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The Hydra of Heterodoxy

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).

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