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Who's in More Pain?

By Steve ~

There is something I must admit. As a Christian, I was utterly blind to the suffering of others. I cannot remember ever seeing something so horrible, so terrible, that I would doubt God. I now look back, and while I can’t change the past, there’s so much I wish I had done. I wish I had become an atheist earlier, but parental supervision, an inflated ego, the argument from ignorance, and an ultimately self-defeating evangelical set of beliefs was what I had to work with. I wish my eyes had been a little more open. I wish I didn’t swallow the bullshit that “God caused the earthquake in Haiti so that people might help them,” which I think was the standard canard I would spout when faced with such disaster. The argument from suffering wasn’t what led me to become an atheist. It was those other, peripheral arguments, and the many testimonies from agnostics, atheists, and pagans, that showed me the ineffectiveness and foolishness of believing in a personal deity, especially one such as Yahweh. I am proud to say that the Christian God almost one hundred percent does not exist and that the infinitesimal chance that he might is only left open because of how ubiquitous apologia is and how it is here to stay. As for any other gods, there are over 30,000 to choose from, so I choose not to choose until I’m given strong, sound, valid evidence that one of them exists. But enough of this. I’m here to discuss suffering, and how, while not the ultimate factor in my deconversion, it plays a crucial role in my brand of nonbelief.

I am what is known as a secular humanist. This is a philosophy that, while not mandatory for atheists or agnostics to espouse, is arguably the best and most effective. It basically boils down to being good because it is good to be good. And I think that’s fine for me, although it’s an ideal I believe nobody can live up to and thankfully, I won’t be sent to hell if I don’t live up to it! Another part of secular humanism’s philosophy is that we and only we have the power to stop suffering. Mister Sky-Daddy can’t do shit to aid us in our struggles. And I say that is correct. Most of the time, Christians rationalize their God out to look like a mad scientist who has the cure for all types of cancer, but hides it in a drawer because “people won’t learn anything if I were to release this”. Well, people won’t learn anything if their dead either: in the Christian way of thinking, they’ll basically become a robot for Jesus in heaven. How else do you explain eternal life? Another standard argument, one that is vastly overplayed, is that God cannot interfere with free will. So this means he values something higher than us; it seems as though God thinks WE have another God: our free will! SO, if God doesn’t interfere with our free will, are Christians practicing polytheism? Do they love their free will as much as they love God? I suppose He thinks so. Well, I’m MORE THAN WILLING to have my free will interfered with if there is a God like the Christian God. Or maybe not; he’s a fucking jerk. Another thing Christians fail to realize is that they can’t have it both ways: God cannot interfere with free will and at the same time be said to be working through anyone because this negates itself! People who say things like “God inspired it on my heart to do so and so” or “God told me to let you know X and Y” subvert the argument from free will!

This world, unlike some so blithely espouse, is NOT the best of all possible worlds. Every single amount of pointless suffering that can be removed makes this world gradually better. It can be said that the balance of good and evil must be kept in check, but I thought Christians were supposed to worship an omnibenevolent deity who would want there to be an abundance of good rather than evil. But, even if I were to become a Christian tomorrow, by some extraordinary leap, I would not hold to the idea that God wants the best possible life for people. God just wants the glory, and will do anything to get it. Glory is God’s God. God embodies the method of quid pro quo: do what I say and I’ll make your life easier – but like a crafty attorney, he never truly fulfills his end of the bargain. It is hard for me to find scriptural justification for God wanting the best life for people, because if He exists, this world is not evidence that he does. I cannot believe in the Christian God when a fourteen month infant is the only remaining survivor from a series of tornadoes that killed her family, and dies in the hospital a day later. I cannot believe in God when he would just stand back and let one of his followers murder a fifteen year old boy for witchcraft. I cannot believe in God when I realize that there is a strain of tuberculosis, a deadly, deadly disease that cannot be cured with current antibiotics. If there is a God, he is indifferent, and therefore useless.

I believe I have become a more moral person by acknowledging the harmful effects of dogma and ideology on society. I believe that I have a duty to combat it the best way that I can. I believe I have a duty to the truth, and the truth is that you need to KNOW reality and dispel superstition and myth. I believe I have a duty to aid those who suffer, in donations and time. I believe that we should minimize suffering for both animals and humans. Christianity is not an effective vehicle or addressing these issues- because it’s not about what we need, it’s about God’s greed. Like a crooked politician, He says charming things that he never means. His words mask his motives. His actions are not those we would wish to praise; notice how whenever God interferes, it’s mostly to do some killing, one way or another. And his “Son” is just as crooked, the Rand Paul to God’s Ron. I have more than enough reason to not believe in God. Christians can be sad for me all they like, but I’m even sadder for them – dogma and ideology are things of the past and I can find my own purpose in life instead of walking the well-worn road of religion. As for Christians – well, they must suffer from the largest case of Stockholm Syndrome ever known to man.

Thank you for reading. I hope this may edify you as it has edified me to be able to write this.