Saturday, January 3, 2015

The hiddeness of God problem

21By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. 22Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people. Exodus 13:21-22

As an atheist one of the second biggest problems I have with belief in the Judaeo-Christian deity is the fact that his existence lies beyond the realm of objective or empirical proofs. The first problem for me is the problem of evil. In this post I would like to address the issue of the hiddeness of God and why outside of faith one cannot otherwise "know him."

Right out of the gate I would like to state that I personally do not consider faith in any form as a reliable source of information or evidence. Religious faith in and of itself is an entirely subjective matter accompanied by so called experiences that are equally irrelevant when it comes to providing evidence for the existence of the biblical god.

I also do not consider the Bible the word of God. In my opinion it is neither authored, inspired, or even a work of said invisible guy in the sky. Therefore, the Bible itself is not a reliable source of information nor a valid proof for God's existence. But since it is the foundational document of belief for Christians the world over we will use it here for illustrative purposes only.

First as you can see from the biblical text I used to open this post with God apparently had no problems with revealing himself to mankind. In this case in particular to the ancient Hebrews as he liberated them from 400 years of slavery in the land of Egypt. Wow! Talk about the wheels turning slowly! But according to this text God led them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Both physical proofs of his existence.

16And it came to pass on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of a trumpet exceeding loud; and all the people that were in the camp trembled. 17And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. Exodus 19:16-17

Apparently not only did God give visual evidences of his existence and presence amongst the ancient Hebrews, but he also gave them audible proofs as well. Unfortunately today the good Lord doesn't like to speak anymore. That is unless you count hearing either your own voice or other voices in your head the voice of God. Most likely it is the product of a very deluded individual or the symptoms of schizophrenia.

In the O.T. the Lord even took challenges from other competing religions and gods and true to his form came through with flying colors.

36At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”
38Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.
39When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!” 1 Kings 18:36-39

After challenging the prophets of the god Baal Elijah received a proof of God to his people and all present that he alone was god. Of course Baal did not respond to the prayers and supplications of the prophets and thus lost the challenge altogether. 

Anyone who reads the Old Testament in its entirety gets to see a God who was not only a tyrant but a moral monster in my view. He instilled fear in his people and demanded their worship and respect. According to many of the mythological tall tales found within its pages God often took a personal interest in disciplining and even executing his people who challenged or disobeyed his laws. The funny thing about it all is that even with all these proofs of his existence we constantly read that the Hebrews would often stray from his laws and at times even worship other gods from some of the foreign cultures they encountered.

This brings us to my current views on the demand for faith which is really believing without evidence. I see the idea of faith as a  rationalization for God as to why he doesn't personally deal with people anymore. The world is filled with evil people committing evil acts and the Lord remains silent to the suffering of a humanity that he allegedly created and loves! Children are raped, kidnapped, and murdered on a daily basis in this world and God does nothing to save or protect them. I often refer to man as the most brutal animal to walk the earth. We do things to each other that makes even the wildest carnivores in nature look tame and moral from a human perspective. 

People call out to God all the time from the most dire circumstances or even when in peril of death and he does nothing to save them. The biblical deity has become nothing more than a useless and abstract idea. There is no credible evidence for his existence today nor do I think in my opinion that there ever was. I see the stories in the bible as nothing more than a collection of ancient myths and superstitions with no basis in historical fact whatsoever. The world without gods makes so much more sense and requires no justification when bad things happen to otherwise good people. 

You would think that if this message of God's were so vital and important that he would go out of his way to make his presence and existence known to all those that request it. He would make it so that everyone who did request it all had accounts of their experiences that can be proven and are consistent with those of others. He would make it so that his existence could be proven both objectively and empirically by showing himself in times of need as he allegedly did in the Old Testament. For instance when the ancient Hebrews were fleeing from Pharaohs army and found themselves trapped between the army and the see he opened the see and led them across on dry land! He then drowned Pharaoh and his army when they attempted pursuit. Where my dear Christian, Jew, or Muslim is this god? 

The biblical deity has taken his place in my view in the make believe realm of mythology from whence all of mans imaginations have run wild creating and believing all sorts of insane and irrational beliefs without evidence. Fear has been and continues to be the driving force of all religions that bow down and pledge allegiance to some imaginary being or beings. As a nonbeliever in fairy tales and myths I refuse to bow down. Instead, I pledge my loyalty to logical reasoning and critical thinking. 

Note: All biblical citations are taken from the New International Version of the scriptures.