When it comes to the idea of the existence of God I think that it does qualify as an extraordinary claim. We are supposed to believe without evidence that there is a being that exists outside of time and space who is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. This being created everything including time itself and is the beginning of all things created. He insists through the written word revealed to certain individuals that he requires our love, devotion, and worship.
The problem I have with these claims is that outside of subjective evidence there is no reason to believe in this deity. In fact, the very idea that worldwide several deities have "revealed" themselves to mankind since time immemorial is a pretty safe indicator to me that gods are the creation of the very fertile imaginations of men. The only thing that they all have in common is that they all claim that their god is the one and true god, or in the case of polytheists gods.
Santa Clause/ Yahweh
Let's make a common and I think fair comparison. Many atheists refer to the belief in God as the equivalent of Santa Clause for adults. Let's compare some of their common traits and see why this comparison is in fact a logical one. The first thing that they both have in common is that neither of them has ever been seen. They only exist in the minds of those that choose to believe in them which brings us to their second similarity. They both require faith/belief without evidence of their existence although in the case of Santa parents have helped this along by providing presents for their children as if Santa had brought them. Not to mention the missing cookies and the empty glass of milk that you might have left Santa as a child before going to bed on Christmas eve.
Santa has several magical powers that defy all the laws of the universe and nature itself. Somehow he is able to fly around the world in a sleigh being pulled by flying reindeer in one single night! He can manage to fit his plump frame into the smallest chimney's. He seems to have an endless bag of presents which he uses to fulfill every child's requests for toys. Somehow he keeps tabs on the behavior of all the children in the world and has two lists. He has a naughty list and a nice lists and based on where your name is on that list you either get your Christmas wishes or you get a lump of coal.
Now let's look at the attributes of the biblical god called Yahweh. He is all powerful, all knowing, and present everywhere at once. But his greatest attribute which has served him so well to this day is that he is invisible! In fact this is one of the requirements of the believer he must believe without evidence because no one can see God.
20And he said, You can not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. Exodus 33:20
I know many will refute this and state that the Bible claims that several people did in fact claim to have seen God in the scriptures face to face. This is expected from a book that as many atheists such as myself has pointed out is not only untrue but self-contradictory. According the the scriptures God knows the intentions of your heart and every thought that crosses you mind. He too has a book which is referred to as the "book of life" where the names of those that are worthy of eternal life will be found. If your name is not found in that book then you will be cast into hell for all eternity. Quite frankly I'll take a lump of coal for bad behavior over hell any day. Like Santa, the Bible states that there is nothing impossible for God he too can defy the laws of the universe since he is the one who made them.
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6
Like Santa, faith without evidence is key. In fact you are rewarded for this type of belief without evidence and asking questions is normally frowned upon amongst theists. What I can say about this matter is that if you look at God from a realistic perspective it is extremely hard to take belief in him seriously. God's love is contingent on your willingness to suspend critical thinking and the use of logic in analyzing what is said about him and what is expected of us as believers.
You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. James 4:4
In fact, the Bible clearly states that if you don't believe in God or keep his commandments that you are by default considered to be his enemy! So much for free will! This biblical tyrant wants you to believe in him without evidence whatsoever. Your refusal to do so puts God in a bad mood and you on his bad side.
This isn't a display of love for humanity it is a clear demonstration of tyranny and complete domination of humanity. Love, worship, adoration are not asked for they are demanded and required from this being in exchange for his favor. Anything else is the exact opposite and incurs his wrath. That Yahweh has one hell of a temper and we are supposed to tread lightly and fear him at all times because we never know when he may snap!
This does not seem like a loving relationship as we would define it amongst two people. If the relationship with God were analyzed from a human perspective it would seem that this is more of an abusive relationship. Many of the signs for domestic violence are present in the relationship between God and man as defined by believers and the Bible itself. Coercion, fear, and forced servitude are not the traits found in a loving relationship. In order to accept belief in God we must belittle ourselves by first recognizing that we are sinners. That without God our very existence is useless and our lives are for nothing. We have to bow at the altar and submit ourselves body, mind, and soul to the invisible tyrant in the sky.
Like Santa and other myths and legends that man has created a belief in God without evidence is no exception. It's hard for me as an atheist to accept that this being loves me when all of what we know about him through the scriptures indicate otherwise. It is hard to pray to a being that sits around in whatever plane of existence he may reside doing nothing while millions in the world are born into starvation and poverty. While man continues to be cruel to one another and the good Lord stands by and does nothing. Even if I was to accept that he did exist I would declare that such a being is not worthy of worship.
Note: All biblical citations are taken from the New International Version of the scriptures.