Open Letter to YouTube User "GodLowDown" on Emotional Appeal of Atheism

Though it would better if this were said in person, to hesitate at all would diminish the message I wish to convey. In the video “ATHEISM: What Caused God?” you made a statement that seemed rather ignorant or at least
arrogant. I am not referring to your explanation that god is somehow exempt from
the same logic that you demand we use to question the origin of the Universe,
though that is arrogant. I am referring to your comment that atheist has the
same “emotional appeal” as theism. To best explain to you my view on this I
should explain why I am an atheist.



It begins in my junior year of high school; a time when I was strong in my Christian’s convictions (or at least most of them). During this time I first became interested in religion in general – what people believed,
why they believed what they did, and what role it plays in society. What was
most important to me at this point in time, though I did not know it at the
time, was my English teacher. Throughout the year she taught me how not just to
a book but to actually analyze what was really being said and why and to what
purpose. As a high school student this skill did not seem at all important, but
it would later change my understanding of the being I called god.



Now time passed and naturally I matured, and so did my views on religion. I had previously been thinking of attending church and perhaps getting baptized, but by then I was already having moral problems with
Christian teachings. I had made several friends who were the epitome of
kindness and caring. They were people who I would readily count on to be there
whenever I would need. They were people who I would argue represented the best
of humanity. They were agnostics. According to Christian teachings they would
spend eternity in the pits of hell not because of their actions but because a
preacher never dunked them in pool of water. I could not accept this. Why
should they suffer when their only crime is not being baptized? I chose then I
would not be baptized thinking I would prove some sort of eternal point when I
died.



When I began college I finally decided that I would study theology. My goal was to become a theology professor and I eagerly looked forward to my first theology class. The class was on the New Testament and I
began to realize that I was reading the Bible differently from my fellow
classmates. I quickly saw the contradictions and the inconsistencies. I saw
that “The Gospel of John” is far more evangelical than the other gospels and
that Judas got placed in one terrible situation.



This analysis of the Bible continued in to my second theology class on the Old Testament and what I saw was not a god who was caring enough to grant salvation but a god that would willingly lie and deceive and
kill anyone who merely believed in another religion. This culminated in the
last book we read for that class, “Job.” The story of a man that God allows Satan
to afflict with horrible diseases and terrible accidents to simply prove a
point and when Job asks God why all this has transpired God tells him not to
question for he is god.



But that is not what I read. I read God’s answer and thought, “Why does god not have a real answer? Maybe even he does not know why bad things happen?” This thought led to more questions –


Why does god allow bad things to happen at all?


Why does god select certain people to have these bad things happen to?


Why does suffering exist?


Why do people suffer while I do not?


Have they done something wrong?


What is the point?


Why does he give us life to only take it away?



Eventually I found my way on to a therapist’s couch explaining why I had nearly killed myself. Believing in a god did not make any sense anymore. The world is the same whether you are an atheist or a theist. The only
difference is that as an atheist I do not have to justify the suffering of the
world as part of the plan of some malevolent god.

Views: 38

Comment by Gerald Scott on June 13, 2010 at 7:35pm
The good news is you made it. Welcome to the club. It's stories like the one you've told and lived that make me glad I'm a member of Think Atheist.

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