Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

Patrick H

Are there two rival Gods?

Theology of Dualism

In ancient times religionists were puzzled about how a good God could permit evil to be. They came up with a simple solution or at least they thought it was a solution. They said there was an all-good God but whose power to do good was limited by another God, a bad one. By bad, a God who likes to make people sin, or torture them or be vengeful to them or all three is meant. These two Gods have to be equal for one could bind the other and take over everything if one was stronger. They have to compromise all the time and neither can act without the consent of the other. This doctrine is known as Cosmological Dualism.

To many today it appears that suffering can be explained by the notion that Dualism is true. The theory implies that we live after death for some people have lots of happiness on earth while others do not.

Would good God accept some souls to care for non-stop forever and let bad God have the rest to torment non-stop forever? Maybe for the result is as much good as evil. But it is more probable that instead of each taking his share in this way that each will let the other treat all of them as he pleases at times so that all of us will have pleasure and then sorrow and then pleasure and sorrow again and so on for all eternity. It is likely because we would not be here on earth living in a mixture of good and evil which would not be if each of the Gods wanted half of us all to himself.

Bad God would be doing the happy people a favour if he let Good God have them so that they will never ever suffer. He’d rather afflict them some of the time. Against this it might be said that he has to allow this to hurt the rest, the other half, all the time. But he would be more interested in spoiling virtue and defiling good things for he hates the Good God than in cruelty. Good God would be more interested in the redemption of the wicked from evil than in having people who have never strayed from him.

The Gods are not infinite. You cannot have infinite good power and infinite evil power for infinite power means having all possible power. Infinite power cannot be all evil and all good.

Both Gods have to be equally powerful for otherwise the strongest would have triumphed over the other. We know what life would be like if one of them were supreme. Neither can act without the other’s consent. They must compromise. Each one wants to do its own thing to us for half of our existence. And that is why they are forced to let each other act.

Dualism does not imply reincarnation. The soul could be a kind of body that is not sensed until death and which enables life, and pain and happiness to continue.

In the early Church, some heretics believed that the body and the world and all that is material is evil and the handiwork of an evil God. The Good God is the maker of spiritual things, spirit is what has no parts. They believed that matter was evil for it stank of decay and death and forced the mind to forget about the things of the good God. Matter need not be evil but it is evil the way it is. But if we are made for God alone if he exists as Augustine and Jesus and reason say then we don’t need bodies and having them would tell us that God does stupid things for a soul would do.

Many of the heretics argued that a person who was attached to material things would be reincarnated and come back to this world after they die. Until a person becomes totally in line with the good God and contemplates and wills to be with him alone they will be reincarnated. That means that the person must have no dependence on matter at all. For some this meant starving to death. For others it meant a body eating and drinking and taking care of itself while the soul or mind was preoccupied with God and not even knowing what it was doing.

The fastest way to prove that the theory is untrue is that there is no free will and that none of the arguments for a good God work. If we had no free will and these Gods existed life would be different for it would not seem as if we were not puppets.

The Parent and the Tormentor

Could there be a benevolent God and a cruel one? No.

We all spend much of every day in a state in which we are a bit happy and a bit sad at the same time. If there were two Gods we would be this way all the time. There would be no ecstatic joy or severe sorrow. But some might suppose that this way and the way things are still add up to the same amount of suffering in the end so it does not matter. But the first way is the simplest. If Good God did not do what was the easiest he would be evil for then he would be irrational. Some say, “We would rather be somewhere between happiness and sadness all the time than to get all the suffering we are due in full force. Bad God then would be doing us a favour if he accepted this arrangement.” But it makes no difference. It would be stupid to prefer one to the other. At times, we suffer so that we will be glad later.

If we do not have free will then we would all be suffering one minute and happy the next or half and half all the time.

Good God will have nobody to love so it seems impossible to see how he could really be good. But love is in the intent and you can have it if there is nobody else for you would love them if there were. If he loves evil God then he is desiring to reward him for his evil. Maybe he just wishes would repent and be happy but mercy is evil. He cannot love the evil God. Some would say that he cannot know his love is real when he cannot use it but you know you would eat a T-bone steak even if you have not got one. Good God is evil if he claims to be love and he does. Opening your eyes shows that there are not two evil Gods. The theory is incoherent. Even if he has to love something he does not have to love that evil God. An atheist father can love a dead child that he believes does not exist anymore.

If there is a bad God and a good one then we do not exist so that we will be perfect but so that we will flit back and forth between good and evil forever and ever. Good God had no purpose for evil. There is no point in hurting a person to make them temporarily good. We would expect Bad God to do lots of sinful miracles – like making you think you are fornicating or raping – and Good God to do lots of holy ones to attract us to holiness. If Good God is more interested in making us good than in us being happy the theory gets more absurd. It has God working to make us good and letting the Devil desecrate that good. Better to have no people to be good than to have good set up to be mocked.

The theory of two opposing Gods is implausible for it is too much of a coincidence that both have the same strength of power.

Watch out for the anti-dualist arguments, arguments against the notion of their being a bad God and a Good God, that do not succeed.

Some say, “It is better not to make people at all when they are going to suffer half the time. It would not be right for there is no need to make them. Good is doing the least evil and demands doing what is half good and half evil when one has one’s back to the wall. Goodie is as bad as baddie when he agreed to create. So the notion of two Gods, one good and one malign, is nonsense.” Making people under such circumstances is both good and evil or neutral if you prefer. Therefore, it is wrong to condemn it. But if it is neutral then the Good God cannot do good and the evil one cannot do evil but all they do is will good and evil and why create at all if that is all the far they can get? Gods are more likely to do nothing when something is no use. This refutes whatever kind of good and bad God you can imagine.

Against the two Gods theory, some point to the fact that some babies suffer and others do not. They think that if good God were really good he would protect all babies and let baddie go for the wicked. But when there is no free will it makes no difference for all are without guilt. If babies were spared so would good people be. Bad God would not want such a state of affairs, if we have free will, because it would deter sinners from sin.

Incidentally, if we have no free will then the Gods can’t make free beings and probably have no free will themselves. It is too much of a coincidence then that one is good and the other evil.

Some follow C S Lewis’s argument from The Problem of Pain that Bad God has some good qualities. He has patience, persistence and intelligence which he would not have unless he had once been a good God. Both Gods should not have used their power to prevent either of them from falling away for the sake of the beings they would create. That time was the time for creating all the beings they could possibly crate, not when one of them had abandoned goodness. Neither God was ever good or sincere. We see there is a contradiction in the notion of two Gods. If the Gods are outside time then they cannot change. Then it is absurd to speak of one of them being evil because he couldn’t have abandoned his original righteousness. But it is possible to imagine a God being started off or created perverse or always having been evil. The evil is in the God’s will and to in his components. He can’t be evil without having the good of intelligence and patience to will and do evil. The argument seeks to twist the idea of an evil God into something ludicrous in order to dispose of it.

We reject the doctrine of a pair of Gods, one caring and his rival brutal. Some say that it is hypocrisy to call one God good and the other evil when one says hand me the medicine and the other says hand be the poison. But the theory says they have no choice so the objection is invalid.

If we are free then the supreme degradation is the removal of free will for it prevents us from doing good. Some say that evil God would do the worst thing to us or to half of us which is removing the freedom. But then that would stop us doing evil too. He could do the evil we do himself but it is preferable for him to get a person to sin than to hurt that person. But then it makes no difference for he still gets half the power over lives with which to do evil – the amount is going to be the same whatever he does. Sin is an insult against the good God and is infinite evil because it is spitting upon the everlasting love he has for you so it is worse than suffering. He would be sinning in hurting a person and if the person sins instead of being hurt and Bad God sins by tempting her or him that means two sins instead of one. He would want us to sin and enjoy it so that we will do it again. There is no reason for good God to allow suffering so the existence of suffering disproves the one holy and one sinful God notion. Good God would not be so mysterious like the infinite God of Christian dogma so there would be no mystery in his sending suffering upon us especially when it is likely to make us curse him. Bad God has no need for suffering either.

Varieties of Dualism

We have tried the idea that there are two Gods, one good and the other malign and found it hopeless. There are, however, other forms of dualism.

The second century heretic, Marcion, taught that there were two Gods. One was pure love and kindness while the other one was pure and rigid justice. The God of love was revealed though Jesus who was a phantom and opposes the strict Old Testament God of justice who gave out punishment instead of love.

The fact that there is no free will proves that neither of these Gods exist. For instance, both Gods would do nothing but good to us when we don’t deserve to suffer. We suffer so they are fictitious.

These Gods have to compromise too. Both just have different understandings of good and neither would want innocent babies to suffer. Babies suffer so they don’t exist.

The Gods are the most intelligent beings. But if they were really smart they would talk to one another to see who is right. If the God who is wrong cannot see that he is wrong then he is evil not stupid. We do not know which God is the one who is good when they do not know themselves so it is sheer bigoted taking of sides to grant allegiance to one of them and not the other. The result: we have to be loving to some monsters and strict justice to others for all we can do is try to please both Gods. They cannot blame us for acting so. The result is chaos for people cannot be expected to agree on when strict justice should be done. The theory will only torture the mind of the person who accepts it.

Marcion said that the God of love was not known to the just God. But that does not get the God of justice off the hook. He should still know which is best, love or fairness. And the God of love is evil when he won’t try to change the other God.

He knows now for we have just pointed that out to him.

If we have free will there is another absurdity. If sin is infinitely evil then everybody should suffer all the time. Reason says that we can take infinite torture all in one go but when neither God is infinite this cannot be done. And when God inflicts severe punishment it proves that he is not interested in letting us pay in the form of tiny smarts of pain every million years for all eternity. He considers it best to hurt us all the time forever. But it is not best. It is an injustice to choose the worst kind of justice for all deserve what is best. The criminal deserves the best punishment. Marcion’s notion of a just but not evil God is a fallacy.

When he cannot give us all we deserve because of the other God and the other is half tied down as well then why does the evil one not hurt as much as possible and the other make us as ecstatic as possible for the limit level of suffering and pain could be stronger than it is? It would be when good and evil merit infinite good and evil respectively. Even if there is one God of evil and another of good the limit would be beyond all belief.

When we think that God is rewarding us for our sins by not punishing us then he would act to punish us. He cannot delay for any mysterious purpose for he is not interested in making us better people but in treating us according to our works. Marcion’s God is ruining his own good name.

Perhaps it is a God of goodness and a God who does wrong against those who do wrong - revenge? The latter could harm a baby for revenge. He would not allow us to disapprove of his actions for he says revenge is right but we cannot approve of the other God’s opposing view at the same time. We will be punished for taking the Good God’s side.

The Gods are not trying to make us good for they could do more to win us over to goodness. They could make us know what right and wrong are which many do not.

We will have suffering one minute and happiness the next forever and ever.

One vengeful God would do for he is good to the good. Two Gods are unnecessary.

Some Satanic groups argue that there are two Gods, Satan and Yahweh. Satan, the God of evil, they say, will triumph over his adversary some day. Thus they argue that it is wisest to be on the Bad God’s side.

But why will Satan win the battle?

If it is because he is stronger then he should have won long ago. He has not own which is easily enough seen from looking around us.

If it is because he is smarter and will finally outwit the other God then we have another piece of nonsense. He could have managed to do that ages ago.

It is silly to say that each God magically gets his power from the support of the people who are for him and that Satan will rule some day because most will serve him. One of them must have the majority now. The doctrine presupposes the superstition of free will because no God would agree to a set-up in which his defeat is sealed which he would know if determinism were true.

Would the Gods really arrange to make a world and then decree that the God who has the most support will overcome the other God? It would be a dangerous risk for either God to take. They could go on as they are as equals. And bad God would have the power to go against the agreement. So, they would have to forget about taking over the cosmos.

It is a blunder to hold that the God of Goodness will be the conqueror. Yet this was the doctrine of the Zoroastrians of long ago, the largest religion in the world at the time of Christ until it was supplanted by his even sillier one.

And there are still people foolish enough to accept cosmological dualism and the theory logically implies that it doesn’t matter if you fight evil or not for it is never going to be any better anyway.

The Sinner and the Holy

The theology: Perhaps there are two Gods and the good one just wants us to have moral qualities and is not concerned about our happiness and the other one wants us to sin but is not concerned about making us suffer. They would have to be equal and meet halfway all the time.

This is the most reasonable form of dualism if the universal theological doctrine that sin would be a greater evil than suffering and virtue would be a greater good than happiness is accepted – a theory which itself is just sick religious pornography. It takes some fanaticism and nerve to declare that the whole world starving to death is better than for a single sin to take place.

Sin is a worse evil than suffering because this dualism says that if God exists then an infinite curse is on sin for God wills infinite good to you. It is evil because of the harm it would do if it could.

But if God is really good then he hates suffering as much as sin for both are evil. The evil and uncompassionate doctrine of sin being the greater evil implies a morality that would ask you to suffer the greatest of torments to avoid telling a tiny lie if you believe that lying is always wrong.

If sin is worse than suffering then the bad God will be more interested in drawing you into sin than hurting you. If there is a good God then bad God hates him totally and is obsessed with offending him and getting us to offend him.

Sinful God made us just for sin. Good God made us just for virtue. It is not us they want but our qualities.

Suffering and happiness exist not because of them or because they are concerned about them but because they are side-effects of immorality and morality.

Incidentally, it is not sinful for Holy God to let Unholy God carry out sinful actions because he is a sinner anyway and Good God has not made evil greater than good by consenting to creation if the number of sinners is equal to the number of the holy.

The refutation:
* Morality with Holy God and immorality both encourage suffering so a person who has more blessings than sorrows would refute the theory. Then love or morality is sacrifice so the more suffering the better. People think suffering is okay when it is done for stopping worse suffering. That implies that suffering is evil but if suffering is evil and has to be stopped then that implies that God is evil for allowing suffering.

* The theory cannot explain why we exist for our existence does not reduce the amount of sin or virtue in the universe if there are two opposite Gods. We are not needed so why would the Gods waste their power?

Sinful God wills all our sins and wishes there was an infinity more. This is sinful for him. Sin is in the will and is an attitude. Morally, it is as bad to be willing to make people to sin as to actually do it and makes you as guilty as you would want them to be. Each sin he wills is committing a sin so he just can’t sin or will any more evil than he does so us sinning won’t make things any worse so he had no need to make us and wouldn’t have let the other God do it. Good God can’t will or do any more good than he does so he has no need for us either. It does not matter who sins or wills good as long as it is done. So whose idea was it to create? The Good God’s because to make persons even to suffer is to make what is valuable so the other God would see this as a maximisation of good and couldn’t allow it. He would have to be a God of death who puts half the creatures out of existence but the trouble is he would never let the Good God maximise what is valuable by creating human life which is totally valuable.

When a person sins Sinful God sins by willing it and that person sins too. Sinful God would still be willing that person to sin even if that person did not exist. So our existing or not existing makes no difference to the amount of sin and its opposite, holiness, that there is.

Perhaps two sinners are better than one or two saints are better than one and that is why we were made. I object that if it is only quality that counts and not persons it does not matter to either God as long as what he wants is done.

* The Gods would not have wasted power on uninhabited starts and planets.

Why would these Gods have made such a large universe with countless planets and stars which are useless? It is ridiculous especially when they are only worried about morality and immorality.

* If sinner God is nothing more than a tempter then we would experience the attraction to sin all the time but we don’t. Temptation can be good for us so it is impossible to imagine the good God stopping the bad one from not suggesting sin to us. Both Gods just act on us all the time together. But we know they do not.

* Unless half of all conscious beings are sinners then there cannot be two Gods, one good and one holy for they must be equal.

There could be beings we will never know of so we cannot be certain that half of all beings are not sinful and the remainder good. But the Gods would want us to know they existed so it would seem that all who exist would all be on the one planet so that we could be reasonably sure half are sinners. We would be able to see sin or virtue by clairvoyance. It seems ridiculous to believe that half of all free beings are sinners and fall will be sinners forever and ever. It is a contradiction.

* Some people do not believe in sin because they oppose the concept of free will so they cannot sin so Sinner God is a myth.

If the Gods could control what you choose, nobody would be enabled by them to believe in unfree will. They could prevent you from thinking that there might be no free will at all even if you are free. You can be free without thinking of everything. They would if they existed. The same is true if any kind of God exists.

* If we are free and there is two Gods then there is nothing they can do about our choices and we would be sinning one minute and not sinning the next if they could. This implies the absurd theory of indeterminism.

* If we are just here to choose between two Gods then why do we sleep? Why are babies not able to make this choice? Both would be absurd. These are simple disproofs of the doctrine of Sinner God and Holy God if we are free. They prove there can’t be any kind of God.

* We would suffer nearly the whole time for Holy God has to punish sin for punishing is a virtue and then there is the suffering caused by sin that Sinner God is indirectly responsible for.

If we are free then we sin. Holy God has to punish our sin for if we don’t pay for it then he does not seriously oppose it and is really a bad God. He punishes us because he has to not because he hates us. Perhaps he cannot punish us for it would mean too much suffering for us? Perhaps when he sees us hurt by the Sinful God it would do. He would then be obliged to treat it as punishment. It is like mummy not punishing Joey for a boy beat him up at school though it had nothing to do with her – she treats the beating as a proxy punishment for her.

Sinner God would be unable to do real evil if Holy used him to punish. Some might answer that it is his motive that counts. He does it out of hate even though it does make us pay for sin. But he can will evil without hurting us at all so he would not do Good God a favour to hurt us. Pain then would refute the theory. Sinful God would not bother creating when all he could do is will evil.

So, you should leave patients to rot in hospital for the Gods will leave them alone when they are ready. That reduces morality to good intentions without actions and allows us to do all the harm we wish as long as no malice towards God is intended.
Gods of Love and Vengeance?
If there are two Gods could it be that one God is a God of love and the other is the God of vengeance? Vengeance is doing wrong to a person for wronging you while punishment is doing right to a person for wronging you.

This theory presupposes free will. The God of revenge would have nothing to punish us for if he we are free therefore both Gods would have to make life a permanent holiday for us.

Babies could not suffer unless they are being punished for the sins of a previous life for just being hurt to get at their parents. Revenge is paying back wrong for wrong so it is a mistake to say that Nasty God would not lash out at a baby for sins it cannot remember. It still has a debt to pay. Revenge usually hurts more than the intended victim. Other people are affected by it too. So the God would attack a child out of hatred for its parents.

Don’t think, “Such a theory would not be nasty and cruel for us to accept. If the God is taking revenge we do not have to approve. Even if he exacted punishment instead of taking revenge we could still have compassion for the victims for punishment is a necessary evil. If he asks us to approve then this contradicts the doctrine that he has compromised with the God of love. The Good God would never have consented to our creation if we had to approve and make our good deeds and thoughts to be evil bigotry and discrimination.

The latter wants us to be loving while the former wants us to be loving only to people who are deserving of it. The Gods have put us here to choose between evil and good and being rewarded and revenged upon. We would have to be half loving and half vengeful. This would not be a sin when we have no choice. Anything else will bring the wrath of the Judge God on us.

If all are sinners all the time then the good God is not really trying to win us over to goodness so there is no good God. And there must be some fault with us when none ascend to Heaven when we think and live like saints. When the choice is made by us, the God who can take us should. If too many souls go to the avenger the good God will have to wait until the sinners repent of all their sins and take them all up to his Heaven in that instant. But such repentance would be artificial and neither God would be happy with us or have let us be made for we are too sinful.

Even if we do repent of all our sins we still have to be punished for them if there is a God of wrath and vengeance. And what is the punishment? Everlasting suffering. Since sin is being willing to literally hurt God infinitely if you could from the minute you sin and forever it follows that you should suffer to the full everlastingly.

Don’t think, “When nobody is taken to Hell for the God of vengeance to get his own back the moment they sin it indicates that there is no such God.”

He could be doing this as it is – might just look as if he is not for there is a rival God and the universe could be full of people. Wicked people who are overlooked have to be ignored by the Dark Lord because he is not allowed to take them for the bargain is that only half of the human race may be taken to Hell.

But when all are sinners there is no point in any God waiting and all should be damned.

A vengeful God punishing us forever. Would the God of revenge hate us that much?

He kills and he slaughters and he believes in justice to the extent that he likes to go too far in his allegiance to it. Only a monster could torture a baby over previous life of crime or the crime of others. So the answer is yes.

 “The Good God has to punish sin. We would suffer nearly all the time if there was a Good God and a vengeful one”. He does not have to when the other does it for him. Bad God makes punishment unnecessary although he does it out of a malign motive and goes too far. Good might think we suffer enough so we are exempt from receiving retribution from him.

If the Gods are concerned about doing right then why don’t they magically inform all of us and convince us concerning what right and wrong are? We would know, if they existed.

And if the Gods exist they could manipulate our thoughts to prevent us from choosing to sin. Even free will can be fettered. The vengeful God would be totally evil if he lets us sin.

We reject this theory of the Gods for we know it is wisest to stick to what is more likely. And that may be that mind over matter influenced evolution. Even if it were plausible the Gods theory still would not be the most likely theory.

The good thing about the theory is that it has less of what theologians call seeming contradictions or mysteries than belief in one God of absolute love. This alone makes it evil to believe in one such God.

But would one vengeful God do? It would. He could bless us for past goodness and our sufferings could be his getting his own back. The theory is superfluous and that makes it unreasonable.
Eternal Dualistic Gods?
Are there two timeless Gods and one evil and the other his rival in goodness?

If the Gods are outside time, if they are eternal beings, then they are as good as infinite. Suppose I have a little power of mind over matter and enter the eternal state and use it then I will still have it afterwards because nothing can change in that state. So I can use it infinitely. The Good God will use his power infinitely and the Evil God his in the same way. His will to love becomes infinite and the others will to evil is also infinite. But this is impossible. Two infinite opposites cancel one another. So the Gods must be in time. They must have had an origin in time for time had to have an origin.

If they entered eternity they would lose their power. Only one could get in and there would only be one God if that happened.

So each God wants to enter and uses all his power to try and the other has to stop him leaving them no power to for anything else or creating. They would be in total deadlock. They cannot make an agreement in case it is a trap. The other God could be bluffing so that his rival will reduce the power keeping him out of eternity so that he can overcome and enter himself. So the fact that we exist and eternity exists and can be entered proves that there are not two Gods. They dare not use their power to make anything. This argument still works even if you believe in a God of mercy and justice or in a God of mercy and a God of revenge. It ruins any argument that has a pair – or even more that two- of Gods at variance existing.

Maybe the Gods cannot enter eternity? But modern physics tells us that if some beings made the universe then they must have power to stop time altogether for the universe has many examples of time been speeded up and slowed down.

So the doctrine of two conflicting Gods is false.

This logic is wrong: “The Gods could use their power to prevent one another using their power to infinity in eternity. This would mean that the power is potentially infinite not actually infinite. Potential means can be while actually means that it already is. Two forces that are potentially infinite can co-exist. They will not use their power to the full if they want to remain in existence. If they ever used it it would mean that they never existed and ever entered eternity so if they exist in eternity they never used it.”

Potential infinite power is infinite energy that is not being used but it is still infinite. It is therefore impossible that two potential infinites could exist. Also, one God could destroy the other if one refuses to use all his power.

The idea of one God, two Gods or three fails to solve any of the logical problems that comes with the hope that there is a higher being or beings that we can count on.
ON THE TRUTH OF THE CATHOLIC FAITH, BOOK ONE, GOD, St Thomas Aquinas, Image Doubleday and Co, New York, 1961
MERE CHRISTIANITY, CS Lewis, Fontana, Glasgow, 1975
THE RELIGION OF ANCIENT PERSIA, Professor A J Carnoy, Catholic Truth Society, London, 1959
APOLOGETICS AND CATHOLIC DOCTRINE PART 1, Most Rev M Sheehan DD, MH Gill & Son, Dublin, 1954
THE PROBLEM OF PAIN, CS Lewis, Fontana, London, 1972
COSMOS, CHAOS AND THE WORLD TO COME, Norman Cohn, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1994