Thursday, December 4, 2008

Feels good, makes no sense

I keep mulling over this chant from The Great Debaters that I watched last night.

Who is the judge?
The judge is God.
Why is he God?
Because he decides who wins or loses. Not my opponent.
Who is your opponent?
He does not exist.
Why does he not exist?
Because he is a mere dissenting voice of the truth I speak!

It feels powerful. Yet my brain can't help picking it apart, and it doesn't seem to fit in my head.

The judge is God? What is this God thing? How does that response answer or clarify anything?

God decides who wins or loses? Not my opponent? And not me? If God decides and God is all powerful then I'm just a puppet of God's whim, aren't I? So I don't control anything? Why are my actions and decisions important then?

My opponent does not exist, but he's a dissenting voice? But "a dissenting voice" would exist. As a voice. That dissents. Dissenting the truth I speak? On my debate team? Where someone decides on a coin flip which side of an argument I am to take? So the coin flip always lands on truth whenever it decides which side I am to take? What if I argue both sides? My opponents are always lying? Even when they take both sides?

Artsy stuff tends to do this to me. My emotional brain is fascinated by these shiny trinkets so it keeps picking them up, again and again, for reconsideration. But my analytical brain (which is dominant) can't make heads or tails out of those cryptic "answers".


BrotherBemused said...

I don't recall this sequence from The Great Debaters, which I find interesting in itself. I guess different baubles for different folks? But to put in a word for God (as I understand God): God is the creator and sustainer of life, the animating spark of existence resident in all creation; God is not interested in coin tosses of humans because God isn't our cosmic bellhop; God has granted humanity the gift of agency, meaning that we have free will to chose and act without God overriding those choices like a puppeteer. So I think God would take issue with The Great Debaters at some points (and I assume God would prevail). One other thing I'd have to say: for us humanoids, though we are created in the image of God with the particular gift of intelligence, the ways of an infinite God are a Mystery, so don't accord any of my pronouncements with divine weight! : )

Jay said...

You don't recall? Really? The prof was out on the lake in his boat making his debate team chant that over and over and over again with corks in their mouths on the edge of the lake?

And then at the Harvard debate the captain pulled out that reference as a trump card to convince the youngest team member that he can succeed. Kind of a pivotal moment in the film.

Were you asleep? -laugh-

Not our cosmic bellhop? I can mentally process a proposition that God exists, with whatever powers, but doesn't involve himself with humans. (Disinterested? Sadistic?)

But if an omniscient, omnipotent God is going to send his son here to die for us and all that, then he has thoroughly diddled in our affairs, and is far more involved and responsible than any bellhop could ever be.

Agency? If God broke out the cosmic chess set and decided those were going to be the rules, knowing full well what would happen (or is he NOT omniscient?), then he's still responsible. Responsible and irrelevant. Shame on him for allowing the Rwandan genocide.

Agency is an unacceptable excuse for torturing innocents.

Or, perhaps, there is no real suffering outside of my own and this whole life thing is just a test of how I live my life. And I should be ashamed for not doing more. But my shrink said I shouldn't think like that. -shrug-

I can also mentally process the Mystery argument. But you could slap that argument on anything, so I don't personally find that helpful as I ponder how I should live my life.

I think we humans need to accept our place in the universe. Love and support one another because that is all there is. The God stories are distracting.