Why does God care if we love and worship him or not? Is he really that insecure?

Sent in by Johnny

Being brought up by evangelical parents in a very strong Christian community it was only natural that I was indoctrinated with falsehoods from as far back as I can remember. I even spent the first 14 years of my life living in a church house for the first seven and then in flat above a church for the following seven. I was taught the same stories and morals as many of you on here; the doctrine of the trinity, heaven and hell, the resurrection and countless other miracles. My parents were unwavering in their faith, and most of our family and family friends were Christians of some sort too.

Despite this, my parents were not overly strict, openly admitted they could not answer all of my questions about God, and wholly accepted the fact I was to ‘experiment’ with other religions/world views before committing to anything.

I have always had a very inquiring mind and can remember grilling them from about the age of 4 or 5 with difficult questions such as ‘who created God?’, ‘why does there need to be a God?’ and ‘why does God send some people to heaven and some people to hell?’. Even more trivial issues puzzled me and seemed illogical. Why is it wrong to swear? It’s only an expression of anger through words that are nonsensically deemed offensive by some higher authority. Why does God care if we love and worship him or not? Is he really that insecure that he needs to be validated by the attention of billions of humans, whom he created anyway and are intellectually amoeba next to the Great I am? How can God subject one of his beloved ‘children’ to the tortures of hell for eternity and justify it with the reasoning that it was because they did not meet his criteria for heaven, which vary widely depending on your source in any case? Any crimes we commit on this earth cannot be reconciled by an eternity of torture, no matter how grave. Would a human parent punish his/her child by anything even comparable to the torments of hell no matter how far they had gone against their wishes? Exactly.

Sorry for digressing. Point was, despite my parents’ best efforts and heavy indoctrination from different angles I always remained skeptical varying to different levels. This was in all likelihood because I was aware of other adults I admired who did not share their views and also went to a high school were very few of my classmates were Christians. That said, I never really considered the notion that there was no God at all until I started university. I first came across the atheism as a world view at the age of 11 or 12 but really gave it no value at all. I had serious issues with several aspects of Christianity, which seemed absurd and or irrational but generally held faith in the notion that there was a God.

At the age of 17 I made what would be called a ‘response’ to God. Evangelicalism is different to many other denominations of Christianity in that you are not baptized at birth and hence technically not saved until you make a personal choice to commit your life to following God. I was away at a Christian summer conference (read ultra-indoctrination), and still had trouble finding answers to my questions but found myself in awe of what I thought was the undeniable presence of God in the meetings I was attending. To cut a long story short I committed my life to God and over the next few days felt myself on a spiritual high. It died off when I returned home from the camp to my non-Christian school friends and social life, and overall was somewhat anti-climactic for a day that would supposedly change the course of my life. Over the next year I continued on the same path I had been on beforehand, with many questions still remaining unanswered and feeling intellectually and spiritually unfulfilled.

At university I reached a point of agnosticism, through a combination of my own reading, anti-religious sentiment in the Politics department I studied in and regular contact with avowed atheists. Another part of my life that pushed me further down the road to atheism was 3 months spent in the United States (I'm from the UK) in summer 2005 at the age of 19. I was working in Utah and came into contact with many people I could only describe as completely deluded by religion. Whether it was Mormonism, fundamentalist Christianity or Scientology, my eyes were opened to the power of dogma to brainwash otherwise intelligent people. Why was Christianity any different? In the end I concluded there was very little evidence to suggest it was.

In my second year of university I made the transition from agnostic to having a fairly strong belief of a God in some kind. With hindsight I recognize I was taken in by the argument from design and intelligent design theories, although I had not actually researched them, came to that opinion through my own personal thoughts. At that age my mind was not as sharp in an analytical sense as it is today and I now realise intelligent design is pseudo science - not one scientist of note will endorse the theory.

Atheism developed a grip over me when I read books such as ‘The F*** You Up’ by Oliver James, ‘The World As I see It’ by Albert Einstein, ‘The End of Faith’ by Sam Harris, ‘The God Delusion’ by Richard Dawkins and various articles by Noam Chomsky amongst many others. Through study of human psychology and basic philosophy, I came to understand that as humans a great deal of our behaviour is conditioned by society, in particular our parents, and this includes religious beliefs and behaviour. Further, ‘The God Delusion’ presented to me the core arguments against religion in a passionate yet concise manner. ‘The End of Faith’ highlighted the damage religion has done and is doing in North America and the rest of the world.

Not only did all of the intellectuals I admired espouse either atheism or agnosticism, my own personal experience of Christianity really exposed the religion’s flaws during my final year of university. I came to realise that I had never had a tangible answer to prayer in spite of probably 20 years of requests. I read the Bible for 4 hours in one sitting and found at least 7 direct contradictions.

I have been an atheist for around 9 months and cannot see myself returning to Christianity. My close family are aware of my views and seem to accept them, although I think this is largely due to them not thinking about it. I must admit I find atheism depressing at times, which tends to be the case for apostates who have been indoctrinated with doctrine for years on end. On the other hand is it more liberating and intellectually fulfilling than Christianity had been or ever could be.

It is empowering to have a concrete belief, and it is the first time I have felt complete confidence that I am in the camp with the most logical world view. I enjoy the feelings of superiority that come with watching people practice meaningless and, frankly, laughable moronic religious rituals. In the future I plan to study evolutionary biology to acquire a deeper understanding of evolution and how it affects human behaviour. I also hope to read books like ‘In Gods We Trust’ and ‘Religion Explained’ offering anthropological explanations for the rise of religions across the globe. I had aimed to study a post-graduate degree in Social Anthropology so I could write a dissertation on the area, but unfortunately it doesn’t tie in with my career plans.

Anyway, thanks for reading and keep up the non-faith!

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muttmutt said...

the thing most people must understand is that the bible was written and based on human ego. It is archaic and even the new testiment is unethical (it still condones slavery) If there was a God it is probably the God that Deism represents, one that went on vacation, never to return. People should treat each other with fairness because it is good, not because of religion, or LACK THEREOF.

freedy said...

I look at the bible god as an angry,bi-polar & dysfunctional parent.The church is a co-dependant
incestual family with a paranoid and delusional belief system.

I'm sorry,but you have to be intellectually retarded to believe the bible myths are the true inspired "words of god".

Bill B said...

That is the $64,000 question, "Why does God need Worship?" It just makes no sense does it? Yet billions of people each week bow down and give praises and worship.

I try to think of my own children. I think it's pretty fair to say that they think pretty highly of me as I do my own parents, yet could I imagine my kids bowing down several hours a week saying "Oh Dad we worship you and your infinate wisdom bla bla bla." I would say to my kids, enough already, yet everyone thinks this God being just can't get enough praises like some insecure little king.

You said,

"I have been an atheist for around 9 months and cannot see myself returning to Christianity."

If you keep educating yourself you will come to a point where you know that there isn't a chance of ever going back again, absolutely none, unless Jesus H. Christ himself personally visits you.


None said...

Once I became an atheist, I never found it to be depressing. After all, the wars still raged on, even when I thought there was a god and assholes like Hitler still run things. While it is somewhat comforting to think people like Stalin will be punished in an afterlife for their crimes, it doesn't balance out when you think of all the decent people who weren't baptized, didn't believe in Christianity, who couldn't believe in god because they just didn't see any evidence for him. Why do those people deserve the same fate as a cruel dictator?

So....we're back to where we started--is atheism depressing or is that something we've been indoctrinated to believe? In my mind, atheism is liberating. It means we can solve our own problems. It means there's a chance we will be able to help people like Jeffrey Dahmer in the future when we better understand why people do what they do--as opposed to wasting time praying to an imaginary idol to make it happen for us. Atheism is a motivator because no great presence is going to make things happen for us; it's up to us to make that happen. Atheism teaches us to enjoy our lives while we have them, because they are short and because we don't get to throw away this one while planning for the next (imaginary) life.


Dee said...

I was impressed with what you wrote. You are obviously a very intelligent and thoughtful person. You certainly write well. One thought about the worship thing: Have you ever seen an incrediblly beautiful site such as snowcapped mountains with beautiful streams and lovely flowers like I saw at Mt. Ranier? I was overwhelmed by that beauty. Perhaps this worsip thing has something to do with a perception such as this.

RubyHypatia said...

God needed to be worshipped for the same reason the other deities needed worship. God was created in man's image.

Brandon said...

lots of ill-informed and frankly anti-religous hate speech in these comments. The question isn't "Why God needs our worship?" It is why as humans we need to worship him. And freedly, God is angry in the old testement and not the new testement, since we are mostly talking about Christianity here.

Astreja said...

Brandon: " lots of ill-informed and frankly anti-religous hate speech in these comments."

Anti-religious? Yes.

Ill-informed? No. Disagreement with someone's favoured version of reality is *not* synonymous with being ill-informed.

"The question isn't 'Why God needs our worship?' It is why as humans we need to worship him."

Didn't you get the memo, Brandon? We don't need to worship anything.

"And freedly, God is angry in the old testement and not the new testement..."

(scratches Her head in genuine puzzlement) Is it possible we have a Christian apologist here who has never read Revelation? Read it, Brandon. Right now. Biblegod's fury, sadism and outright mayhem is truly astounding.

CinemaNet said...

Brandon is right; the question is, why DO humans need to worship God? It is simply another of asking the question at the beginning of the post. Why does God care, and why do we need to worship God? Why do we need to worship God, and why does God care? Both are aspects of the same question.

Of course, both questions are irrelevant because there is no God. We can ask from a philsophical standpoint, but ultimately the question(s) require that we make the assuption that there is a God. I don't know how many more times we have to go over this: the Bible has been proven wrong. THAT'S where we should start. Knowin that there is no God, there is no point in asking the questions, except for philosophical exercise.

Thank you for pointing out, Brandon, that there is no God.

AtheistToothFairy said...

Brandon wrote:
...And freedly, God is angry in the old testement and not the new testement, since we are mostly talking about Christianity here
Yes, the NT 'son' of god is calmer than his OT tyrant daddy was.

The problem as I see it, is that Daddy is the one in charge, not the son, so until Daddy-god dies (soon, I hope) then we are still stuck with that OT tyrant.

Of course, jesus never showed the anger traits of his Daddy, right Brandon?
Well, other than some BDSM whipping of those money changers and then blaming an innocent fig tree for not being 'intelligent' enough to produce figs out-of-season.

Now, don't you xtians worry your little heads off, as I'm sure your god would never change his mind or go back on his promises to you.
Remember, god never changes, so that means today he's just as angry as he always was.

Of course, he once existed in a universe that was human-less and got along fine without us. Then one day he suddenly changed (oops) and got lonely for some human pets to play with.
Oh, but I'm sure that was ONE TIME change and it could never ever happen again, right xtians?

ATF (Who heard a rumor that god found some better pets to abuse, and left our galaxy long ago, taking the promise of a human heaven with him)

RubyHypatia said...

Why do people need to worship gods? That's an interesting question. I suppose it gives them a sense of control, even though it's a false sense of control. That false sense was better than none at all. Sorta like getting kids to hide under their desks in case of nuclear attacks.

Unknown said...

Only Satan wants to be worshiped. God actually came and knelt down before us to lift us up. He even stooped to our level to walk amongst us. He doesn´t require us to worship Him, that´s a Catholic tradition to bind men to religious duty. God only requires that we walk with Him. Yes we must be greatful and thankful but He doesn´t require us to bow in front of Him. He´s our Father, the word Lord is a pagan word directly linked with Baal, in fact it is Baal´s title. In the original Scriptures God´s Name (YHWH, Yahuweh) appears exactly 7000 times in the Old Covenant passages, it was scribbled out and initially replaced with Adonay and then later Lord. God hates religion.

He is our Father, we walk with Him as we do with our earthly fathers, with love and respect, not fear.

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