Daily Archives: December 13, 2009

The Emptiness of God as a Philosophical Concept

It is a sad day when any Christian renounces his former faith and rejects the gospel. It is even more sad when the Christian in question is someone who was an active evangelist and a close friend. I had a feeling that I knew what he meant when he posted “[name withheld] is free of the cult and not afraid.” But I checked the litany of comments below the status to confirm what I feared: the “cult” he meant was Christianity.

He now believes that God is love, but nothing more than that. Of course, this belief is informed by Scripture, which he also rejects. Leaving that contradiction aside, we find that what my friend has done is to reduce God to a mere philosophical concept.

He appears to understand that God is necessary for existence. He would probably agree with me that God is the First Cause, or the Uncaused Cause, that touched off the chain of events that eventually became our universe. Other than that, my friend seems to have no way to inform his understanding of God other than to label him “love.” This is reducing God to a speculative philosophical concept.

The Christian, however, believes in a deity that is more than just a philosophical concept. The Christian has real object for his faith, that is, the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus suffered all of the same things that we suffered, emerging victorius, so that we can have real comfort with someone who has been there before. Jesus is God’s way of getting closer to us: by becoming flesh and blood and suffering though life as one of us.

A philosophical concept, however, is a cold and impersonal force that has never experienced life the way that we can. This isn’t a real person that we can retreat to when times are rough. So, when times get rough, while the Christian sees Jesus as the anchor and the rock to weather the storm, my friend won’t have such a rock. He’ll only have himself.

Once he has to weather a storm relying only on himself, it is easy to conclude that a philosophical concept did nothing for him. So why not shed the philosophical concept altogether?

Reducing God to a mere philosophical concept is only a few steps away from atheism.