Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Misconceptions - Why do you hate god?

One of the things I'd like to tackle are misconceptions about Atheists. Now, it's hard to honestly say, 100%, that "This is what atheists think." Just like it's hard to say 100% "This is what religious people think." Religious people, even in the same religion, can't agree - for instance, baptism of a baby by sprinkling, by dunking, by going to a river or by getting gatorade dumped over your head? (The last being popular in the Church of Football. That may not, technically, be a religion.)

Atheists are people. I'm sure some do hold a "hatred of God" (or Allah, or whoever else.) But to me, that's utterly nonsensical, for reasons I hope will be clear - and I hope they'd think about.

So. One of the common Christian questions that gets tossed out at Atheists, other than "why did you become one" is "Why do you hate God?"

Let me answer that by asking you a question. If you're a Christian, why do you hate Zeus?  Or Athena? (Not from Battlestar Galactica.) Why do you hate Marduk?

Now, the Christian may, depending on how fundamentalist (and I mean that basically in the way I was raised in the church) they are, say "I hate them because they're actually Satan's demons who led others astray!" Which makes sense within your mythology (and despite my nonbelief, I'm using that word to mean your canon of beliefs.) But do you actively hate Zeus? Do you spend your time going around saying "That Zeus, man, I know nobody believes in him now that I know of, but he just burns me up!"

No, not likely. Why not?  Simple - you don't believe in him. Not just you don't accept the tenets of the faith, like a Baptist doesn't believe in Catholic saints but knows to Catholics they exist and intercede. No, to you they're nothing more than stories with no power or reality behind them.

Well, for the Atheist, that's the case with all gods. We (I should, properly, say "I" but as a general rule...) don't harbor a personal hate for the "person" of Jahweh, El, YHWH, etc. because we don't believe he exists. The evidence is not there for us to think otherwise.

An Atheist actually, personally hating God is like someone who doesn't believe in leprechauns hating leprechauns. It's illogical and a waste of energy.

Now, you will hear Atheists say they do hate God. Many times, though, that's a lazy shorthand and the atheist should be called out on it. They don't hate "God." A nonexistant being didn't do anything. What they probably are railing against is a church, or the actions of believers, or some group doing something horrible (whether letting a woman die because they wouldn't abort an already dead baby, destroying historic sites,  mistreating someone because they're gay, or starting a war) in the NAME of a religion or deity. Sometimes it's out of true belief, and sometimes it's an excuse - but the atheist finds the actions (and the religious reason/excuses behind it) sickening.

What makes it more sickening is that, to the atheist, this life is the ONLY one you get, that not only should you make the most of it but, really, as a good person you should try to make it better for everyone. And as the exact OPPOSITE of that, the religious zealot - the ones beating and condemning to death, murdering, starting wars, etc. - believe that not only are they killing unbelievers, but that after the death OF those unbelievers, in many religions they'll now be sent to be tormented for eternity.

How utterly sick is it to wish that on another human being? And this is not the slang "sick" which means "good" or "impressive," either. I do mean lunch-losing, gut-wrenchingly sickening. And it's not limited to any one religion or period of time, either.

So when an Atheist says they hate "god," they don't - it's hard to personally hate something that doesn't exist. However, they can most certainly hate actions taken in the name of a belief system, and this, quite often, is what is meant.

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