Why I don’t need God or religion

These are my reasons why I don’t need religion, even kind and gentle liberal religion.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

10 thoughts on “Why I don’t need God or religion

  1. Seems like it takes a lot more faith to not believe than to believe. you “doubt”, “think”, “don’t believe” sounds like a very hypothetical post to me.

    • Think I should use stronger, more belligerent language then? I don’t have all the answers–I just say and write what I “think,” I am straight-forward when I “doubt,” and I’ll outright say it when I “don’t believe.”

      Are you religious yourself? Cause I find it really odd when the religious person accuses the atheist of having faith.

  2. Very well thought out and eloquent as usual with your writing. My only comment would be that, as with any analogy, the “God as Loving Father” analogy is not perfect. It can be very uplifting to some, but as with all analogies, it breaks down if you carry it out further than it was intended to go. This particular analogy is flawed in ways that go beyond the normal limitations of analogies. Many people have had terrible paternal role models. If a father was an abuser or neglectful, he does not leave a positive impression of fatherhood, and therefore comparing a relationship with God to that of father can turn certain people off completely to God.

    I believe that religious people and non-religious people should be able to work together for the good of humanity. I would hope they could also have intelligent and respectful discussions about any subject. Unfortunately there are those on both sides on any given issue who will resort to mean spirited attacks instead of intelligent rebuttal and well thought out debate. I can think of two on the atheist side that get quite offensive, Dawkins and Hitchens, and I am sure you can name some on the religious side. For example, I spent a miserable 30 minutes the other day forcing myself to listen to Pat Robertson. In that 30 minutes he managed to offend at least 3 groups of people, including non-fundamentalist Christians.

    I trust you and I can disagree and still respect the beliefs of each other.

  3. Responding to Lisa:

    Hypothetical is a GOOD thing. As soon as you come to a point where you believe you have all the answers, you stop searching. When you stop searching you become stagnant. And worse than stagnant, you become arrogant. Since you are no longer searching you stop learning and thinking for yourself. That leads you to post cliches and things that we have all heard thousands of times. What is the point?

  4. I get soo sick of religious people thinking that atheists just need to be “fixed” or need to “see the light.” I apologize on behalf of all the crazies out there! and i’d argue that the really really good people I know are WAY more often NOT religious. Just a personal example, but seriously! Christians really piss me off and are soo often compacent about things. Okay im done ranting.

    p.s. for any creepers reading this, I was raised and am still Christianish. so back off.

  5. Every person has a flaw, and for any organization to believe they are flawless is ridiculous. I am a christian. I do go to a church which serves to uplift and inform its occupants and provide a place of worship for God. I believe many people (christians and non believers) have crossed the line and have been very self righteous. All of us are humans and are intitled to making mistakes. However, doing something wrong and using Gods forgiveness as a neutralization for bad behavior is seriously childlike. I think you do the best you can, you live by a guideline, mine is set by the bible, and you move forward. I don’t think that God wants people to dwell on the past. I think He wants us to live! I find that God and religion are two separate subjects completely. Read The Shack by William P. Young. It might give you another perspective, one you can allow to blossom in your own way. The bottom line is there has to be a reason behind all that occurs in nature, behind good and evil and human behavior. To me, Christianity, God, the bible, history and science are all linked. It just provides a web like foundation and makes sense to me.

  6. I get the sense, that you would like some answers. The Bible actually states at Isaiah 63:9 that “In all their affliction He was afflicted, and he rescued them, in his love and his mercy he lifted them up and he carried them through their years” He feels our pain in ways we can not imagine and he wants every last one of us to turn from all of our sin so there won’t be another hand lifted to cause pain. But humans do not want to. We want to run our lives our way, thus, the state of the world we live in.

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