10 Difficult Questions about God(s)

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Last week, this badass video interview about my practice was published by Khoo Guo Xiang from The Pitching Room! It is the second of their 1:1 Art Documentary series. It covers my practice as an artist and also talks about my recent Second Coming series and how it opened up discussions for me. 
I have been fortunate to have had many great conversations with open-minded theists, atheists and agnostics since the Second Coming exhibition with Chan Hampe Galleries. I thought I’d share some of our findings here.

1. Do God(s) or Supreme Beings exist?

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Hebrews 11:6

We are mostly past this question. Our general consensus is that we don’t know. No matter how we tried, we found no way of proving or disproving their existence.
Supreme beings could exist but they don’t necessarily care about us. They might care as much about us as we do the ant colony living in our kitchens.
To be specific – we agreed that we are discussing the Biblical God because we are most familiar with him: For some reason, he does not want to make his existence undoubtedly clear and that is his prerogative.

2. Why doesn’t he make his existence undoubtedly clear?

Jesus said, “Thomas, do you have faith because you have seen me? The people who have faith in me without seeing me are the ones who are really blessed!” John 20:29

We came up with several reasons, these are the most plausible/funny ones:
  1. It is more exciting this way! DUH! It keeps us guessing.
  2. He wants to filter out the faithful/gulible to worship him for eternity. The rest will be discarded and tortured forever! Critical thinkers will question everything and won’t be fun to hang with anyway lol
  3. He is a scientist and we are his experiments. Which begs the question of “What is he testing?”, “Isn’t he all-knowing? He should already know the result. Why bother going through the theatrics?”
  4. For reasons mere mortals will never understand.

 

3. Is it possible for an all-knowing, all-powerful loving God to create terrible things like leukemia that kill innocent Children?

Yes, God can do whatever he wants, he can decide to kill everyone if he felt like it (“but he doesn’t because he loves us” my theist friend joked, “so we better be grateful!”). Yahweh probably knows something we don’t and the kid’s death is not even a big deal (Maybe nothing in life/death is a big deal).
He might have created death and suffering for us to understand and appreciate the peace in Heaven.

4. Did Jesus start Christianity?

Yes. Some say he didn’t mean to, we like to assume that God/Jesus doesn’t make mistakes.

More like he came down to update the rules from his Father. Paul the apostle, who never met Jesus in the flesh, claimed a strange vision and continued to spread his message with a few of his own additions/interpretations.
Those who believed Paul (and in turn Jesus) decided to call themselves “Christians” much later on. It started as a cult and the government at that time, The Romans, were clamping down on them and persecuting their members.
The author of the last book of the Bible recorded that he was exiled to Patmos Island because he was preaching about Jesus (Rev 1:9). It was a terrible time to love Jesus.
Anyone who believes me and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe me will be condemned. Everyone who believes me will be able to do wonderful things. By using my name they will force out demons, and they will speak new languages. They will handle snakes and will drink poison and not be hurt. They will also heal sick people by placing their hands on them. Mark 16:16-18

5. “Believe in me and go to heaven, ignore me and go to hell” is THE rule declared by Jesus?

Yes, it sounds terrible when said like that but that is the gist. Though technically (as my theist friend points out), it is more like everyone is by default going to hell because of SIN and Jesus is the only hope to save you from eternal damnation.

 

6. That new rule is only about 2000 years old, what happened to people before Christianity?

However, all first-born cattle, sheep, and goats belong to me and cannot be bought back. Splatter their blood on the altar and send their fat up in smoke, so I can smell it and be pleased. Numbers 18:17

Animal_Sacrifice_HinduThat’s a mystery. Jewish law? The Jews used animal sacrifice to appease Jehovah. The old testament was full of Blood – Moses was like Trump/Nazi committing mass racial genocide and killing their families, Numbers Chapter 31. Thank Jesus blood sacrifice is no longer necessary. 
It is interesting to note that The Old Testament generally talks about rewards given while still alive or for their bloodline, the focus of being rewarded in an after-life as individuals became more evident when Jesus arrived.

7. Are the Jews killed by Hitler in heaven or hell?

concentrationcampsNo one likes to talk about it but according to the Bible – they will or are right now being tortured in hell. It is a cruel world when the only way to salvation is through Jesus alone.
Isn’t being tortured for eternity a tad bit cruel and say fruitless? Haven’t they suffered enough under the Nazi?
It could be a scare tactic and the Almighty never throws anyone in hell like how parents will threaten to leave their kid(s) at a shopping mall if they misbehave. But what if the Bible wasn’t lying and that people (including ‘good’ people) do go to hell… that would be cruel injustice beyond measure from our limited human perspective.
It is interesting to note that the different variations of Jesus believers (Catholics, Evangelical, Jehovah’s witness, etc) have different takes on who goes to hell.

8. What about people through time who never heard of Christianity?

No one is acceptable to God.
Romans 3:10

Unfortunately, rules are rules, they go to hell. Or more technically speaking – they won’t be saved by Jesus… and go to hell. As bullshitty as it sounds, some theologians claim that they are being punished for the sins of their ancestors… Like its your fault for being born in rural China!
This pastor wrote a long article about why “Good” People go to hell talking about the Book of Life (Heaven’s Guestlist) and out of no where a “Book of Works”. Ultimately, he explains that no one is good enough when compared to Jesus (who healed the sick and raised the dead)… so to hell they go… forever. O.G. Savage AF

9. What about infants who died, do they go to heaven?

We don’t know. This Christian site sums it up well:
Yes. Jesus let the little children come to him (Luke 18:15–16).
No. All humans are sinners in Adam until they believe in Christ (Rom. 5:12–21).
Yes. David knew that he would see his son in the afterlife (2 Sam. 12:15–23).
No. Not unless they have been baptized: “No one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit” (John 3:5).
Yes. If their parents are believers: A child is sanctified by a Christian parent (1 Cor. 7:14).

Why is the word of God so unclear? Does he lack communication skills? Maybe it was a situation like Hillary Clinton’s when the Bible was written – their opinion changes depending on who they talk to. #WhichHillary #WhichJehovah

10. Is God being fair?

Are we saying God is unfair? Certainly not! Romans 9:14

No, not by our current collective standards of fairness, our standards always evolve anyway. Jehovah probably has his own standards of fairness that never changes? His standard could read something like: “Everything I do is fair and just.” Deuteronomy 32:4, 2 Chronicles 19:7, 2 Thessalonians 1:6. He can never do wrong and is always fair and just, according to the Bible.

JusticeIf the supreme being was fair and just (by our standards), judgment would be based on the virtues we lived by and things we have done inconsideration of our living circumstances. I personally find it hard to worship a being who tortures entire groups of people for any amount of time.

It is obvious that no one will know the answers to some of these questions but I am glad to see more people thinking more critically. Pointless to discuss the unknowable? Maybe… Here’s to more discussions!

Kendrick Lamar - God Is Gangsta
Kendrick Lamar – God Is Gangsta