Choose your own deity

January 18, 2015 at 10:06 pm 7 comments

One of my biggest surprises in the time since I’ve deconverted is the number of people who have more or less told me they have invented their own god, and can’t understand why I won’t do the same and call myself a believer.

The first person to amaze me in this manner was my mother. I was trying to tell her of some of the difficulties I was having with the Bible, as a starting point from which I hoped to progress to talking about my difficulties with the concept of God. I mentioned one atrocity in the Old Testement in particular. I can’t remember which one, exactly. It was one of the times God commanded His people to commit genocide.

She interrupted me to ask, “You don’t really believe God did that, do you? The God I believe in wouldn’t do that.”

That’s what she said, and it stopped me right in my tracks. “The God I believe in wouldn’t do that.” I had no response for these words. I spent years studying the Bible, reading theology and looking at the world around me to learn more about God and God’s will for us, and when I couldn’t find enough evidence to support any view of God, I turned and spoke with family, friends and fellow clergy and told them of my doubts. In response, several spoke to me of “the God they believe in”. The God they believe in performs these certain actions, and has those vague characteristics. If I pointed at the contradicting evidence in the scripture they claim to follow or the in world that we live in, they look surprised and say, “I wouldn’t believe in a God like that, would you?”

Five, six years ago, I would have been frightened for their souls, and prayed for God to turn them from their blasphemous idolatry. I would have tried to argue with them. Today, I don’t know how to feel. With no trustworthy, coherent and consistent revelation of who god is, any theist is going to be inventing their own. But to speak of “the God I believe in” and fail to see any problem with this? It still surprises me.

It’s not just the people around me, either. When Canada joined in on the atheist bus campaign, the moderator of the United Church of Canada responded, “I think most of these ads … are responding to a version of God and Christianity that is grounded in a kind of judgment and fear and guilt. I don’t believe in that God either.”

Is this really any different? I mean, at least a God grounded in fear and guilt is grounded in something. I can talk to people who try to base their views in something, even if I disagree with the conclusions they reach. But it seems that many theists are beginning to see that there are no attributes of God that they can describe in a manner they can defend, and are holding this up as a virtue, as if it’s some sort of progress! It might be, if they would only admit that their ‘god’ was imaginary, and only useful for purposes of personal inspiration and perhaps ritual language and stories for communal celebration. If they still want to claim their god has any existence or authority outside of their imagination, they have actually retreated further from reality than a Christian who looks to the Bible, Church or world for revelation. I suppose this is why, when I switched from conservative Christianity to a more liberal Christianity, it took a very short time to become an atheist- there was no substance in liberal Christianity to slow me on my way past.

Entry filed under: Quester.

Religious, but not Spiritual Sufficient Reasons to Consider Leaving Christianity

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. cag  |  February 10, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    What has wrought god?

  • 2. Quester  |  February 11, 2015 at 4:07 am

    A tendency towards pattern-seeking, misused, would be a contributing factor.

  • 3. Jonathan  |  March 9, 2015 at 11:36 pm

    I am surprised to find an Atheist who defends Atheism in this generation where even Atheist Scientists and Scholars are struggling to support. As all scientific discoveries point, after Evolution, was no longer an option for defining life.
    “Perhaps the best argument…that the Big Bang supports Theism is the obvious unease with which it is greeted by some Atheist physicists. At times this has led to scientific ideas…being advanced with a tenacity which so exceeds their intrinsic worth that one can only suspect that the operation of physiological forces lying very much deeper than the usual academic desire of a theorist to support his or her story.” Astrophysicist C.J. Ishamz

    What I read above is what philosophers call a complete fallacy. Be reasonable! As about the Bible, historically, that is the only Book on planet earth which was authored by almost 60 different writers living in different locations with different occupations separated by chunks of time but almost reflect the same context with detail without losing coherence. Unlike any other book you find anywhere, that is the only Book that dares to decide the beginning of the world, the resurrection of a man, coming of judgment without compromise and also gives a hint of civilization throughout history. I am commenting not based on hasty generalization but deep research done on different subjects.

  • 4. Quester  |  March 10, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    Jonathan, does your response have anything to do with my post? Or, do you have any questions? I’m really not sure what you’re trying to say, here.

  • 5. Jonathan  |  March 10, 2015 at 11:01 pm

    Quester, I am just reflecting on Atheism.

  • 6. Quester  |  March 11, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    Why? What makes you think it’s a good idea to enter a community, not to engage with them, but to pontificate ungrammatically on vaguely-related issues? Especially with a comment that reads like a copied-and-pasted response and does not communicate anything.

  • 7. Alban  |  March 13, 2015 at 5:51 am

    Jonathan, you all by yourself are a greater testament to what can be, than a book that has been vigorously edited for philosophical and religious/ political purposes.

    Atheists who challenge that book in its many hiccups are correct. Did the 60 different writers ever talk to the scribes or editors that amputated or added to their realizations?

    Understand history. “To the victors go the spoils”. Is there an aspect that could not be whitewashed? Yes, you contain that, with or without the religion or a book. A huge aspect like an elephant in your living room, but how will you acquire the eyes to see…with rationale, science or perhaps, pure (non emotional feeling) desire?

    The mystery permeates our lives, but the mystery is now like a paper curtain. It is ending vs enduring.. The paper is aging and easier to move aside. The idealogical debates are weakening as the non ego self becomes more perceptive. Pontificating is useless. Touching a place within where there IS substance, fries assumptive concepts and can bring forth a naturally existing Peace.

    An indestructible aspect that has been eluding intellect and every community of agreement for quite awhile?

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Attention Christian Readers

Just in case you were wondering who we are and why we de-converted.

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Whether or not you believe in God, you should live your life with love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance while trying to make the world a better place. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will have made a positive impact on those around you. If there is a benevolent God reviewing your life, you will be judged on your actions and not just on your ability to blindly believe in creeds- when there is a significant lack of evidence on how to define God or if he/she even exists.



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