This morning, while I was meditating, a thought popped into my mind: What's good about God? After a bit of reflection, an answer came: Nothing.
If you're an atheist or agnostic, that answer won't surprise you. But I hope to convince religious believers that they too should consider that God is good for nothing. In fact, I don't see how someone could come to any other conclusion.
Follow my reasoning...
God isn't evident. People are. Religions are founded by people who supposedly know something about God.
For example, Jesus, Mohammad, Moses.
In addition to these historical figures, there are modern day gurus, masters, sages, and prophets who are believed to have some sort of direct connection with God.
And countless members of the world's religious, spiritual, metaphysical, mystical, and religious faiths consider that God has touched, loved, changed, saved, or otherwise influenced them.
Yet let's imagine a game show: "Who Has Been Made Better by God?"
A dozen people sit in chairs on stage. The contestant -- let's say it's you -- has to figure out which of the individuals, if any, has an intimate relationship with God, and which are godless.
How would you tell? What questions would you ask?
Given the opportunity to conduct background research on these people, what evidence could you gather that would allow you to say, "Person X is better because of God"?
None. If gathering such evidence were possible, it would have been done by now.
And likely the existence of that evidence would have greatly diminished all the debating, wrangling, and arguing about whether God exists, and if so, which religion has the direct line to Him, Her, or It.
In fact, there's no way to tell if a person who claims to have a relationship with God really does. It's all a matter of blind faith.
Does God make someone moral, ethical, upstanding, virtuous, loving? No. There are plenty of good people who are religious believers. There also are plenty of good people who are atheists or agnostics.
Does God make someone wise, intelligent, a knower of things no one else knows? No. There is no verifiable evidence of anyone being privy to knowledge that could only have come from God.
Does God make someone capable of super-human powers, such as ESP, telekinesis, clairvoyance, invisibility, or such? No. There is no documented record of anyone possessing capabilities that aren't part of the normal skill set of Homo sapiens.
I could go on in the vein, but three examples are enough to make my point.
Ardent believers in God, in a God-realized human being, or in their own relationship with God, like to claim that contact with divinity has marvelous effects. Yet when they are asked, "What effects?", the answers are underwhelming.
As noted above, everything that supposedly is good about God also can be had without God. Meaning, a godly person looks no different from an ungodly person.
There's no way to tell them apart.
If you show me a religious believer who is so generous and loving he would surrender his life for another person, I can show you an atheist with the same quality.
If you show me a religious believer who is so wise, personable, and charismatic he elevates the spirits of almost everyone who comes in contact with him, I can show you an atheist with the same quality.
If you show me a religious believer who is willing to undergo arduous disciplines and sacrifices in order to achieve his life's ambition, I can show you an atheist with the same quality.
So I repeat my question: What's good about God? Along with my answer: Nothing.
I welcome comments to this post that attempt to show how it would be possible to win the "Who Has Been Made Better by God?" game. Take a stab at it. Describe how you would distinguish between a godly person, and a non-godly person.
I'm confident you'll find that there's no way to tell the difference.
And that's really good news. Because everything we call "good" is available to us here and now as normal human beings -- no special delivery from God needed.
Looking outside of ourselves for the qualities we want to embody is senseless, since there is no evidence that believing in a divinity adds anything desirable to the human experience.
So rejoice in the thought, "There is nothing good about God." This means that all the good we could ever want or enjoy is ours for the having -- as earthly beings.