An avid guard sits atop its tower with a view of all landscapes and movement down below. Its hawk eyes watch your every move; it watches you sleep, it hears your internal thoughts, it anticipates your every move, it feels every one of your anxieties. The guard however requires no relief, because it is eternal, all-powerful, and all-knowing; it stands at its post without end.
Unlike the state of 1984 though, many of us actually choose to worship, praise, and love this figure in the watchtower, namely, God. The resemblance between an absolute, authoritative state that is present at each moment of your existence and God is truly uncanny, given the qualities attributed to God on the theistic view.
There are three characteristics that are thought of by theologians as necessary of God, otherwise we’re not even talking about a genuine God: omnipotence (all-powerfulness), omniscience (all-knowingness), and benevolence (supreme goodness). To put it simply, take away any single one of these qualities, and this entity is not worthy of being deemed a God – I think theists and atheists will agree on this point.
It is exactly these required qualities that make God an eerie object of worship. I know of few theists that would not be on-edge after describing to them an authoritarian state that comprehends their every thought, emotion, and action. Yet when it comes to the blessed figure in the sky, perched atop its monolithic watchtower, we are to embrace its ‘lovingness’ and ‘plan’ for us, in exchange for being observed like a colony of ants.
When we have a lack of direct evidence for something, but are given a few facts, what can we do? We can derive something from those facts, so as to acquire an indirect fact. This is what I have done: given the required trio of God’s characteristics, I have just given you a glimpse of what is entailed by God’s character.
But what value is there in this eternal invasion of everything with God’s eye?
Let me put the issue in this way, if you haven’t already been creeped out. The best love a human can attain in their life is quite powerful. But never is it acceptable, nor desirable, to wish to know every movement, thought, and feeling of that lover; space is a necessary virtue of love. Indeed, if you love someone sufficiently, you will obey the individual’s demand. What’s more, the desire to be able to observe every portion of that lover’s life is something we think stalkers, sociopaths, and lunatics could only desire.
Interestingly enough, God is not only incapable of respecting you in this way; it is necessarily compelled to breach the boundaries of love and enters the territory of absolutist, authoritarian control. Remember, this follows because God is supposed to be present everywhere, all-knowing (of every detail, everywhere, at all times), and all-powerful. We wouldn’t say that the person that knows more than we know about ourselves, and watches us without end, is someone who genuinely loves us; love has its proper bounds.This reeks of a relationship lacking in trust, and sanity.
Why anyone would be compelled to accept an offer of eternal salvation from such a peculiar watchtower guardsman is bewildering. Why? Because assuming this being existed, you would continue to be drowning in God’s authoritarian, all-observing eye not only in this life, but forevermore.