If I was to point to one pivotal moment that forced me to look more deeply into everything I ever thought I believed, to see if it was even true, it would be the election of our current president.
I’m sure that sounds odd, that such a thing would “make” a person an atheist, and there is a bit more to it.
See, it’s not really that he was elected, it was who voted for him. And not just the fact that something like 80% of Evangelicals voted for a man who verbally espoused the exact opposite of everything those people claimed to believe.
It was the horrifying fact that Evangelical women who I personally knew, who had told me their stories of rape and abuse at the hands of Evangelical men…then turned around and voted for someone just as evil and despicable.
In the post election shock I was forced to consider that it was entirely possible that these people believe not one thing they claim they believe, that it is all some sort of ritual they go through on Sunday morning and in Facebook posts.
To that end I read their excuses for why they voted for such a vile person. I could find nothing even remotely close to a logical argument.
I realized that there was no way I could ever be a part of anything remotely resembling conservative religion again. Then I began to study the writings of so-called liberal Christians. I studied the origins of Scripture, and the beginnings of the church.
Still, I saw a lot of similarities between liberal and conservative Christianity, the worst of them all being the acceptance of predators. I read blogs and writings of both liberals and conservatives explaining why the church needed to welcome rapists and pedophiles and even murderers. I found barely a reference to the victims.
Then it dawned on me one day in a sudden shocking moment that the reason for all this is the very language of religion.
We are taught from an early age that no matter what god does we must love him.
Though he slay me yet will I trust in him.
This is drummed into us by further teaching that doubting god will gain us his wrath or at least his displeasure. Questioning what he chooses to do to us and to others cannot be viewed as evil, we must turn it all around and make it into something good.
“This man was born blind (and suffered abuse/humiliation/poverty) so that god would be glorified.”
That’s a wonderful thing, we are told from infancy. And from infancy we are trained that, essentially, abuse and victimization are good because ultimately god will be glorified. In fact, every evil thing is actually good, because god will receive some form of glory as a result.
I believe this is called the Broken Window Fallacy. And we teach it all the time in religion, pretty much all religions. Bad is good because something good came from it. It’s great that the woman was raped because she realized her need for god. It’s good that the woman was beaten by her husband because he came to realize how evil he was.
It’s all bullshit, but we never even question it because, again, we are taught this from infancy. God is good, is repeated to us each Sunday morning, and every day if we grow up in a supposedly Christian home. This in turn makes us view the news and images like the following with a weird view to see how god is going to be glorified.
Syrian father holding 9-month-old twins who were killed in chemical attack. His wife and pretty much the rest of his family were also killed.
How will god be glorified?
Yeonmi Park escaped North Korea with her mother and was forced to watch her raped. Her mother insisted she be raped so her daughter would not be.
How will god be glorified?
Well, if you think about it, this is a never ending list.
I’ve already previously listed the horrible stats of the great evils in the world, and I know all the excuses religious people give for their god.
The thing with these excuses is that, though we claim we don’t mean it this way, it gives those at fault an out for their behavior. Just as in the Broken Window Fallacy, we make it not such a big deal that evil occurred because good came from it.
In hindsight, the fact that I have arrived at this point should be no surprise, least of all to me. My path to Atheism began the moment I became cognizant that my parents beating me as badly as they did was wrong. I was two or three when that thought occurred to me. But, like most people, I listened to the people around me who said they loved me. They took me to church, or they at least believed in god. They taught me to never question by promising beatings, either physically or spiritually. I was told that if I just did what god commanded everything would go well in my life.
The reality is that there is nothing we can to do gain some sort of deities blessing. Simply because there are no deities. And if there were, they are the most twisted of any sort of being that ever existed because, hopefully, if you or I could stop that man in Pakistan losing his family we would, wouldn’t we?