Many people have wondered what my take on religion is. If you’re one of those people, this article is for you.
EDIT: Pssst, there’s a much better version of this article on Medium now. Go check it out.
When it comes to religion, most of us either jump to one of two conclusions: Either God exists and he is perfect and all-powerful, or God does not/cannot exist. Yes, I’m fully aware of the increasing number of agnostics, which is a good thing, since the idea that God can be neither proven nor disproven is the most rational stance possible in religion.
What’s up with this “All-or-nothing” mentality? Why does God either have to be completely perfect or non-existent? Yeah, most religious texts are full of holes. But that doesn’t mean the entire thing is completely false and has no basis in actual events. For example, tons of different cultures across the world have stories about a massive flood. It would be one thing if it were just Abrahamic religions, but cultures all around the world have similar stories of a god or gods getting angry at the world and flooding it. From the Native Americans, to the Mayans, to the Christans. Here’s a catalogue I found of flood myths in global cultures. I didn’t bother to sit and fact check the entire thing, so don’t be afraid to do your own research if you’re skeptical. These are all civilizations that had little to no contact with each other, saying very similar things. Regardless of whether or not you believe that some old man built an ark or that it was God’s wrath, I’d say that there’s enough evidence to suggest that some kind of large-scale flood happened at some point in human history, which gives the Bible at least some basis in fact.
So who is this “God” person, and what gives him the right to commit large-scale genocide? What gives him the right to judge our morality? What makes him better than us? Don’t give me that “He created us, so he can do what he wants” with us bullshit either. He also gave us the free will we use to question his “orders” (or rather, he allowed the Serpent to tempt Eve into eating the apple, which gave us this ability). Religious people will tell you that God is “testing” us by giving us the choice to do wrong. Is that really what we are? One giant game for God’s amusement? Also, the idea of an omnipotent creator and free will being able to coexist is bullshit. Let’s look:
- God is all-knowing and all-powerful.
- God created us.
- God defines right and wrong, and allowed us the ability to choose between the two. Should we choose to live our lives the “wrong” way, God judges us as unworthy of entering Heaven, and condemns us to an eternity of misery and suffering.
Am I the only one who sees how mindblowingly stupid this is? If God is truly all-knowing, then surely he knows exactly how our lives will play out in the end. He knows before he creates our souls whether or not he’ll be sending us to Hell. Therefore, God is creating people for the purpose of causing them suffering.
The common counter-argument to this is “God has the ability to see how our lives will play out, but chooses not to.” By this logic then, God is directly responsible for evil in the world. After all, he has the power to see if the person he’s creating will turn out to be a genocidal dictator or a rapist or something. He just chooses not to, instead allowing people to suffer at the hands of something he could have prevented if he exercised his power and looked a little bit ahead.
So why should we worship this guy? Why do most people worship God? What it really amounts to is this: If you don’t, you’ll suffer in the afterlife for all of eternity. Because nothing makes me want to listen to you more than threats of retribution if I don’t. This is a big joke too, by the way. We’re told that if we serve God well enough in our lives, we’ll be able to serve him in his kingdom, Heaven. In other words, you’re never free. You’re essentially the field nigger becoming the house nigger.
Did any of that sound like the description of a “perfect” being to you? Really, there’s only one conclusion that can be drawn from the Bible about God: HE ISN’T PERFECT. Even the Bible itself supports this theory. The idea that God had to cleanse the Earth with a flood to get rid of all the “evil” people should be enough to show that he is capable of making mistakes.
Here are some more instances in the Bible which imply that God isn’t really omnipotent:
- In Genesis 3:8-9, Adam and Eve hear God walking in the Garden of Eden, and hide from him. God is seemingly unable to see them, resorting to calling out “Where are you?”. Apparently all you have to do to escape the wrath of God is hide behind some trees. I think I still have a few tree forts I built when I was a kid, so I’m set for Judgment Day. AJ: 1, God: 0.
- In Genesis 6:6-7, God expresses regret for creating the human race, which leads to his decision to flood the Earth. How can you regret your actions if you’re incapable of making mistakes? Some versions of the Bible also translate this one as “repent”, which is even worse.
Another good one is the entire story of Satan’s rebellion. Most people don’t realize that this really isn’t in the Bible, except for the part in the Book of Revelation which has yet to occur (meaning Satan is still in Heaven), but I’ll humor them. According to the basic story, Satan was God’s righthand man, and had a disagreement with God. Blinded by pride, Satan amassed a giant army of like-minded angels, and attempted to overthrow God and claim Heaven for himself. God’s own army, commanded by Michael, defeated Satan and his army. Satan and his angels were subsequently thrown out of Heaven, and Michael was made God’s new righthand man for his valor in battle. Some sects also claim that Michael was the first angel to refuse Satan’s offer to join the rebellion, and this is why God made him the commander.
First of all, if Satan was God’s righthand man, he of all people would know that God is omnipotent, and that he was fighting a losing battle. Don’t give me that “Blinded by pride” crap. Being proud to the point where you’d launch an attack against someone you know is invincible is like me lifting 100 lbs over my head, then attempting to beat Superman in a fist fight (although to be fair, Superman seems to lose his powers in a large chunk of the comics, so I might have a chance). Pride distorts, but it doesn’t completely blind someone to the point where they attempt to take down what they know to be an unstoppable force. Why would Satan launch an attack that he knew would just fail?
Second, I want to know why an invulnerable being with limitless power would not only need an army, but someone else to command it for him. Creating all of existence? No problem. Handling an insurrection? Yikes, we’ve got trouble. It seems that leadership skills aren’t part of the omnipotence package. Either that or God is just a lazy bastard who sits on his ass while others fight his battles for him.
So let’s review the series of events:
1. The archangel Satan is God’s second-in-command, and becomes displeased with how God is running things.
2. Satan gathers together a bunch of other angels who share his point of view, and plots to overthrow the all-powerful and all-knowing God.
3. Satan and his group of angels launch a coup d’état in an attempt to dethrone God and presumably install Satan as the ruler of Heaven and existence.
4. God orders Michael, another archangel, to amass his own army to defeat Satan’s army and put down the insurrection.
5. Satan’s coup fails, and he and his army are thrown out of Heaven and down to Earth or Hell, depending on who you ask. He spends the rest of his time torturing people who go against God, and waiting for the rise of the Antichrist, so he can make his last stand against God.
So after being thrown out of Heaven for attempting to dethrone God, Satan resides in some afterlife punishing those who disobey God, effectively still doing God’s work.
And people actually believe this? Come on now, it doesn’t even make sense! If Satan was thrown out of Heaven for disobeying God, why would he help God by punishing people who did the same thing? Wouldn’t it make more sense for Satan to enlist those people for another attempt at seizing power? Satan punishing someone for disobeying God is like North Korea punishing an American nuclear scientist for attempting to defect to North Korea and give them our technology. It’s completely contradictory to previous events, and against their own interests.
If God’s conduct in the rest of the Bible is anything to go by, Satan’s rebellion wasn’t so much a prideful attempt to seize power as it was an attempt to depose a despotic overlord. Remember, history is written by the victors, so who’s to say that the literal and metaphorical demonization of Satan isn’t anything more than propaganda from the victorious side of the conflict? If the Axis had won World War 2, we wouldn’t be learning that Hitler was a genocidal maniac bent on conquering the world, we’d be learning that he was a great military leader who thwarted the Allies’ attempts to prevent him from making the world a better place. Records of history are obviously going to be biased in the favor of the people who won important battles or made significant contributions to the winning side.
So my question to those of you who worship God is this: Why? Why do you worship God? Because he says he loves you? I can find many alcoholic fathers who say the same thing to their wife and kids after beating them savagely.
What it boils down to in the end is fear. People are afraid of being judged negatively by God, so they waste their entire lives attempting to cater to his every whim as part of some sick cosmic joke. God gives his teachings to a corrupted mankind, then gets mad when we express uncertainty of their authenticity and damns us to an eternity of suffering.
I’m a reasonable man, so maybe, with all of his omnipotence, God wasn’t able to realize that man would corrupt his teachings and screw over everyone else. Oh wait, the word of God is ever-enduring. Well, it looks like God is a douchebag after all.
If God is anything like the Bible says he is, he’s just as flawed as the rest of us, and completely unworthy of worship. Unfortunately, 90% of the people who do worship him have never even cracked a Bible. I can’t say I’ve read the Torah or the Koran, but I’m positive that they give a similar depiction of God/Yahweh/Allah/Jehovah/Yaldabaoth/whatever he’s calling himself now. Do yourselves a favor, and actually read the texts you’re following. Being a Christian and not reading the Bible is like signing a contract without reading it.
There’s no way an all-knowing and all-powerful God can exist without him being responsible for every atrocity ever committed by man. Case closed.