Atheists do not hate God. While Evangelical Christians will certainly suggest otherwise, I do not know of one atheist who “hates” God. Think about it for a moment. Do atheists believe in the existence of the Christian God, or any other god, for that matter? Of course not, so it makes no sense to say that atheists hate a non-existent, mythical being. Surely, even the densest of Christians can understand this. If I asked Evangelicals, Do you believe in the existence of Odin, the Norse God? how do you think they would respond? I have no doubt Evangelicals would laugh and say, Odin is a mythical being. It would be silly of us to hate a being that doesn’t exist. Bingo. Just like atheists and the Christian God.
Evangelicals often refuse to accept at face value what others say/believe about their God. When atheists deny the existence of the Christian God, Evangelicals say that atheists are suppressing their knowledge of this God. Supposedly, atheists KNOW that the Christian God exists, but they, having a hard heart and a seared conscience, deny his existence. Couldn’t the same be said of Christians who deny the existence of Odin? Christians KNOW that the Norse God exists, but they refuse to accept this, clinging to a God who is no God at all.
The fact is this: atheists do not hate God. Anyone who suggests otherwise is either deliberately ignorant of what atheists believe or are so blinded by their own beliefs that they cannot fathom any other belief but their own. Wait a minute, Bruce, Evangelicals say. If atheists do not hate God, then why do they spend so much time talking about God? Good question.
While atheists know that the Christian God is a myth, they also understand that much harm has been done in his name. It is not the Christian God that is the problem. God, divorced from his followers, is little more than an ancient explanation for human existence. Who cares, right? Myths, in and of themselves, have no power. The Harry Potter books tell a wonderful story of mystery and magic, but no one in his or her right mind thinks the stories are true. Imagine if a group of people believed that what was written in the Harry Potter books was some sort of divine message from God. Does the fact that this group of people believes the stories are true mean that they are? Of course not. So it is with Christianity. That people “believe” is not proof that something is true. Millions of people believe in the Mormon God, yet Evangelicals, for the most part, believe Mormonism is a false religion. I fail to see how Mormonism’s God is any different from Christianity’s God. Taken at face value, both myths are absurd.
The real issue for atheists is what Christians DO in the name of their God. It is Christians that are the problem, not their God. If Christianity was little more than a Kiwanis Club, I suspect that most atheist writers such as myself would put down their digital pens and turn their attention to other pursuits. However, because many Christians will not rest until the entire world worships their God and bows to their interpretation of an antiquated religious text, atheists, humanists, agnostics, and secularists are forced to do battle with Evangelical zealots. Believe me, I’d rather be writing about sports, photography, or train collecting, but as long as Evangelicals continue to clamor for a theocracy governed by Biblical law, I intend to raise my objection to their theocratic ambitions.
Eleven years ago, I wrote a post titled, If Christianity Doesn’t Matter, Why Do You Bother With It? I think what I wrote then still applies today:
Bruce, if Christianity doesn’t matter, why do you bother with it?
On one hand, Christianity doesn’t matter. The Bible doesn’t matter. Jesus, the Holy Spirit, God, the Church — none of it matters.
If Christians want to worship their God, I have no objection. I subscribe to the “live and let live” school of thought. Each to his own. May Jesus be with you. May the force be with you. May nothing be with you. I don’t care.
However . . .
I do care about the influence Christianity has on our culture and government. I do care about the damage done in the name of the Christian God. I do care when people are hurt, maimed, and killed in the name of Jesus.
When Christians want to turn the United States into a theocracy . . . It matters.
When Christians want their religion to have preference over any and all others . . . It matters.
When Christians demand atheists and agnostics be treated as the spawn of Satan . . . It matters.
When Christians attempt to teach religious dogma as scientific fact in our public schools . . . It matters.
When Christians attempt to force their religious moral code on everyone . . . It matters.
When Christians attempt to stand in the way of my pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness . . . It matters.
When Christians abuse and molest children in the name of their God . . . It matters.
When Christians wage wars thousands of miles away in the name of their God . . . It matters.
When Christians mentally and emotionally abuse people . . . It matters.
When Christians expect preferential treatment because of who they worship . . . It matters.
As long as Christians continue to force themselves on others, and as long as they attack and demean anyone who is not a Christian . . . It matters.
As long as pastors and churches get preferential tax code treatment . . . It matters.
That said . . .
As to who you worship and where? It doesn’t matter.
As to what sacred text you use? It doesn’t matter.
I want all Christians to have the absolute freedom to worship their God.
And . . .
I want that same freedom to NOT worship any God or another God . . .
And as long as that courtesy is not extended to me and to every human being on earth . . .
Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.
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