This post is primarily for those who do not believe in God, or who are not convinced either way as yet.
Can you describe the God you don’t believe in? Who is he, this God you believe does not exist? What is he like? What are his characteristics; what manner of nature is he, that you find so disagreeable that you refuse to acknowledge any possibility of his existence? I ask these questions because I strongly suspect that the vast majority of unbelievers or doubters would present a fairly similar description, agreeing with one another an many points. Now I am a Christian, and have been for many years. I believe in the Bible, I belong to a recognized global denomination, yet I am going to say something that would likely surprise you.
If the God you would describe to me is anything like the God that fits the description that the vast majority of Christendom believes in, then you may describe me as an atheist too, for I do not believe in such a God either.
This god you would describe….does he rule with absolute supreme authority and sovereignty over all creation, whose word is final and brooks no discussion or argument?
Has he already decided before we were even born who is to go to heaven and who to hell? Are our lives wholly predestined and there is nothing we can say or do that might change whatever destiny god has chosen for us? Do we have no say in the matter of whether we are to burn for all eternity or not?
Does he simply rule with total authority without any to dare even question him or challenge his sense of justice and fairness? Does this god somehow make those in heaven happy and eternally joyful despite knowing that somewhere “below” there are loved ones suffering in totally inexorable pain and those in heaven are actually happy and joyful about that and ‘bite the bullet’ so to speak and trust that God knows what he is doing and that after a short life here doing whatever sin is worthy of a continuing torture forever?
If this is the god you don’t believe in, then I am with you. Count me an atheist also. “But you’re a Christian” you say. Yes, I am. But despite what you may have heard, and despite what the majority of churches actually teach, the above does not in any way describe the God that I do believe in. In fact, the God I believe in is exactly the opposite, the exact antithesis of the traditionally accepted view of God which if anything like that described above, is tyrannical, despotic, dictatorial, and a monster. And like you, I would rather have nothing to do with such a god.
So allow me if you will to offer the alternative. A God of absolute undiluted self-sacrificial love. A love for man that is the most wonderful and all encompassing and unconditional in every way possible? A God who would, in fact did, give up His own immortality than live in eternity without you! A God who in every sense always does the right thing for everyone…justly and fairly treating all with the same respect and compassion with no favoritism.
A God who gives to every man and woman the right and the freedom to choose their own destiny, and who would never torture any who would choose to not respond to Him.
Friend, the God I believe in is not out to threaten, control, or damn us to an eternal torture chamber. Like you, I find such a god utterly repulsive.
But a God who is perfectly good, just, and merciful to everyone at all times and who seeks only the good for all who would come to Him in faith, is this a God you would like to believe in? A God who revels in beauty, a God who loves peace, a God who created the very best of what we see in the beauty of nature about us? A God of such love that there is not a tinge or suggestion of selfishness in Him? Would you like to think that this is the kind of God you could accept?
“For God so loves you, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever would believe in Him would not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)