If I’m ever at a loss for what to talk about, my twitter feed always delivers. Today Justin Schieber tweeted the following:
“A lack of privacy in principle surely has some weight in the question of whether we should want God to exist.”
I have two responses to this tweet. The first response will be published here and the second in a follow up article.
Let’s begin with the concern one often hears about government’s encroachment on our lives. Who wants “Big Brother” monitoring our emails and credit card purchases and recreational activities? Not me!
“But hold on there ‘libertarian Larry’,” the law-and-order government apologist replies, “If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear.”
In other words, the only reason I am uncomfortable about the government monitoring my emails, credit card purchases, and recreational activities, is because I’m saying, purchasing, and doing things I shouldn’t. If, on the other hand, I’ve got nothing to hide, then I’ve got nothing to fear.
It’s a nice argument. Or at least it would be if governments were essentially good and wholly benevolent. But of course, governments aren’t essentially good or wholly benevolent.
And that’s why the thought that a shadowy government agency like the NSA is monitoring the communication of the citizenry is the kind of thing that should unsettle American citizens. Who knows how a potentially corrupt or inept government agency might choose to use information against others?
Similarly, if God were neither essentially good nor wholly benevolent then it would likewise by a concern that God is monitoring your metadata (and much else besides!).
But Christians do not understand God to be like a fallible, corruptible government. Rather, they understand God to be essentially good and wholly benevolent. God could not do us wrong, by definition.
By that definition, the law-and-order government apologist’s declaration really does apply: when it comes to God, “If you’ve got nothing to hide, then indeed you’ve got nothing to fear.”
Our problem is that we’ve got a lot to hide.
Consequently, while you might indeed hope God doesn’t exist (i.e. you hope there is no essentially good and benevolent being who is aware of all your thoughts and actions), you would hope this only to the extent that your beliefs and or actions run contrary to that which is essentially good and/or benevolent to others. That is, you’d only hope this to the extent that you’ve got something to hide from an essentially good and wholly benevolent being.