I was a practicing Catholic for decades before finally confessing (to myself) that all that practicing hadn’t really made me believe the “revealed” God is the real God. If you, too, are a slow learner, perhaps my evolution to deist may interest you. Not that I seek a label for my spiritual status, but the definition of deist appears to fit, so….

I’ll start here: the belief that God is perfect, and Leibniz’s contention that this is the best of all possible worlds, seem to stand or fall in concert. Thus, even if God is perfect in his omnipotence and the world is the best possible arrangement of natural laws, by what logic does it necessarily follow that the creator is perfect morally? Wouldn’t a perfect God know that might does not make right?

The opposite side of the coin, atheism, also fails my “smell test.” There isn’t a snowman’s chance in hell that the complexity of the universe and life came about by anything other than intelligent design. But this design must include ALL of creation. You can’t pick and choose, crediting the creator for all things good and beautiful while absolving him for creating diseases and natural disasters. Let’s face it – we were deliberately made to suffer and die and not know why.

Some have tried to put a positive spin on suffering by saying it can build character and maturity. But how does that apply to infants suffering from terminal cancer, for example? Others justify our mortal condition by defending some variation of the might makes right argument. How does that square with the “God is love” claim?

I don’t know if there is life after death, but it doesn’t seem to make sense that the creator would go to all this complexity just for the sake of creating and then walk away from it. Surely, given reversed roles, the creator wouldn’t want done to him what he has done to us. And yet, unless everything can somehow be made right in the next life, what is the basis for a moral, loving relationship between creator and created (not to mention between created and created)? In that context, the word “somehow” seems beyond amoral omnipotence.