Who needs a god?
There are really three key things that piss me off about religion. The first is when people revel in the irrationality of faith. I have no problem tolerating disagreement with my conclusions about religion. I get irritated, however, when people forsake their everyday thought processes in one area for no apparent reason and then brag about it. It’s like when people brag about being ignorant in some area of knowledge. Except, instead of being anti-intellectual they’re being anti one of the most amazing parts of being human. It’s bewildering.
The second is when people claim life is meaningless without God. I can’t say I’ve ever truly been a member of any religion. I tried to be Christian when I was a kid to fit in, but as I’ve said before, it felt like I was praying to the ceiling. I don’t presume to tell the religious how satisfying their life is or should be with religion. I simply don’t know, though I suspect a lot of it is confusing the effects of intimate social interaction with the effects of religious belief. I do wish some would extend the same courtesy to the non-religious. For myself, I can’t imagine life with religion being any more meaningful than mine is now. The sense of wonder and amazement I get from the natural world is purely a function of my understanding of how it came to be. The mountains in Glacier National Park are amazing because such breathtaking features were carved over spans of time I can’t fathom by sheets of ice of a size I can’t fathom and collisions with other pieces of the earth on a scale I can’t fathom. The idea that a supernatural being put them there like that or instigated such a process cheapens the experience for me. It’s just special effects at that point. The same goes for things like music. Colby said one of the reasons he believes God exists is music. I don’t get it. To have all these things put here for us to enjoy seems less than satisfying. There wasn’t any effort involved. I get far more satisfaction from music that I have to put in some work to like. That I can listen to multiple times and get different things out of it. It’s far more rewarding. Maybe that’s a strange analogy, but there wasn’t any work involved if God was involved. It took billions of years to get us to this amazing point, and it wasn’t even the point. Like I said before, it’s just special effects. Life is meaningful to me because of a myriad of different things: human interaction (I’m hardly very social, but this still can be enjoyable to me), using my mind to solve problems and learn about the world, and on and on. It seems that’s what most people enjoy in life. God is at best superfluous and at worst a detriment to my enjoyment. Who needs one?
The third is that you can’t be moral without direction from on high. This is an even dimmer view of human beings than I take when I get pissed off about stupid people in the world. That I need a reward to act morally and that reward and punishment based motivation is really morality is absurd. You may as well call a dog moral because you’ve trained it not to do certain things by punishment and praise. Selflessness is supposedly praiseworthy, but heaven and hell give us selfish motivations. The higher form of morality is doing the right thing simply because it’s the right thing to do. Those who say we need God to be moral betray their own immorality in doing so. If you’re only helping out others because you have a gun to your head, you’re not moral, you’re looking out for number one. I think the other justification for morality with a god seems to be to glorify him, whatever that means. Trying to curry favor with a powerful being is hardly moral either. If you’re not trying to do that, why do you need a god? Why not be good because that’s the right thing to do?