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Cutting God in half

Maxwell, N; (2008) Cutting God in half. Ethical Record , 113 (5) 3 - 6. Green open access

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According to Christianity, Islam and Judaism, God is all-powerful, all-knowing and all-loving. But such a God, if He existed, would be knowingly responsible for all human suffering and death brought about by natural causes. Such a God would be a cosmic monster, not an all-loving being. How can this traditional notion of God be improved so that it overcomes this fatal defect, preserves what is best in the traditional notion, becomes a fruitful idea, and stands some chance of actually existing? In order to develop such a notion, we need to sever the God-of-power from the God-of-value. The former is Einstein’s God, the underlying unity in the physical universe, responsible for all that occurs. It is an It, incapable of knowing what it does, and thus an entity which can be forgiven for the terrible suffering it causes. The God-of-value is what is of most value associated with our human world – or the world of sentient life more generally. Having bisected God in this way, the problem then becomes to put the two halves together again. How can the God-of-value – what is of most value, actually and potentially, in our human world – exist and best flourish embedded as it is in the God-of-power, the physical universe? This is our fundamental problem in life, philosophical, theoretical and practical – personal, social and global. It is the basic religious problem. We need a religious revival – a religious revolution – one which meets elementary standards of intellectual and moral integrity, and seeks to puts this fundamental problem at the heart of life.

Type: Article
Title: Cutting God in half
Location: UK
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://www.ethicalsoc.org.uk/spes/ethicalrecord
Language: English
Additional information: Full text made available with permission from the South Place Ethical Society
Keywords: God, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Traditional God a contradiction, Physical universe, Value of buman world, Our fundamental problem
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Science and Technology Studies
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1370627
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