By Rational Atheist | 14 May 2020
1. No evidence
Most things which we accept, we accept on the basis of proof. That proof is not always rock solid but there is a standard to which we hold most of our beliefs. Things that don’t meet that standard – the Tooth Fairy, let’s say – we discard as not impossible, but extremely unlikely.
God, however, many people accept with no proof at all. Belief in God is a product of upbringing, societal and cultural convention, a desire for comfort and intellectual laziness.
There is no evidence that God exists. You may have had some kind of personal experience – what we “anecdotal evidence” that has convinced you personally that he’s out there. But most people would concede that that kind of evidence is not evidence at all. It can’t be repeated under test conditions and there are other possible explanations for what may have happened.
2. It’s illogical
In the absence of evidence, some people try to argue that there “must be” a God because nothing else makes sense.
3. The existence of suffering
What kind of God, has created a world in which children die in floods, starve to death, perish in agony from TB and malaria? What kind of God allows people who worship and adore him to be murdered, raped, tortured and come to countless other hideous ends?
4. We don’t need him
This isn’t exactly an argument against the truth of God, but it is a reason to stop worrying about him. We don’t require God – he is an unnecessary addition to the universe, and it can get along perfectly well without him.
5. Life’s better without him
Religion is about control and limitation. Rules, laws and rituals that restrict and govern behaviour. In some cases – say the genital mutilation of infants in barbaric rites of passage practised by religions such as Judiasm – they actually persuade nice people to do awful things.
Which is to say nothing of the countless other horrors committed in the name of God and religion. Suicide bombings, torture, genocide, forced marriages, unwanted babies, war – the list is endless.
A life without religion and without God thus offers freedom from all of these miseries. It offers a person the opportunity to do what they like, in line with their own moral code, within the parameters of the society in which they live. Each decision to be taken is evaluated on its own merits, weighing up the pros and cons, and is not forced down a path by a pre-existing code of conduct dating from a time of ignorance and superstition.
Reprinted with permission.
The ‘Jesus of history’ – Memory or Myth?
Your Miracles Won’t Do It – Cristopher Hitchens
Sam Harris – Morality and the Christian God
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