Religious Solipsism

Christopher Hitchens, one of the most famous atheists today and author of God is not Great, mocks the idea of a personal God who would actually love us and want a relationship with us.  He views such thinking, in a universe of supernovae and black holes, as religious solipsism, that is, the individual self is the whole of reality, i.e., "God knows me, made this world for me, sent His Son for me."  According to Hitchens the idea that a supreme being who is running the universe cares about who I sleep with (his example) or what I do with my money or time, is preposterous and harmful.

The Bible most definitely teaches that God is a macrocosmic God, who transcends time and space.  He is infinite.  Isa. 40 is a good example of God’s incomphrensible magnitude.  He is running the universe in all of its cosmic immensity.

But the Bible also teaches that God is a microcosmic God, the God who knows the smallest details (the number of hairs on your head, Mt. 10:30) and who pays loving attention to those who are downcast. "For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: "I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite" (Isa. 57:15).  He is intimately involved in the lives of His people.  The infinite God is the immanent God.

I am sure that Mr. Hitchens would slaughter me in a debate, but my questions to him would be, "Why should God measure the same way we measure?  Why should the vastness of the universe only communicate that if there is a God we are trivial and irrelevant?  Since when does the relative size of something express it’s true value?  Even humans have determined that a sixty ton granite boulder is far less valuable than a diamond.  What of the comparison to an omnipresent God?" 

The vastness of the universe communicates that we are relatively small by comparison, but it does not follow that God views us as trivial, or unimportant because of our relative infinitesimal size.  How does God measure an immortal soul?  It is not religious solipsism to say that God is both transcendent and immanent, that He is infinite and present, and that He desires to be our God and for us to be His people.  Certainly part of God’s greatness is not only His transcendent infinitude, but also His loving immanence in the details of our lives.

God is great.  He is greater than we could ever imagine.  The real religious solipsism is the one who will not allow for the existence of an imcomprehensible God who bursts the mental categories of our own self-perceived realities.

Pastor Brian

1 reply
  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    I’m not so sure that Hitchens would slaughter you in a debate. I’ve seen some of his debates and he is very good but, I’ve also listened to some of your sermons and my money (if I were a gambling man) would be on you Pastor Brian.

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