I do not believe there is a God. I don’t actively believe there isn’t one, but I have seen no evidence that there is; therefore, I hold the default position which is a lack of belief. This is my standard for any unproven proposed hypothesis, be it a deity or a dancing leprechaun that lives in my shoes when I’m not looking. I’ve held this position for some time, but I remember the struggle I went through to come to this conclusion. It took me a long time to figure out any sort of reason to life, and atheism was one of the first ideas I realized made sense to me.
But lately, as I have spent more time with religious people, whom I happen to have withheld the fact I am an atheist from somewhat intentionally (though I wouldn’t lie if pressed), I have been troubled by the internal logic of morality used by at least those of the Christian faith. Becoming an atheist made me a better person, and I am convinced of that. It made me realize that life is fleeting and there is no indefatigable force of good pushing back the darkness. It made me realize how much we truly must love each other for the sakes of ourselves and the world. But I never thought about what I had believed before I was “saved” by atheism. And now that I have seen religion again from the inside but as a stranger, I can only think one thing: in regards to morality, God’s existence is irrelevant.
The most common argument I hear in these circles for listening to God and his rules is that he created us, and we are therefore bound to obey him. When I pressed one woman further about this, she said that when a potter makes a pot, it is his to do with as he pleases. And this is true, but it forgets one key difference between God’s creation and a potter’s: the potter’s creation isn’t alive. The pot has no free will. The pot is not aware of its existence, the pot has no desire, no dreams or aspirations. The pot knows neither pleasure nor pain. The pot is a lifeless instrument entirely purposeless if not used by someone else. Humans, however, are alive.
Christians have a defense against this, though. They say that we are God’s children, and so it is his job to look after and take charge of us. This would make sense, but only if at some point we were to ascend in some way from childhood to a cosmic adulthood, and this is never said to happen by Christians. You might be tempted to say heaven is that ascension, but by no accounts is this a description of heaven. Heaven is generally described as being closer to and more in union with God, when growing up means moving farther from your parents and becoming more your own individual. Furthermore, the prospect of hell makes God’s relationship to man even less like that of a parent. If someone is granted dominion over you for all your existence without end and threatens you with pain and suffering should you not comply, that is not a parent. That is a slavemaster.
Another argument often made is that his sheer power commands respect and worship. This is the easiest argument to dispel. Power is not equivalent to moral righteousness. At the risk of sounding cliché, look at Hitler, look at Stalin; hell, look at Trump, even. He’s not even as bad as either of the other two on that list, but giving him power doesn’t make him any more right. This argument is cliché and played only because it’s true. Unless you’re arguing might makes right, any God’s power is no reason to listen to him (or her, for the feminists).
Based on what I have seen in my limited but enlightening years I can say that no God who lords over this world is worth worshipping. He either hasn’t enough power to change injustices that run rampant beyond his control, or his morality does not align with the principles of love, justice, and the well-being of all people. Perhaps those are a bit idealistic, but that’s kind of the point: whether they are achievable or not, they’re more worth fighting for than anything else. And anyone who doesn’t believe that simple tenant deserves no worship or ear from me, whether it’s a man or a mythic entity.