"I cannot imagine a God who..."

From: George Watson
Subject: Philosophy, Durant and the Church...

I found your review of Durant's 'Story of Philosophy' interesting as you attempted to negotiate between the questioning of great minds, Durant's presumptuousness, and the ubiquitous popularity of 'naturalism' and 'materialism'. To find the truth in religion, any religion, would be a monumental task. To find it in Catholicism, beneath two millennia of prejudiced revisionism would try the Saints.

As many great philosophers have said, truths are useless if they profit us nothing. Contrary to your faith in penitence, I cannot imagine a God who would value contrition for a lifetime of wrong over a lifetime of deeds of virtue. There might however be an interesting discussion on how God might view good deeds done for the wrong reason, versus bad deeds done for good reasons. Regardless, I suspect that if God doesn't grade on the curve, Heaven will be a lonely place.

I believe we are moving past the mythology of religion, not towards nihilism and amorality, but toward beliefs that place responsibility for the future of mankind on Man, where it rightfully belongs. Where we pass on to, will remain the prerogative of the individual soul that must travel alone to any future state. But while we're here, there will be no mistake about where the buck stops.

Philosophy offers us the best opportunity to discover the Truth - not by providing the answer, but by giving us permission to question and some basis for recognizing the Truth and perhaps God when encountered. We may never understand the Truth, or God, for that matter... but like they say, it's the journey, not the destination. I wish you good fortune in yours.

Sincerely, George Watson


Thanks for writing, George. You say, "I cannot imagine a God who would value contrition for a lifetime of wrong over a lifetime of deeds of virtue."

It depends on whether God wants you or your deeds.

I agree that we need to ask how truths profit us. For that reason, the destination is more important than the journey. I enjoy riding on planes, but once I got on the wrong flight and didn't realize it till I got to the airport. Very distressing. At first I was furious with the flight crew, but upon reflection, I concluded that I had no one to blame but myself. I hope that does not happen to you, George.

A prayer and blessing,

Fr. Phil Bloom


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