I’m a Christopher Hitchens girl. I love everything about the man, may he rest in peace. To me, he was my voice of atheism, and reading his works helped me embrace my lack of belief. When the atheist community lost him to cancer two years ago, his death saddened me greatly. We lost our voice. I know there are other prevalent members of atheism that do an equally good job, but Hitch was my main man. I tend to find Richard Dawkins a bit of a blowhard bully at times,although, I fully agreed with him and the ridiculous Rebecca Watson/ElevatorGate debacle a few years ago. And honestly, I never really gave much attention to Sam Harris…until today when I watched a video that I’ve seen floating around my Facebook timeline. It’s titled “Morality and the Christian God” and boy howdy, it’s a terrific ten minutes.
No doubt some of you will not watch this, and that’s fine; some of the images shown are brutal and hard to see, but are shown for the purpose of driving Mr. Harris’s point home: atrocities happen daily and the god so many believe in let them happen. As Mr. Harris says, “any god that would allow this to happen…either can do nothing to help, or doesn’t care, is either impotent or evil.”
Perhaps I should repeat that: any god that would allow this to happen either can do nothing to help, which debunks his omnipotence, or doesn’t care, which solidifies his malevolence.
I don’t want to hear about free will–children–or anyone, really–needlessly dying is not free will. Children dying due to acts of violence is apparently acceptable to this god. Children getting terminal diseases is okay by god because he’s the one who gave them leukemia to begin with. It’s his plan, after all. Deal with it. Children being sexually abused is fine by god because well, it just is.
Do you understand why I refuse to believe in this god? Do you get why I have such an issue with a supposedly all-knowing, all-seeing, “loving” god that willingly causes pain and suffering to his followers? Do you realize that by people saying “god only gives us what we can handle” or “he has a purpose for everything” is total and utter bullshit to me? I don’t understand why people believe this. I don’t understand why I believed it for 20 years…
The purpose of this is not to convert anyone to atheism. The purpose of this is to help those who believe to see why I don’t anymore. I was raised in the Lutheran faith for 20 years. I attended parochial school. I went to church and Sunday school weekly like a good Christian. Then, I met people who didn’t believe. I heard their points of view and for the first time in my life, I realized that I sided more with them than what I had been taught for so many years. I actually took the time to think about what they said and it made more sense to me. I had been slowly backing away from my faith for a while, anyway, namely due to personal experiences in the last few years of that point in my life, I found myself wondering how god could let these things happen if he had the power to prevent them. I felt awful for thinking those things, for going against what I had been taught, that by even entertaining the brief thought that there isn’t a god would surely mark my place in hell.
But my faith continued to wane. I asked to be removed as a member of my childhood church, which warranted a very rude letter written back to me from the elders of that church. I wish I had kept it. That letter was the tipping point. How could grown men acting as liaisons of the church and god himself write to me that they felt my decision was a poor one and that they will pray for my lost soul to return to the true way? Never one to take kindly to that sort of thing, my removal from the church was liberating. I took that incident and further expounded upon it.
I remained quiet in my non-belief for years, and in some instances, still am, much to the dismay of some of my fellow atheists. I’m not ashamed of who I am now; on the contrary. My circumstance in not telling everyone of my atheism is for a good reason…or at least it is to me. I haven’t told my dad and I entertain the thought of doing so every now and again, of just sitting down with him and saying, “hey Dad, here it is,” but I can’t bring myself to do it.
Why? Why am I scared to do so?
I’ve written about this before–I’m afraid he’ll disown me. I’m afraid that my father will take this as a slap across the face, that he somehow failed as a parent, that by things he did/didn’t do, he led me astray and I faltered from the path of righteousness and it’s his fault. The two of us have a rocky past which I don’t care to get into at the moment. But in the same breath, why was it so easy to tell my mom about my atheism? I have theories (of course I do. It’s me, for crissakes). The main one being the father/daughter bond. I don’t want to disappoint him. My coming out as an atheist will be a massive one to him. For now, I choose to remain silent until one day I grow the ovaries it takes to finally tell him.
Well gosh, I sure strayed from the original topic, didn’t I? Classic me.
Back on track before I close. As I wrote earlier, I’m not here to convert. I guess my main purpose of this post is to express my side of things and to make you think. Think about why you believe. Think about how while you praise god for the good, god is also responsible for the bad and how it seems to me that believers ignore that. I like to refer to that as the battered wife syndrome. God loves you, but does all these bad things, but dang it, he loves you so you continue to put your faith in him.
In the words of Forest Gump, “that’s all I have to say about that.”
As always, thanks for reading.