Why does God need us?

I got this from an archive of the Why Won’t God Heal Amputees forum. It’s an old article called Why Does God Need Us?

By absorbing those functions of the Pantheon compatible with his core nature as King/Father (e.g. Warrior, Sage, Protector, Bringer of Justice, Husband, Creator, Source of Fertility, Lord of the Dead, etc.) and smashing those completely incompatible (Sex-Goddess, the feminine-as-Divine per se), he became as multifaceted as a real person. And so he is perfect Love and furious wrath (as any parent who spanks their child is on a smaller scale). He is the gentle Husband and the fierce Warrior.

When his hosts are faced with overwhelming military supremacy of a rival god’s followers, as they were in Jesus’ day, he calls upon them to be gentle, loving, and peaceful. When his hosts have the upper hand (as they did after Constantine handed him the Roman Legions) he can be warlike and violent, exterminating the hosts of other gods and their transmission media (temples, statues, books). Should his armies face defeat, he blames his hosts’ wickedness and failure to obey him completely, and his wrath is manifest upon them. Should his armies prevail, then his might is demonstrated. Victory or defeat, both are manifestations of his power, so he wins either way.

Since his Word contains commands to surrender to overwhelming enemy force (e.g. the Book of Jeremiah, Jesus’ instructions to ‘turn the other cheek’) and crush them underfoot (e.g. the Book of Joshua, and the Book of Revelation), both options are always available to him, just as they are to an individual faced with the prospect of conflict.

The Bible’s contradictory portrayals of his character are not flaws–they are the secrets of his success.

3 thoughts on “Why does God need us?

  1. Miep January 5, 2014 at 21:25

    Why do abusers need victims? Because it’s no fun without them.

    Seriously, a lot of this mythology seems like codification of abusive behavior, which always starts at the top.

  2. sbt42 January 10, 2014 at 14:48

    I’m overhearing coworkers listening to a spiritual podcast – literally right this very moment – and I’m curious about how to counter a particular idea: that “god placed those dreams in my heart.” The notion that there’s no individual action or thought that hasn’t been manifested by god’s plan. Any idea on how to prevent someone into falling into that trap?

    This also meshes with your recent (and superb) “everything happens for a reason” post, but I specifically wanted to hear about atheist rebuttals to this kind of delusion: humans are somehow “special” and have earned the divine’s attention. Any help on this?

    • Francois Tremblay January 10, 2014 at 16:25

      I don’t really have much to reply to that, but I would say it touches two basic points:
      1. How God influencing people’s actions breaks the pretense of free will (even the ridiculously limited concept of free will in Christian theology).
      2. How mind-breakingly vast the universe is and how absurd it is to believe that the Earth, let alone one person, receives special attention from a universe-spanning deity.

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