I have tried to avoid banging on about my lack of belief in God. I have many Christians on my timelines exhorting me to say Amen for some obscure reason. Many threaten dire consequences if I don’t and a miracle or two if I do. Some just offer a view of religion which would not be out of place at infant school, I am told God is looking out for me and watching everything I do. There are twee little Disneyesque illustrations of a father like figure watching over a small child.
The one thing these posters have in common is that they think everyone should believe what they believe. They think everyone has this child like view of things. I have now seen one too many of these posts, time to redress the balance a bit. If you are the type of person whose belief system cannot brook any argument or threatens anyone who tries to offer valid arguments, then please read no further. There is nothing here for you. If you presume to talk for your God or threaten me with an equally mythic Hell, well I don’t believe in that either. If everything about religion does turn out to be true then you can laugh at me from Heaven.
I think the Old Testament is a collection of myths, from creation through to the great Flood and the freeing of the Jews. Many of these myths are found in multiple religions. Some are specific to individual religions. There are few which are actually provable by historic record or archaeology. The God of this religion is a vengeful and violent God. He is a suitable God for the time, where men saw him as being like their leaders and Kings, quick to anger and quicker to punish. I have never understood how a dead person, having no corporeal body, could possibly suffer from a fiery environment. One requires nerve endings to suffer pain. This strange punishment seems to be something designed to exert control over ignorant and uneducated. this has echoes in the Medieval Church.
Bear in mind that Europe and Asia as well as the Natives of The Americas and the Antipodes all had their own religions, This religion was confined to the Jews.
I don’t intend to go into detail, I really don’t have time, but I do want to give some idea of why I do not believe in a Christian God so I will move on to the new testament. I think that Jesus existed as a prophet who had some interesting ideas but whose PR machine got out of hand. Stories of his miracles are spin by some of his more ambitious followers. The gospels not ratified and included in the New Testament may well offer different views. When he died some tried to ascribe supernatural powers to him and something stuck because his Church grew. It spread across the world, even ousting the old religions. In Britain this was the Celtic and Druidic beliefs.
The Bible itself was created and compiled around the 3rd-4th century AD by a council. It contained only certain books and Gospels from the many available. So much for the ‘Word of God’. It was the accepted version for over 1000 years.
Now here is the odd thing. this Church, only available to Jews was now available to all. This vengeful and violent God was now a caring and loving father. There were rules but God forgave you if you repented. I always had problems with this. You could sin all your life and as long as you genuinely repented you could be forgiven on your deathbed. As for Jesus, the idea of the sacrificial victim taking on the sins of others is also an old one.
More importantly The Church took upon itself, as Priests have down the centuries, the ability to speak for God and to adjudicate and punish on his behalf. There were Witch Hunts, inquisitions, capturing Heretics who disagreed with Doctrine and control over the peasantry through fear. Some ‘Men of God’ were distinctly ungodly and saw religion for what it was. A useful way to exert power. People paid monasteries and priests in order to avoid hell or reduce time spent in Purgatory. Confession ensured that Priests knew all secrets and enforced punishment. The Church was used to ensure the peasants obeyed their masters for hundreds of years. There was corruption and bribery, Some Popes and Church leaders used their positions to become rich or extract sexual favours. Some influenced politics. Rules were added by successive leaders which were little to do with God and punishments such as burning or being hung drawn or quartered were used as much to rid oneself of enemies as to impose God’s word.
Then, here in the UK Henry VIII took the mantle of head of the Church as part of his desire to rid himself of a redundant wife. After this there were many waves of persecution, particularly as Henry was still a catholic at heart and wavered between the catholic and protestant beliefs. Elizabeth I eventually established the protestant Church but Heresy and political executions were still carried out in the name of the Church. Others modified the Bible again and again, even though the word of God can surely not be altered by man. There are still arguments now over this even now, with different factions trying to win over the Church to it’s cause.
All this says to me that the Church was about wealth, politics, control, power and influence and very little to do with the word of God. If he does exist he must be very annoyed about our corruption of his original intention.
To me God is a useful fiction. I cannot imagine someone who has created a universe full of wonders would worry about a boy and a girl making love out of wedlock. Would he really concern himself about which side in a war is right? Yet both claim he is on their side. Would he be concerned if I say he doesn’t exist? If the Church is right he created me with the ability to think. I have used it to come to this conclusion. Would God be so petty as to punish me eternally for that? I don’t think so but man is petty enough to do that and man invented the rules and punishments.
I could go on, the Bible and Church teachings are riddled with inconsistencies. I have established that many teachings have little or nothing to do with God and much to do with the nature of man, to be corrupt and vengeful. But above all there are such horrors and corruption, evil and cruelty, accidents and disasters in this world that, if he existed, would make God weep for his creation and begin again. 90% are created by Man. No I can’t believe God would put up with the mess WE have made of this world. Therefore he doesn’t exist. Or maybe he has washed his hands of us. My money is on the first option.