The strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.
—Thucydides, History Of The Peloponnesian War, 431 BCE
Imagine that I am a park keeper. I'm also the local magistrate. In my position as park keeper, I erect loads of KEEP OFF THE GRASS signs around the park. Then, one day, I follow you around the park, constantly pushing you off the path and onto the grass. In my position as magistrate, I then punish you, your family, friends, co-workers and neighbours for your "crime" of walking on the grass; and all this is done merely in order to show that I have the power to do it.
Would you, Gentle Reader, describe me as a nice person, based on the above? Would you think me a person worthy of your trust, obedience and loyalty? Would you attempt to defend my actions?
Aptly enough, the phrase that sprang to my mind was "little tin god."
According to Bob Hutton, what I did was absolutely fine and hunky-dory. Why? Because that's how his god acts; and it doesn't, for some reason, make his god a petty tyrant. If God wants to act like an immoral bastard, Hutton implies, then we should not question that. As Paul put it, "Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God?"
Or, more plainly, Might Makes Right; a disgusting proposition. If such a god were to exist, then it might be a fact of life, but only an intellectual coward and sycophant like Hutton would actually defend it as morally just.
In conclusion we should note that God is sovereign – if He chooses to harden someone that is His business; if He chooses to show mercy then we give Him all the glory and the praise for this.
And that introduces another aspect that always gets my goat. If we take as truth, this Calvinist idea that Heaven's and Hell's admission-lists are pre-ordained, that Hutton's god is in complete and utter control of who will see his light and who won't—of who will be saved and who tortured for eternity—then all the preaching by those who believe that they are saved amounts to nothing but gloating; nothing but rubbing salt in the wounds of the unsaved. What on Earth is the point, otherwise, of preaching Bob's precious Gospel to people who cannot influence their own destinies in the supposed afterlife?
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