Monday, April 8, 2013

I've been such a fool

Many will be familiar with Psalm 14:1 and, of course, since my apostasy I've had it quoted to me. After reflecting on this verse a bit, I now think the people who say the godless are fools may be right after all.

One of the reasons often bandied about to explain why brilliant scientists and other egghead professor types try to push their secular agendas in fields like anthropology, sociology, archeology, biology, psychology, cosmology, geology and other areas that can make claims that run counter to sacred texts is that these folks are just trying to convince themselves and everybody else that there is no God. They desperately don’t want there to be a God and the reason they and other non-theists don’t want there to be a God is really quite simple. They don’t want to have to feel like any divine judge can hold them accountable for all their vile wickedness. That’s the whole motivation behind secular humanism and atheism, right?

Of course, I used to buy this line as a Christian. I thought it had explanatory power, but now that I really consider it, I’m not so sure it does. If the goal is for someone to be able to do whatever they want without having to answer for it, denying that there exists an all-powerful judge of the universe might work to a degree, but is this even the best way to go about it? I don’t think it is. I think people that say there is no god are indeed fools if they’re merely saying it so they can do whatever they want without having to worry about being held accountable for their actions.

See, if I secretly knew there was a god who would judge my actions and I suspected everyone else knew this as well, I wouldn’t simply deny its existence so I could do what I wanted. No, that would still make me accountable to other people, many of whom would be running around saying I still had to obey their god. What I would do instead is simply claim that the god agreed with my own desires. This way not only would I be able to do that which is right in my own eyes, but I’d also stand a better chance of convincing other people they should do what I wanted as well. I shouldn’t waste my time exposing the falsifiable claims of the Bible. I should be figuring out how to interpret the Bible in such a way that it conforms to what I want. You know, just like most everyone else does. The Bible is clearly vague and malleable enough. People have been interpreting it in the ways they've seen fit for thousands of years. Why stop now?

If my professed unbelief is really just a product of my pride and selfishness; and if I simply don’t want to be held accountable for my actions, it seems I would be better off doing what most everyone else does and forming a god in my own image and likeness. After all, when people ask themselves, “What would Jesus do?” what they’re really saying is “What would I do?”

This is what I'm talking about. Why would I be so foolish as to give up belief in God when I could instead be using it to justify doing anything I want, including criminal behavior? This is assuming, of course, that I've said in my heart, "there is no god" simply so I could do whatever I want without being held accountable.

No, clearly I should stop all this foolish atheism and agnosticism that could potentially lead to my being held accountable to my fellow human beings for my actions. Furthermore, I should stop being half-assed with my plans to do whatever I want. Instead, I should throw off the shackles of godless moral relativism, which requires me to actually think through questions about ethics and morality, and instead try to put some religious shackles on the people around me. That way I'd stand a better chance of being able to do what I want and to make other people do what I want as well.

It seems I've been going about this all wrong. The psalmist is right. I've been such a fool.

 How could someone possibly believe in God, do terrible things and use belief in God to manipulate people? They can't. They'd have to be Hitler.

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