The Hydra of Heterodoxy

October 2000

In its June 3-10 issue, the Jesuit weekly America presented an article making what is obviously a case for a Deistic conception of God. The article is called "Parenthood and the Attributes of God" by Michael J. Daley, who teaches at St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati. Daley's theological message is that God is not all-powerful or all-knowing: Although God created the world, He had to rest on the seventh day because He was "exhausted," at which point He took off "the mask of ‘I can do anything, anytime, anywhere'…."

Then God, far from being all-knowing, learned from the Flood in Noah's day that punishment "doesn't work." So God's love moved from being "conditional to unconditional," for God found Himself "vulnerable" and "defenseless." Indeed, "God…finally breaks down and shouts throughout the enormous expanse of creation, ‘Help!'" (Unlike Teddy Roosevelt, God speaks loudly and carries a twig -- or is it a purse?)

Daley, who wants to believe that God is all-loving, equivocates a tad bit by saying that "love is all-powerful and love is all-knowing." But this is empty, meaningless rhetoric, and Daley knows it, for of the three attributes of God he discusses (all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving) he says in conclusion that "one out of three ain't bad."

To Daley, God created the world, was dismayed by what he had done, and then, realizing His impotence, just lovingly let things be. That's a Deistic type of God. Of course, if God is not all-powerful, then His love is ineffectual -- worthless, really. For Jesus couldn't have risen from the dead, and you won't be rising from the dead either. And don't bother praying to God -- don't cry out "Help!" for He'll just echo back "Help!" (and, sorry, He ain't got no money in His purse).

You have two options:

  1. Online subscription: Subscribe now to New Oxford Review for access to all web content at AND the monthly print edition for as low as $38 per year.
  2. Single article purchase: Purchase this article for $1.95, for viewing and printing for 48 hours.

If you're already a subscriber log-in here.

New Oxford Notes: October 2000

Read our posting policy Add a comment
Or to borrow heavily from another of your articles, when the shepards are silent heterodoxy reigns. Posted by: martillo
July 26, 2007 11:04 AM EDT
Attention NOR editors:

I see that this article dates back seven years ago. Is Mike Daley still teaching at that Concinnati Catholic high school? If he is, I feel sorry for the families who plunk down good tuition money to have their kids hear that God is not all powerful. Could have sent them to a
public school to get the same message.
Posted by: John
July 26, 2007 12:56 PM EDT
John, as of 2007, yes Mike Daley is still listed as a member of the faculty at St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati, where he teaches "Morality/Justice" and "Theology" in addition to being moderator of the Young Democrats Club. See this link for faculty listing. Posted by: charing cross
July 27, 2007 12:09 PM EDT
Add a comment