“Good” & “Evil”
It’s odd how “God,” an entity whose omnipotence and omniscience is beyond what we as mere mortals could ever possibly comprehend, judges us by man-made concepts such as “good” or “bad”. It’s interesting to see that “God’s” own views coincide with what we generally perceive as “right” or “wrong”.
“Heaven” & “Hell”
“Heaven”? An incentive, the concept of an eternal afterlife in a paradise owned by “God,” because people don’t want to be “good” just for the sake of it, they want to be “good” because they’ll be rewarded for it. On the other hand, being “good,” even by his standards, is not enough, as “God” is quite vain. You can’t get into “Heaven” if you’re an atheist, for example. That means that even if you’re “good” for yourself and nothing more, not out of hope to reach paradise or fear of eternal torture, and even if you’re a “better” person than a man of the cloth, for example, you still wouldn’t get into “Heaven,” just because you don’t believe in “God.” Belief in him is actually more important than who you are.
“Hell”? A deterrent from straying from the straightforward path of “God”. Not only will you not get into his paradise, but you will also be sent to suffer for all eternity in a place worse than you could ever possibly imagine. But “God” loves you, he loves every one of his children and he is forgiving, up to a point. “God” has a sense of morality strangely similar to ours; while he forgives you for punching someone, he will not forgive you for murdering them.
It is rather more noble to help people purely out of concern for their suffering than it is to help them because you think the Creator of the Universe wants you to do it, or will reward you for doing it, or will punish you for not doing it. [The] problem with this linkage between religion and morality is that it gives people bad reasons to help other human beings when good reasons are available. – Sam Harris
“God” created every thing and every being in existence, be it on our planet or not, and he loves absolutely all of his creatures, but some less than others. “God” will not punish you for killing a fly or a spider. He loves them very much, but he doesn’t really care about them, much like how we don’t, strangely.
For someone who no one has ever actually met and whose existence cannot be proven and about whom we know nothing more than what we’re told by a man-written book, we presume to know so much about “God”. We know exactly what pleases him and what doesn’t, what he wants and doesn’t want, and when something good happens to us, it’s because we’re good “God-loving/fearing” people, yet when something horrible and apparently undeserving happens, all of a sudden he “works in mysterious ways.”
I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. – Susan B. Anthony
“You Must Believe and Not Doubt”
The whole idea of him not showing himself to us or not doing something to convince us of his existence in order to test our faith is absolutely illogical. It makes no sense that he would want us to believe in him when there’s no real evidence of his existence, that would basically mean that he’s testing us to see who’s naive enough to believe such far-fetched fantasies all because they’re written in a book. People say that “God” gave us reason, yet they actually choose to ignore it by believing in him. If “God” did give us reason and no real proof of his existence, he did it because he wants us to logically figure out that he’s not real, that’s the only test that makes sense, yet we put away our reason and “prove” his existence by grasping at straws, like how when you hear someone explain that the world around us is in itself proof of “God’s” existence.
When one person suffers from a delusion it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called religion. – Robert Pirsig, “Lila: An Inquiry into Morals”
There’s all the difference in the world between a belief that one is prepared to defend by quoting evidence and logic and a belief that is supported by nothing more than tradition, authority, or revelation. – Richard Dawkins
Another strange thing is how the bible and what is permitted and what isn’t has constantly changed over time so as to better suit the times in which humanity has existed. If at some point you would have been stoned or burned to death for certain so-called “crimes,” nowadays there’s no punishment whatsoever for committing said “crimes.” Does “God” change his perceptions or his will according to society on an insignificantly small planet in the immense Universe that he created? Was he at some point less omniscient, since he changed his mind with time? That doesn’t really make any sense, but let’s forget that detail for a moment, however pivotal it may be. It’s quite a coincidence that his views changed in the exact same ways ours have. That’s what happened, since the bible didn’t influence society, but they both changed in parallel in the same way. It’s clearly just a coincidence, because society couldn’t have influenced the bible, or “God’s” will, that would be ridiculous.
If a man would follow, today, the teachings of the Old Testament, he would be a criminal. If he would follow strictly the teachings of the New, he would be insane. – Robert Green Ingersoll
The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully. – Richard Dawkins, “The God Delusion”
And what about free will? Since “God” is omnipotent and omniscient, every possible ability we as mere humans can conceive with our minds, “God” has it. If that’s so, then that means “God” knows our future and that means that free will is an illusion, masterfully crafted by our loving “God”. There is no free will because no one could ever do anything differently than in the future “God” knows will happen. Since there is no other force superior to “God” in any way, our future can’t possibly be random, so it must have been chosen by “God” and each individual’s future has been already chosen since the beginning of time, even before their existence. Ergo, everything anyone has ever thought, said, and done, has been “God’s” will and nothing more. That means that absolutely everything in existence, from the smallest particles in the Universe to every living, breathing being, is exactly where and how “God” wants them to be, for no real reason, just because. You’re an atheist? That’s “God’s” will. You’re a Satanist? That’s “God’s” will. You were born deformed? That’s “God’s” will.
What’s the point of “Heaven” and “Hell”? Logical reasoning dictates that there’s no free will and no one has control over their lives and “God” decides how our lives unfold and who goes where completely at random and by no means based on merit. In fact, the absence of free will renders all points made above utterly irrelevant. It means everything exists by “God’s” will and we are, in fact, absolutely powerless and completely insignificant.
I think people have accepted religion and gods and continue to do so because they are naive and weak. It’s sad, but that’s what I believe.
Maybe people who believe in a god, any god, deep down feel helpless and maybe even worthless. They may genuinely not be aware of it and they may deny it, but that doesn’t make it untrue and I see no alternative. They need to believe that there is a greater force in the Universe which cares for them and looks after them, because they feel helpless, much like how a child would feel without a guardian. The only difference is that as opposed to a lone child, people actually aren’t helpless and the only place they should look for strength and guidance is within their own selves. People should learn to have faith in themselves, not in some made-up father figure.
I understand the need to believe in a god, some people just can’t do better and as sad as it is, I understand. That’s not to say I’m not disappointed in them or I don’t think less of them, because they are, in effect, weaker. I understand them and have no issue with them; however, I absolutely loathe those who impose their beliefs on others. It’s fine that you’re not strong enough or smart enough to realize how absurd the concept of “God” is, but keep it to yourself and don’t try to bring other people down to your level. It’s an absolutely horrible behavior.
Without taking into consideration all the death and darkness it has brought upon humanity, I believe religion ultimately does more harm than good, as it allows people to find refuge in made-up entities instead of themselves and the real world. They are taught from an early age that they are weak and that that’s okay, because they have “God,” who loves them and takes care of them.
If children understand that beliefs should be substantiated with evidence, as opposed to tradition, authority, revelation or faith, they will automatically work out for themselves that they are atheists. – Richard Dawkins
There is no such thing as a Catholic child, only a child of Catholic parents. There is no such thing as a Protestant child, only a child of Protestant parents. There is no such thing as a Muslim child, only a child of Muslim parents. – Richard Dawkins
Faith in Humanity
Any teachings that try to convince people that they are slaves to their own helplessness and that they need the help of some omnipotent entity to overcome the obstacles life throws at them should never be listened to. People need to be taught to have faith in themselves and to be strong, they need to know that the only real power is will power and that each and every one of them has the potential to wield it and move mountains with sheer dedication. Humanity will never reach the inner heights it’s capable of reaching until everyone sees the greatness inside of them and they overcome their indoctrinated ways.
Humanity will never be free until people grant themselves the freedom to think for themselves.