this prerequisite as an Irish superstition to discern a true Marian apparition.

    But I think HE knows it's the only way to visually determine if there are hooves there, instead of Our Lady's feet.

    "Some preachers will keep silence about the truth, and others will trample it underfoot and deny it. Sanctity of life will be held in derision even by those who outwardly profess it, for in those days Our Lord Jesus Christ will send them not a true Pastor but a destroyer."  St. Francis of Assisi

    Offline Ladislaus

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    Re: Eleison Comments - Is God Selfish (no. 992)
    « Reply #3 on: September 19, 2022, 07:58:34 PM »
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  • Actually, IMO, the answer it a bit more profound, but we don't need Garabandal to answer the question.

    God does NOT need us for His glory or for His happiness.  He is perfectly happy and perfectly glorious of Himself.  He needs absolutely nothing from us.  So His will to create us was a perfect act of generosity.  He asks us to love Him because it'll make US happy.  He knows that we can have no greater happiness than to love Him, so that is why He commands us to love Him ... for OUR good.  Very few human beings ever love in a purely selfless way.  When we love, it's because the object of our love makes us happy ... at least to some extent.  By contrast, God's love is purely and absolutely selfless.

    Now, in order for us to be able to have the greatest possible capacity for happiness, this also comes with the flip-side where if we fail to fulfill this great capacity, the accompanying suffering is all the greater, in proportion with this capacity that fails to be fulfilled.  If someone had a very small capacity for happiness (such as say, what an animal might have), the suffering is far less great as a result of not attaining to that happiness.  There's a far greater PRIVATION in proportionate to the capacity.  If I have a 10-gallon jug and it's empty, it's now 10 gallons short of being full.  But if I have an empty shot glass, then it's just a few ounces short of being full.  There's a much greater privation in the former than in the latter, and that privation, translated to sentient beings, translates into suffering.

    God is a perfectly simple Being, and God is love.  He does not, then, have a "different attitude" toward the damned.  He loves them also.  But their refusal to accept this love causes them intense suffering.  It is the fire of God's love that causes them to burn by their refusal of it.

    This is one analogy that I like to apply, although it's at a much lower level.  Let's say that I truly enjoy classical music, but then a friend of mine hates it.  We're both in some class at college where we're required to attend a classical music concert.  While I love every minute of it, this friend is miserable the entire time, squirming in his seat, watching the seconds tick by and counting down until it's over.  Or, while I love being at Mass, someone else might hate it and can't wait to get out of there.  Similarly, our DISPOSITION toward God is what causes us to either be happy in God's love or miserable on account of it.  There's that story of a saint who asked God why He put souls in Hell.  So, to please the saint, He took one out of Hell and put him in Heaven.  That soul was miserable and asked out.  He hated being there.  So then the saint pleaded that God would put him at least in Purgatory.  So the soul hated being there also, complaining of being in-between and neither here nor there.  So, finally, God said that he could go wherever he wanted, and with that the soul dove straight back into Hell.  God never sends anyone forcibly to Hell.  They choose to go there.

    God is perfectly simple, unchanging, and so the different experience we have of God (where he makes some of us happy and others miserable) is due not to God having a different attitude toward one vs. toward another, but with our subjective disposition towards Him.  So our happines or suffering are entirely quoad nos and not quoad Deum.

    This is actually one of the reasons that I dislike the opening of many Catechisms.  "Why did God make me?  A:  God make me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him ..."  It almost gives the impression that God is some kind of supreme megalomaniac who made a bunch of slaves to love and serve Him, and some might take it that way.  And, by the way, "Love Me, or else. ... Or else you'll burn in hell."  That's a very poor perspective on God that is being echoed by this question here and can lead to a very bad caricature of God in some people's minds.

    God gives some of us a taste of this with children.  When they are bad, we suffer not because of ourselves, but because our heart breaks to see them behave that way, because we love them.  We give them commands not in order to make ourselves happy or, as they often think in their little brains, because we're sadists who want to deprive them of happiness.  If I tell my children that they can't eat a whole cake every day or an entire bag of candy instead of a good meal, it's not because I want to deprive them of the joy of eating candy, but because we know that, while it might make them happy in the short term, in the long term it will make them unhappy, due to the health problems that will occur as a result.  When we tell a small child that they can't play out in the street, it's not because we're these killjoys that want to deprive them of the happiness (as they might fancy) but because we know that extreme unhappiness and suffering that might come as a result of it.  I might even apply corporate punishment.  If I see a young child attempting to put metal objects into an electrical outlet, I'll slap his hand, not because I wish the child to suffer, but because I want to PREVENT him from sufferinng.  But his pea brain doesn't understand what we understand, since we have a more informed perspective.  Thus also, God gives us the commandments not because He wants to spoil our fun, but because He knows that engaging in these activities will NOT make us happy, but will make us miserable instead.  People who wish to violate the 6th commandment, for instance, resent that God wants to get in the way of their fun, not unlike how the child who wants to eat cake or candy all day believes that his parents want to spoil his fun.  But God knows the terrible long-term effects violating these commandments will have on our happiness.  So if we know so much more than an ignorant child, how much more does God know that our pea brains can comprehend?  This gap between our knowledge and wisdom and that of a young child is absolutely nothing compared to the gap between what God knows and understands ... and our capacity to understand it.

    So why does God allow suffering?  That's another question often asked.  Why does a parent inflict suffering upon a child?  ... in order to correct them, toward their ultimate happiness, even if in the short term it makes them unhappy, at a much lower level.  So, there are some people who actually have a genetic defect that prevents them from feeling pain.  They are often at great risk of serious injury.  They can have their hand resting on a hot stove and not notice the pain, and therefore sustain serious burns.  Similarly, if we get physically injured, say if we sprain and ankled or break a bone, we experience suffering, but the suffering actually alerts us to the problem and deters us from greater injury, causing us to protetect the injury.  Thus we might limp, in order to prevent putting our full weight on it, and thus injuring ourselves even more.  If we felt no such pain, we would risk much greater injury.  It's similar with emotional or even spiritual suffering.  It's all designed toward our ultimate happiness, and to deter us from behavior that might cause us even greater harm.

    Or, another way to look at it.  Someone falls off a tall building and dies.  Why did God make this thing called "gravity" [cosmological debate aside]?  Well, imagine what it would be like without it?  We'd all fly off and could never have a stable existence.  So these "laws" God puts into place to keep order, well, they also sometimes have side effects.  Similarly, when we break the commandments, those have side-effects.  They're put into place to keep everything well ordered, and ignoring them will have serious consequences.