So you believe that the Bible is true and that its god actually exists?
Let’s look at the god issue first. You cannot describe what it looks like. You cannot tell me what it is, where it came from, how it was created, how it sustains itself, or exactly where it is. You cannot come up with a single concrete definition or description of your alleged god (YAG), yet you insist that this creature, whatever it is, and most conveniently for you, somehow manages to avoid all categorization. Yet you insist that YAG has, by some means you cannot describe, created nothing less than the entire universe and everything in it. To sum up, you cannot tell me what YAG is or how it did all these incredible things. In short, you cannot tell me anything meaningful at all about YAG, yet you still insist that it exists. Do you really believe this?
You also would have me believe that YAG is all-loving, all-powerful, and all-intelligent, yet this same amazing being allows evil, suffering, and death to occur day after day, year after year, and century after century without ever lifting a celestial finger to stop any of it. If YAG is as smart and powerful as you imagine him to be, he must know of these evils, and be able to do something about them. YAG’s failure to act proves he cannot be all-good, yet you continue to insist that he is. Do you really believe this?
Some god believers are aware of this moral contradiction and try to get out of it by arguing that we have free will. This rationalization is an effort to get YAG off the hook by putting the blame on humans. But this rationalization is a smokescreen. Free will or not, YAG is still sitting up there watching all the evils being committed, many of them in his name, and doing nothing. He watches as dictators destroy their countries and citizens. He stood idly by as the Inquisition progressed and thousands of people were horribly tortured and burned to death. He likewise did nothing during the Crusades, the witch burnings, the two World Wars, and countless other moral transgressions. Since the beginning of human history, the god you believe in and claim to love has watched all this going on, and even though he could have stopped it at any time and at no cost to himself, he failed to do so. In the name of human decency, how can you profess to love this monster?
Some believers have come up with an even more immoral excuse for their god by saying that he has some “higher purpose” in store for us. Can you or any other believer tell me just what this purpose is that necessitates such needless suffering? How can you rationalize away the Holocaust of the Second World War? Clearly this is a most stupid and immoral excuse for anybody’s god; any deity that would stand by while millions were tortured and killed cannot be anything other than evil. What the believer is saying here is that, since their imaginary deity does nothing to alleviate human suffering, suffering and death have nothing to do with morality. They are saying that morality has nothing to with human needs, but rather with blind obedience. Do you really believe this?
Morality aside, perhaps the most popular rationalization for YAG’s existence is the old design argument which says that the universe is too complicated, too beautiful and works too perfectly to have arisen by “blind chance.” The order we see around us indicates design by a superior being, according to this theory. For the sake of argument, I will accept this premise. Let’s say that the universe could not have come about without divine intervention. What an amazing thing YAG must be! According to you, he possesses unlimited intelligence, goodness, and power. Such an incredible thing as YAG could not have arisen by blind chance, could he? Therefore, who created YAG?
If the universe is so complex as to require a designer, the designer (YAG) certainly must be even more complex and must therefore also require a designer. If you insist otherwise, then you are admitting that something (YAG) can exist without a cause. If you can grasp this much, then why can you not grasp that the universe exists without a cause? You cannot have it both ways. What you are saying is inherently contradictory. You are saying, in effect, “everything except god has a cause, therefore the cause of everything must be god.” You are bringing your conclusion (that YAG does not need a cause) into your premise (that everything has a cause). Moreover, how does answering what you see as a mystery (the origin of the universe) with an even greater (and contradictory!) mystery (YAG) answer the question? It merely says that god created the universe without telling us exactly hat YAG is or how he did the creating (the original question). You are saying, in effect, that a non-physical being (itself a contradictory oxymoron) at some unknown time and by some unknown means, managed to create the entire universe and everything in it—out of nothing. Does this make any kind of sense? Do you really believe this?
Now, let’s take a look at your Bible. You insist that it be taken seriously and that it contains moral injunctions we all should live by. In other words, you want me to seriously consider that the contradiction between the loving god that you want to believe in and the bloodthirsty Yahweh of the Old Testament is no contradiction at all. Do you want me to also believe that one fine day YAG decided to impregnate an earthly virgin woman? I should also believe that the earth was magically created in six literal days and that your all-powerful deity found it necessary to rest on the seventh day. I must also accept that the first man was created from the dust of the earth and that the first woman was made out of his rib. Then, I should also believe that a six-hundred year old man named Noah collected samples of every living thing on earth (millions of them!) and put them on a boat he built himself so that YAG in his infinite moral wisdom could destroy every other living thing. You would also have me believe that a man named Moses was able to defy the laws of physics and part the Red Sea. Also, you want me to accept that a group of men named Jesus, Paul, Peter, Elijah, and Elisha were able to raise people from the dead just because your Bible says so. This Bible of yours also states that the sun stood still so that Joshua would be able to win a battle. Most important, you want me to believe that Jesus Christ, a man whose very existence is extremely suspect is the son of YAG, was a miracle worker who walked on water and cured lepers, died for three days before returning to his followers, died a second time before ascending into heaven where for two thousand years he has waited for the right time to return again, which so many Christians insist will be “soon.” Your Bible also claims that illnesses are caused by demons and the only cure is to cast them out. All of this is presented as being literally true, rather than allegorical or mythical. How can you not see that such things are in violation of everything we know about the nature of reality as well as plain old common sense? I submit that if you really believe all this, then you are not only gullible to the point of absurdity, but you are incapable of distinguishing fact from fiction. Yet, I am sure you would have no problem rejecting similar stories from other faiths and other “holy” books. Do you really believe all this?
If you are slightly more level headed, you may say that no, all this might not be literally true, but we should believe in the Bible nonetheless, then exactly how are we to distinguish literal truth claims from metaphor? At what point does faith end and reason begin? What does the Bible say about reason? About independent thinking? About education? About working hard to better our lives? And yet you insist that it is a good moral guide. Are you kidding me?
You insist that the Bible is the standard for moral behavior, yet YAG’s idea of morality always seems to focus on our sex lives. Why does the Bible fail to condemn war? Why is slavery likewise unquestioningly accepted? Why are these issues, which by anyone’s standard are truly important, ignored by YAG, Jesus, and the Bible in general? Would you agree with the Bible’s authors that two people of the same gender having sex is worthy of condemnation while the death and destruction caused by war is not? This clearly proves that your Bible’s ideas of morality are not just silly and outdated, but downright depraved. Yet you still insist that they are timeless. Do you really believe this?
Is the idea of hell evidence of Christianity’s moral superiority, or does it instead show a backwards, vengeful and fear-based religion? Does the idea of millions of people burning forever illustrate a religion of love and compassion or one of hatred and vengeance? Are the ideas of animal sacrifices, substitutional atonement, self-abnegation and prayer before an imaginary super-tyrant designed to be morally uplifting or to keep humanity forever on its knees in fearful subjection? Is the statement “the fear of god is the beginning of wisdom” not proof of this? I submit that all this proves conclusively that Christianity is innately depraved. Can you seriously claim otherwise and still call yourself a moral person?
Is the image of a man bleeding to death on a cross an example of sublime morality, or is it designed, as we atheists contend, to inspire guilt? How is this image supposed to be in any way uplifting? Can you not see the connection between this image and the rivers of blood Christianity has spilled through the ages? I contend that fear and guilt, and not love, are the engines driving the Christian wrecking ball. Hell was invented by Christianity and this fact alone should make any truly moral person call its other doctrines into question.
Another control device employed by Christians can be seen in the statement to “beware the sin of pride.” People who take pride in their accomplishments do not make up prison populations. Those without self-esteem do. Atheists make up such a small percentage of prison inmates as to be virtually negligible. Numbers do not lie: fundamentalist religious groups make up the bulk of the prison populations in this country. There is a direct link here: the more fundamentalist one is in his/her religious persuasion, the more likely he/she is to become a prison inmate. The less religious you are, the more law abiding you are. Statistics do not lie.
How do you reconcile your image of a benevolent Christianity with its actual history? More people have been tortured and killed in the name of god, the Bible, and Jesus than from any other single cause. The Crusades, Inquisition, and the unthinkable destruction of native cultures are the direct consequence of Christian beliefs put into action, and it all begins with the Bible. This has continued into modern times; the Jonestown massacre and the Heaven’s Gate cult sprang out of Christian teachings. Christians have been fighting and killing each other in Ireland for centuries. History provides us with so many examples of Christian barbarity that it would be a lifetime task attempting to list them all. If atheism is immoral, as you contend, then surely you must be able to provide me with at least a single example of an atheist killing another atheist because of a dispute over doctrine. Let me know when you find it.
When medicine began to emerge from the Christian Dark Ages, its most vocal opponent was the church, its claim being that illness was god’s will and who are we to thwart god’s will? When the airplane was invented, ministers screamed that if god had meant for us to fly, he would have given us wings. Virtually every human advancement has been fought tooth and nail by the church, and we see the same thing today with the church focused, as always, on sexual issues like gay marriage and birth control. Yet you still contend that this awful, anti-human religion of yours has made the world a better place. Do you really believe this?
It is high time for humanity to recognize this disgraceful religion for what it is, get off its collective knees, and face reality with confidence, not fear. Christianity is the greatest scam ever foisted on the human race in all recorded history. You say Christianity is the answer. I say Christianity is the problem.
You therefore have a choice: one, you can start thinking and critically examining your beliefs. If you do, I submit that you will become a much happier and more fulfilled human being. Any former believer will tell you how much better life can be without Christianity, or any form of mysticism. However, if you do not possess the courage, honesty, and intelligence to do this, feel free to slink back into your church pew and continue to live in your little fantasy world where truth is measured not by its verities, but instead by how it corresponds to your fantasies. Ignorance is indeed bliss; just don’t ask me to support your madness with my hard earned tax dollars. Fund your insanity by yourself.
By: Jon Nelson