9“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Luke 11:9-10
Often when I find myself confronted by fundamentalist Christians I am often told that If I seek God with an open mind that he would make himself known to me. Today I found myself reflecting on this claim and wondering if after all these years of being an atheist, if maybe somewhere deep down inside I am still seeking. Let me explain: since I left the church in 94' I have always held an interest in Christianity and the idea of God. Today all I read are books on Christianity, comparative religion, science and other things related to beliefs.
The verse I have cited Luke 11:9-10 is interesting to me because I felt that that is exactly what I did. I sought God at one time with an open mind in spirit and in truth as is prescribed in the scriptures. I devoted four years of my life preaching the gospel and ministering to the masses. Subjectively speaking I had found God. I felt his presence every waking moment of every day, I heard him guide me in my head in my own voice, I lived entirely dependent upon his guidance for my life. I looked for signs in my daily life of his approval and confirmation of his will and plan for my life. I never thought to question my beliefs nor did I dare.
"Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Matthew 10:37
I can honestly say that in those days I loved the Lord more than life itself and was willing to die for what I believed in. I prayed not just on my knees at designated times but also all day long I spoke to the Lord in my mind. I asked for guidance and strength to resist temptation and I prayed for my fellow man that he may come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ my savior and Lord. I thought of the biblical God as the ultimate father figure. All powerful, all wise, and all knowing and trusted in him with all my heart. I had dreams of Jesus and visions of Christ I felt the surge of the Holy Spirit within me when I prayed to myself or for others. I believed that I was anointed with various gifts of the Spirit and thought I was helping people with my prayers.
In those days nothing mattered to me more than to live a life that I thought was pleasing to the Lord. In the scriptures obedience is key and it was hard work to try and stay on the right track in my daily walk. But I can honestly say that I loved the Lord more than life itself. I find it insulting when a theist states that I was not a real Christian or that I did not truly seek the Lord. I felt that I went above and beyond what many calling themselves Christians today could ever imagine. But my experience as a fundamentalist believer taught me some things that many atheists could never comprehend unless they have had a similar experience like mine. I learned that in the end its all in the mind.
When you read the Bible as I did as a theist and then as a nonbeliever I noticed a huge difference. When reading as a theist I read it with reverence and fear I took every word to heart and believed that in doing so I was edifying my spirit. I did not notice many things that would have made me question my beliefs at the time. It wasn't till I read the Bible objectively as an outsider that I began to see the barbarity in its verses. I no longer saw a loving father figure deity but a morally bankrupt monster and murderer of the human faculty of the mind and destroyer of the human spirit.
Reading the Bible objectively is an eye opening experience. I began to question the actions of God against humanity. I began to try and work out better solutions to genocide and mass murder and I found that God's motives for these actions were petty and unwarranted. God demands obedience, love, and submission. All three of these qualities do not point to the idea of a loving god but rather reflect the actions of a communistic dictator and a tyrant. I find it ironic when I hear theists state that communists were for the most part atheist. Atheism is not an ideology so whether they were or not is irrelevant. The God of the bible acts just like a human tyrant reminiscent of Hitler, Mao, or Papa doc.
This God of the Bible is a racist, a misogynist, he endorses slavery, the death penalty for the most minor infractions, etc. This is not a god to be loved but rather to be feared he is not a father unless you classify him as an abusive father. He is manipulating, controlling, and oppressive. He condemns the search for knowledge, truth, and objectivity. I have sought God; but in the end what I found was a monster.
Note: All biblical citations are from the New International Version of the scriptures.