Power, Truth, Freedom, and Proof that Liberals Don't Exist
At the same time, when he has a fundamental disagreement with a guest or caller, he says that, just as he acknowledges the weaknesses or problems entailed in his position, they should have the intellectual honesty to acknowledge those in theirs.
For example, I will acknowledge that liberty has its downside, in that it requires a mature and responsible citizenry, and who wants to grow up if he doesn't have to? But liberals refuse to acknowledge the problems resulting from a massive and intrusive state that provides "security" while inducing passivity, immaturity, and a sense of entitlement in its beneficiaries.
I think we can apply Prager's two principles to our venture into process theology. That is to say, I am happy to acknowledge any difficulties that arise from a point of view that seems to limit divine omnipotence and omniscience (as conventionally understood).
But a person holding the traditional view needs to be honest about the insoluble problems to which it gives rise, most notoriously, the problem of evil (and that is far from the only one). Try as you might, so long as God has the power to mitigate evil, then he is complicit.
This is ironic, in that Christianity, unique among the religions, seems to convey exactly the opposite lesson -- i.e., that even God himself is subject to great evil.
For me, one of the most shocking implications of the Incarnation is that God submits to his own creation -- to history, to human nature, to suffering, and to cosmic injustice. This is unlike any other notion of God, either before or since. And clearly, the apostles had a great deal of difficulty wrapping their minds around it. I mean, what is the point if your god can't just go all Chicago on his enemies, like, say Allah or Obama?
If memory serves, there are some illuminating passages that touch on these questions in chapter four of Meditations on the Tarot, The Emperor. Let's see if we can pull out some relevant nuggets.
First of all, our Unknown Friend emphasizes that God governs by authority and not by force -- force in this context being synonymous with necessity. If God is omnipotent in the traditional sense, then everything ultimately reduces to force and therefore necessity.
But for UF, "Compulsion is only an expedient in which one takes recourse to remedy a lack of authority." Thus, the Emperor "does not have a sword or any other weapon. He rules by means of the sceptre, and by the sceptre alone."
Divine authority only reaches through to the person through a love of the good. It seems that this is the lesson God wishes for us to internalize, for "omnipotent force" doesn't turn out well, neither on heaven nor on earth.
After all, the most successful nation on earth has also been the most free of compulsion (at least BOE, Before the Obama Era) and most oriented to the God of freedom, whereas the most cruel and oppressive ones have been rooted in omnipotent force -- and not only the secular ones. For example, the compulsion of sharia mirrors the force of Allah; as above, so below.
For Unknown Friend, the true Emperor mirrors the divine emptiness (kenosis) in his own humble submission (via love) to a higher authority. For "God governs the world by authority, and not by force. If this were not so, there would be neither freedom nor law in the world..."
And the "first three petitions of the Lord's prayer" are recalled for "the purpose of affirming and increasing divine authority and not divine power." After all, there would be no need to petition a God of force only.
Finally, Unknown Friend emphasizes what was alluded to above, that in the Crucifix we see "the image expressing the paradox of almighty God reduced to a state of extreme powerlessness. And it is in this paradox that one sees the highest revelation of the Divine in the whole history of mankind. One sees there the most perfect revelation of the God of love."
If God is omnipotent in the more vulgar sense, then atheist vulgarians have a valid point: "Why does he not give a visible sign, if not of his power, at least of his existence? Why does he not defend his own interests?" Or in short, Come down from the cross, and then maybe we'll believe you!
A subtle point: truth and power are easily conflated. So, how can this pathetically powerless victim possibly be a reflection of the highest truth? For UF, those who "worship the idol of power" will never see this. But at the same time, there are those who explicitly believe it, but who implicitly draw the wrong lesson, and convert divine love to power.
UF says there are actually two forms of this mischief. There are "those who aspire to the ideal of the 'superman'"; and "those who believe in a God" who is "responsible for all that happens." In other words, omnipotence is either introjected or projected.
For the latter, "Their faith in God depends only on the power of God; if God was powerless, they would not believe in him. It is they who teach that God has created souls predestined to eternal damnation and others predestined to salvation; it is they who make God responsible for the entire history of the human race, including all its atrocities." Again, omnipotence implies necessity, and therefore no freedom.
The bottom line is that "the idol of power has such a hold on some human minds that they prefer a God who is a mixture of good and evil, provided he is powerful, to a God of love who governs only by the intrinsic authority of the Divine -- by truth, beauty and goodness -- i.e., they prefer a God who is actually almighty to the crucified God."
Interestingly, we come back to the meaning of liberty mentioned above in paragraph three. For real freedom is synonymous with real existence. In other words, if I am not free, I am just an extension, or prolongation, or effect, of something else, something necessary.
This being the case, freedom must be "the highest gift," since it is nothing less than the gift of real existence. So: "Love existence, and you have chosen heaven; hate it and you have chosen hell" -- one iteration of the latter being the liberal fascism that renders one a mere extension of the state or of some tinpothead dictator.
God is all powerful in history so long as there is faith; and he is crucified so far as one turns away from him. -- Meditations on the Tarot