Musings on a Personal God

Wabi my Sabi has an interesting post:

Judaism, Christianity, and – to a lesser extent – Islam have all developed the idea of a personal God, so we tend to think that this ideal represents religion at its best. The personal God has helped monotheists to value the sacred and inalienable rights of the individual and to cultivate an appreciation of human personality. The Judeo-Christian tradition has thus helped the West to acquire the liberal humanism it values so highly.

There are various logical and philosphical issues with there being a God and this article exposes some of the issues when you make God into a person. When you anthropomorphize something, you assign it human attributes where none exist. For example, you might feel that your computer is ‘out to get you’ when your computer, in fact, is no more capable of caring about you at all then making you a latte with extra foam after giving you a back rub.

Yet a personal God can become a grave liability. He can be a mere idol carved in our own image, a projection of our limited needs, fears and desires. We can assume that he loves what we love and hates what we hate, endorsing our prejudices instead of compelling us to transcend them

Giving the Godhead a personality is a dangerous road to travel. We then can assign him emotions. Perhaps he hates our enemys as much as we do? Perhaps he condones acts of barbarism on them, as they are his hated foe? Perhaps he feels that we should take the civil liberties of a certain class of people becuase they are ‘dirty’ or ‘evil’ in his eyes?

We need to move beyond a personal God to a transcendental Godhead which is compassion and love for all creatures and things.