The idea of god's authority isn't built on the simple notion that he is omnipotent. Its true foundation is the idea that god owns everything... including you.
The Illusion of Wealth
Have you ever wondered why gods are so often portrayed as being extremely wealthy? Many people I'm sure have never asked this question, after all, why shouldn't an all powerful being be wealthy? For those of us who have given this some thought, you likely find it to be as idiotic as I do. So for those who are missing the logic here, I'd like to spell it out for you.
The idea of wealth is an illusion. It is simply another in a long line of what I call human constructs. The entire idea of wealth is built on a few simple ideas. Firstly, the idea is built on the notion of possession and ownership. When one is said to own a great many things, they are considered wealthy. The inherent problem with this is that human beings are finite animals and as such we can never truly own anything other than our own thoughts and emotions. Everything else we presume that we own will eventually belong to someone else in some form or fashion, or it will eventually be discarded completely. That flat screen TV. Your house and car. Your clothes and the money in your bank account. All of these things will one day belong to someone else.
The second idea in play here is that of supply and demand. You see, it doesn't matter how much of something you own if no one wants it. You could own all the elephant dung in the world, but if no one else wants that dung you aren't wealthy, you're just a guy with a lot of elephant crap. So we see that both wealth and value are subjective and that there are very few universal ideas about wealth and value.
But we can break that idea of supply and demand down into an even simpler idea known as rarity. You see, for us humans the rarer something is the more valuable it becomes for us. Gold, silver, and jewels are all considered very valuable because they are rather rare, however moon rock is more valuable because it is even more rare here on earth. If there is an abundance of something, such as ocean water, it is of little value to us because if we want or need it there is plenty to be had.
Through the Eyes of a God
If you can understand and agree with my assessment of wealth as being a possession of an abundance of rare and sought after goods or materials, then we can get down to brass tacks.
There is a logical inconsistency with the idea that a god would hold to the same value set that humans do. What I mean by this is that it is illogical to assume that an all powerful being would value gold, silver, and jewels in the same way humans do. Yet time and again we are given the example that they do in fact value these things in the same way humans do. Shiva is adorned with gold and jewels. The god Yahweh of the bible supposedly lives in a city made of gold whose splendor is beyond compare. In nearly every religion the idea that these gods possess great human wealth is persistent.
So why is that idea illogical? Well, it boils down to that prevailing idea that wealth is subjective. If we look back at what I've listed as being the general judgment scale humans use to determine value and wealth, the problem should become clear. All we have to do is ask two simple questions.
1. Is there anything an all powerful god cannot or doesn't own? and
2. Is there anything which is rare to an all powerful god?
The answer to both questions, if one accepts the idea of an all powerful god at all, is a flat out no. Given the nature of who and what an omnipotent being is, that god would own everything in all existence and can make as many of anything it wants with nothing more than a thought.
This leads to a further question however, which is whether or not an omnipotent god can value anything at all. If there is nothing this god doesn't own and nothing it can't have or could lose and not replace, how can that god know any sense of value or worth? I find it very illogical to assume that such a god would have any sense of value whatsoever. A diamond loses it's splendor and value if you can produce them at will with only a thought. If you remember the fable of King Midas you'll recall that once he could turn anything he touched to gold, that gold lost value for him and what became most valuable to him was the one thing he could no longer have... human contact.
From the Twisted Minds of Men
There is only one reason that a god would supposedly have the same sense of value as a human being and that is because these gods are the inventions of men. They supposedly value what those men valued. They supposedly want what those men wanted. It was not a matter of gods speaking to and through men, but rather men posing as gods to enforce their own ideas. In today's world we can see this in the many logical inconsistencies inherent in these religions.
A god that can have anything can't value anything, certainly not in the same way we as humans do. It would have no use for gold or silver or jewels to express it's wealth. Hell, it wouldn't have need to express it's wealth at all. What would such a god care about how we perceived it? Our ideas of wealth would merely be arbitrary nonsense of no consequence to such a god. Of course, our ideas of wealth are truly arbitrary to us as well... which kind of deflates the whole thing when you really give it some thought.
A Final Thought
I want to leave you with a final thought, a terminus for this idea if you will. Underneath all this is an inherent truth that makes this very idea insidious to the core. You see friends, there is something that many people don't like to face when it comes to wealth. In order for one to be wealthy another must do without. It's the
very foundation the idea of wealth is built upon. Without disparity there can be no wealth. This is the reason that some starve in the streets while others live in mansions. This is why some nations prosper while others waste away. This is why some die from diseases while others receive medicine.
I'm sure some see no problem with this. I'm sure there are those still under the illusion that there isn't enough to go around and so it's every man for himself. But I think deep down we all know that it isn't right for some to suffer so that others may prosper. There is a high cost to wealth and most often it comes at the expense of our own morality. So we must question the idea of a god who has the same thirst for wealth that leads to disparity and suffering that corporations and greedy men have. This is not a trait one should expect to find in an all powerful god.
Photo Credits: Gaby Stein