What I think about your god

I’m often asked what I think about god. Those who ask never seem to think to clarify which god they’re talking about though it always turns out to be Yahweh, the Judeo-Christian god of Abraham. Now I figured answering this question would be a great way to kick off this blog as it should hopefully tell you a little about me. Further, in Sam Harris fashion, I’d like to clarify upfront that when I answer I am in no means intending to be mean or nasty. I don’t mean to offend anyone (at least not in my initial blog). I’m merely answering as honestly as I know how to be.

So what do I think about [your] god?

In short. I think he is fictictious. In fact, I think to an objective, modern, scientific, rational mind, he is as obviously fictitious as Santa Claus, Zeus, Superman, and Harry Potter. As such, I identify myself as an atheist, which contrary to popular belief, means “lack of god-belief” and not “belief in no god.” The distinction is subtle but important. My position is not one of faith but based on evidence, or in this case, lack of evidence. I suspect that the reasons virtually everyone today lacks belief in Zeus, Thor, Mythras, Bael, Amon Ra, and all of the tens of thousands of ancient gods are the same reasons I reject all the modern gods too.

That being said, I am both an atheist and an agnostic, meaning that given that humanity lacks all the knowledge in the universe, scientifically I knowingly accept the possibility that a god-like being COULD exist, though it’s supremely unlikely…so unlikely that such a belief should not even be taken seriously in intellectual discourse unless reasonable evidence can be presented. I have studied this issue somewhat thoroughly and find all the alleged “evidence” for any particular deity including the Christian god terribly underwhelming and completely unconvincing. I think god-belief is a superstition that should not be taken any more seriously than leprechauns, unicorns, ghosts, big foot or UFO abduction. Now while I concede that a god-like being is at least possible that does not include the god of the three Abrahamic religions; rather the very specific claims associated with that god are so contradictory to known science that I believe science has arrived at a point where we can conclusively dismiss this particular Bronze Age mythical character as having been thoroughly debunked.

Further, although this admittedly has absolutely nothing to do with the truth value of religious claims, I additionally reject organized religion and faith-based thinking of all kinds (or at least I can’t think of any good examples of faith now). I feel, contrary to popular belief, that little good is done in the name of religion, god, and faith. And what little good is done by these forces, I feel it does not outweigh the enormous evils that any rational person should be able to admit have been caused largely because of these forces. Not only do I not think faith is a virtue but I view it as a vice, possibly the worst vice of all. How much violence, death, and destruction has been caused by religious gang wars (ex. my god is truer than your god)? I see this as nothing more than primitive tribalism. And I see no future in this sort of behavior. Faith can be used to justify anything and has been used to justify the most evil and repulsive behavior on Earth. Reasonable doubt and skepticism makes a far greater virtue in my opinion. I use the word “reasonable” for a reason. I am not a denier of phenomena that have convincing evidence and I have enough good sense and humility that I’d happily admit being wrong should convincing evidence be presented.

Additionally, I recognize that my stance is a highly minority view at this time in human history but given the lack of evidence this is the only position I can hold if I’m to be intellectually honest with myself. I cannot choose to believe what I do not, nor can I be bullied or manipulated by emotional tactics like the ill-conceived Pascal’s Wager, nor do I wish I could just believe in the unbelievable. I am quite happy with who I am and where I stand on this issue and would not wish to change that view for two reasons.

1. I’d rather accept a harsh truth than a comforting lie.

2. I do not find the particular lie embraced by the Abrahamic religions comforting at all but rather view it as a horrific and ghastly vision of the universe. It’s also been my experience that the more religious a person is, the less decent their behavior and attitude towards their follow man becomes. In other words, if the people who view themselves to be the most holy truly are the ones to be rewarded, who’d want to spend all eternity with them?

I hope I’ve answered this question sufficiently and I welcome any and all response comments that are not unrelated spam, death threats, or fatwas.

Your friendly neighborhood atheist,

-Michael

7 Responses to What I think about your god

  1. thenightblog says:

    Depends on your point of view, I guess. If you need the comfort of knowing you’ll be “saved”; or the bit of disbelief in the theory that everything in the Universe can be explained in a lab with formulas and experiments. Somehow it always relates to perspective.

  2. mjr256 says:

    Thanks for the comment, thenightblog.
    My only small nit-pick is that I think empirical evidence comes from more than just what can be tested in a lab. Much can be said of inductive reasoning when it’s used used appropriately and I think there’s probably some well established things we hold true that we can accept as more or less true without it having to come from a lab.

    But yeah, for the most part a person has every right to belief whatever they choose. I just have the right, if they bring their beliefs into the public realm, to tell them I think they’re dead wrong and why I think there’s compelling evidence to the contrary. And I am deeply concerned with the role religion plays in the political realm as well since that may affect me and everyone else.

  3. andrealudwig says:

    Ah, you need to read my blog, especially the post on hmmmm, well, any of them might be interesting to you…. Then again, maybe not. (Excuse me, it’s late. =)) I think the one entitled How I Became a Christian might be of interst to you.

    I can understand why you call Christianity ghastly and horrific. I used to be afraid of it, too. Well, of course, you are afraid, if you think if God is real he’s going to blast you for not believing in him.

    Don’t worry, the people who think of themselves as the most holy will not be the ones going to heaven. Those people are called self-righteous, right? Which means they are not saved, and they are not going to heaven. Only those people who know themselves to be a big mess, let’s say, get to heaven. You gotta read about it. It took me a long time to figure it out, too. It’s worth looking into. Like, the most important thing in the world.

    Oh, yeah, my blog is http://www.phenomenaltruths.wordpress.com. After quesitoning everything I finally know what I really believe and why. I’ll try to communicate it well. But sometimes I don’t. Especially when it’s past midnight.

  4. andrealudwig says:

    I spelled “interest” wrong. I told you it’s late.

  5. mjr256 says:

    Andrea, thanks for commenting on my blog. You made some interesting points that suggested that maybe I wasn’t as clear as I would have liked to be. I’m pretty versed in The Bible already; I’m simply unimpressed. It’s not Christianity that scares me but Christians themselves who might do great harm here on Earth out of some misplaced belief that they’re performing god’s will, something that happens far too often in our world. I myself have no fear whatsoever of any gods blasting me for not believing in them as I’m unconvinced such things exist.

    Though if hypothetically such a god did exist, my concerns would not lie so much with myself but rather with all the uncountable trillions of people, good or evil, who would be sentenced to an eternity of torture in a lake of fire–none of whom could possibly deserve such a cruel fate. Just five minutes of water-boarding is crueler than anyone deserves let alone an eternity. And quite frankly, no paradise could be offered to lift my concerns over the knowledge of so many others of my fellow human beings suffering at the hands a dictator, even one with the best of intentions. There can be no justice so long as laws are absolute and I’d reject any god who’d inflict suffering for his own pleasure.

    Fortunately, I see no good reason to believe that any of this is anymore than a Bronze Age fantasy meant to scare people into submission and obedience.

  6. I honestly don’t condemn your beliefs outside of the theory of believes who not believers. The more I thank about it when I received the concept that Lucifer was a faithful cherub, at one time, who had been given equivalent possibilities of god to lead and teach heaven the more I can understand what the values of devil worship really amount up to. anyone can fearlessly get on stage and talk but who can lead the crowd without repulsing them. That is more of a challenge all over the world. The is corrupted by too materials in their life and not much god. The majority of America is based on christianity and the minority of them are of it or outside it. I don’t condone killing them as much as I rap music. Lets say I were perfect. Virgin. Pure. I still will never be the pope because I lack a certain qualification. And the pope is Nazi soldier who is like son of hitler. Lucifer rules and can fool who he wants but he won’t psychologically make me hypnotized enough to make me believe there in him who is god will always destroy and rebel against humanity.

  7. […] birthday. It was July 19, 2008 that I began this blog on WordPress with an entry titled, “What I think about your god,” a piece that still holds up to this very day and in which I’m still very proud […]

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