ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Religion and Philosophy»
  • Exploring Religious Options

Ugliness of God

Updated on March 16, 2011

Image of Tantric Goddess Tara

As per most of the major theistic traditions, God is an embodiment of all goodness one can think of & Devil (or Satan) just the opposite. Together the two sort of balance each other.

But the more skeptical may well ask uncomfortable questions such as: Who created Satan/ Devil? Who created Sin? Why?

Seeing God as just a positive entity with nothing negative about Him creates the basic dilemma, can God be absolved of the “Original” sin of creating Evil?

More importantly: Isn’t God – if seen as the embodiment of everything positive- simply incomplete? Shouldn’t God, the cause of all causes & source of entire creation, have a negative aspect as well? After all, death destruction, evil, crime, filth, dirt etc are very much a part of our existence. If that be the case, why do we ignore the negative aspects of God?

Negativity should thus , logically, be part of & parcel of God !

As the sole creator of the Universe, everything evil & negative is apparently God’s willful creation. So a positive God is, at the best, an incomplete picture of the Almighty or even a distorted one.

Certain pagan religions and certain religions with pagan roots have taken cognizance of this dichotomy and have, therefore, included the "negative" aspects into their pantheon.

Shiva, a prominent Hindu God is also known as God of destruction. He is supposed to dance the “dance of death”( Tandava) , bringing about mass destruction of men, women & children; of mountains, rivers, gorges& passes; of microcosm & macrocosm. This destruction is something much more than the Christian belief of apocalypse. Interestingly, He does all this only to recreate everything. Shiva’s cycle of creation & destruction continues ad infinitum. Apart from indulging in mass destruction Shiva has other negative streaks as well. He is considered as Bhootnath (the Lord of ghosts & goblins) . Interestingly, one of his attributes is Sundaram (sheer beauty). (For more on Shiva symbolism see The God of all seasons )

Similarly, Kali, another prominent Hindu Goddess is associated with death & destruction. Among other things, she’s supposed to relish blood & gore. Kali symbolism is complete with Her wearing nothing but a garland of skulls & holding a severed head in one of Her hands. Little wonder then, human & animal sacrifices are well accepted by Kali worshippers.

In addition, some of the primary Gods of Hindus include Goddesses of various "major" diseases , Goddess of filth ( analogous to Tlazolteotl of the Azetics), the ghoulish “gods” called the Bhairavas of the Tantrics etc. Similarly Yellama or Renuka is another well known Goddess worshipped in Southern India and is supposed to be goddess of the wretches, prostitutes, downtrodden etc.

Certain Tantrik practices, though uncommon, have well documented practice related to sexuality, necrophilia and other “sinful” activities etc. As per certain “secret” tantric practises, a Tantrika ( practitioner) is supposed to worship in a cremation ground amidst burning corpses, amidst death & destruction. In extreme case the practitioner is supposed to eat a rotting corpse! The philosophy behind such seemingly macabre acts is that the practitioner has to reach a state where positivity & negativity converge. In other words the practitioner sees no difference between positive & the negative, pain & pleasure, life & death, beauty & ugliness. This is supposed to be real state of “godhood”.

God , perhaps, has indeed created man ,with both positive & negative traits, in His own image.

God perhaps, is indeed incomplete without Its ugly ,dark and sinful side!

God: Good , Bad or Ugly?

Do you think God :

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • LogicalSpark profile image

      LogicalSpark 7 years ago from India

      Hi Soumyasrajan, interesting observations.

      All the "stories" are allegoric representations of various aspects of the Supreme Power.

      Rituals, prayers, Idol/Image worship & folk-lore are considered as means of focusing on otherwise incomprehensible God.

      I do agree Brahman should transcend both positivity & negativity.

    • profile image

      soumyasrajan 7 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA

      Hi! LogicalSpark

      very Nice informative article. I also always find idea of Shiva quite fascinating. But I also wonder are all these ideas in Hinduism not secondary more for ritualistic and enjoyment purposes- one can enjoy them only until we are under the influence of maya. Is it not true that the real all mighty --unique truth Or Brahman in Hindu Philosophy like Advaita Vedanta includes almost by definition every thing. (I recently wrote a hub on these ancient ideas)

    • LogicalSpark profile image

      LogicalSpark 7 years ago from India

      Interesting thoughts Rob.

      So , deficiency of good is evil ( just as absence of light is darkness).

      Does it mean God is not all pervading? Just a source of goodness, who, perhaps, has no (direct) control over evil?

    • Kharisma1980 profile image

      Kharisma1980 7 years ago from Toronto

      Hi, LogicalSpark!

      Thanks for this Hub; you express your perspective clearly and I learned some things I didn't know before about traditions like Hinduism.

      In orthodox Christianity, Good and Evil are not balanced forces. God created everything good, but because Love is the central value, He created the universe with the potential (but not the necessity) to resist him. When human beings or other created things malfunction or choose to rebel against goodness, evil is created--a twisted shadow. Shadows, to us, are very real: we can see them, they darken the landscape. Yet they only exist because they derive from real bodies. Some Christians believe that each evil act is an example of perverse incarnation--we create, in effect, a sort of temporary unreality.

      I say this because most people in society believe that God and the Devil are equal forces. But as Anglican thinker CS Lewis pointed out, the moral equivalent of the Devil is Michael (book of Jude) not Godself.

      And as I've commented in my own Hubs, "Yahweh is a bastard" in many places in the Hebrew Bible. Only if we deem our Scriptures an absolutely perfect record do these kinds of stories cause serious issues. But if Scriptures are discussions--and even serious debates--about faithfulness, then perhaps contemporary people can choose the strands of their traditions that most help them express their faiths.

      In peace,


    • LogicalSpark profile image

      LogicalSpark 7 years ago from India

      Thanks tonymac04 for stopping by.

      In my opinion , most organised religions seem to completely ignore the negative aspects , if any , of God.

      Most of the pagan/pagan-based religions seem to be more comfortable with that!

      Anyway, thanks for your comments.

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      Yes indeed God, however one would conceive of that concept, would have to include both positive and negative aspects. Thanks for an interesting Hub.

      Love and peace


    • LogicalSpark profile image

      LogicalSpark 7 years ago from India

      Thanks billyaustindillon for your comments.

      Unfortunately, I am more familiar with the Indic religious beliefs also called Dharmic religions ( such as Hindu, Buddhist, Jaina thoughts). These range from agnostic (Buddhist) , atheistic ( Jaina) to theist ( most of Hindu schools).While most of the Hindu schools of thought share the “fear & awe” of God, there are some which have more interesting “relations” with God including that of a “lover”. Thus God can be highly impersonal for some schools & very, very personal for some other.

      As mentioned in my Hub, in many cases the negative aspects of God too are more than evident.

      God , indeed , has to be complete with both positive & negative traits

    • LogicalSpark profile image

      LogicalSpark 7 years ago from India

      Thanks Jane for stopping by.

      Perhaps God is beyond the Liliputian moral boundaries that we have set for ourselves.

      Considering the unequal relationship we share with God, I think it may be a good idea to consider God as benevolent Father. It’s no point messing around with such a powerful entity! Just as a street hawker may not want to mess around with Mafioso.

    • billyaustindillon profile image

      billyaustindillon 7 years ago

      Very thought provoking hub - another aspect might be the love of god per the Anglican tradition versus the fear of God per the Catholic tradition - both Christian but a different outlook per the protestant reformation.

    • Jane Bovary profile image

      Jane Bovary 7 years ago from The Fatal Shore


      We tend to ignore the negative aspects because it's morally consoling to think of God as just and I guess it's a kind of wishful thinking.

      But it's true...the Gods have positive and negative aspects...just like us humans. Maybe they'd just be too dull if they were perfectly good!

      It could be that God, if there is amoral.

    • LogicalSpark profile image

      LogicalSpark 7 years ago from India

      Thanks for that perspective.

      The point is not just vengefulness of God, but the fact that is God as much of a positive entity as negative He seems to be?

      If yes, where/how does one draw the line between acceptable & unacceptable?

    • dianacharles profile image

      dianacharles 7 years ago from India

      I think each generation decides what is 'sinful' and what isn't. When one looks at the difference between the Old and New Testament, God in the OT is a lot more vengeful.He turns people into pillars of salt,he destroys the entire world, he exhorts people to believe that the only way IS, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.

      "Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass..."

      I think there is the ugly side to most religions.

      Thank you for an interesting read.