These are my reasons why I don’t need religion, even kind and gentle liberal religion.
- I seriously doubt that any religion has the truth or the answers for life. It would be inauthentic for me to say stuff like “I think all paths are equal” or something like that. I can see that religious traditions each contain some bits of truth, but not in sort of way the way that they claim.
- I think it does injustice to the natural world and to humanity to attribute all that is good and delightful in the world to supernatural causes.
- Because my reasons for not believing in God goes far beyond the injustices in the Bible or the travesties that have been carried out in the name of religion. I know plenty of people who view God as a loving father and I’ve also heard many variations on the “Footprints in the Sand” motif. I also know that there are lots of Protestants, Catholics, and Unitarians who put a strong focus on social justice and other good works. I will work right beside them. But I don’t need to believe in God to pursue social justice, so I see no reason to throw religious belief into the mix.
- Because morality is a concern of humans, not of God. Morality that is backed only by religious reasons, and not human reason and empathy, is not real morality. Religious morality is the type that keeps Muslim women hidden from head to toe and attempts to justify the killing of abortion doctors and persecutes people for being gay. Purely secular reasons are sufficient for a morality based on empathy and love.
- Because talk of God or spirits providing your purpose and meaning is a way to avoid the responsibility to create your own purpose and meaning in life.
It has been suggested to me many times that God is not like a judge, but rather like a really good loving father. Since I don’t believe that supernatural beings exist, either ghosts or gods, there is probably not a lot of reason to labor the point. My disbelief in God is not because I think he is not good, it is because I think he is not real. I have only a very minor disagreement with anyone who wants to use the word “god” to describe things that are indisputably real, like the universe. But as far as believing in a God that exists in an objective and independent way, well, I’ve never seen or heard any evidence to convince me that is true.
Anyway, here are the issues I have with the “God as loving father with a broken heart when he sees your suffer” metaphor.
- Very unlike a human father, God is all-powerful. That instead of merely wishing he could take suffering away from his children, he could actually do it, with amazing ease. A human father, on the other hand, faces the heartbreak of helplessness when his child is sick or hurt and he can do nothing about it. Even if God would have good reasons to allow suffering to continue, he definitely does not face the same issues that a human father would face in that situation.
- While it is very hard for a human father to explain something to his small child, communication should be a cinch for an all-powerful God. A human father can pick up his child and cuddle and comfort, while God apparently only leaves us to imagine that he is carrying and cuddling us. It’s as if he is not only not able to communicate what is going on, he is not even there at all.
- The whole metaphor has us as helpless, uncomprehending, and totally dependant infants. Such a philosophy is not conducive to self-respect and confidence and self-responsibility. It is most definitely not conducive to freethought–since it promotes the idea that we are uncomprehending and unable to think for ourselves in the face of the big scary questions of life.
My life is good without God. I am not suffering, nor do a feel a hole in my life that I need God to fill. In times when I am suffering I will do what I can about it, and hopefully I will have the support and care of friends and family. There will not necessarily be any ultimate purpose behind it, and I will not be looking for any.