1. I struggle with the idea that there could have ever been a loving God.
I was a Christian for more than 30 years and struggled with this idea almost daily. As a member of the clergy, when I preached from the pulpit I always put forth the idea that God was loving, kind, just, and able to see past our human failings based on the model of Jesus Christ. I sincerely thought of Jesus Christ as the kind of person that embodied a loving God. He was kind to sinners, willing to stand up for the downtrodden, accepting of those who had different outlooks on life, like the Samaritans. The problem is that this God, the kind that is just like Jesus Christ, is not exemplified by the Christian church. Nor does that God seem to exist outside of the Bible.
There seems to be a strong correlation between those who have found God and how they treat others in this world. The Canadian Residential Schools scandal where over 150,000 aboriginal children where taken from their parents in an attempt to Christianize them comes to mind. That scandal resulted in numerous abuses of these children. I could go on and make a list of scandals starting with sexual abuse by clergy, robbing aboriginal children of their language and taking a wrecking ball to aboriginal families to make them more Christian. I could talk specifically about murder and wars by Christian leaders but I think you already get the point. The most war like people on this planet are religious. The most religious people on this planet are the most war like. They are nothing like the “perfect” God we are supposed to believe in.
If God is loving, why does he not intervene? Why does he not “check in” to straighten things out? If God was a parent, we would accuse him of child abandonment. If God exists, we certainly cannot say he is loving.
“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then He is not omnipotent. Is He able, but not willing? Then He is malevolent. Is He both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is He neither able nor willing? Then why call Him God?” – Epicurus
2. The Bible does a poor job of explaining our world and our universe.
I started to look in earnest for a better explanation of this world that the one given in the Bible. Once I stumbled upon the “The Selfish Gene”, a book by Richard Dawkins I knew I had found and answer that straightened out any issues I had with evolution. What had been missing from my understanding of evolution was the molecular explanation made in Chapter 3 - Immortal Coils. Once I read this I knew there was no need for the hand of God in the making of humankind. I also read numerous books on cosmology, psychology, philosophy and science. They are so superior to any “god did it” explanations that they literally reduced God to something that might have existed before the big bang. Later, I went back to university. The best class I ever took at university was called Research Methods in the Behavioral Sciences. It taught me the best parts of skepticism and how to use them wisely. Once the fire was ignited there was no turning back to the bible for answers.
3.Christian Treatment of Homosexuals. (and others)
|Homosexuals Being Burned in Rotterdam 15th Century|
If Christians really believe in the Golden Rule, “Treat others as you would be treated” their treatment of homosexuals over the ages betrays a huge hypocrisy. During the second world war German Christians sent gay men off to be exterminated with the Jews. All other Christian countries had already made homosexuality illegal and in some cases punishable by incarceration. Homosexuals are described by the scriptures as being heinous and murderous characters. Nothing could be further from the truth. A fair and unbiased reading of Saint Paul’s writings shows how wrong and how ignorant he really was. Modern science gives a completely different behavioral analysis of homosexuals. Fair and unbiased, science offers explanations of what homosexuality is and why it occurs that do not demonize or judge. Why is science better at being “Christ like” than Christians are?
Add to this that nonbelievers and those from other religions were treated just as badly over the ages and you’ll get my point.
4.What about the other Gods?
|Thor fights the giants|
Did Apollo really bring healing, deadly plagues or ill health? Of course not. As a schoolboy I had already learned the germ theory of disease transmission. To implicate Apollo seemed equally silly.
I dismissed virtually all the prophets of other religions with similar ease. Did Muhammed really ride a white horse up to heaven? Of course horses cannot fly. That seems silly.
But, and this is a big but, when asked if Jesus walked on water, I would hesitate and say, “Well we don’t really know he didn’t. Anything is possible when God is involved.” Today I see it differently. I have studied other religions and see how it was that I was willing to be skeptical about them, but not about the far fetched stories in the Christian Bible. Now I believe in one less God than before; the Christian God.
|А fresco detail of Hell |
St. Nicolas in Raduil village, Bulgaria
What kind of omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God needs to use eternal punishment, in the form of a burning hot eternal hell to bring his people closer to him? This is the God who we are told created us. This is the God who is supposed to understand, better than we do, how psychosis, neurosis and other mental diseases occur. This is the God who would cause sinners and non believers to burn for eternity, rather than explain himself or cure their mental disease. Threatening to send someone to burn in Hell is a manipulative and mean way of accomplishing anything. How can anyone love a God that is so evil as to do that to his own creation, especially when that creation is sentient?
To be honest, the fact that hell exists in Christian belief is proof that God truly is evil, or that religion was created by men whose intention it was to scare people into submission.
Today there are many people who see religion as benevolent and kind and gloss right over the concept of hell as central to their belief in salvation. Islam is also guilty of this manipulation. This is clear evidence that all abrahamic religions are manipulative at their very core.
Christians who proselytize do so based on their fear that you are going to hell. (What a strange form of love that is!) When they repent it is because they fear hell. Fear of hell is a poor reason for you to be a good person. Why not just treat people kindly because thats how you want to be treated.
6. I refuse to be a hypocrite or to be disingenuous. (Bonus answer) I could sit quietly in church, but what would that accomplish? I just don’t believe those stories anymore. Hey, at least I have my integrity. It’s better to be an honest atheist than a hypocritical Christian.