Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Why no grateful gods?

           I recently read about an interesting point of human psychology, and I got to wondering about a point of theology.

           The psychological point is; people hate to owe favors, and they tend to resent the people to whom they owe favors. Therefore the way to get yourself on people’s good side is not to do them a favor; it is to have them do you a favor, and then conspicuously thank them.

           So my question is: why do religions consistently defy this advice? Ever and always, it’s the god who has done us a favor, unasked for, and then expects gratitude in return. This is particularly obnoxious when the favor is combined with a threat; be grateful or else.

           Why not the reverse? Why isn’t there a religion whose god says, “You humans did me a favor awhile back - you may not remember but I sure do - so thank you. Thanks much. I’m grateful. When next we meet, I’ll make it up to you.” That sounds like the kind of god that people would sincerely want to meet.

           But I don’t recall any such god. Do you? So why not? Why are there no grateful gods?

           The only reason I can think of is that people might be afraid that such a god might resent them.

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