I disagree with the first half of your post. I assume a god with infinite intelligence would be so incomprehensible to mankind that whatever he does, whatever his motive is, cannot be speculated on. A god that remains hidden, or does not remain hidden, is his prerogative; with ego or no ego, might be perceived as a frail human quality according to human standards, but who knows what it is in the whole scheme of things. Whether we understand the purpose or not would be irrelevant to its existence.
However, I do agree that the existence of an omnipotent being, even if he supposedly have created us, does not necessarily warrant veneration or devotion. I hesitate to say this, but even though piety, and such manners benefit us as society in some ways, it is ultimately up to each of us to exercise this judgment according to the situation. We do not need to respect the hypothetical god for the same reason we do not need to respect our ancestors or any position of power that conventionally commands respect. Respect is given, not taken.
Sorry Jonathan, but respect is neither given nor taken, it is earned.
Meh, that's just semantics. My point is you are the sole arbiter of who deserves your respect. You "give" that respect.
Wrongo, Jonathan. Personally, I GRANT respect based on the behavior and attitude of the person under consideration, and if my personal requirements are not met, that person / being / whatever does NOT get my respect. He/she/it hasn't EARNED it.
Respect is an element of a relationship between two people, part of the dynamic between them, and It Depends On BOTH PARTIES, particularly as respect should be reflective between both parties if it is to be true respect.
A god that is hidden and remains hidden might as well be no god at all. If it started the ball rolling 13.7 billion years ago, then ducked back under the covers without a trace, it would be the same as if quantum fluctuations in virtual space caused the Big Bang, at least insofar as I'm concerned. It's the god that plays peek-a-boo that is problematic: intervening when the circumstances suit it, acting selectively based on its own motives. This is the "homo sapiens on steroids" I spoke of earlier, and amounts to nothing more than a super-powerful man.
That is the god of the bible, as I see it, and that god is no god I could have any respect for, presuming such a being exists ... and I vote NOT.
Regardless of any kind of god’s extent of knowledge of this universe, if there is any such being (and that is an “if” that dwarfs our galaxy!), I posit that it operates under one of three scenarios:
There are phenomena which, as yet, have not yielded to scientific inquiry, though mostly for reasons of lack of data or newness of observation. I submit that it is extremely improbable that any future phenomenon will be so obtuse as to utterly frustrate the scientific process and therewith require an alternative mechanism for explanation. Even if such an instance occurred, it would not necessarily be evidence of some extraordinarily enabled being.
Extraordinary claims still require extraordinary evidence, and to date, no such evidence for any being of this nature exists. Further, as we grow in understanding and sophistication, such a being would find it increasingly difficult to elude our curiosity. If there is a god to be found, it will be found sooner or later. If not:
God is an ever-receding pocket of scientific ignorance that's getting smaller and smaller and smaller as time goes on.
-- Neil deGrasse Tyson
I agree completely with Tyson, but there is this to consider --
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
-- Arthur C. Clarke --
Let an engineer loose on that magic, especially one experienced in investigation and analysis. Said magic won't be very magical for long.
Meantime, I'll see your Clarke and raise you:
One man's "magic" is another man's engineering. "Supernatural" is a null word.
-- Robert A. Heinlein
Loren - I came back to correct your mis-attribution of the quotation of Arthur Clarke to Issac Asimov, but I can see that you self-corrected.
But as long as I'm here --
"If religion were true, its followers would not try to bludgeon their young into an artificial conformity; but would merely insist on their unbending quest for truth, irrespective of artificial backgrounds or practical consequences."
-- H. P. Lovecraft --
"Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived."
-- Issac Asimov --
"People will then often say, 'But surely it's better to remain an Agnostic, just in case?' This, to me, suggests such a level of silliness and muddle that I usually edge out of the conversation, rather than get sucked into it. (If it turns out that I've been wrong all along, and there is in fact a god, and if it further turned out that this kind of legalistic, cross-your-fingers-behind-your-back, Clintonian hair-splitting impressed him, then I think I would choose not to worship him anyway.)"
-- Douglas Adams --
"Theology is never any help; it is searching in a dark cellar at midnight for a black cat that isn't there. Theologians can persuade themselves of anything."
-- Robert A. Heinlein --
"We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing all-powerful God, who creates faulty Humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes."
-- Gene Roddenberry --
"No one has ever disproved, so far as I am aware, the non-existence of Zeus or Thor - but they have few followers now."
-- Sir Arthur C. Clarke --
Whoopie ... am I supposed to care?
Loren, I Agree.