At the end of 2018, I began reading ‘God is Not Great‘ by Christopher Hitchens. The first part of the book (up to the end of chapter 5) is focused mainly on ‘Religion’, rather than the ‘faith’ belief system that I would be familiar with. Because of this, it didn’t really hit me, as I was nodding along – agreeing that religion has caused a lot of harm. From chapter 6 onwards, that all changed.
At the very start of 2018, I began to really delve into my ‘why’ in regards to the faith I profess.
Below you will see an excerpt from ‘God is Not Great’ – a book I would highly recommend buying – get it on Kindle if you can. Just so you can easily look up the words that Mr Hitchens uses. I read the following excerpt and then broke my thoughts down. It really helped me to unwind belief and honestly shocked me. I hope you find it insightful.
‘There seems to be little or no doubt that these peoples were annihilated not just by human conquerors but by microorganisms of which neither they nor their invaders had any knowledge. These germs may have been indigenous or they may have been imported, but the effect was the same. Here again one sees the gigantic man-made fallacy that informs our “Genesis” story. How can it be proven in one paragraph that this book was written by ignorant men and not by any god? Because man is given “dominion” over all beasts, fowl and fish. But no dinosaurs or plesiosaurs or pterodactyls are specified, because the authors did not know of their existence, let alone of their supposedly special and immediate creation. Nor are any marsupials mentioned, because Australia—the next candidate after Mesoamerica for a new “Eden”—was not on any known map. Most important, in Genesis man is not awarded dominion over germs and bacteria because the existence of these necessary yet dangerous fellow creatures was not known or understood. And if it had been known or understood, it would at once have become apparent that these forms of life had “dominion” over us, and would continue to enjoy it uncontested until the priests had been elbowed aside and medical research at last given an opportunity.’
Hitchens, Christopher. God Is Not Great (pp. 154-155). Atlantic Books. Kindle Edition.
(Before we start – you need to know this follows the path my brain went down. I am not writing this as a watertight argument – rather an honest reflection of my thought process, which is why it may jump around a bit.)
Well… clearly, the extent of bacteria and germs dominion didn’t take place until after the fall… but we need them to survive and evolve (see below), so does that really make sense…
What about dinosaurs or plesiosaurs or pterodactyls? They must have been pre-fall, for the Bible misses out the huge event that must have taken place to cause their extension… but that means the creation narrative isn’t correct. What else does it miss or fail to account for?
Ok, I can make this work. Creation was longer than 6 days, Genesis 1 is a poem showing God’s power, love and creative beautify. So do I then believe in evolution as the most logical explanation?
There is a lot of evidence to say that all life on the Earth has been brought to near extinction 4-5 times in the past, events causing life to reduce by 70%-98%. Did God really do all that – just to bring about us? I understand the romance behind the phoenix rising out of the ashes story – but really?
So God created everything and then let it run its course? That sounds far too much like Deism to me, rather than the personal and intermit relationship that the Bible speaks of. Can both fit side by side?
So how did ‘Sin’ enter in if Genesis is wrong? I don’t believe one person eating fruit that God told them not to could cause the entire world to be in the state of existence it is in now. If God exists then we have been forced to live in a state of His ultimate making…
Wow – ok – I just said that. Genuinely when I read it back it terrifies me. What do I believe?!
‘It is a metaphor for humans wanting to be gods themselves’. Ok, but not everyone believes that. If face some, quite fanatically, believe it is literal.
If it is a metaphor, how did we get to the position to choose this (broken world) path? Did we even have a choice? Would I have made the same choice? I wouldn’t, at least right now.
I know many people who would have rather never existed at all, than have had to walk the paths their lives led them to down. I imagine quite a few…
But that isn’t their choice, God calls us to a life of knowing Him in the bad and the good.
What about the people groups and cultures that never knew about the Judeo-Christian God, but knew all too well about the bad in the world?
They knew of God from the world around them.
Sure, if you think all religions lead to the same god. But history tells us that we don’t.
Even pre-history points to supernatural beliefs that have nothing to do with the God professed in the Bible. Worship of the seasons, orbital movements, people, animals, etc…
Genesis feels far more like a reactive narrative than an informative narrative. Telling us the ‘how’ that we seek, but falling down again and again.
If Genesis is incorrect, then so is the narrative given for sin’s entrance into the world. We, therefore have no starting point as to how sin entered the world or why we deserve to be within a world where things like anencephaly happen.
Unless we don’t ‘deserve’ anything, because there is no justice or fairness. Unless there only is…
Going back to the start…
For us to have evolved and adapted, we would have had to have been within the same framework we find the world to be in right now. Germs and bacteria in all their dominion are essential for us to be here.
But that leads me to a path that is of unbelief. A path that is not comfortable and drags everything into question. Can reason help me find God?!
‘The point at present is that, since God (if he exists) is not an object within our world, or even an idea within our intellectual world, we can probe towards the centre of the maze as much as we like, but we shall never reach that centre by our own efforts.’
Wright, T. (2006). Simply Christian (pp. 51–52). London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.
Wright argues after this that we can know God – the God of the Bible. Because God came to us, He revealed the centre of the maze to us, rather than us revealing it to ourselves.
So, some say reason can’t allow us to reach the centre of this maze and some say that God has revealed the centre of the maze.
But to my mind, I feel as though our reason can help us to realise there isn’t a maze at all. I feel as though reason can show that God is nothing but a manmade fabrication aimed at unifying people together and distilling purpose into people’s lives.
With a fabricated God that you claim is working through actions, deaths, prosperity and allegiance – you can make a group of people think, follow and do almost anything.
In the space where God should be there just seems to be a gap. A gap that we spread hope over and fill with meaningless beliefs and practices. We want there to be a God because having an ultimate being that we can depend upon to judge, correct, support and restore gives us a meaning and purpose within the painful world in which we live.
I look at my children and I want there to be a God. I want there to be a present and a future where they can know and be known by their creator. Where they can live in love. The fullness of love that the Bible professes. It isn’t an easy love, it is a hard love, a love that asks for everything. I want to believe love is there, calling me by name.
But I don’t. Rather I think there is a fabrication that contorts the world around me, a contortion that is designed to help life ‘make sense’ to those who follow it. It contorts what we see, think and feel and then blindly attributes it to God.
If it takes God to open the eyes of the blind and the ears of the death to His existence, then surely if He doesn’t exist, those same eyes and ears can begin to realise they don’t see or hear Him. They just wanted to all along…
_End of Blog Blurb_
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. It has taken me a few years to get to a place where I am able to share about my loss of faith and to start writing about the journey that I am still on for you all. I hope you find it useful.
Grammar, spelling, capitalisation and punctuation: I am massively dyslexic. It has taken me years to get to the level I am currently at with writing and I have done this mainly through reading. I want to be better, and ask you reader to please forgive any errors in my writing. I hope you notice improvement upon improvement over the coming years.
Time Frame: This blog is roughly six to nine months behind where I currently am at in my journey out of religion. It’s important to remember that when reading and commenting.
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I’ll see you back here at the same time next week 🙂