Finally, A Christian Who Speaks Some Sense?

Found this at Washington Post On Faith column. The speaker is Bishop Desmond Tutu:

We inhabit a universe — that is it has order and laws and we human creatures have a precious gift, the freedom to choose which makes us moral agents.

Our God who is omnipotent is also weak in that God has imposed limitations on God’s omnipotence to give us the space to have a real autonomy.

We have the freedom to choose and some of our choices as such lead to incidents such as this tragedy. God could not intervene without nullifying the freedom of the perpetrator.

But such incidents remind us too of our radical contingency and vulnerability. We exist only because we are kept in being by the unceasing act of creating — God breathing God’s breath into us from moment to moment. Life is vulnerable and is pure gift. We are utterly, completely dependent on God for we are fragile and God upholds us gently and caringly.

Our God cares, for this God is Immanuel, God with us, who joins us in our dumbfounded speechlessness and bewilderment and this God does not give advice from a safe distance but enters the fiery furnace of our anguish and God wipes away our tears, this God who knows us by name, from whose nothing, not even death can separate us.

But we must not pretend we know everything. It is ultimately a mystery and we must have a proper agnosticism.

We send our deepest sympathies to all who have been bereaved, and to those who have been injured and we pray too for the perpetrator.

God bless you.

Did you catch that? “Our God who is omnipotent is also weak in that God has imposed limitations on God’s omnipotence to give us the space to have a real autonomy” and “We must have a proper agnosticism.” So, is Tutu saying tha,

1) God chooses to place limits on his own omnipotence for our autonomy???

2) A proper agnosticism would be a hopeful faith without absolute assurance???

Think about these things for a moment. The deity of Tutu and Kushner (remember him?) is a deity that does not intervene in times like these, but sits and waits for us in heaven when we die. How do Christians reconcile God’s inaction in a cruel world except this way? What does that mean for our faith? What does that mean for you?


7 thoughts on “Finally, A Christian Who Speaks Some Sense?

  1. My father gave me a lot of autonomy too, but he would not simply stand by while I was tortured, or sexually abused or beaten, or killed at a very young age just so that he could stand back and say; “I gave you the freedom to choose, because I loved you so much”. This is a most absurd line of thinking. Would you really think your father loved you if he stood by and did nothing, especially if he could have stopped it?

    I would not allow my children to wander into a fenced yard full of pit bulls to be brutally attacked and mauled and then simply claim; Well, you know, I gave them the freedom to do what they wanted and make their own choices, they simply chose a bad one. I would be put in jail for child abuse if I could have stopped it and didn’t. God could be charged for the same thing, or at the very least child neglect.

    It is such an oxymoron to say Our heavenly father God cares and loves us so much, that he gave his life for us, and went into the fiery pit for us, but then he is not ever going to step in to help us out of our misery or our pain or suffering or spare us from rape, murder, or any other evil that may befall us or our little children either.

    “I love you so much. I am your loving heavenly father. I am your God. I am peace and love and forgiveness and hope and charity, etc, etc.
    Just don’t ask me to save your sorry ass from the crap in this world, cause you are on your own, sorry.”…God

    PS. I don’t hate God, I just don’t have any corroborated proof that he is really there, and there is just so much evidence that the Bible could not have been written by a super intelligent being. Not only can God not help humanity out with all this crap here on earth, but he could not even provide us a coherent, cohesive, non-contradictory book to tell us about himself. If this book is from God, then He has issues to work out.

  2. When he talks of “proper agnosticism” he is meaning that we can not have pure knowledge of God’s existence. In reality, there are very few things we can purely know…Kant dealt with this and concluded one of the only things he purely knew was “I think, therefore I am.”
    For me this is nothing new. Technically, in philosophic terms, I am agnostic about the fact of my girlfriend’s existence, but I use the evidence at hand to reasonably conclude she does, and so I live with the faith that she is real.
    Very excellent article overall, too bad many people will mis-interpret it.

  3. Nooga,
    Excellent points as usual. Do you think that God may exist, but we can know nothing about God? Or, do you think that God can’t exist because evidence proves to the contrary (i.e. God’s inaction against evil, etc.)?

  4. Questionsoftruth,
    Good thoughts. But, can you be agnostic if the evidence of your girlfriend is right in front of you? You wouldn’t need faith if that were true. I’m agnostic because I don’t believe you can prove God exists or doesn’t exist and it takes faith to believe in God’s existence or non-existence without the evidence either way. Thanks for the comments. 🙂

  5. Mystery,
    I think God could exist. I simply have no evidence which proves that he does or does not. I simply cannot say there is no God, I await further proof. I can say that the Holy Bible is not Holy, nor did it come from any God, and is in fact mostly fiction. It came from men, and there seems to be ample proof of that.

    I have heard, and still hear, and read many defenders of God and the bible tell me; “The proof of God is all around you, the air you breath, the trees, the mountains, the water you drink.” Just like the comment left on your latest blog. However this does not prove that the Bible then is trully the Word from this creator, any more than it proves that Allah is the one true God, or that Joseph Smith received copper plates from God with his word on it.

    People believe in UFO’s because they want to and find plenty of circumstantial unrelated evidences which in their minds corroborate their beliefs, it is no different with the Bible. I think our minds want answers, we all want answers to many things in life. We want to know how things work. We want to know how things came to be. We even want to know why things happen. We also want to know what it truth, so blame my creator for giving me this ability. The Bible was ancient man’s attempt to explain the unexplainable to him at the time and thus one can understand now the scientific errors, the historical errors and the simply made up stories, as well as the misogynistic views. There simply is no proof that the Bible came from, or was dictated, breathed or sent down from God.

    If there really is a God somewhere, and if he really intended to send his words to us in book form, he could have done a lot better than the Bible, in my opinion.

    I think it may have been you who said: “The ability to believe something on faith and the search for the truth, are not mutually inclusive ideals. In fact they are direct opposites.”

  6. Nooga,

    Good points. If God is so Omnipotent and Omniscient then he sent a poor example of communication to humankind in the bible. While I don’t believe you can prove anything from the bible (or creation for that matter), I still believe in the “stuff” of the universe that holds all together whether it is conscious of us or not. My inclination says no, but that’s what makes me an agnostic theist; no proof, but wishing. 🙂

  7. An agnostic/athiest friend of mine said: When I look at nature at new baby chickens or puppies or plants sprining forth from the ground, I do marvel at the “life force” if you want to call it that which brings all this into existence. It does sort of inspire awe even from a purely scientific view of it.

    Of course if we assign the origin of these forces to a God, we are still left with the question; ‘Where did God come from?” Seems it takes no more faith to believe that matter has existed in some form, (atoms, etc) forever than it does to believe a God existed forever. There is no proof either way.

    Maybe our God if we choose to call it that is whatever material, force, structure, or mechanism which drives life, and maybe it is not a person at all, just the “Life Energy Force”.

    Man, I am sounding too much like Star Wars here.

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