**Note: When I refer to God I am speaking of the God of the bible, Quran, both monotheistic, and polytheistic Gods. I am speaking of deities whose existence cannot be proven and shown objectively, but have garnered the admiration and belief of billions: spawning holy texts, churches, mosques etc.**
I imagine many Christians, and others of differing faiths who have not deeply questioned their religious convictions wonder why a person would turn away from religion, and a belief in God. My short answer is that there is simply no reason to believe in God, or subscribe to a religion. I, like I suspect many atheists, was born into a household of believers. As I was growing up I remember I’d pray to God. I don’t recollect praying for materialistic objects, no, most of the time my prayers consisted of asking God to give me courage to perform certain tasks. However, the notion that God did not exist didn’t enter my mind until I began re-evaluating my beliefs in my late teens. And that is the problem I think, most children are indoctrinated at a young age. They are made to believe one thing, without being given an alternative. After all, if a child is born into a Christian household, he will be a Christian, but if he’s born into a Muslim household, he will end up a Muslim. Both which are considered different faiths. I suspect many kids who grow up believing in God as I did never really give it much thought.
As I previously stated, simply put, there is no reason to believe in God. But I will go a little in depth on why I don’t believe in God with a list of reasons.
1.) In all the time man has existed on this blue planet -which can be compared to an astronomical blink of an eye- man has created thousands of Gods. Even certain men have been elevated to Deity status. My question is how is the Abrahamic God of today’s monotheistic religions any different than Zeus, Poseidon or any of the ancient Gods that people long ago once worshipped? We seem to be okay with classifying Zeus as a figment of people’s imaginations because “that’s what people believed in a long time ago”. But that is precisely my point, people believed in Zeus just as strongly as Christians believe in God, or Muslims in Allah. I predict that in time the God we have all grown to know will be replaced by another, and if humanity doesn’t grow up, the trend will certainly continue.
2.) Humanity seems to have a fascination with Gods and placing them as substitute explanations for that which we have no scientific answer. Simply put, just because we don’t know how something works, doesn’t mean God did it…
3.) Someone somewhere likes to attribute rare events to intervention by his or her respective God. Some Christians claim that God answers their prayers; well I say what makes that any different than a Muslim claiming that Allah answered his prayers? What makes that any different than followers of ancient Gods claiming divine intervention? Another rare event too often attributed to God is the miraculous survival of someone near death. Not too long ago I read a news story about a man who either jumped, or fell from a very high building. Somehow he survived the impact, and many people who commented attributed his survival to intervention by a deity. Let’s say this God did in fact intervene and saved this man’s life. Does that make him a good God, or a “just God” as he is claimed to be? Of course not. If he will intervene to save one man’s life, why did he not intervene during 9/11 and somehow, using his omnipotence, guide those planes to a safe landing somewhere out of New York? So many people died in those buildings and in those planes that day. Do people honestly believe that God would intervene to allow one man to survive, while letting thousands of innocents die? “God works in mysterious ways” is the common answer among those who can’t think for themselves. It’s the ultimate copout in a religious discussion.
Do I think A God Can Exist? – Yes of course I do, completely abandoning the idea wouldn’t be very smart on my part. When it comes down to it, the random beginning of the universe through a Big Bang type scenario, and the purposeful creation of the universe by an intelligent being are both just as plausible. 50/50 I’d say, because nobody can say with complete certainty exactly how the cosmos came to be. However, to me the God of the bible is the religious equivalent of Santa Claus. In other words, I am 99% certain he does not exist. I am more inclined to believe in the existence of the God of Deistic beliefs. Deism – The belief that God exists and created the world but takes no part in its functioning. With all of the suffering in the world, poverty, murder, starvation, if a loving God does exist, (and it certainly cannot be proven that he does or does not) wouldn’t it make sense for him to put an end to this senseless violence and suffering? Arguments of human free will are usually made to counter my point, but how effective are such arguments when their main catalysts do not exist? In this case the main catalyst of the free will argument is, obviously free will, which brings me to my 4th reason why I don’t believe in God.
4.) Freewill and omniscience – It has long been believed by Christians that free will was a gift from God. Freewill is our ability to do as we choose, and omniscience is a deity’s ability to know all: past, present, and future. But how can I have the freewill to choose a course of action, when said course of action was long ago predicted by the omniscient being? In other words, I have no choice but to do what God predicted I would do. If I die an unlawful sinner, how can God condemn me to eternal damnation when he already knew of my sins before they were committed? Let’s go back to the supposed beginning of man on earth, the fictional story of Adam and Eve. Did God not know that Eve would take a bite out of that fruit, and in doing so seal their fate? The rules of omniscience say yes, he did know, but if he knew all along then why forbid Adam & Eve from entering the Garden of Eden? We can even take this argument one step further, rendering God powerless by his own omniscience.
5.) This isn’t really a reason why I don’t believe in God, it’s more of an irritant. There is a reason why belief in God, Gods and religion is called a faith. That reason is that such beliefs are not proven fact. So it boggles my mind when I see, or read of religious apologists arguing in favor of God’s existence, and attempting to prove it as something other than a purely subjective belief unsubstantiated by any level of credible evidence. The point of number 5 is that the existence of God cannot be proved, granted, neither can it be disproved. But you wouldn’t exactly go out of your way to disprove the existence of the boogeyman would you? However, if someone claimed to have seen the boogeyman, on whose shoulders would the burden of proof lie? Not the skeptic’s, that’s for sure.
Does It Take Faith To Lack Belief? – It does, according to many religious apologists. It is a baseless claim often repeated by theists when backed into a corner by atheists. They claim atheism, the lack of belief in a deity, requires just as much faith as theistic belief. If this is true, shouldn’t this faith also apply to lack of belief in other mythical creatures? Does it require faith to not believe in, say, Big Foot? Does it require faith to believe that the Loch Ness Monster, a creature for which no credible evidence has been presented (as is the case with a loving deity), also does not exist?
6.) Omnipotence, Omnipresence and Omniscience are attributed to the God of the bible, but perhaps another term better suited for him is Incompetence. Why would such an advanced being choose such a primitive people to relay his message to? Why would he allow his words to be skewed, mistranslated and used as justifications for murder and violence? Moreover, why would such as perfect God allow stories to be kept from the bible, see Lilith: Adam’s first woman. Wouldn’t it make sense, if he truly wanted us to believe, to let his voice be heard, literally, as a loud voice in the sky or something of that sort? He’s omnipotent after all, so he can assuredly do such a thing. Even further, it makes no sense that such a powerful God would actually care whether I, an ant in comparison, believed in him or not.
7.) The God of the bible displays childish human characteristics such as jealously and anger, but yet everybody tells me that God is well beyond the realm of human understanding.
8.) I picked up this next one from the late comedian George Carlin. Prayer is possibly the biggest sect of religious belief; it is the act of getting on ones knees, and in a sense “speaking to God”. It is also widely believed that God has a plan, a “divine plan” if you will. Suppose a believer was to get on his knees and pray, let’s say for a prosperous future. If this person’s prosperous future is not in God’s divine plan, doesn’t that render his prayer useless? Doesn’t the divine plan render prayer in general useless?
9.) Extremists – Religion has certainly given birth to some of the biggest extremists in the history of humankind. I cannot count how many times I’ve come across a story in which parents allowed their child to die of a treatable illness because receiving medical attention was forbidden by their religious beliefs. A seething hatred of homosexuals, and refusal to allow them the right of marriage is also another type of idiocy religion breeds. While protesting against gays, a Christian extremist said about homosexuals, and I quote “I don’t hate them, God hates them”. This footage can be found in Bill Maher’s documentary “Religulous”. The extreme pro-lifers are another brand of stupid people fueled, sometimes to murderous extent, by religion. What is ironic about that though is, like is often said, they fight valiantly for the life of the unborn, but think nothing of murdering an already living abortion doctor. Another claim by religious apologists is that America was founded as a Christian nation. The founding fathers were secular, and despised the idea of religion intertwined with government as it arguably is today in some form.
The following is a quotation from the Treaty Of Tripoli drafted under George Washington in 1796 and signed by John Adams in 1797:
As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Musselmen; and as the said States never have entered in any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
The following are quotes from the Founding Fathers
“Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear”.
“Christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone on man”
“During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More of less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.”
“Lighthouses are more useful than churches”
“As I understand the Christian religion, it was, and is, a revelation. But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed?”
In a letter to Jefferson, Adams’ wrote the following: “I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved – the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!”
A quick google search will round up many more quotes from the Founding Fathers regarding Christianity, and judging from these quotes, does it still occur to you that the United States of America was founded as a Christian nation?
Some may claim that I only focus my wrath on Christianity. I don’t only attack Christianity; I attack organized religion as a whole. Christianity gets the brunt of my criticism because it is the most prevalent in America, my country of birth. But in all actuality, I see no difference between Islam, Christianity, monotheistic, and polytheistic religions. They’re all in the same boat as far as lack of evidence is concerned.
And now to dispel certain myths about atheists that are abound on the Internet. No I am not a demon, and I don’t know the devil. I am not his evil offspring and nor do I believe he exists. I am not a part of an evil conspiracy to destroy all organized religions. Anger at God did not turn me towards atheism. I am a moral person, and I don’t need a God to tell me that murder, and stealing is wrong. Simple common sense has brought me to that conclusion.
Will I Remain An Atheist? As it stands now, I don’t see a shred of credible, objective evidence that will turn me from atheism to the world of theism. Should I experience something that others would deem divine in nature, I doubt I would fall into the web of blind belief that has claimed so many others. After all, for most of my young life I considered everything that happened to me, whether good or bad, to somehow be intertwined with God’s plan for me. If a particular situation occurred which affected me negatively, I considered it a punishment from heaven for a past sin I committed. If a positive experience had made its way into my life, I would also attribute it to God, possibly a reward etc.
When it comes down to it, I have zero qualms with those who believe in God, unless they’re of the extremist persuasion. The purpose of this was merely to show why I don’t believe in God, not to convert others to my point of view. To those far more experienced in this subject, obviously I didn’t cover anything new, it has all been discussed to death over hundreds of years.