One day I decided to buy a book on magic and as I read through it I came to realize that it was all a sham. This book covered stage magic and it revealed all of the most common methods to create amazing illusions. I never was interested in performing magic, I was more interested in learning how it was done. After having read that book I lost all my respect for stage magic because I realized that the magician literally did next to nothing! His whole role on the stage was presentation, but the real magic was handled for the most part by stage hands behind the scenes.
Once the show 'Magic's Biggest Secrets Finally Revealed' aired for the first time on television, I had a pretty good idea how he did most of the big stage illusions people were most familiar with. I loved it when he would demonstrate how the trick looked before anyone knew how it was done and then later show exactly how it was done!
Even after magics secrets were aired on television and easier to find online and pretty much anywhere, I came away with a greater respect for prestidigitation (manual dexterity in the execution of tricks). I found that coin and card magic was a skill that actually took a lot of practice and time to master; and to this day those are the types of magic tricks that awe and inspire me.
You may ask yourself why am I discussing magic on an atheist blog. The reason is quite simple: religious beliefs and the belief in God are very similar to magic. This reminds me of the scene in The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy notices that man behind the curtain.
When I took to reading the bible in its entirety for the first time I remember going through a gamut of emotions. I literally cried when God told Moses that he could not go into the promised land simply because he hit a rock instead of talking to it in order to provide water for his people. That act of disobedience according to the story caused Moses to lose out on the promised land. Actually, he didn't miss much because God did not tell them that they had to go into those already inhabited lands and wage war on its citizens. He did not tell Moses that they had to kill men, women, and children and that although he gave that land to them they had to wrest it from it inhabitants through murder, rape, and pillaging.
My idea of God before I read the bible was the traditional one where he loved mankind above everything. We were the apple of his eye and we were chosen above all of his creation to be in his image. When I felt down or things were just not going my way I found comfort in prayer and in knowing that it was all in God's hands. I felt honored that Christ would give up his life so that I may live forever in the presence of my Lord. I worshiped and prayed constantly and poured out my heart to my imaginary friend named Jesus.
Before I read the bible God was safely tucked away behind this curtain or veil of love, peace, understanding, etc. What I read in the bible was an utter shock to me! I saw God massacre thousands for the slightest infractions of his laws. He seemed to delight in watching men tremble with fear at his very presence and voice. Most of all he loved blood sacrifices like the many deities from other cultures that existed before him. The veil of lies had been removed and the true face of God had finally been revealed, and I did not like what I saw.
Today as I reflect upon those days I see the biblical deity in a much different light. When I see God I see a tyrant, a maniac, a psychopath, and a mythological being. I see that this god could not possibly exist and if he did then he did not deserve my love, worship, or respect. Worshiping the biblical deity in my mind is akin to giving homage to famed serial killer John Wayne Gayce or to Mao, Stalin, or Hitler. What do they all have in common? They were all murderers with no concern for the harm they caused and the lives that yhey have taken. Christianity is one big illusion. What is the illusion? The illusion that God loves and cares for you and that you will live forever.