Does it really matter why God hates the poor? No one else seems to care. The vast majority of people have and always will spend their lives trying to survive and gain as much power as they can during their life — as they should do. So, why does the answer as to why God hates the poor matter to me and to some others?
In deciding whether God or I should do anything about this hatred of the poor by God, the answer to the first part of the question is easy. Because God gave me this life I never asked for, does God owe me any duty to do anything about how messed up this life is? Given our contemplation so far, the answer should be obvious: No. He is God and does whatever He wants to do consisting of acting by necessity. According to Christians, God did do something. He became human through His Son Jesus Christ. I will leave that response between you and Søren Kierkegaard and go on to the question of what my response or duty ought to be regarding God’s hate for the poor.
Why does the answer bother me so much? What, if anything should I do about this ontological truth that there were, are, and always will be the poor in life who will be the object of God’s hate? The answer does not matter to those God loves nor should it. Unfortunately, it does not matter to most of the poor. As worker’s rebellions varying from Spartacus to the French, Haitian, Russian, and many other revolutions have shown and as most of history in general has established, poor people given the chance are just as greedy, homicidal, hateful, power-hungry, and generally what we call evil as any rich and powerful person can be or are.
As Camus said: “The slave begins by demanding justice, and ends by wanting to wear a crown.” The undisputed fact of reality is that the poor, if given the chance, will seek the same power over me as the few powers-that-be already have over me. Christian saints claim to love others as an end in itself but that is bullshit. Take away the promise of the power of the Resurrection and they would be no different than anyone else.
So, why should I care about these poor as I defined them previously physically, materially, or spiritually? “F__k them,” should be my answer. I should just worry about myself and my own search for power so that I become a power-that-be; so that I become among the few beloved by God. This is the reality ignored by even the existentialist writers, from Camus to Dostoevsky, Kierkegaard, Herman Melville, and so on. They see the reality of what is but ignore the potential for much worse when reaching their conclusions of absurdity and hopelessness. They go to the edge of the abyss, look over, and then step back. That is why, in the end, despite their claims of despair, hopelessness, and absurdity, they always end with hope and avoid nihilism.
They start with phrases such as by Camus, “Everything is permitted. It is not an outburst of relief or of joy, but rather a bitter acknowledgement of a fact.” Or by Dostoevsky, “If there is no God, everything is permissible.” But after saying this, they back off. All of a sudden, they start writing about good and evil as if those terms have meaning outside of whatever random meaning an individual or the powers-that-be arbitrarily give to them. Why do they back off of it? Are they cowards? Is this all part of God’s playing with His hatred of the poor, to create false hope to hide His hatred of many of us?
The dead are dead. There is nothing that I can do to help them. Even if they were alive, they should really not mean much to me. Based on my life experience and reading of history, at any given time, considering both the reality and potential of human nature, 90% to 95% of humanity is divided into four kinds of humans: 1) those who would walk into gas chambers to die when ordered; 2) those who would do the ordering; 3) those who would do the killing; and 4) those who would clean up afterwards. The remaining 5% to 10% of humanity, at any given time might refuse all four.
Are those remaining the ones that are troubling me? Am I in that 5% to 10%? The problem with this percentile division or categorizing of humanity is that those who make up any of these categories at any given time are completely random. It varies from time to time, depending on the circumstances. So, today’s gas chamber victim may be tomorrow’s executioner. Today’s hero may be tomorrow’s coward. The same is true for me. This is all part of God’s hatred for the poor. Any one of us, depending on the circumstances, could fall into any one of these categories.
In some ways, being poor is a great excuse for going through life, once you reach maturity. Many advocates for the materially poor complain about the loss of opportunity. Among the poor, there may be a wasted Albert Einstein, Nelson Mandela, or whoever might exist, and we are wasting their potential. Well, also among the poor might exist a future Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, or whoever. If these two, for example, had stayed poor and in poverty and died young, it might have been the best thing that ever happened to them and to the world. At least if you died as a victim of the gas chambers, you will be remembered with pity and kindness. That might not have been true if you had actually had a chance to live.
One’s status in life as hero or villain is purely random for the vast majority of humans. So, the poor themselves are not a reason to care about them. In his book, The Confessions, the so-called Church Father St. Augustine stated, argued, and essentially realized that even babies are either evil or have the potential for it. He exclaims to God, “No one is free from sin in Your sight, not even an infant, who’s span of early life is but a single day.” As St. Augustine explained, “What, then, was my sin at that age? Was it perhaps that I cried so greedily for those breasts?” That is, of his mother, for milk. “Certainly, if I behave like that now, greedy not for breasts, of course, but for food suitable to my age, I should provoke derision and be very properly rebuked. My behavior then was equally deserving of rebuke.” He complains that once he saw a mother with two babies, who, while trying to feed one, the other cried out of envy and jealousy for his turn at the trough. This is a tough view on life in a tough era in which some theologians, including St. Augustine, even argued and believed in the damnation of unbaptized babies. As a true power of this world and apparently of the next, St. Augustine accepted this condemnation of even babies as the price that he had to pay for eternal happiness for God. What a great human being he was.
It never occurred to him to rebel against such happiness and to rather accept damnation and hell with those babies. So, why should it bother a sinner such a me? And why does that rebellion occur to me as a viable option? In terms of the potential evil of humanity, of even babies, his contemplation was right. Why should he reject his happiness simply because some — maybe as little as 5% of those dead babies — could have been true saints of humanity if given the chance? The differentiation between the lives of those who fit into the 90% – 95% of humanity that I describe as random poor and those in the remaining 5% to 1% that are the powers-that-be are just as random.
The chosen few that have the power to decide for themselves into what percentile they will be, and furthermore, to what percentile the remainder of humanity will be, are chosen randomly. It is a random choice by God. As a random choice, it could have been me placed into any one of the four categories. It could have been me — depending on luck deciding whether I was a gas chamber victim, operator, rebel, or a St. Augustine — deciding into what category the remainder of humanity will be.
So, do I care and have empathy for the poor and hate the powerful as purely a selfish act — as an act of envy — because I am not among the powerful as St. Augustine was; if I had that power, would I not care in the same way that he did not care? Probably. Unlike the existentialists who in the end pretend their concerns are not based on their own self-love but are based on empathy and a concern for humanity, the truth is that their concern and my concern is mostly a selfish act of envy and jealousy as described or as alleged in the Parable of the Workers.
Well, so what if that’s the true motive of my concern? God’s power includes the ability to randomly decide whether He would give me life and what kind of life. He has randomly decided to allow his chosen few to control my life and most of human life. Why should I accept his randomness? He wants me to work all day for the same amount of money as those whom He chose to work in His vineyard for only an hour. Why should I accept that? There is no reason why I should accept it, just as there is no reason why not. By randomly rejecting God and His random choices, I am getting as close to being a god as a human can become. Without that, the only other option for being a god is making a choice to randomly make nothing out of something: killing life. Killing life, the only random act that is even more God-like but for some reason that I cannot choose.
I can try to do better than God’s random power. I cannot do better since I am not God but I can at least try to do it. I do not want to accept happiness based on the suffering of babies because by doing such — I say to myself — I would be accepting His arbitrary power over me. I reject His power. Tough talk. But, as we used to say in the Navy, I can talk the talk, but can I walk the walk?