When I let people know that I am an atheist, usually in response to a question, I am usually surprised that nobody asks me “Why?”. I can surmise two possible reasons. The first is that there is a genuine lack of true interest and the question was asked out of ordinary curiosity. The second is the fear that my reasons might be sufficiently cogent as to be convincing.
So, why am I an atheist?
I am an atheist because the churches have convinced me that there is no god. Their behaviour and total disregard for the rules and social norms that they promote show that they are, at the very least, not trustworthy.
Gods have been around in all shapes and sizes since mankind first realised that he will die one day. Primitive people can understand that life is a type of cyclical event. For many, the cycle ends with either an ascent into a more perfect realm or in rebirth as an entirely new creature. There is no need for a formal acknowledgement of these beliefs because, in those primitive societies, it is so obviously true that no-one would doubt it.
No matter how long mankind has existed on this Earth, it is fairly certain that he has always needed to explain to himself that death is not final – that it offers some form of hope of further existence.
2,000 years ago, the Christian church wants us to believe that after thousands of years of appearing to the House of David and doing magnificent slaughter to protect it, god sent a son to Earth. The son, of course, was created by that old familiar process of a god appearing to a human woman (preferably a virgin) and impregnating her. Presumably some magic was used to ensure that the woman was compliant and at the peak of her cycle to ensure conception at the first sexual congress.
It beggars belief that an all knowing and all powerful deity would need to have the use of a weak human vessel in which to have its child nurtured. Even more unbelievable is the idea that (in this case) Mary should be able to explain to her husband that an angel came through the window, had his way with her and then vanished so that her husband would actually believe her!
Another problem with the story is the place in which the event took place. In a world that already had civilisations that would have been able to publicise the event much more effectively and efficiently god apparently chose one of the most primitive areas in the world. Not only did he do this, he also chose a primitive tribe, one with which he was familiar and which he knew was irreverent and given to excesses of paranoia. Even though he knew that he had rescued so many of them from Egypt by the mass slaughter of a pursuing army and had appeared to many of them to show his support, he should also have remembered that while he was instructing Moses on the ten commandments which he felt would enable them to live more amicably together, they went crazy. Only a few days after Moses climbed Mount Sinai they decided that they needed a new god and that they could create one from gold. Now, you have to decide whether god was simply not very convincing or whether the people he rescued had desperately short memories.
Another question you need to ask is why the emotional, violent and jealous god of the Old Testament allowed mankind to offer worship to a whole panoply of disparate gods. Is it really credible that a god would calmly sit around while his creation ignored him and even offered praise to non-existent gods? Would a benevolent god not have felt that it was his duty to point out that they were sealing their own fate by being ignorant of his existence?
It is quite likely that many people lived lives that embraced what are seen as Christian principles – are these people now qualified to enter the Christian Heaven? The churches will probably tell you that it was not until Jesus that the existence of Heaven was disclosed to mankind and that those who lived before Jesus have simply died.
Christianity is based upon the premise that god sent his only begotten son to save the people of the Earth. But did he?
While the story of Jesus is a tragic and magnificent tale of self sacrifice. Is he ever reported as claiming that his death would “wash away your sins”? If this was the purpose of his death, why was it accomplished only as a penalty for offending the Roman rulers and being a very effective dissident?
The life of Jesus is a tragedy and, probably, it is likely that the man is a composite of many of the hundreds of the time who were claiming to be the Messiah (Messianic claims appear to have been endemic at the time of Jesus) and, as happens in modern movie making, a composite character is far more engaging than a single entity.
As I said at the beginning, I am an atheist because the churches have convinced me that there is no god. Their behaviour and total disregard for the rules and social norms that they promote show that they are, at the very least, not trustworthy. I have not discovered a single church that accepts that it is only the voice on Earth of a supreme deity.
Look at most religious organisations and you will see a corporate will to be the biggest, the best, the wealthiest and the most influencial they can be. The religious desire for power is the most potent driving force of far too many of them.
All Christian churches(and most other religious organisations) claim to be the holders of the truth about god. No two organisations will give you the same account of what god is supposed to be nor on how he should be addressed or worshipped. There is almost an internecine war for the souls of all men and, as in all wars, the first victim is truth.