Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Does 'God' want me to believe in him.

I'm writing this blog entry as though Yahweh - the god of the bible - is real. At least in part. I'm doing so in order to point out a ridiculous premise in the faith of Christianity. This blog entry is inspired by a point Matt Dillahunty made on a recent episode of The Atheist Experience. 

Christians tell me that their God (Yahweh) wants me to believe in him. He loves me and doesn't want me to burn in hell and to avoid that I need to believe that he is real. Of course if big Y doesn't want me to burn in hell then all he need do is let me into heaven when I die, right? 

But apparently that's not part of the deal. Now not all Christians believe this but many will tell me that in order to get into heaven I need to believe in God and I need to believe that Jesus is God's son, he died for my sins and that he's my savior. 

Now let's just put all that aside for a moment. 

Yahweh has given us a tool that we can use to determine how to tell fact from fantasy. How to tell whether we should accept something or discard it as nonsense  It's called 'Reason'. I don't think we're born with it, I think it's something we develop over time and, with the right education, it's something that becomes very valuable to us. We learn reason from those around us - particularly our parents and teachers. 

As I said, reason is very important to us. It lets us know there isn't a Nigerian prince waiting to give us a great deal of his fortune. It lets us know that although leaving from the roof is the fastest way to reach the ground from the top of a skyscraper, it's not going to be safe. It's a good tool to use if you need someone's help and they're reluctant or if someone's a bit angry or upset or frustrated and you need them to be calm. I'm sure we've all heard or said 'can't you just reason with them?'. 

There are countless other examples of where we need reason to live the lives we do. Without reason society as we know it would cease to exist. 

Let's return to Yahweh and his need for us to believe in him to gain entry to heaven (assuming heaven is a place I want to go). The question one must ask is this - why did Yahweh give me such a valuable tool and then make it necessary for me to suspend its use? I can think of no other aspect of my life where suspending reason would be a beneficial thing for me to do. I'm sure I have done it in the past and it's resulted in me being injured, losing money or getting yelled at. Why then would Yahweh make believing in him conditional on me giving up reason and relying on 'faith'? 

The simple point is there's no reason to suspend reason. The idea that a god would value faith not just over reason, but as THE most important trait a person can have is ludicrous. The idea that a god appeared to people, instructed them to do things - including wiping out whole towns (except for the female virgins in one case), told a bloke to build a boat and then flooded the entire planet, came to earth as himself/his son and sacrificed himself to himself to make up for the sins HE knew we were going to commit because he created a world in which those sins were possible and then this God would suddenly vanish without a trace (except for the odd appearance on toast and the arses of dogs) and that this 'God' would then expect the rational, clear thinking humans which HE created to suspend reason to believe in him is totally preposterous. It sounds like exactly what it is - a nonsense idea invented by an ancient superstitious people that didn't know better. 

What kind of god would give us the gift of reason and then ask us to suspend it so we can believe in him and make it to heaven? My guess is an imaginary one.