It so happened that the events of Saturday evening led to me sitting in front of a church with a good buddy of mine, sippin’ Coronitas, once everyone had left for home. I’d rather not elaborate on how we actually got there, but anyway.
Drinking beer in front of this institution very quickly drew to conversation to a point where the question: “Now, honestly, do you believe in God?” was asked.
This buddy of mine is a German Protestant of the moderate kind. He’s got a high IQ and he’s very liberal and has an open mindset, which is why I was puzzled at his reaction:
“Yes, of course.”
Later on, he elaborated, explaining how he thought that people were mistaken in taking the Bible literally and how he believed in a Supreme Being.
The dangers of this type of theism are almost self-evident. There is a sympathy towards a religious institution even if the fence theist never adheres to the strict principles of the dogma.
A God fearing person will have to live with the looming threat that their life is beyond their control, that the only purpose to their existence is to die and end up somewhere else.
Besides, a belief in an Abrahamic God is rather sadistic, to say the least, considering what a bastard the Old Testament God actually was. To invoke the example of Abraham himself: God almost led Abraham to kill his own child, stopping only when on the climax of the bar bet with the other deities, God realised that “that fool was actually going to do it”.
In any case, a belief in God doesn’t complete a person in any way – it empties one. My buddy took the example of someone insecure who finds strength in God. In a striking contradiction, he talked about being God-fearing. If someone insecure finds comfort in belief in God, it is merely like a scaffold which props his insecurities up against the walls of a fear of something beyond his control.
God almost led Abraham to kill his own child, stopping only when on the climax of the bar bet with the other deities, God realised that “that fool was actually going to do it”.
Religious people love to talk about the ’emptiness’ of atheism and the lack of purpose of not having a goal to get into in the afterlife. Quite frankly, this is self-contradicting. A God fearing person will have to live with the looming threat that their life is beyond their control, that the only purpose to their existence is to die and end up somewhere else. Recently, the Catholic Church has dismissed Limbo, but from the sound of religious doctrine, life itself is a sort of limbo between pre-birth and afterlife! Talk about getting depressive…
What more purpose do you need than to know that you can seize events and take control? That you have one life to give and you should use it to the max? A religious person will live forever in the shadow of regret and doubt. An atheist is liberated and full.
This buddy of mine mentioned that God fills up a sort of moral gap in people. I argue, on the other hand, that God is a thorn in your soul that shouldn’t be there in the first place. Can you picture the physical relief when you pull out a thorn in the palm of your hand? Imagine that feeling when you realise that the whole idea of God is not even quaintly cute, but critically dangerous.
Fence theists like my buddy lie on the verge of accepting reality. I trust that he needs to only read Dawkins’ argument in The God Delusion to be convinced. Fence theist’s elevated IQs can certainly accommodate a new train of thought. It just takes a little shove, a little encouragement to go over the edge and life life to the fullest, without the fear of being struck down beyond your own choices and decisions.