Every theist's mantra aka the god of the gaps theory
As a former theist evangelist and now as an atheist, I personally do not have any problem with the idea of a god or his/her/or its existence. I am trying to be as true to myself as far as what can be known and am humble enough to say I don't know something when I feel that I lack the knowledge or expertise to answer a question with certainty. I prefer science over theism because of this same humility. But the difference is that science does not state things as absolute facts and scientists are the first to acknowledge that our knowledge on all matters are subject to change based on the discovery of a better theory strongly supported by better evidence in its favor.
This is where I have my biggest problem with theism and organized religion in general. Theist's claim to know everything and make extraordinary claims of certainty based entirely on faith in the truth of their so called holy texts of choice. The one thing they can't agree on is on the name of their god and which religious text, sect, or organization is the truth. But each proponent of his or her chosen religion claims to have the truth while at the same time discrediting all other religious institutions as false dupes of Satan. When it comes to religion I stand with Thomas Paine and many of my beliefs are along the same line of thought as his. I view all of the worlds religions, gods, and other deities as man made inventions.
Thomas Paine was a deist (1737-1809) who wrote the book The Age of Reason which was an attack on organized religions that accused them of corruption and political ambition. Anyone who is interested in reading this book online or downloading it can find a very good and informative link to this work here. Thomas Paine saw religions as human inventions all created with some ulterior motives that its founders hid within their so called holy texts. Before I go any further I would like to take this moment to define the word deism and what it refers to.
Deism: Deism is the recognition of a universal creative force greater than that demonstrated by mankind, supported by personal observation of laws and designs in nature and the universe, perpetuated and validated by the innate ability of human reason coupled with the rejection of claims made by individuals and organized religions of having received special divine revelation.
My problem with organized religions goes beyond the fact that I believe that they are all nothing more than the inventions of men. The three major religions of the book as they are called Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all make use of a very common habit of man. Their idea of god is based entirely on the model of man. This is what is known as anthropomorphism and what it means is that they basically attribute to their gods the attributes of men.
Anthropomorphism: an interpretation of what is not human or personal in terms of human or personal characteristics
This is not unique to just Judaism, Christianity, and Islam but is also quite evident in many of the polytheistic (worship many gods) ancient religions that predate them. The only change these three modern religions bring to the table is that they claim to only worship one god (monotheism). The god of these three main religions is described in their holy texts very much in the same way that you would describe your next door neighbor. He walks, talks, grieves, gets angry, jealous, throws tantrums etc. He is also for the most part racist in that he always chooses a particular race to represent him on earth and spread his message to the rest of us. He loves attention and demands our love, devotion, worship, complete obedience, and fear. he is very particular on how he wants to be worshiped and how he expects us to live so that we may always walk in a way that is pleasing to his sight. Lastly he is not averse to making threats for refusing to believe in him.
These anthropomorphic deities are very interested in your personal life down to its most minute detail. He wants to control your thoughts, who you love, how you love, your finances, how you treat others who reject his message, etc. Not only does he want to control you in life he also likes to persuade the unbeliever with threats of what awaits you after you die. He is very controlling and dictatorial in nature. He has rituals he wants you to perform, and days he wants you to dedicate to his worship and service.
If I were ever to accept the existence of a god as fact, the only religious philosophy I would embrace would be deism. Because this deity is only responsible for creation and nothing more. He, she, or it does not care what you do or how you live. I think if there is some sort of unknown and probably unknowable creative force out there that it is not even a personal deity. It simply got the ball rolling for creation and stepped out of the picture and left us to our own devices. This is the only type of deity that would do away with the problem of evil and other common arguments used against the
standard models of theism.
I think that life is what we make of it. I don't need a god to teach me right from wrong nor do I think it is built into our psyche. I think that morals are like religion the products of men, societies, and culture. We are taught right and wrong first from our parents and then learn the rest from relatives, friends, and the society we live in. Never again will I stand with arms raised to the heavens or prostrated on my knees on the ground in worship and adoration of an imaginary invention of man. Never again will I allow my religious biases to dictate how I live or treat my fellow man. I will not judge others based on so called statutes and laws derived from other cultures claiming to be universal and divine.
The deistic god does not care how you live or ask for your undying loyalty, love, and worship. I live life to the best of my ability and try to treat others with respect as I too would like to be treated. I don't discriminate anyone for their sex, sexual orientation, or creed. Like Paine I can declare with confident joy that my mind is my church!
Note: All word definitions are taken from the Merriam Webster dictionary online. All other sources are directly linked to in the text.