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,