Is god evil?

Christians have a tendency to use their god’s name in vain or, as Ricky Gervais reworded it, “in vanity,” without even realizing it. What it means to not use god’s name in vain is to not attribute his power or blessing to the fulfillment of your personal desires. In other words, thanking god for helping you win that Grammy award or helping your team win the Super Bowl is using his name in vain. To clarify, one need only ask why god didn’t also let the other nominees win the Grammy, or why didn’t god let both teams win the Super Bowl? As much as I’d like to imagine god is a Green Bay fan, I imagine that if he existed and were as all-powerful as the writers of his memoirs said he is, then he’s got some more important things to do.

More important things such as sheltering the homeless, feeding the starving, rescuing the cast of Gilligan’s Island, and making sure hurricanes, tsunamis, tornadoes, and earthquakes never strike populated areas.

So god’s got his hands full. While Michael Phelps is busy earning his sixth gold medal, god is too busy making sure people never suffer or die, ever. Because that’s within his power. And he is loving.

Okay, so maybe god doesn’t end all suffering. My question is why? If he can, why doesn’t he? Is god evil?

What is evil? Evil, in our natural and earthly realm, can generally be accepted as acts of malice without any concern for consequences. The unjustified killing of another person whilst seeing absolutely nothing wrong with your actions, for example, could be considered evil. I could go into what does or does not justify the taking of a human life, but that could take a while and I’m trying to keep this relatively short. Let’s just try and agree, then, that torturing and murdering millions of people is evil or, at least, really really bad. Or at the very very least, not good. Okay, so the Holocaust was not good. We’re starting to see eye to eye now. We could also probably agree that the people still alive today who had nothing to do with the Holocaust but think it was completely justified (or deny it ever happened at all) are not good people. I would go so far as to say that person is a bit lacking in the morality department.

So what if somebody has the capability to snap his fingers (hyperbolically) and end all the suffering in the world immediately, but chooses to do nothing despite his powers? One could then blame the continued existence of suffering on that somebody (or in this case, on that god). That somebody is knowingly allowing children to suffer from starvation on a daily basis, all the while having the power to make it stop. Does a child deserve to suffer from starvation? Absolutely not; no sane person would ever say a child (or anybody, for that matter, but I’m using children specifically because people don’t seem to be as emotional about adults suffering) deserves to suffer, for any reason. Choosing to ignore or even prolong suffering is not simply apathy – it is evil.

A good god is not apathetic to suffering, and an apathetic god is not worthy of being worshiped. Is god good? If so, why is there pain and suffering? If not, why do so many people look up to him?

It’s on you.

I was recently asked what it would take to prove to me once and for all that god exists. I gave my short answer, which is that there really isn’t anything that would quite do it for me. That is to say that there isn’t anything in the human imagination – my imagination, that is – that would prove god exists. Anything I can even dream of could still be explained using natural laws, otherwise it could be discounted as an hallucination.

That’s not entirely true, though. I can think of at least one thing that may do it. If there were some miraculous phenomenon that was witnessed by a sufficient number of people, all at the same time, who could each describe the phenomenon to an equal extent as the next person – that might do it. And by “miraculous” I do mean, of course, something that cannot be explained by natural laws. This would have to be one hell of a show – perhaps a human voice (Jesus?) speaks the exact same words clearly inside the head of every person on earth simultaneously. I would certainly be more prone to believe.

Other than that – some worldwide phenomenon that cannot be explained away by science – I don’t think there is anything that would prove the existence of any of your gods.

But feel free to try. My only request is that you refrain from referring to any of your holy books, as I don’t see that as reasonable evidence for anything. I’ll use the Bible as an example here, since Christianity is the religion I am most familiar with. All the Bible proves is that a couple thousand years ago some guys put pen to paper and made a bunch of stuff up. I’m interested in knowing why you believe the Bible is accurate at all. That may not prove anything to me, but at least it will give me a deeper insight into Christian thinking. I must reiterate, however, that “I believe the Bible is true because I read in the Bible that the Bible is true” tells me nothing other than that you are extremely gullible.

And for the love of your god, don’t tell me to prove god doesn’t exist. You’re the one making a positive assertion – as the title of this article states, it’s on you. It’s on you to back up your statement that god exists. You know as well as I do that I can no more disprove god’s existence than you can disprove the existence of Russell’s Teapot.

I think I’ve said all there is to say without beginning to repeat myself ad nauseum, so I’ll leave you with a quote by Ricky Gervais that pretty much sums everything up nicely:

Why don’t I believe in God? No, no no, why do YOU believe in God? Surely the burden of proof is on the believer. You started all this. If I came up to you and said, “Why don’t you believe I can fly?” You’d say, “Why would I?” I’d reply, “Because it’s a matter of faith.” If I then said, “Prove I can’t fly. Prove I can’t fly see, see, you can’t prove it can you?” You’d probably either walk away, call security or throw me out of the window and shout, ‘’F—ing fly then you lunatic.”

Read the whole article by Ricky Gervais

Thanks to @JulienLynn on Twitter for the inspiration to write this article.

Ricky Gervais: Why I am a Good Christian

Ricky Gervais was kind enough to write us a wonderful holiday message last year titled Why I’m an Atheist. This year he’s done it again for Easter, but with a new message: Why I’m a Good Christian. In it he covers the coveted Ten Commandments and A) sheds some light on the meaning of one or two commandments and B) explains why he is better at following every one of them than most Christians. I’ll give you a taste of his message, but you’ll have to click through to his site to read the whole thing (which I highly encourage).

So many Christians think that because they believe in the right God, they are automatically good and have a one-way ticket to everlasting life. Dare I say it but I suspect this is their main reason for believing. I’ve heard so many “believers” say, “Well, since there is no way of being sure whether there is a God or not, it’s better to believe in God than not, because that way, if you’re wrong it doesn’t matter and if you’re right you get everlasting life.” Win:win.

This is of course Pascal’s Wager, which assumes that God if he exists would reward blind faith above logic and living a good life as an atheist.

To the Christians’ God by the way, it’s just as bad to believe in the wrong God as no God at all. The idea of other Gods is of course ridiculous to Christians. Supernatural poppycock. As if there was ever a Zeus; stupid, ancient, unenlightened superstition. And even if there are other Gods (which of course there aren’t) then the Christians’ God is the best. Hardest, smartest… just better. He would laugh at Zeus and call him a Greek bender. (I doubt that God is racist and homophobic but the Bible isn’t clear. Some bits go on about love and equality and others say you shouldn’t trust certain types and that laying down with a man as you would with a woman is punishable by death and is a bit sick and evil.)

So remember. If you are gay you are “Bumming for Satan” basically. (That would make quite a good T-shirt.)

…read the whole thing

I hope you’ll read both the Easter message in its entirety and the original Christmas message from last year (which I linked to at the beginning of this post). Even if you get nothing else from it, Gervais has a way to make religion even more hilarious than it does for itself, so hopefully you’ll at least get a kick out of it.