Last weekend Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church died. It got me thinking about religion in general. In my life I’ve been exposed to a lot of religions. From the Unification Church, the Moonies, that would hold bizarre mass weddings of people that had never met, that is when they were not buying influence in high places to the Scientologists that do the same without the weddings. From The People’s Temple that committed mass murder/suicide in Jonestown to Heaven’s Gate that did the same around the millennium, to Aum Shinrikyo that killed a bunch of people in Tokyo for no obvious reason. From the Rajneeshis that tried to take over Oregon and poison people in The Dalles, to Oral Roberts, Jim Baker, Billy Graham, and countless others that just want to take cash from the poor and gullible. There were the Baptists and Mormons that tried to recruit around my school. Nowadays their tactics would make them suspected pedophiles, but of course that brings up the hoards of Catholic Priests that were. There were Seventh Day Adventists and Christian Scientists that would rather let their children die than admit that their prayers aren’t going to save them (but modern medicine that theoretically their God gave us, would). From the Christian Identity groups that want to wipe the earth clean for the white race, to the Islamic Fundamentalists that want to do the same for the Arab, to the Jewish ultra-orthodox that want to commit atrocities on any non-Jew, to Sikh extremists that went to war against India and were outraged when the government responded by attacking the Golden Temple (where incidentally they were planning, funding, and arming their forces for more attacks.) And of course who could forget Ireland where innocent children on both sides were bombed and shot because while all involved were Christian, nearly identical branches of Christianity in fact, there were enough subtle differences to allow it to be used as an excuse for perpetuating old hatreds. From religion used as an excuse to torture and kill adults in the middle ages to religion used as an excuse to mutilate children in sub Saharan Africa today. From Islamic extremists that are willing to blow themselves up to kill, to the American general that gladly went to war against them because “I knew my God was bigger than his” and in the process killed more people than the “bad guys” did. In Berlin, Tokyo, Rome, New York, London, Paris, Johannesburg, Sydney, Tehran, Baghdad, and a thousand other places religious leaders have all blessed the troops going off to war and told them that their fight was ‘just’ and that God was on their side. They can’t all have been right.
Will Rogers famously said “All I know is what I read in the papers”. Well, all I know is what I’ve seen around me. In the case of religion I’ve lived through half a century of very ugly sights, interrupted by horrifying sights. Inhumanity, atrocities, and butchery committed on people by people, all in the name of their own particular brand of a “loving God”. Each group pretends to be inclusive and accepting, as long as you do what you’re told, and fit their mould of what constitutes a good person. “We welcome everyone. (Unless you believe something different, or are gay, or don’t dress the way we say, or don’t follow the arbitrary ritual we use, or don’t want to vote the way we say, or disagree with the leaders, or express any opinion outside of what we advocate. In that case we’ll hate you.)
I’m sorry, but any “God” worth the name would embrace the diversity of humanity, and see to it that people did not use “God” for awful acts against each other. Any “God” worth believing in, worth following, worth trusting, would have to have vastly better quality controls than the Gods currently in fashion. A real leader, be it President or King or God has to have a way to keep his name from being used against his wishes, otherwise you have anarchy where anyone can say “The King Decrees…”. Yet that is exactly what we have with religion: Anarchy where anyone can justify anything by saying that their God said so. This lack of anything resembling even basic management skills means that either God is not actually God or, more likely, that the entire concept of God is a fiction to get the stupid to follow orders to kill those that don’t cooperate with the whims of the powerful.
And that is why I am an Atheist. Not because I hate god. Because I’ve seen no evidence that God is anything more than a fiction. A political tactic used by the rich and powerful to get people to do what they want. The God I’ve lived around my whole life is just an excuse for atrocities, with a fig leaf of good acts the believers point to to justify themselves.