I don’t believe in God – any God. For me the concept defies logic and the laws of nature. I cannot reconcile the concept with the scientific evidence (together with as yet unproven hypotheses) of the origins of the universe and this planet and the inhabitants thereon.
If we look at what organised religion has done to the world over the generations it is not pretty. It can be shown that more deaths have occurred as a result of religiously based conflict that anything else. What is the world currently gripped by? Terrorism – and the cause? Religious differences, intolerance and prejudices – ON BOTH SIDES! At least – that is the “official” line!
While I agree that if everyone followed the teachings of Jesus we would all live in a better world, in far too many cases hypocrisy seems to go hand-in-hand with professed christianity. The Catholic priests proven to have sexually abused young boys. The “loving family man” who regularly goes to church with his family on Sunday’s, supports the local church based hospital support group, and is at the same time screwing his secretary, the bar maid, or flaunting himself all over the net in half a dozen (or more) fantasy relationships.
Let us not forget women, they cheat on their spouses too. Some are more worried about being seen to look like the latest Vogue model in church than actually follow the teachings they profess to believe in.
I AM NOT SAYING everyone is like this. I AM saying far too many are! Which brings us to the question of accumulation of wealth. The Catholic Church is the richest institution on the planet, closely followed no doubt by the Church of England (of which I am a baptised member). Then we have the evangelical churches set up, often by a self-proclaimed “messenger of God”. These seem to be the most active in encouraging the tithe principle, often from very poor congregations that are struggling to feed and educate their children – and the “messenger of God” meanwhile is driving the latest Merc and living in a palatial mansion – and many have been caught out in some very compromising situations. Their excuse? Usually something along the lines of “the flesh is weak, I am only human….”
Religion is a very good way of controlling the people. Let’s assume you are a King, Chief, whatever – you are a ruler. How do you control the masses, bend them to YOUR will? After all, you are only a man or a woman, and they know that. But to generate FEAR within the population is a powerful tool. Yes, your conditions here on earth are not good, but there is this wonderful place called heaven where you will go ……. and if you do not behave the WRATH OF GOD SHALL SMITE YOU DOWN. He is above me, unseen, not human….. great way to control the people, keep them humble, etc etc – and it is self-enforcing and self-managed, so the ruler doesn’t actually have to do anything.
God is a very good excuse too. The classic of recent years is 9/11 and the subsequent invasion of Iraq. The pilots who flew the planes into the Twin Towers were, in their belief, (and yes, I know – we are talking extremists here, fanatics, but it is still their belief) doing God’s work. GW Bush is on record as having said he invaded Iraq and Afghanistan because he was doing God’s work.
Now, doesn’t it stand to reason that either God was just having an off day and got confused about who he was giving which work instructions to that day, or that SOMEONE, and perhaps ALL, are simply using God as an excuse for what they wanted to do anyway? If God is so great that he created the Universe and Earth and all the living creatures therein, I don’t see him getting that confused!
Nor do I buy the argument that God gave us the ability to think and sometimes we make bad decisions. There is an awful lot of hunger, death, destruction and plain old “man’s inhumanity to man” happening around the world. How can this be reconciled to God giving humans the ability to think alone? If that is the case, then there is something drastically wrong with the design template he used.
Let’s look at the anthropological perspective. Throughout history there are thousands of Gods. Greek Gods, Indian Gods, Native American Gods, Aztec Gods – the list is endless. One of the oldest civilisations on Earth, the Aborigines, don’t have Gods in that sense – their “god” is the earth, the sea, the sky – in other words, the environment of which they see themselves part of – it is more complicated than that, but that will suffice for now. How is it that none of THOSE Gods actually came to the fore?
Clearly believing in Gods is a way of explaining the unknown in ancient cultures. Clearly the White Man’s God has also been used to great affect when subjugating invaded peoples. Oh yes, we white people just love to bring salvation to the those heathen, uncivilised people. Primary purpose? Power through fear. Breathe enough fire and brimstone at innocent people and you’ve got them under control. What is more, you KEEP them under control for generations – for subliminally the message is “if you believe in our God, you will receive what we have”.
I alluded above to the question of responsibility. There are differences between the Old & New Testaments. God was not so forgiving in the Old Testament. If you did the crime, you did the time.
Now it seems as if many people live their lives on the basis that God is going to take responsibility for their actions – as long as they get themselves “saved” before they hit that deathbed, they can do what they like in life. Not on, in my view. Those people are going to get an awful shock if the Old Testament still stands, I’m thinking. Also, if God IS going to forgive everyone, why is the concept of going to Hell still valid? No-one will be there. Yes, I know, God can see into our hearts and knows if we are genuine in seeking forgiveness.
However, I think you see my point.
Which also leads to looking at some dogma. A woman is considered unclean in some denominations after childbirth and is not allowed into a church until a cleansing ceremony is performed. Unclean for giving birth? It just doesn’t make any sort of sense! Unbaptised children who die will spend eternity in limbo. Is this really the sort of thing that Jesus spoke of? “Suffer not the little children to come unto me…..” I don’t think he was worried about a splash of water and some words of blessing.
Then there is the question of prejudice, which I have spoken of above. “Love thy neighbour…..” Yet I see more prejudice of various sorts from religious people. Good grief, racists will even find a way to have the Bible prove they are right!
What is the ONE thing that really stands out as being something that belief in God can give you? Everlasting life. Humans have a fear of death. Why? What is so wrong with the concept we are here for a limited time? Why the desire to be immortal? But the promise of everlasting life means we can go through life as if it is a temporary state, something we just have to “get through” in order to achieve the ultimate reward. Is this not a form of escapism?A way to escape the realities of life?
So that, my friends, while not the whole argument (oh yes, I’m me – there’s more), is a quick “off the cuff” summary of why I am an atheist. I was stunned to learn, in conversation, atheists apparently have no morals, believe in abortion, don’t care about their fellow humans and commit crimes. I did not know any of that, so I must be very bad at being an atheist, it seems.
AFTERTHOUGHT: Of course, some may say that clearly I am a child of Satan for writing such as this. All I’ll say is: if I don’t believe in God, then it stands to reason I don’t believe in Satan either – but if I was a child of Satan, I guess that is what I would say anyway, so really – the choice is yours to make!