What is the difference between an invisible, intangible, hidden God who makes no difference to the way the world works and no God at all?
Well, if you had any brains, you’d say, “None.” But Baber, being a philosophy professor and a believer, has to find some way that an absentee God really matters. Her solution is to see God as a Celestial Omphalos:
Still, even if it is not meaningless to claim that there exists a God who makes no difference to the way in which the natural world works one may ask: what is the point of believing in such a God? Why would anyone even want to believe in a God who makes no difference: a God who does not answer prayers, give our lives “meaning,” or imbue the universe with purpose, reveal moral truths, strengthen us to fight the good fight or, in some sense, ground values.
I can only speak for myself, though my answer is hardly original. God is an object of contemplation. It is remarkably hard to discover by introspection what one really thinks about these matters because they are so overlain by conventional pieties. I suppose what I believe is that God is the ultimate aesthetic object, ultimate beauty, glory and power, and that the vision of God embodies the quintessence of every aesthetic experience and every sensual pleasure. Religion is an escape from the world–not because the world is bad but because it isn’t good enough. Pleasures are fleeting and no matter how intense any aesthetic experience is, it could always be more intense. The vision of God is the asymptote they approach.
That’s what’s in it for me.
Only an intellectual could give an answer this ridiculous. I, for one, would rather contemplate my next meal — at least it is forthcoming.
Over at Butterflies and Wheels, Ophelia Benson takes apart Baber’s fuzzy thinking.