This is Why I Do Not Believe in God

December 8, 2010

If you don’t have at least one vice, don’t plan on infiltrating my personal circle. I’ll never trust you.

God and I agree on this point, he just doesn’t know it. According to this bit of Bible, God gives non-believers “corrupted minds” so they can do things they should not do, so they can entertain vice, which includes: evil, greed, jealousy, murder, fighting, deceit, malice, gossip, evil talk; hating God; insolence; pride; disobedience; lies; and cruelty.

Above all else “every man is a liar.” Agreed (women included), but what a disingenuous way to garner followers. Essentially God is saying, “since you’re human and these things are bound to happen, you’re screwed so you may as well give yourself over to me and, if you do you’ll have eternal life and this drudgery you live will disappear.”

I’ve stayed away from cliché arguments against religion, but using force and fear as a means to facilitate loyalty is repugnant.

The Book of Romans is fascinating. It’s about God’s Law and it is written like a congressional bill so if a person isn’t paying attention, they just get the fear and follow message. It’s winding, wordy (new word) and extremely difficult to follow. But the stuff Paul wants us to know — you’re bad and if you don’t love God you’re screwed — is written in plain English.

At one point Paul says (in parenthesis), “I use every day language because of the weakness of your natural selves.”

As in, listen up dummy, here’s everything you need to know. God created you to sin, but is merciful and will forgive you and let you walk among angels if you believe. Aside from coercion, this is a lie. In the Old Testament, God is anything but merciful. He doesn’t show grace, turn a blind eye, or bestow patience on sinners. He eviscerates them.

I know the Bible offers a lot of value — I see it — but this is propaganda used to fool people into letting fear overtake thought.

Now, I’m trying to remain open minded. As I said, I’ve found a lot of value in the Bible. I even found two bits in The Book of Romans that apply to my life.

“If our gift is to speak God’s message, we should do it according to the faith that we have.” If we don’t act on that faith, then we’re in trouble. But, if my faith is within myself, does that count? It may not be what God intended, but it’s faith.

Paul says that if we, as individuals, think something is right and we do that thing, we’re OK. But if we have any doubts about it, we’re guilty and therefore it’s wrong. So if I think it’s OK to kill a certain person – no doubts, no guilt — is that OK?

At one point Paul portends to address some important questions, questions no person of faith has ever answered for me. For example, if God is merciful, how can God find fault with anyone? Peter’s response: “But who are you my friend to talk back to God?”

That’s my problem. The answers I see in the Bible are ones of don’t ask don’t tell.

Unfortunately, interpretation is nine-tenths the law and I’m the outlier.

Stopping Point: Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians

* Note to the few of you hanging on despite this post: I will be traveling across the country starting Friday. I will continue the posts, but may add some travel updates as well.

 

Advertisements

16 Responses to “This is Why I Do Not Believe in God”

  1. Fascinating argument. It is well documented that throughout time, Religion as a whole has been used as a method of populous control. The real meanings behind much of the text were lost over the course of thousands of years of manipulation, and that is a shame. As an agnostic with an extra dip of skepticism, I can only shake my head at “Revelations” like these.

    One thing that really irks me though, tax-exemption for churches.

    • thumpme said

      I agree with a lot of that (tax exemptions included) but I have met quite a few people that have kind of calmed my distaste for religion. These are people are good people, they’re open minded and they’re definitely not thumpers. So, that’s fine with me. It’s the hate filled, bash over the head stuff I can’t get down with. I don’t care what people believe in as long as they don’t whack everyone else with it.

  2. Aaron said

    I appreciate and respect the honesty and candor with which you discuss your objections to Christianity and Christ. Obviously, you have thought a lot about the subject matter and it shows.

    However, as a Christian, I believe you have misunderstood both the purpose of the Old Testament and the intentions of Paul in Romans. I don’t blame you in this, as many of us Christians screw this up royally in our own minds and explain it to others even worse.

    God did not create us to sin. He created us, in the garden, to enjoy perfect, sinless relationships with Him and each other. Humanity screwed that up and we continue to screw that up. God could have left us in that state, but from the very beginning He planned to send Christ. You can find the prophesying and foreshadowing of this from Genesis 3 all through the Old Testament histories, the prophets, basically all through the entire Old Testament. The foretold Son came and died, taking our punishment on Himself to offer us a way to return back to the way we were created to be.

    In the OT, you may say, God does not appear very gracious to many of the people groups besides the Israelites. I would be lying if I didn’t say many of those were troubling passages. But I believe it is also unfair to say that God could not have been gracious to those people prior to their destruction. He often saved individuals from the people and cities that He called Israel to destroy and even used them in the royal line of David, which was also the ancestry of Jesus. Think Tamar the daughter-in-law of Judah, Rahab the prostitute and Ruth the widow.

    But, I would just ask that you keep reading, attempting to understand what the author is saying and personally continue seeking after truth. If my God is true then He can handle all the questions and doubts and He will honor your search.

    • thumpme said

      I appreciate your comment and I can’t disagree — that I’ve missed a lot, that everyone misses a bit. I definitely don’t have a broad picture of what’s happening. I’m reading through the Bible so quickly that once I read one book, the others fly out of my head. I do however, struggle with the issue of faith. My thought is you either have it or you don’t. That’s something I haven’t been able to get over. What’s been interesting is a shift in perspective in terms of what faith can look like. I’ve had some pretty awful experiences with aggressive Christians who take the most random (often hateful) pieces of the Bible as the only truth. But, my opinion is rapidly changing. There’s always extremes and those are the ones I used to run into. I will keep reading. I’m also going to start going to various churches. I’m definitely still curious.

      • Aaron said

        I think you are right that faith is something you either have or you do not have – for certain seasons of your life. However, that is not something which is static. One can find and possess faith, when it was absent before.

        In some ways we all demonstrate faith of some kind, we just differ on the objects or persons it is directed toward.

        I would simply request that you do not fault all of Christianity for the idiocy of the few. More often than not we agree with you about the morons. Even more importantly than that, don’t fault the Message because of the imperfection of the messengers. Even though we communicate it poorly, you may still discover that it is truth.

      • thumpme said

        Oh, I definitely do not fault all of Christianity for the idiocy of a few. That whole concept applies to everything — religion, politics, business, etc.

        Many of you communicate very well. It’s a matter of tuning out the noise.

        I have faith. It’s just a little different. I think I have my own Bible in my head. Maybe I’ll write it someday.

  3. marg said

    Ivy, I applaud you on many levels: honesty, perseverance, openness…

    Like Aaron said, keep on searching for truth. If our God is true, as we believe He is, and He is the God talked about in the Bible, He certainly can handle all your questions and doubts. And I believe He will honor your honest search.

    Proverbs 8:17
    I love those who love me, And those who seek me diligently will find me.

    Jeremiah 29:13
    And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

    Lastly, I am sorry you have run into so many aggressive Christians. But there are varying levels of aggressive. Those who are hateful and mean…shame on them. But those who truly have a burden for people and sincerely want to help others…and do so lovingly, are doing what God asks them to do. I’m assuming it is the former group that you have run into more often than not. 😦

    ~marg~

    • thumpme said

      That’s true, which is why I started this blog — I know the angry ones are the minority, but I had to check it out myself. It will be interesting once I start going to churches. That will really shed some light!

      • marg said

        It all depends on the churches you visit. Some will shed some light. Others might just make things more cloudy. How are you going to go about choosing where to visit?

      • thumpme said

        Hm. I’m travel right now, but I suppose on Christmas or the day after, I’ll start making a list. Several people have given me ideas. Some correlate to the “normal,” others the “bizzare.” So, I’m keeping a log of all suggestions and will just where I go. I do want a broad POV though.

  4. Mike Cope said

    Ivy – You’ve raised some great questions. Romans is a towering book of theology — practical theology, actually, since Paul is trying to give a basis for unity among the Jewish and Gentile Christians in Rome.

    There is another way of reading Paul. If you’re interested, I wrote about it here: http://preachermike.com/2005/12/13/113447705770738457. I think the “new perspective” will resonate with you more.

    About the Old Testament . . . there are, indeed, disturbing passages. To say that these scriptures are “inspired” (as Christians affirm) isn’t to say they dropped right out of heaven. They are written by people on a spiritual journey — but people with a perspective. Let me just say that our perspectives on what God wants us to do and doesn’t want us to do are not always, ummm, objective!

    Some find this troubling to their faith. But to me, it enriches my reading of these important narratives.

    Can’t wait to read your response to 1 Corinthians!

    • thumpme said

      I find this whole dialogue about Paul really interesting. I, of course, had no idea how controversial he was so it’s nice to see that I’m not totally off my rocker on this one. I enjoyed the post so thanks for sending it to me. That perspective does shed more light. It always comes down to perspective.

  5. BJ said

    I completely appreciate that Paul isn’t the easiest writer to read, but to muddy the water a little…. Part of what makes Romans such a difficult book to understand is that Paul is likely using an ancient form of Greco-Roman rhetoric in which he speaks from two different perspectives, setting up one only to contradict it and break down its argument point by point. For example, in 1:16 Paul summarizes his message: that salvation is for everyone who lives by faith as Jesus lived by faith. But then, you hit the “everyone is evil and deserves to die” argument. This lasts roughly from 1:18-1:32. Then you have a section of what looks like Paul questioning his own logic from 2:1 through the end of chapter 4 (2:2 “You say…” Who is the you?). But then, Paul repeats the core of the good news he is presenting, “But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us” (5:8). So, at the first read it seems like Paul is saying, “God saves. God condemns. God loves,” which means he’s either bipolar or something else is going on. I believe something else is going on. Paul’s message is, “God loves you,” which he says to refute other teacher(s) who are telling the Roman Christians that God wants to punish them, so they better listen up and convert. So, Paul is quoting the teachers’ arguments only so that he can show the foolishness of them. In other words, I think Paul is making the exact same point you are: that using fear for conversion is disingenuous and an act of trickery. People like that should be ignored. He’s just using 2000 year old language and argument.

    So…anyway, sorry for the long comment. If you want a much more in depth read on Romans pick up “The Deliverance of God” by Douglas Campbell. I’ll warn you though, it’s a commentary and it is DEEP, as in it deconstructs the Greek Paul uses and goes into discussions on ancient rhetorical devices. So, to contradict myself, I wouldn’t recommend it, but if you’re curious it would give you the most information.

    • thumpme said

      Thank you for the suggestion. I’m not sure my brain is ready for that read, but I agree with you. That’s why I found that book so compelling. It’s nice to know that bi-polar disorder has been around for centuries!

  6. TN Lizzie said

    Ivy, I found a Christmas gift for you: http://www.incourage.me/
    December 9, 2010
    Why a True Christmas Might be Painful

    You are one neat lady, asking perfect strangers (and some of us stranger than others!) to follow along with you as you read through the Bible. I’m seeing it all with fresh eyes – Thank you!

    Jesus was born as a baby – Secular history cannot argue this fact. Some of us think He brought a gift that none of us can repay. In this busy season, may I pray for Peace in your world?

    • thumpme said

      I love it. I especially love that it a) involves kids (love them) and b) relates to the womb since that word appeared in a recent post!

      Thank you for reading and commenting. You can definitely pray for me. I’m never opposed to receiving prayer and, when someone I love is in trouble, I throw one up just in case….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: