• Valerie Tarico on God’s emotions in context

    I love this quote from Valerie Tarico in her chapter “God’s Emotions” in John Loftus’ book The End of Christianity.

    To say that the descriptions of God in the Bible are metaphors does not make the situation any better. A metaphor about something as deep as the human relationship to ultimate reality needs to be deeply accurate. The center of gravity needs to be spot on even if the surface meaning is grossly simplistic. But biblical descriptions of God have this backwards. Rather than heightening the sense of an ineffable power that is compatible with philosophical concepts like omniscience or omnipresence or with the laws of physics and biology, they force divinity into a human template. Rather than evoking the humility, wonder and delight of the unknown, they offer the comfort of false knowledge. Rather than being true to timeless, placeless completeness, they are true to the place-time-culture-ecosystem nexus in which they arose.

    When the writers of the Bible said God was angry, or regretful, or pleased, they had only a superficial idea of what these words actually mean. How could they know that these affective labels describe intricate, functional body systems, just like our visible appendages?  Their peers didn’t yet understand how two eyes create binocularity or how our muscles contract the hand, let alone the chemistry and function of emotions. They were not responsible for their ignorance; they did the best they could with the information at their disposal. They looked at patterns in the natural world and human society and made their best guesses about what lies beyond. We should do the same. (p.177)

    Beautifully put.

    Category: God's CharacteristicsPsychology


    Article by: Jonathan MS Pearce