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Hey God: What Did I Ever Do To You??

Do you punish the ones you love every single time they hurt you?  It’s not a flippant question.  I’ve been thinking about all the people who have done things that hurt me, and I’m struck by the realization that punishment is something I reserve for particularly bad offenses.  I don’t go about life doling out tit for tat justice for every infraction against me.  I let most minor gaffes slide.

Occasionally, though, I do mete out justice with an iron fist.  Generally speaking, it’s when someone has willfully and knowingly caused me severe harm.  They’ve hurt me physically or financially in a significant way, or perhaps they’ve badly damaged my reputation so that I lose friends.

Most people are a lot like me, and that’s a good thing.  If you haven’t noticed, the rare person who insists on appropriate punishment for every offense, no matter how minor, is not well liked.  People generally avoid him.  They think him too austere and authoritarian.

I’ve been thinking about this approach to offense and how it relates to the Christian god.  Have you ever thought about this?

  • God punishes people who don’t even know they’ve done anything wrong.  The ultimate punishment is reserved for people who reject the story of Jesus’ crucifixion.  Many who have never even heard of Jesus are allegedly enduring eternal torture at this very moment.  I can imagine millions of them screaming:  “But I didn’t even know what I was supposed to do!!”  This violates my ethic of not raining destruction on people who meant no harm.
  • God punishes people for one offense, with no exceptions.  For all the talk of “forgiveness,” God isn’t really that forgiving.  There is one sin for which he never offers any mercy, regardless of how good a person has been or how much love and happiness they brought into the world.  This violates my ethic of judging people based on their character.
  • God punishes people for offending him. I think this is a much more egregious moral failing than punishing the ignorant.  God is immune from physical harm.  He has no need of our money.  As an all-powerful being, he can manipulate his reputation in any way he desires at any instant.  I am no threat to him.  I can do him no harm.  And yet he thinks it’s just to punish me.

That last point is very important.  I was thinking of it in terms of the “homosexual debate.”  What harm could possibly come to god if one man chooses to put his mouth on another man’s penis?

Please don’t let that thought slip by without considerable reflection.  What harm could possibly come to god if one man chooses to put his mouth on another man’s penis?  Are they thwarting god’s divine plan?  Certainly not.  That’s impossible since god is all-powerful.  Are they taking money from god’s bank vault?  No…  Are they preventing god from doing anything?  No…  Are they detracting from his ability to make a living in the future?  No…  Are they stealing his wife?  No…

We can apply this logic to pretty much anything.  By disbelieving the Christian myth, are we causing any real harm to god?  No…  By drinking or taking drugs, are we causing god any real harm?  No…  By having sex before marriage, are we causing god any real harm?  No…

The unpleasant reality is clear:  God is not punishing people for harming him.  He is punishing them arbitrarily for his own amusement.

You may think I’m being overly dramatic, but I’m not.  Many Christians will probably respond with something like this:  God’s laws are not to protect him from harm.  Rather, they are to protect us.

OK.  That’s fine in principle, I suppose.  Although really it’s not fine if you value individual freedom and… what’s that thing Christians are so fond of… Free Will.  But for the sake of argument, let’s suppose that god has a moral right to punish us when we harm each other.  He’s like a cosmic police officer.

What harm does it cause you if your neighbor decides to put his mouth on another man’s penis?

Have you lost any money?  Are you physically harmed?  Did you get cancer?  Is there anything you could take to a court of law and put before a judge?

If the answer is no, then we’re right back to god punishing people arbitrarily.  Similarly, what does it matter to you if I believe your silly resurrection story or not?  Does my disbelief cost you money?  Does it physically harm you?  Does it give you cancer?

Does my non-belief cause me to beat your kids, rape your wife and eat your kitten?  Do I routinely burn scarlet A’s in your yard?  Do I send gay porn to your inbox at work?

Does my non-belief cause you any tangible harm?  

The answer, of course, is no.  So god’s “perfect and just punishment” amounts to nothing less than arbitrary torture.  It prevents no harm.  Not to you, not to me, not to him.

And that, beyond the scientific inaccuracies, the non-historical whoppers of stories, the questionable ethics of Biblical heroes, and everything else loony about Christianity, is why I do not respect it in the least.  The Christian god is a petty tyrant, arbitrarily torturing people for his own amusement.  Based on that alone, there is no reason to admire or worship him.



8 thoughts on “Hey God: What Did I Ever Do To You??

  1. These words you speak, they speak to me. This so called “God” of ours is no Divine Loving father, rather he is like the Devil himself who drinks too often and beats his children for no good reason “children being us” but then again, i have always hated a god that could damn people like us to the tortures of lives. Such a god is not worthy of existence. It is the same reason that if i had concrete evidence of his Presence on this earth, then all i would do is fully align myself with the forces necessary to Take him from his throne of Broken hearts, and slay that foul beast myself. If you had endured what somebody like me did in childhood, you would feel the same. And as far as my Evidence to all this, think about this, a guy like Gandhi. was he evil? Hell no. Did he help his people? hell yes. Did he Do anything REMOTELY unethical… No. So a guy like him, is being damned to hell because of different religion.. makes perfect sense to me. and farther more… does it do god any harm if Gandhi puts his mouth to another mans penis? no. sorry, had to say something along those lines, too funny to not do it.

    Posted by Erik | December 22, 2011, 11:26 pm
  2. Thanks, Erik.

    Posted by Living Life Without a Net | December 24, 2011, 2:46 pm
  3. God is not punishing people for harming him. He is punishing them arbitrarily for his own amusement.

    What is your evidence for this? What is your evidence that God is “punishing” anybody?

    Posted by CB | December 27, 2011, 12:40 pm
  4. Oh, and where is your evidence that God finds human suffering to be “amusing”?

    Posted by CB | December 27, 2011, 12:45 pm
  5. Well, it’s been well over a week, and rather than provide evidence for your insipid claims, you have responded with deafening silence. As the late Christopher Hitchens wrote, “What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.” (god Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, p150), so I hereby dismiss your claims as the unsupported flotsam they are.

    Posted by CB | January 9, 2012, 12:33 pm
  6. Gee I wonder why the atheists on this blog dont comment on this new NEW SCIENTIST Jan 12, 2012 article:

    “Cosmologists thought they had a workaround. Over the years, they have tried on several different models of the universe that dodge the need for a beginning while still requiring a big bang. But recent research has shot them full of holes (see “Why physicists can’t avoid a creation event”). It now seems certain that the universe did have a beginning”

    “All the evidence we have says that the universe had a beginning.” – Professor Vilenkin

    More reading:

    “All the evidence we have says that the universe had a beginning.” – Professor Vilenkin

    Nuff said….

    Posted by PG | January 14, 2012, 3:34 pm
  7. I used to be a christian pretty much my whole life until 7 years ago. And Christianity never made sense to me. God never made sense. And I’ve studied decently enough the core doctrine and read the bible a few times through. Now the Bible and reality both say how cruel and malicious God really is, yet Christians deny it and are always coming up with excuses justifying His every action. If we sin it’s our fault…but we’re born sinners so that’s also our fault? Hmmm yea is that really just cause for us to burn in hell? Anything good happens or that we do it’s automatically by God’s grace we are able to do good things. Starting seem very one sided here. So let’s talk about God’s love. He sent us his one and only son to take our sins and allow a pathway to God and heaven. These are all just words. What evidence is there of any of this? And this is the only claim to why God’s love exists. On fiction. Am I the crazy one here? Ok ok, so let’s get past that and talk about God being just, because that is undeniable in the Bible, which repeatedly claims that God is just. God had allowed murder, rape, and slavery all throughout the Bible and turned a blind eye. Judges 21:10-24 NLT; Numbers 31:7-18; Deuteronomy 20:10-14; Deuteronomy 22:28-29; Deuteronomy 22:23-24; 2 Samuel 12:11-14; Deuteronomy 21:10-14; Judges 5:30; Exodus 21:7-11; Zechariah 14:1-2. I could do this all day. ALL DAY!!!! Now let’s take a good look at the current world, or just even through all of history. I think we can all agree the worst things in life happen to good people and are constantly suffering, while the evil, most messed up people are laughing their way till the end of time. WHERE IS THE JUSTICE!!! I DON’T SEE IT ANYWHERE!!! Especially not the judicial system. God is whimsical. He acts on impulse. There is no consistency with Him, except for being consistently evil. Just an all powerful child, no better than us ethically speaking. If there is a God, His name is Satan.

    Posted by st | October 3, 2012, 8:20 pm
  8. boy, i feel like he is punishing me since i don’t have a love life right now. and when i see so many very blessed men and women out there that were meant to meet one another and have a family, really makes me wonder why is he doing this to me which is certainly not fair at all. why is God very mean to us when it comes to having a love life just like so many others have? i am sick and tired of seeing so many men and women together with their families, and it is thrown in my face everyday making it even worse for me. what made certain men and women so very much special over us much less fortunate ones?, and that i will never ever understand it at all. i didn’t do anything wrong for this to happen to me. i really wish that God would stop punishing us, and make us have a love life too.

    Posted by Seriously Speaking | September 21, 2013, 11:54 am

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