I have no problem with religion as a non-believer. Sure, I might not understand how anyone could ever reconcile all of the world’s atrocities with the idea of some omnipotent caretaker, but so long as your beliefs aren’t harming anyone I couldn’t care less. I’d even be willing to admit that religion has some benefits, such as bringing communities together, giving people a sense of purpose, and in some cases inciting selfless acts of generosity. My beef with religion doesn’t lie in my disbelief; it only ever arises on the days that I’m a believer.
I was raised religious, the aftereffects of which are sometimes hard to shake. The belief that there is an invisible man in the sky dictating life’s every twist and turn can be quite appealing to someone looking to avoid any sense of responsibility for himself. It can be tempting to blame God for not only my own misfortune but that of the entire world, reasoning that if anyone could do something about this mess then it’d be the guy who made it.
On the days that I’m a believer I find myself filled with anger at the God who seems to have abandoned us, the being who, if the stories are to be believed, has the power to fix everything yet chooses to do nothing. I blame him for my tumour, for my kyphosis, my insecurities and faults. I hold him accountable for all the starving children in this world, all the homeless and the sickly, and most of all for the rich and greedy.
“Is god willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”
Perhaps it’s a little ironic that my crusade against religion only ever arises on the days that I myself am religious, but I suppose in a lot of ways it’s like waiting until you get cancer to join the fight against it. The way I see it, there are two possibilities: either god exists, in which case the state of the world is as reason as any to loathe him, or he doesn’t, and therefore there’s no one to blame but ourselves.
The sacred scapegoat of the sky only goes so far though, because either way we’re left with one course of action: whether through indifference or nonexistence God will be of no help to us down here, and it’s up to the human race to take control. No divine power is going to save us from our messes, and there will be no holy hands to guide us down the proper path. The fate of this planet and that of the entire human race rests in our hands and our hands alone, and it’s about goddamn time we started acting like it.