I’ve been clear in a few of my stories, especially “Betting on God”, and “Bless me Father for I have Sinned”, that I do not believe in religion.
Let me be direct and specific about my religious beliefs so that there is no misunderstanding.
An agnostic does not know whether god exists or not. In the absence of proof, he suspends judgment.
In contrast, an atheist believes that there is no god. Unlike agnosticism, atheism is a form of religion because it is based on an unprovable belief about god. Atheists argue that their religion is easier to believe because it is more rational than other religions.
I go a step further. Not only do I firmly and deeply believe that there is no god, I hope with all my heart that I am right.
God, if he existed, would be a bad thing. A terrible thing.
I refer you to god’s supposed works. Begin with the world as a whole. What a mess. Any god who created such a thing would have to be incompetent at least, if not downright evil.
No one with half a brain would have made huge expanses of the earth arctic and desert environments that will not support us unless we expend energy on heating and air conditioning in closed environments. Not to mention making half the earth cold and dark half the time. And then creating winter? What was that all about?
What would be wrong with balancing the earth at the center of four nicely spaced suns that would continually bathe it in warm light from all directions?
Given this mis-designed earth that requires energy expenditure for us to survive over most of its surface most of the time, no one with half a brain would have made fossil fuels the best source of energy. No only will they run out one day, possibly one day soon, using that fuel poisons the air and is likely to kill us all at about the time the fuel runs out.
What would be wrong providing a clean, inexhaustible energy source for us? Tiny little fusion reactors that float down from space at regular intervals would have been nice.
And the people that he supposedly created? Don’t even get me started on that. Endless crusades and inquisitions in his name. Mass murderers who invariably find Jesus after they’ve had their bloody fun times and been caught. Mean-spirited, bickering, arrogant people raging around us day in and day out.
Don’t tell me all these things are “tests so that I can prove my faith.” Not when the answers to the tests are the very science and technology that the faithful tell me are ungodly. I know bullshit when I hear it.
Tom Waits sings, “There ain’t no devil, there’s just God when he’s drunk.” I understand what he means. God would have to have been drunk to have created this world and the people in it.
But I’m not with Tom on this one. I believe that there ain’t no god, either.
If the world is the result of the natural processes that science has described, including the big bang and evolution, then we have hope. The world is simply a collection of problems and we can use our brains to find solutions to those problems.
On the other hand, if the world is the result of divine will, what hope can we have? Who would want to believe that the world is the product of malicious caprice? After some god has ignored our prayers for ten thousand years, why would we be foolish enough to keep praying to him? If god exists, his will is clear. He wants us to keep suffering and dying.
If god does exist, then it’s long past time for him to get off his ass and make things better down here.
Until that happens, I will be more optimistic that atheism, science, and hard work will make the world better than waiting in vain for my prayers to be answered.
I wish that English had a word for the step beyond atheism – not only believing that god does not exist, but desperately hoping that atheism will never be proven wrong.