Why I’ve Become an Atheist

YES, I’VE DECIDED THAT GOD doesn’t exist. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not signing on with Bertrand Russell, who in Why I Am Not a Christian said he could not believe in a God who condemned people to everlasting punishment.

I’m not agreeing with Mark Twain, who wrote: “If there is a God, He is a malign thug”—or the now-departed Madalyn Murray O’Hair (Why I Am an Atheist)—whom I once personally interviewed at her Austin, Texas, home for a feature story.

I’m not following Ted Turner in giving up on God. When—as Ted was growing up—his 15-year-old sister died of lupus, his father said, “If that’s the type of God he is, I want nothing to do with him.” Soon after, Ted’s father killed himself—and shortly thereafter, Ted himself abandoned any semblance of faith.

Nor have I been persuaded by the arguments of current atheistic authors Christopher Hitchens (God Is Not Great), Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion), or Sam Harris (The End of Faith).

No, don’t get me wrong. Despite plenty of unanswered questions, I still believe in the God of the Bible—the God who is the Creator and Ruler of the universe—the God of three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

But I categorically do not believe in the fictional god so many—even Christians—claim today to worship.

Case in point from today’s news:

“A jury on Wednesday ordered an anti-gay Kansas church to pay $10.9 million in damages to relatives of a U.S. Marine after church members cheered his death at his funeral.”

Marine Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder died in combat in Iraq in March of 2006. At his funeral, members of the non–denominationally affiliated Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, interrupted the services, holding up signs reading, “God Hates Fags” while loudly shouting anti-gay epithets.

Corporal Snyder’s father stated that his son is not gay. But in the space of two years, the church demonstrated at more than 200 servicemen’s funerals, targeting the military as a symbol of America’s tolerance of gays. Not surprisingly, the church also believes that Hurricane Katrina, the 9/11 attacks, and AIDS are all God’s judgments for permissive American morals.

So I can’t believe in the god worshiped by the Westboro Baptist Church. Why? I’m convinced he doesn’t exist. There IS no god who “hates fags”—or for that matter, murderers, terrorists, adulterers, genocidal dictators, or corrupt politicians.

There is also no god who calls down punishing judgments at the behest of such clergymen as Pat Robertson and the late Jerry Falwell. There is no god who condemns and hates—and monitors the planet for any sign of human weakness so that he may rain down judgments.

Yes, I still believe in the God who is love. The God who hates sin, yes—but loves the sinner. The God who motivates with love, not fear. The God who warns us that the natural consequence of sin—should we refuse to let Him separate us from it—is misery and ultimately, death.

Since there is a true God, it is no mystery that Satan the enemy goads human beings into creating false ones—fictional beings of wrath, intolerance, judgment, condemnation, and impatience. Some of those gods may be called “Allah”—others, “God.”

And when those who claim to be Christians or God-believers—whatever their home-church faith may be—present to the “world” these false gods, the world recoils from such an unpleasant deity. It hardens into doubt, resentment, hostility, cynicism, agnosticism, and atheism.

Yes, I too am an atheist when it comes to the “god” of Westboro—a god even some who claim God’s name present as real. That god is NOT real. He doesn’t exist. And I, for one, will never depart from that atheism.

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9 responses to this post.

  1. Thank you! Thank you! It makes me sick that these people take the name of Christ at all. It’s like they know nothing whatsoever about God–let alone knowing God personally! Thanks, guys, for once again giving Christ and all of Christianity a black eye even though you’re just one small group. How frustrating that is.

    What these people are doing–picketing funerals with hate messages (have you seen some of their signs?), etc.–is reprehensible. It’s doubly sick to see small children holding these hateful signs. Teaching hate to your children is a betrayal–it makes you a traitor to the human race.

    It is far easier to do evil and say that the backlash is “persecution” than to do good and humbly bear the results that actually *are* persecution.

    And to take myself in hand–it’s easier to lash out in anger at people like this, than to love them. If I am willing to condemn their activities, I must be equally ready to love them. (But Lord, that’s haaaaard.)

    Reply

  2. Posted by PAt & Larry on November 9, 2007 at 10:02 pm

    Way to go Lorna…… If you can’t live, and or love them here on earth how are we going to get along with them in Heaven

    Reply

  3. Posted by Drew on February 19, 2009 at 8:41 am

    Im not sure Lorna got the right idea from this blog. The writer i belive tho i might be wrong is an atheist to the god that several christians and their churches produce for the world around them. It is not the god of the bible. I am an atheist to their god but I am not an atheist to the god. Christians are hypocrites to our own faith myself included b/c we are not perfect but we have the just and forgiving god that the writer agrees that their is. He is not an atheist in the real sense only in reference to certain churches false version of the real god.
    Its a sad tragedy how christians can take things way out of proportion. Often times most of us do not know what our bible says unless someone else tells us and even then it might be wrong. I wish it was otherwise b/c like u made the point of to mention it is very hard on our ministry b/c it helps others develop the idea that we will never get along even in heaven.
    Just b/c a few people tend to create problems does not mean the religion is wrong. People can be wrong.

    Reply

  4. Posted by ed on April 3, 2009 at 10:37 am

    Why do you need to believe in some loving God in the sky to make you feel better? There is no Zeus, Allah, Jupiter or the Trinity. Humans made it all up!

    Reply

  5. I can’t speak for everybody, but I don’t believe in God because I “need” to, but because the weight of evidence persuades me. And I don’t believe in God to make myself “feel better.”

    Finally, I’d need more than your personal opinion that “humans made it all up” to make any reasoned and reasonable decision as to the existence or non-existence of a given deity.

    Reply

  6. Love is entirely illogical, and yet we all firmly believe in it. You can’t prove love, or see love or touch love. But it’s there, and only the most miserable person would say love doesn’t exist. I’m not saying there is or isn’t a god, but there’s got to be more to life than the x number of years we are given! Why would we care about starving children in Africa, or terrorists, or war, or our loved ones dying? Why would we care about anything at all? That’s the reason I’m not an atheist.
    Also, I’m appalled by that “god hates fags” church.
    They give every Christian a bad name, and might I add that nowhere in the bible does it say god hates anyone. Ever heard of love the sinner hate the sin?

    Reply

    • Z, the reason that we have morality it carries along a huge evolutionary advantage. Recently, A study was performed on cimpanzees by a professional primatologist. Their were two chimpanzees in seperate cages, yet they could observe each other. The chimpanzee in one cage had a lever which he could pull which would give him a banana ( he was not fed), but their would be an electrical shock delivered to the monkey in the cage beside him. After pulling the lever once, the chimps would starve themselves for 5-12 days from eating at all! This is an example of animal morality, which life i said has huge evolutionary advantages.

      Reply

      • Posted by considerateatheist on January 23, 2011 at 9:39 am

        I agree. I would add that not believing in an afterlife compels me to help those in Africa even more, because I know this is the only life they’ve got. When I was a Christian, I felt less responsibility towards the poor and fragile because I thought they cold find peace with god, or hope for an afterlife. Since I now believe neither, I know I may just be their only hope.

  7. Posted by Austim on May 11, 2011 at 10:44 am

    Just to let you know, God does not hate fags. He hates the spirit inside of them. Believe ot or not it says in the bible not to be gay.Read genesis 14

    Reply

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