On one level, this is a silly question. Since I do not think there is a God, if I hated God I would be hating a nonexistent entity. This would be akin to hating Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy. However, I understand why religious people might think someone like me hates God. I spend a lot of time writing things that are negative about God and religion, surely, I must HATE God. Maybe some atheists do hate God, but I don’t. It is an non-issue for me.
As a writer, my focus is on religion. Religion is the human attempt to answer what I call the “hard” questions of life. Where did we come from? What is the essence, the substance of life? Is there life after death? What gives life meaning and purpose? These are not easy to answer. I realize many atheists will say “no evidence”… end of discussion, but I think these kind of questions are worthy of friendly discussion. The problem is many religious people can’t discuss these questions in a friendly manner. Thinking their God and belief system is truth, they condemn and marginalize anyone who thinks differently.
While I think evolution is the best answer to the “where did we come from” question, I am not at all satisfied with the answers science gives when dealing with the something rather than nothing question.Even Bill Nye, in his debate with creationist Ken Ham, admitted that, so far, science hasn’t answered the question of where the first particle came from. Of course Ham, a man with cement in the place where his brain once sat, jumped up and down and said, TEACHER, TEACHER, I KNOW THE ANSWER! IT’S FOUND IN THE B-I-B-L-E. Ham thinks the question is answered whereas Nye is willing to say, We don’t know, but we continue to try and find the answer this important question.
I am an atheist because the evidence tells me, at this present moment, there is no God.As a man who spent 50 years in the Christian church and 25 years in the pastorate, I am well versed in the teachings of the Bible and the one, true, and holy Evangelical faith. There’s no possible argument an Evangelical could make that I have not heard. It is not evidence that I am lacking. I have weighed all the available evidence in the balance and found it wanting. I am convinced, based on the available evidence, that the Evangelical God is a work of fiction and that Christianity is an admixture of myths, legends, oral traditions and religious teachings.Maybe someday a deity of some sort will reveal itself to us. If so, I will consider this new evidence just like I have the evidence for the plethora of human religions. I doubt this will happen, so I am not going to spend any time worrying about it. In the mean time, I remain agnostic on the God question and live my day-to-day life as an atheist. Reason, humanism, family, friends, baseball, and writing are enough for me, no God needed.
My hatred is reserved for certain aspects of some religions. Since I live in the United States, my experience has primarily been with the Christian religion, especially the Evangelical form of Christianity. While I think the essence of Christianity can provide value and substance for some people, even in our modern, scientific world, I am convinced that 21st century Christianity is so far afield from its original intent that it has ceased to be Christianity at all. How does the Christianity of today, in any of its various forms, remotely resemble the teachings and faith of Jesus, the poor, itinerant do-gooder of 2,000 years ago?
Part of the problem is that early in the history of the Christian church the Christianity of Jesus was subjugated by the Christianity of Paul. The modern version of Christianity we see today is Paul’s version of it and not Jesus’s. It is doubtful, at least in my mind, that we can ever recover what Jesus wanted Christianity to be. We can’t know if he even wanted to start a new religion. Perhaps all he wanted was to reform Judaism. We can’t appeal to the Bible because it has been corrupted by errors, corrections, additions, and outright fraudulent changes. At best, we might be able to peer within the pages of the Bible and get a general idea of who Jesus was and what he was all about. And we can do this regardless of whether we consider Jesus divine.
When I look at American Christianity what do I see? I see power and wealth. I see arrogance. I see machinery. I see everything but what I should see. Where is Jesus? Where are the good works? Look at the 2016 Republican slate of presidential candidates. Jesus lovers, the lot of them, all trying to see who has the biggest Evangelical dick. Yet, their beliefs and policies would likely be condemned by Jesus of Nazareth. Millions of Christians will vote for these men, thinking they are voting for God’s man.
It seems that most churches and pastors are focused on building a kingdom, not in heaven but here on earth. Why all the fancy, expensive buildings? Why all the programs designed to keep fat, lazy sheep happy? Why does most of the income go to maintain buildings, pay staff, and provide programs for people who are already Christians? What happened to outreach to the “least of these?” Where can I find a church where the poor, sick,homeless, and ignorant are given preferential treatment? If Jesus were alive today do we really think he would go to an American church?
Even though I don’t believe in the Christian God nor do I think the Bible is divine truth, I could see myself going to a church that took seriously the teachings of the man named Jesus. (and yes, I am aware that some of his teachings are contemptible) I still have a heart filled with compassion for the poor, sick, and marginalized.
I wonder if there is any room in the world for atheist itinerant preachers? While I couldn’t preach the Christian gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ, I could preach a humanist gospel, a gospel that says salvation is found in the goodwill, mercy, and compassion we have for others. I could point to the teachings of Jesus, Buddha and Bruce Almighty and show how the relevant parts of their teachings can help make us better human beings.
My hatred is reserved for any religion that is focused on power and wealth rather than people. For the most part, I despise Evangelical Christianity. To the Evangelical, words in a book are more important than loving their neighbor and helping the least of these. They prefer the narrowness of their religion to the wideness of human love, mercy, and compassion. They would rather concern themselves with abortion, same-sex marriage, and getting Republican elected than trying to make a real difference in the lives of the “least of these.” Thinking evangelizing someone is more important than feeding their hunger and clothing their back, Evangelicals are viewed by non-Christians in the same light as door knocking Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, and siding salesmen.
My beef is not with God because I don’t think there is a God. My beef is not with Christians who are serious about loving and helping others. My disdain, and at times anger, is reserved for those who have no regard for the plight of the poor and the sick, who only care about building a kingdom here on earth. No matter how much they talk about the future kingdom of God, their actions betray their true ambitions.
If churches took seriously the teachings of Jesus they would merge, sell off the excess real estate, and use the money to help the poor, sick, and disadvantaged. If churches took seriously the teachings of Jesus, they’d fire all the professional Christians, forcing them to get a real job. In doing so, these professional Christians will be forced to reengage with a world they lost connection with once they became the gatekeeper and waitstaff at the local Evangelical church.
If churches took seriously the teachings of Jesus they’d stop the programs that are little more than crack for religious junkies. These junkies bounce from church to church, program to program, service to service, hoping to get a Jesus fix. They are narcissists who have forgotten that what really matters is loving their spouse, children, family, and neighbor. They’ve traded the church for their common, dirty connection with the world. Sheltered from sinners, they listen to sermons that remind them of how wonderful it is in the church and how bad it is out there.
I don’t hate God. My hatred is reserved for evil done in the name of God. My hatred is reserved for those who value fidelity and conformity more than they do people. Such thinking burned people at the stake and slaughtered uncounted heretics. Given a chance here in America, Evangelicals with theocratic impulses would enact and enforce a Christian version of Sharia law. I hate all who dare to attempt to subjugate and control others in the name of their God. Thinking they are an oracle who has THE truth, they demand everyone else bow to their truth. Willing to use violence and the power of the state to force others to embrace their God and Holy Book, they cause deep hatred and resentment. Thinking they are being hated for their beliefs, what they are really being hated for is their unwillingness to allow others to have the same freedom they demand for themselves.
As I look at American Christianity, I search in vain for one good reason that I would/should become a Christian. Maybe there is a group somewhere that takes seriously the teaching of the socialist Jesus, but so far all I see is ice cream. Various flavors, but all ice cream. (Please see But, Our church is DIFFERENT!)