HOME   People do good because they are human, not because they are religious! 

Do not give God any credit for the good they do, they did it!

 

WHY IT IS BAD TO BELIEVE IN GOD


Harmful religion can be compared to the smoker. Most people feel that if you want to smoke that is up to you. But what they object to is having to pay taxes for your medical care and suffering the other consequences of your habit. They do not want to be passive smokers over you. In the same way, unbelievers argue that they don't want to be passive "believers" or passive religionists either. Religion often has an innate bullying nature. Unbelievers have to be defensive in the face of religion rather than aggressive for religion will usurp all the rights it can at their expense. For example, unbelievers are forced to pray in many public schools. If it is bad to believe in God, then we must work for the secularisation of our society.
 
God is the supreme being who has power without limit and who is all loving. God is believed to have made all things and to be the one that keeps things running.

This belief is bad for countless reasons. A few are listed below.

 

*  If God is not going to take away your cancer and nobody can then can you accept his will? Not if the eastern religions are to be believed. They hold that you can put your awareness outside of time and space. In theory, that can be done and even if there is a God a person’s mind can simulate an eternity of pure peace without God.  Eastern mystics say they know it can be done for they experience it.  If they are right then God is a doctrine that takes away people's chance to find transcendence.
 
* Self-deception is the most dangerous of human traits. People underestimate how much they do it. It is too easy. Encouraging belief in God is bad because religion causes the worst form of self-deception. Moses and Jesus and Mohammad for instance blinded their followers to the evil of sentencing adulterous people to death by stoning. Yet their dangerous faiths prevail in the world. Catholicism likes to claim that it is not against reason but merely fills the gaps for there are many things reason cannot tell us. In other words, it does away with the reality check. Satanism or some new religion could do the same thing. So we end up not knowing if the religion is true or not and are left unable to know! Then we are left being cruelly expected to serve and sacrifice for a faith that really has no credibility.
 
* Self-esteem is when you see yourself as a good and decent person who deserves good things. It involves seeing yourself as self-made. The notion of God encourages people to put themselves down. Religious believers may suffer from an inferiority complex. To compensate for the horrible feelings they have towards themselves, they may develop a superiority complex. If you feel weak and helpless, you can over-compensate by telling yourself how God is on your side and how powerful your prayers to him are. A person may develop a superiority complex with regard to driving. Because they think they can do nothing right, they may think that they are exceptional drivers and feel invincible. They exaggerate how good they are at driving. But they will learn the truth the hard way. Religion gives people God and people fall for the bait because religion insulates the doctrine of God against the reality. For example, the believer is told that if prayer seems to fail it actually is working despite appearances. The superiority complex in religion is mistaken by society and psychiatry as acceptable and makes believers often seem normal and ordinary. The truth is actually very different and very disturbing. They are still ill. Abraham felt his faith was invincible when he was going to murder his son as a sacrifice at God's behest. This was his superiority complex at work. Yet he also felt he didn't deserve his son - that was the inferiority complex at work. Abraham's faith like all faith in God is based on arrogance - he claims to be an expert on knowing what God wants. He knows too when God answers prayer even though it is obvious that God is not answering prayer at all. Faith is arrogance enrobed as humility.
 
* A child or immature person sees rejection where no rejection was intended. For example, it is easy for a child to imagine that her mother favours her the least of the children. If belief in God is inculcated in the child, the child will see the seeming uselessness of prayer or failure of prayer or a feeling of despondency or spiritual angst as a rejection by God. This increases the risk of such thoughts as, "I don't know how anybody could love me." Such thoughts are about warning yourself about others so that you must try to protect yourself from rejection and the pain it brings. The thoughts are protective. Such thoughts indicate that there is severe hurt there owing to a rejection or perceived rejection by God or other people. And if it is true that evil disproves God, it follows that if the child perceives rejection by God this is simply a realisation that there is no excuse for God claiming to love the child while tolerating that child being severely hurt. The blame then lies with the Church and with parents who encourage faith in God or belief in the existence of God. A perceived or real rejection by God should be far more damaging than any other kind. After all God is the one who calls all things into existence. If he cannot be trusted then nothing can and no one can. After all he even makes the people who love us so imagine how bad it is to face divine rejection or to perceive that God rejects you.
 
* You need to feel you are dependent on yourself to make yourself reasonably happy. There are things that will happen that you have little or no control over. But you are dependent on yourself to be able to face up to them. Take charge of your own life and do not feel that God controls all things or that you are dependant on him or anybody. Remember that free will does not solve the God problem. Do not say, "God has given me free will and that means I am independent." That is merely contradicting yourself. We would be free because God lets us be and enables us to be. We are still as unfree as budgies put into bigger cages. The owner still has all the control he wants over the birds. But it is worse than that. Religion says that we are free because of God and not in spite of him. Our freedom is wholly dependent on God. Without God you cannot choose. Your battery has power but gets it from another power. So its power is not really its power. Your freedom then is not your freedom. But to be really free it has to be yours and yours alone. If you cannot move your arm and you want to murder and somebody else moves the arm for you your freedom is dependent on them but is not your freedom at all. Religion will answer that we are talking about the will and nobody else can choose something for you and only you can choose. It says the will is different and not like somebody moving your arm for you. But the will is itself an action and so is moving the arm. God moving your will is the same as God moving your arm. Unless atheism is true, there can be no free will. The Church accuses people of abusing their freedom when in fact it is freedom in name only. Freedom means you make your freedom yourself. You make your own freedom. You cause your free will. Religion says God gives you free will but in fact it is only using words. It does not really believe in free will. Freedom would be a contradiction if there is a God. We are unfreely free and freely unfree. Our independence is itself dependence. Feeling really independent is fundamentally atheistic. So feel that. Failing to feel that it is up to you shows you think deep down that your life is safer if you let others take responsibility for you and the world. You do not feel you can make yourself feel safe or that you can trust yourself. You like to think you trust God for that is a diversion from the truth that you do not trust yourself to co-operate with others implying your trust in them is far too weak. You are trying to protect yourself from rejection by others and from feeling that you are really useless. It is not really about God. It can never be. It is about you.
 
* Telling a child you think he is great and that you love him is a waste of time unless it is a reminder to him of the good things you did and unless you look lovingly at him. Then it is not the words that bring him joy but the actions the words remind him of. The words are nothing at all without the actions and memories of being cared for. A child can be damaged by telling him to centre on the love God has for him and to put God first. God cannot give him the personal touch that another human being can. A child cannot hear God telling him with deep feeling that he loves him. What if you encourage your child to love God and revere God? All you are doing is distorting the child's development into a person who has the potential to be content and fulfilled. Love the sinner and hate the sin will make less sense to a child than it will an adult. Hating the sin will be equated with hating the sinner. Children are told to believe they are sinners. The children will then fear God withdrawing his love which can develop their capacity to block love messages from others. It is training the children in becoming sceptical about the love others have towards them. A child should be raised to be open to her own lovability and value and worth not God's. The child that is into God is unable to face her or his sense of worthlessness and deals with it by distracting herself from it. She concentrates on God instead. But the problems are still there and the mask will slip. To be open to your own value enables you to embrace and seize every moment you have as if it were your very last moment. You are getting meaning in life from just living and not for God or any other reason. You even live as if you will be dead in a moment and going out of existence permanently. Life gives its own meaning and gets it far more when there is awareness that death is the end.
 
* Thoughts in themselves are not going to change your negative attitude into a more positive one. It is the feelings that do that. It is true that some feelings will be accompanied by certain thoughts and vice versa. But it does not follow that the feelings are the cause of the thoughts or that the thoughts are the cause of the feelings. When feelings matter and are so fundamental then God clearly cannot matter as much as them. Yet God by definition must be the only thing that matters. God is goodness and if you do not see his full worth you are in some way bad or a failure. But this contradicts the fact that feelings come first. Feelings are proof that atheism may not be accepted but should be accepted.
 
* It is mature to do what I do because I want to do it and not because other people approve. The God concept implies that I should do what I do because God is good and wants me to do it. It makes me worry about what God thinks. God therefore is opposed to self-esteem and maturity.
 
I should know myself what good is and I shouldn't and wouldn’t need a God to command me. You are only good when you follow commands you know are good. When I have to judge God good before I can be good in obeying him, it follows that I should do good because I see it as good in the first place. I shouldn’t be doing it to obey him but because it is good. The God belief opposes this attitude. The attitude makes the belief unnecessary and God is claimed to be wholly necessary as a belief.
 
God shouldn’t be commanding me so what I do against other people shouldn’t concern God and should concern his church even less.

* It follows from this that it is none of God’s business what I do to others. I must try to do my best for myself and others and do it because it is my concern and I want to do it. He has no business forgiving my sins against other people. If I hit a child I hurt the child not him. If it is God’s business then my needs and wants do not matter and I should be forced by religion to submit to it’s credo. To delight in the mercy of God is to delight in degradation and we must make ourselves feel that for feelings are contagious.
 
* God believers crave approval. We rarely get the approval we need from others. And when we do, it soon bores us or it does not last. God believers then project that there is a God who approves them and tell themselves that he exists. It is about their desire for approval and not about God. They are really religious atheists!

* Rather than say evil is a mystery (when no justification exists for God allowing evil to happen, religion resorts to the cop-out that it is a mystery) when God can stop it but won’t, it is better to say that an impersonal intelligence not a God created all things and set a good but not all-powerful entity over the universe. That avoids the mystery. It is callous to create mysteries in such an important matter as human suffering for not understanding creates more misery. The Church will reply that then you don’t have the consolation of a God who will make all things right in the end. But even if there is a God there is no guarantee that everything will be okay for me and you. The Church says that God does not make it all right in the end for some are confined to Hell to suffer forever. And besides the intelligence has done its best. What kind of person would refuse to see some evil, such as a baby suffering unimaginable horrors, as the intolerable thing it is in order to assert that God will make it all okay in the end? You would need to see the end result to justify it when it is so serious for the baby.
 
*There is a cruel streak in anybody who would condone a God standing by and allowing dreadful suffering to happen and who makes diseases and killer viruses and who damns many to an eternity in the torment of Hell. If somebody abuses a child you don’t try to condone it. If you do, you are just a sweet monster. If you can condone the things God does you can condone anything. God is only a belief. Do you see how awful it is to create a belief and then insult people with it? Do you see that though people see this as harmless that it is still fanaticism? Fanaticism is just fanaticism. When fanaticism doesn’t lead to violence it still could. If I am a harmless fanatic I can hardly complain if somebody decides to adopt a fanaticism that gives them a bloodlust.

* God by definition does not need our love or our service for he is perfect and almighty and so is perfectly happy. So he makes us suffer for the sake of virtue he does not need and which we will not need in Heaven for there are no tears or death there. Any good our actions do on earth could have been done by God himself. But I need to feel that my good works for him are needed. Atheism not theism is what makes us more eager to do good for it holds that good makes a real difference. Theism demands good that is nothing but wasting time thanks to God and it is anything but encouraging. Would you like to have a cleaning job in which the employer deliberately dirties the place in order to give you something to do? The God concept was set up as a soul-destroying enterprise that vibrates with distaste towards human happiness.

* There is no point in serving God who has all he needs when he is almighty. The only way out of this is for Christians to say that God determines morality in such a way that hate would be right if he commanded it. But back to this God who we are supposed to love and who does not need the love. Why not serve good instead? In other words, why not do good because it is good and not because God commands it? It cannot be good to put a person however great before goodness so you have to serve goodness. You cannot give him all your love unless you save a bit for goodness but if he is goodness itself to love him is the same as to love goodness. From this it follows that if God should be served, it is just because he is powerful for good is not worried about for it could be served without putting all the devotion on him. It is clear, an act is wrong not because it is bad but because God says it is bad. The God concept is in opposition to morality. To refrain from stealing because God says so is evil because you should be doing it because stealing really is wrong. God is only useful for those people who want blind obedience to what they say God wants so God gets the blame while they reap the benefits.
 
*God sees all. He can forbid women to have abortions even to save their lives because he sees that in the long run this will have slightly better results than allowing the women. So this tells us that we should obey God despite the consequences for our perspective is too limited. This belief that God can command what seems bad to us has led the Roman Catholic Church to establish the Inquisition and kills thousands of heretics and witches over Europe. It has led Islamic fanatics to deliver a horrible death to thousands in New York.
 
*Suppose I need healing of the vice of impatience. I pray to God to help me. If he wouldn’t have helped me without praying then he is encouraging my sin. He is not worth worshipping. If he would have helped me then what do I need to pray for? I cannot learn to be patient unless there are people to make me feel like being impatient.  So God has to encourage them to sin for me. Prayer is the biggest dose of arrogance and hypocrisy possible. What is so special about me that I ask that my virtue be put first?

* If there is a good God then he would do infinite good for me and so to sin against him is to insult him infinitely by throwing back the infinite love he has for me in his face. If I believe in him my sins are worse than they would be if I did not. Also all sin is equal. Doing little damage is as bad as murder.

* It is certain that happiness is found when you reduce your emotional needs to a minimum. Then you are also less under the grip of fear which is the root of all evil. If there is a God then we have to need him so that is an extra need and therefore the God belief is bad. I have to pine for proper union with him in Heaven.
 
* If you commit a crime and blame the policeman who catches you, you will never learn. If you do not blame but put the responsibility on the policeman that is no better. Or you might argue that it is worse to impute responsibility rather than blame. Why? For unfair blaming is obviously childish while unfair attribution of responsibility is less obvious and blatant. Remember blame is about anger and disapproval while responsibility is about a person bringing about effect and it is about acknowledging their power to do better. Believers in God necessarily have to argue that God is ultimately responsible for everything. As he gives us free will, he is responsible ultimately and far more than we are (wouldn't you be far more to blame than your friend if he commits murder under your watch when you the one doing magic to give him free will?), for the evil we do. How can you really learn from your mistakes and evil deeds if that is your attitude? If you learn it is only in so far as you doubt the existence of God. No wonder religious people tend to commit the same sins over and over again. It is the same pattern, doing wrong and then saying sorry to God, over and over again. That is a bad enough trait but worsened by the fact that religion invents sins so harmless things are condemned as wrong. Believers hold that faith is a gift from God so he is declared responsible if a person does not believe.

* God implies altruism, the doctrine that I should hurt myself to help others and get nothing out of it, and since I am most sure that I exist it follows that I should put my development in altruism first and let others walk all over me. Love has to start with God and not with loving myself as the commandment of Jesus suggested, “The greatest commandment is to love God with all your powers. The next is to love your neighbour as yourself for he says so.” That blocks you from loving yourself for all love starts with self-love. You cannot love others unless you love yourself. Or if you like, if you think you are bad then when you give yourself to others you are offering them what you think is bad so you don’t respect them – not genuinely. Egoism teaches that we must be good to others for in doing so we grasp how to love ourselves. Liking means finding satisfaction so when you like a person you are not valuing that person but how they make you feel. You cannot do anything unless you like it under the circumstances – making the best of a bad situation at least. Liking is a selfish act and it is one we all commend for we prefer people to have warm feelings for what we do and are.

 

* Religion says that nothing about a person defines that person as a person. You are not defined by your sexuality. Or your intelligence. Or the colour of your skin. There is more to you than any of these things. Christians say that the only thing that defines a person is that they are a beloved creation of God. This syrupy doctrine is nasty and accuses anybody who does not believe enough or who does not believe full stop of obscuring the truth about people and harming them.  Why does religion call us all sinners as if we can be defined by our sins?

Believers in God say we must love the sinner and hate the sin for we are all sinners. This is dishonest because if you say John’s essay is stupid that is the same as calling John stupid though many pretend it is not. Religion does this which shows it is wilful dishonesty and false charm. This makes altruism impossible for it is meant to be free from lies but this idea that to oppose the sin is not to oppose the sinner makes it all lies and whitewash. So egoism is the only option. It is bad enough to be an unbeliever and promote the lie of loving wrongdoers and hating wrong but it is worse to say that God does the same, to blacken the being you say is all good. Despite all its “love” for God, God-religion is intrinsically blasphemous and deepens vice. In time, belief in God should lead to violence for when the concept corrupts that means logically that if you think it is good to believe in God then it is okay to believe that it is his will that you should hurt people and persecute atheists.
 
How can we say love sinner and hate sin is about focusing on a person's good side when we don't focus on the good side of thieves and murderers but jail them? Love the sinner and hate the sin cannot be taken seriously. It only creates pick and mix religionists and hypocrites.
 
Religion sometimes says that God considers each person to be of the utmost significance. It says this makes belief in God healthy. Religion says God made us all to experience this health, this intimacy with him who thinks we are so special. But we cannot live a normal life without sin. Eating out instead of giving the money to the poor is a sin. How could we feel we are special? Evil is bad enough without believing in a God who is offended by it as well. A person who believes that hurting people is wrong but not in God will believe he only hurts people when he does wrong. A person who believes in God has to worry about wronging God as well. Also, strictly speaking God doesn't think anything or have any opinions. These only happen to beings that don't know things but God knows all things. To say that God knows you are special sounds ridiculous and like false self-esteem. True self-esteem is taking pride in your good points and your flaws as well but for God only perfection will do. You can't be special to a God who could have made another person instead of you and who may let you go to Hell forever and who treats most of us like we are not special. You can't be special to a God that is so big. And God doesn't have feelings either. Saying he likes us and loves us is not far from symbolism.
 
Suppose we believe God knows we are special. Believing makes it as if it were true. It is true for us that God thinks we are of the greatest importance to him. We are really giving ourselves the significance. God can only condemn this. Even if God really exists and really regards us as that important we don't know that. We are still creating our belief, we are still making a god out of our belief in him. We are really making an idol. Human nature cannot allow me to be happy with a God who regards everybody on earth as being of extreme importance as well as me. Believers who feel that they get meaning from belief in God for life and feel warmed by it are thinking in terms of ,"God loves me," and paying only lip service to the idea that God loves others just as much. Also, God must infinitely value himself so there is no room for him valuing anything less than himself.
 
Believing that God regards you as of extreme importance will make you feel your life has less meaning not more if you are unable to feel that the doctrine gives you meaning or is important to you. It will compound the lack of meaning you will experience because it will make you feel like you are a flawed and bad person. If God made us for finding meaning in God and religion says he has done this then it follows that you are evil if you are unable to value God so much that your belief in God confers meaning on your life.
 
If you are horrified by a baby's suffering, there is no way you will believe and feel that God is all good and all powerful and lets that happen. You can only manage to believe if your degree of connectedness with the baby is weak enough. The more you are connected to the baby the more you will think and act with generosity and compassion for the child. Feeling enough of a distance from the child makes you capable of disrespecting that child in your heart by holding on to your God belief and thus condoning what you think he has allowed to happen. You feel more connected to God which is why condoning what he has done is more important than considering the suffering as utterly vile and inexcusable. If the latter is the reality you refuse to acknowledge it.
 
Albert Camus noted how that no matter what society does to put criminals off crime, crime persists to an excessive degree. His answer was that it was "because the instincts that are warring in man are not, as the law claims, constant forces in a state of equilibrium". In other words, instead of freely being ourselves we suffer a bias towards committing crime and doing things to try and arrest that bias isn't going to work. This alone makes us sceptical about the sincerity of Christians who claim to be so upset about the baby.
 
It is a fact that we put what other people think, meaning people we are close to or admire or fear, before morality or moral principles. For example, the moral soldier can change into a psychopath and a rapist when he sees his comrades turning evil during wartime. Milgram has performed experiments that show that strong moral beliefs are not enough to make one resist a command to do great evil coming from an authority figure (page 147 Born to Believe, Andrew Newberg MD and Mark Robert Waldman, Free Press, New York, 2006). Also, "it doesn't take much to evoke hostile, prejudicial, and destructive acts in people who would normally be considered moral citizens" (page 143, ibid). Is it such a mystery then how a seemingly good person is evil in so far as he or she praises the evil of God and whitewashes it? God being a bigger authority figure than any person will be more effective at inspiring evil masked as sweetness than any human being could be. To say you believe in God is to ask for suspicion.
 
Shame and embarrassment when excessive can make the person aggressive and dangerous while guilt involves the person starting to feel sorry for those he has hurt. Guilt is best at leading a person to change her or his behaviour for the better. But if God comes first then how could guilt do this? You cannot feel sorry for God for he doesn't need anything! God is only a hindrance.
 
God giving me the utmost importance means my life is meaningful to God but not me. It is like the master valuing the slave. That doesn't do the slave any good. And it is ridiculous to say that God needs me for anything for he is all-powerful. God-based spirituality is all contradictory nonsense.

We do not need religious faith and need to rescue people from it because it is an unnecessary evil and something extra for people to fight and kill over. We can have right and wrong and comfort without it. God could do miracles of healing without it if we are worried about them. God has no need for religion or even for us to be theists provided we listen to his voice in our hearts and use our heads so religious faith is anti-God. Who cares if we think the voice is our own inner voice?
 
Belief in God is harmful for the very concept of God is harmful in its implications and in its nature.  You need to believe what is true before you can get what you want. Without correct beliefs you risk settling for less, getting the wrong thing or losing the good things.  God and religion claim to be of major importance even more so than a good career or marriage.  Thus they are the biggest risk and they want you to irresponsibly take the risk.

 

Religion insists that because God made us for himself and to live in a love relationship with us by mutual consent then no one hates God without first and chiefly hating herself or himself.  No one is indifferent to God without chiefly being indifferent to herself or himself.  But none of that fits what we know of most people who hate God or don't care.  Thus we are not made for God!  If you hate, you deserve compassion for hate is bad for you.  And as indifference is the true enemy of love not hate it follows that believers will judge you for not caring and judge severely or at least think they should!

 

Religion says that if you drop God, there will be a void and some shoddy replacement for God will run into it like excrement.  They say, "The atheist turns himself into a god and an absolute and will realise how wrong he is when it is too late and his life is in ruins and his heart as hard as ice."  To accuse people of hating God is nasty.  The proper approach is to see it without judging it.  To be angry with them for hating God for God deserves better is nasty for you cannot put a belief, God, before a person.  To hint that an atheist is on the way to moral and social ruin is hate speech.

 

Belief in a god or God does not necessarily make anybody caring or honest.  There is no direct link so it is right to say that it has nothing to do with making you care or grow in integrity.  Thus making those beliefs of supreme importance is wrong and evil.  And a grave evil at that in principle!
 
The Cambridge Companion to Atheism, Edited by Michael Martin, Cambridge University Press, New York, 2007