Thursday, 17 April 2014

Is God fair in the way he reveals himself?!

If there is a reward for believing, it is fundamentally unfair that some would receive more and more reliable evidence than others.
An example may best elucidate this point. In Christianity, those who believe and worship God as he instructs are rewarded with a blissful eternity in Heaven. But not everyone has an equal chance to attain this reward. According to Christianity, some people, such as Jesus' apostles, were eyewitnesses to his life, his miracles, and his resurrection from the dead. Skeptics such as Doubting Thomas were able to assuage their doubts by examining Jesus' empty tomb and touching his resurrected body. But modern skeptics do not have access to this evidence. No one alive today witnessed any of Jesus' miracles, including the resurrection; even if they actually happened, the only evidence we now possess of them is a book, a copy of copies translated from an ancient language that contradicts itself in many places, that claims to contain the accounts of eyewitnesses. Even if Jesus' life happened exactly as the Bible describes it, the Bible itself is the only witness to that fact, and our historical knowledge is so murky and the evidence so scanty that some people have argued that Jesus never existed at all. But while people currently living must muddle through this tortuous mess if they are to arrive at the correct conclusion for salvation, that same conclusion was effortless for Jesus' contemporaries, those who were witnesses to his life and his ministry.

This cannot be considered fair. Why should God pick a small number of people and overwhelm them with so much first-hand evidence that their coming to the correct conclusion is virtually assured, while all the rest of us are forced to subsist on scraps of handed-down hearsay? Is salvation like winning the lottery - a matter of luck? How can God be a god of justice if he gives some people a much better chance than others?

The answer is: he cannot. If God's system of salvation is to be considered fair, then it must be a level playing field, giving everyone the same chance and the same evidence on which to base a decision. Plainly, in this case it is not. It does no good to say that the apostles who had first-hand evidence balanced this by paying in much greater persecution and hardship - many more recent Christians with nothing but hearsay to go on were subjected to persecutions at least as great for their faith. While I have used Christianity as an example, an analogous argument could be applied to any religion purportedly founded or sustained by specific miraculous events at a specific place and time.

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