I Don't Believe.

September 10, 2013
Richard Dawkins, in an interview with Fox News, when asked to give one word to describe atheism, said simply: “misunderstood.” He went on to elaborate that many people of Judeo-Christian or Catholic belief systems think that atheists are secret devil worshippers who deny belief in God just so they can “sin” without being held accountable by an all powerful deity. I agree with Professor Dawkins on this point. Indeed, I think the word “Atheism” is synonymous with “evil” or “immoral” in many religious households, though certainly not all. It is mostly a topic left alone in the dark, its companions being fear and ignorance.
I became an atheist about one month ago. It was not a sudden decision, but rather a culmination of all the unanswerable questions, gaps in my faith, and doubt that I’ve had about God since starting middle school.
I’ve always been interested in the idea of God, and often thought about deep religious questions that my parents thought mature for my age. Many of these questions went unanswered, or unsatisfactorily answered, even when put to my parents or Bible teacher at school.
In middle school, after years of learning about the Christian God and, for lack of a better word, indoctrination, I went through a period of depression. It was during this time that I started to question not just the character of God, but even his existence. I did lots of research, Bible study, and thinking. I delved a little into philosophy, particularly Epicureanism. Although I don’t hold with much of the Epicurean philosophy, I do think that the riddle of Epicurus, or the problem of evil, is still a convincing, though not perfect, case for the non-existence of an all powerful God: “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both willing and able? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?” –Epicurus.
Imagine the person you love the most in the world, maybe a friend, relative, parent, spouse, or child. Now imagine them dying a painful death. Picture yourself standing nearby, with the power to save them. What would you do? You would save them of course. But God, even if he does exist, who supposedly loves us more than anyone on Earth, does nothing. Hundreds of thousands of his “children” die painful deaths and suffer beyond belief every day, and this loving God does nothing. A Christian might say that this life is only temporary, and that we give it up for a blissful eternity. But if Christianity is true, then only about thirty percent of the world will go to heaven. The other seventy percent will receive an eternity of agony burning in flames, simply for not believing in the Christian God.
Some theists have told me that God gave us free will. But how can we have free will if God knows everything? Does he not have a plan for each one of us that he, being omniscient, know every detail of? Does he not know every single choice we will ever make before we make it? So can’t we only make choices under the assumption that if God is all knowing, doesn’t he already know we’re going to make them? And if so, would it really be “just” to send unbelievers to eternal torture for choices that he already knew about, planned for, and apparently did nothing about?
Even if God is not pre-determining or pre-destining, there still can’t be free will, unless it is a choice involving oneself and not hurting or affecting others. For example, if I was all-powerful, knew everything, was benevolent, and was everywhere at once, then I know everything that is happening. Now, for example, if someone was choosing to murder an innocent person, (when I say innocent, I mean that this person has not done anything to provoke said murderer.) and I did nothing to stop it, even though I knew it was happening and had the power to stop it, then I must have wanted it to happen, or else I would’ve stopped it. Of course, if someone wanted to harm themselves, for example with smoking, alcohol, or cutting, I wouldn’t stop it because it’s that person’s choice, and I would love them enough to allow them to make that choice, but only because it doesn’t harm others. Being killed, however, is different, because it is usually against the victim’s will.
So, even if there is free will involving others and not just one’s self, it is a disturbing concept. Let’s go back to the example of the murderer. It’s safe to assume that it is against the will of the victim to be killed. So does that mean that God values the free will of the killer over the will of the victim? Or, even more disturbing: Does God value the free will of the killer over the life of the victim? Some would say that it doesn’t matter since this life is temporary, but let’s reasonably assume the victim is one of the seventy percent of Earth’s population that doesn’t believe in the Christian God. They would be killed prematurely, and then sent to burn in agony for all of eternity. So if God and free will exist, then apparently God values the free will of the killer over the life of the victim, even when all the victim has to look forward to is eons of torture, just for not believing. If this is indeed the case, I would not want to worship a God that values free will above the only chance people have at life before being sent to burn eternally.
In conclusion, my only question is this: If God really exists, why hasn’t he shown us that he exists? Why shouldn’t his existence be a commonly known fact, instead of one of the most controversial topics on the planet? Why hasn’t God just revealed himself, thus sparing me the time it took to write this?
I don’t believe that there is any sort of universal plan constructed by an all powerful deity. I think that it is up to us, as humans, to forge our destiny, and make meaning out of our own lives. There are many people who I look up to who helped me become who I am, including family, friends, and many authors and musicians. I think that I have some talent as a writer, and would one day like to become a novelist or author and help other people discover more about themselves and their emotions. In conclusion, I am an atheist, and will probably remain so for a very long time, if not forever. However, I do believe that as humans, as a sentient species, we are called to show respect for one another as a living beings with emotions and aspirations. Morality, whether black and white or gray, is an important part of my life, regardless of whether there is a God or not. We all do the “wrong” thing from time to time, but our mistakes and successes make us who we are.

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Billyhackenson said...
Sept. 16, 2013 at 12:31 pm
I'm a Christian but i understand your point all of my friends are atheists so I know what your talking about D
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