When it comes to this question, one thing is highly probable – regardless of your current stance, anything I write will most probably not change your mind.
If that is true, then why bother reading this?
Read on to gain an understanding of why I do not believe. That way you can then begin to understand why I don’t.
I’ll also be encouraging you to chip in with your thoughts at the end.
- No, it is not because I’m angry at God. Do you reject the concept of Zeus because you are angry at Zeus, or because you really do not accept the claim that Zeus is real? If you can grasp that Zeus insight, then hopefully you get it.
- No, it is not because I have plans to “sin” and don’t like dealing with that. I do however find within non-belief the freedom to not be an obnoxious dick. I also find that both secularism and also humanism are far more moral, just, and decent.
The God question is very unusual. For many things, we might hold an opinion, and then when fresh evidence arrives, that will alter our view and we transition to a different conclusion. For the God question, that can’t happen because there is no objective evidence.
Well yes, some will claim “evidence” that is not really evidence at all.
For example pronouncements such as this abound; “My life has changed, Jesus came into my heart and made me whole. I was once a (insert almost anything at all) but today Jesus has taken all that away and …” … well, you know the rest. Such testimonies do tell us a great deal about human psychology and how the commencement of a deeply emotional religious experience can indeed induce a life change. All of this is natural. There is no evidence for the claim that there is something supernatural going on within such transitions.
Is this “evidence”?
For some perhaps, but honestly no, it is not.
Remember that there is a vast diversity of very different religious experiences. With mutually exclusive claims, logically they can’t all be right, except when they claim that all the others are wrong. They all get that bit right.
What does the word “God” mean?
Generally most think of it as a term that describes the ultimate supernatural entity that created the universe. Beyond this a great deal of variation persists. It can be an utterly uninvolved deity that simply did it all and has had no further involvement. It can also refer to something that gets personally involved and will apparently assist some in finding their car keys or a parking space if you ask nicely.
Even for this personally involved variety, there is a considerable degree of diversity. Take for example the Catholic God. He, or she, will apparently transform crackers into himself if a male virgin chants just the right words. These god-crackers can then be literally consumed and eaten by the faithful. For the vast diversity of protestants, this is heresy. Then again, as far as Catholics are officially concerned, the Protestants, all of them, are heretics.
Are you Offended by the way I’m describing this?
I am guilty of just one thing. My crime here is to not utilize common religious terms.
Strip away the religious language and what is revealed is the utter silliness of the various claims. Here are a few more examples.
Sin – Apparently a talking snake managed to trick an ancestor into eating some fruit. This supposedly pissed off God, and is the root cause of all that now troubles us. WWII was not Hitler’s fault, it was “Sin”, but if he asks Jesus ever so nicely, all is forgiven.
Why is this possible?
Jesus Died for our Sins – God gave birth to himself by raping a human, so that God could then have a human blood sacrifice of himself to himself. The rules that dictated this game were the rules policed and managed by this same God. In other words, God appears to have a kink and is deeply into bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, and sadomasochism.
A great deal is made of how great the suffering of Jesus was for us. Honesly now, this was supposedly God, so all that really happened is that he had one bad weekend. He then popped up after it with one heck of a hangover.
Rather obviously I don’t believe any of it.
If you do believe it all, and so find my description to be “offensive” then honestly why should that bother you, why would that in any way be disturbing?
Don’t forget that you claim that you have playing on your team the creator of the entire universe.
What is truly fascinating is how specific religious topics find a balance where the “evidence” is sufficient to convince those that do already believe to carry on believing, but it is just not persuasive enough to convince those that don’t.
With the rather obvious observation that God is apparently playing hide-and-seek, what we find in the absence of hard empirical proof, is vague elusive stuff. Miracles, perpetrated by fraudsters and con-artists. Philosophical arguments that have rather robust counter-arguments. Heaps of sincerity, and a vast diversity of behaviors that range from the inspirational to the utterly obnoxious.
For those that believe, what is out there is sufficient to justify continuing to believe. For those that doubt, it really is not enough.
“But believing is your best bet, because not believing means you go to hell“, some might claim.
Let’s test this. I would like you to believe that magic invisible pink unicorns dance in meadows every night – go.
Were you able to sincerely believe that to be true?
If so, please do let me know because I have a bridge for sale.
Ah yes, I can see that you faked believing it. You really can’t fake it, because the Unicorns would know.
If indeed not believing means you go to hell, then exactly which hell will that be?
According to almost every single variation of belief, every other variation of belief is wrong and all within are destined to go to hell. If indeed you opted to believe so that you can duck hell, then what exactly is it you are going to start believing?
“Believe the bible“, except every variation of Christianity would claim that their interpretation is just the right one and all the others are wrong.
“Yes, but we really do have the ‘truth’, all the others are man-made“, says every single variation of belief.
So who are you going to pick and why?
What about all those sophisticated Philosophical Arguments?
I’ll not bother listing any, or even presenting the counterarguments to the most popular. Instead, I’ll ask a question.
There are people who specialize in Philosophy. How many of these subject matter experts are religious?
A few years back, philosophers David Bourget and David Chalmers conducted a worldwide survey asking the big questions. This went out to 1,972 philosophers at 99 of the world’s “leading departments of philosophy”.
The result for the God question – atheism 72.8%; theism 14.6%; other 12.6%.
In other words, the vast majority of these philosophical subject matter experts do not find the Philosophical God arguments compelling. If it does not convince them, then why should you even bother considering them?
I also have no idea what “Other” means, but hey, these are Philosophers, the folks who have made a career out of being a smart-arse, so “Other” is perhaps not a surprise for these folks.
How many people are certain that there is a God and have no doubts?
Get ready for a surprise.
No really, do, because if you guessed that the majority do, as I did, then you would be wrong, like I was.
In 2008 it was about 60%.
It 2021, that number has fallen to 49.66%
Remind me to send a “Thank you” card to Trump.
Why Are people Religious?
The essence of the human religious experience is emotional.
People are drawn to it because it meets a need. It creates a safe place, a club to belong to, an identity to adopt, and enables people to craft a meaning for their lives. If you stripped away Jesus and instead spun a yarn about Thor, people would still buy it.
What people generally believe is not about truth, but instead is really about geography. Where you were born and the beliefs of those around you are generally the beliefs that most adopt. We dress as those around us dress, behave as those around us behave, and so believe what those around us believe.
If however we think about things analytically instead of intuitively, then often we can break free from all this.
One Last Thought
Live a good life.
If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by.
If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them.
If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.
The above is commmonly attributed to Marcus Aurelius, but it was not him. Regardless of the source, I find it to be inspirational.
What is your Position?
If you do believe, do please feel free to drop a comment to explain what you believe and also why you believe it.
I promise not to have a go. I may however ask a couple of questions in reply if something is not clear.
I often learn a great deal from those that comment, and so I do truly appreciate any and all comments.