Cruel God

Credo in un Dio crudel

“I believe in a cruel God” – OTHELLO | Shakespeare



Because thou hast made the thunder, and thy feet
    Are as a rushing water when the skies
  Break, but thy face as an exceeding heat
    And flames of fire the eyelids of thine eyes;
  Because thou art over all who are over us;
    Because thy name is life and our name death;
  Because thou art cruel and men are piteous,
    And our hands labour and thine hand scattereth;
  Lo, with hearts rent and knees made tremulous,
    Lo, with ephemeral lips and casual breath,
      At least we witness of thee ere we die
  That these things are not otherwise, but thus;
    That each man in his heart sigheth, and saith,
      That all men even as I,
  All we are against thee, against thee, O God most high.

Charles Swinburne, from Atalanta in Calydon.


Dystheism (from Greek δυσ- dys-, “bad” and θεός theos, “god”), is the belief that a god, goddess, or singular God is not wholly good as is commonly believed (such as the monotheistic religions of Christianity and Judaism), and is possibly evil. (Wikipedia)



“The concept has been used frequently in popular culture and is a part of several religious traditions in the world. Trickster gods found in polytheistic belief systems often have a dystheistic nature. One example is Eshu, a trickster god from Yoruba mythology who deliberately fostered violence between groups of people for his own amusement, saying that “causing strife is my greatest joy.” Another example is the Norse Loki, through Odin has these qualities as well. Zoroastrianism involves belief in an ongoing struggle between a creator god of goodness (Ahura Mazda) and a destroying god of hatred (Angra Mainyu), both of which are not totally omnipotent, which is a form of dualistic cosmology. The Greek god Ares, depending on time and region, was associated with all the horrors of war.

Dystheists may themselves be theists or atheists, and in the case of either, concerning the nature of the God of Abrahamic faiths, will assert that God is not good, and is possibly, although not necessarily, malevolent, particularly (but not exclusively) to those who do not wish to follow that faith. For example, in his Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God (1741), Jonathan Edwards, a devout theist, describes a God full of vengeful rage and contempt, seemingly different from one with Christ-like omnibenevolence. Such absence of omnibenevolence is one kind of theist counterargument to the notion that the problem of evil poses any great logical challenge to theism.”

From Revolvy,

Further reading:

“God exists without doubt, and he hates us.
He made the universe utterly inhospitable to humans, and created humans fragile and able to suffer in myriad ways, but with a very strong ability to heal after having suffered, so that we can suffer more. He wants us to suffer meaninglessly, and then destroy us. He wants you to plead for his mercy every day, and then he will crush your hope, dragging you into oblivion.”


some inchoate thoughts on misotheism and antinatalism:

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