This node was inspired by a recent thread I saw in a newsgroup.

One user was ranting against 'the Christian God' for being 'the most evil person in the whole universe'. And I thought 'this is silly'.

Why believe in an omnipotent being you then profess to hate? A being worthy of worship would not thus have earned your wrath. The acts of God against man are detailed in the Bible, a volume whose status varies from person to person. Why should one who professes to despise God believe in his holy book?

So many people go about with an unnecessary chip on their shoulders about Christianity (or Islam, for the same reasons) when they could simply disregard it and get on with their lives. Why antagonise poor people who don't believe the truth you do?

This view is, of course, a yet more bizarre variant of I don't have a problem with Biblical Literalism, it's Christians I can't stand.

Disclaimer: I'm a Christian, but not a fundamentalist. Hence my deep bafflement.
I agree, it is foolish to hate a God that you don't believe in. In fact it's a contradiction. There are some other possibilities though, most notably (and rather popular with the Christians and Muslims of this world): I-Hate-God-Cos-He-Doesn't-Like-Me Syndrome. Which is rather self-explanatory.

The I-Hate-God-Cos-I-Want-Him-To-Exist-But-I-Cant-See-Him-While-Others-Appear-To Syndrome, less common than the first, and often confused with it, but still quite popular among the nascent atheist.

Then there's the I-Hate-God-Because-The-People-Who-Worship-Him-Are-Jerks-And-Ergo-He-Must-Also-Be-A-Jerk.

OR perhaps:


Or perhaps the people who say they really hate society, and confuse the patriarchal feelings that are transferred from God to Society in early teenagerhood, and therefore displace their hatred of society back onto God. It may be worth asking how many of the people who profess to hate God are actually contented happy well adjusted individuals who have good home and family lives and enjoy the company of their fellow human beings.

Just an idea folks.

Well, if your are lucky enough to think life is wonderful it’s not hard to call the I Hate God crowd nothing but a collection of angst ridden teenagers who will, in time, get over it. Still, for people who have hard lives it is immensely comforting (in much the manner that religion can be immensely comforting) to shake your fist at the sky and say “I hate You for not being there!”

In Samuel Beckett’s play Endgame Hamm Clove and Nagg all gather together to pray to God. But, even after praying very hard for a long, long time, they find that “Nothing Doing.” and then Hamm exclaims “The bastard He doesn't exist!”

A mature angst ridden person understands the humour and truth of this sentiment and I think it can do better than be mocked.

I got a fortune cookie a few weeks ago; “God gave man limited ability but unlimited ambition.” That is, we are set up to fail. We can dream of the holy, the perfect, the platonic but we will never really leave the cave.

I guess the best we can do is learn to love these shadows.

I still hate God, though, (if He’s there) for making it this way.

Now laugh at me.

Just wanted to add that it is irrational to say "I hate God because He isn't there." But for people who wish he was there having a good gaffaw about this idea helps to ease the pain of knowing that because you are too pragmatic you will never get to fully commit to the glorious sentiments expressed in gospel hymns or rituals because there is a nagging voice in your head that asks "Why?" or "How?" every time a miracle is presented.

see: Watchman, Tell Us of the Night for more on this human contradiction.

Any atheist who professes to "hate God" generally does not believe in god, hence the term "atheist." If they do, I wouldn't call them an atheist, I'd call them a struggling Agnostic or quasi-Christian or something OTHER than atheist. There are various reasons for people to claim to hate god when in fact they don't believe in the deity at all. Jaez has given some explanation to this, but I'd like to elaborate more.

The first reason to claim "I hate God" is because of god's influence on other people, in other words "I hate the idea of god, and the fact that this idea has controlled people for millenia." The atheist has no true belief in "god" as a being, but god's existence as an influential symbol is very real, and obvious to everybody. Many people are disillusioned with the world, after having come to the conclusion that too many people are obnoxious, stupid, or just plain mean. These bad people seem to create a chain reaction of bad vibes, leading to a perpetual cycle of conflict and hatred that pervades human history. Many atheists believe that the idea of a "god" is what makes humans so disrespectful of vital existence -- mortality, which makes here-and-now life a little less important to humanity as a whole. The atheist may think to himself (yes there are female atheists, I just don't feel like doing the whole hermaphroditic pronoun thing today) "If people didn't waste their time praying to non-existent deities, they would devote more time to developing decent relationships with their fellow man." Examples: gay bashing, slavery (embraced in the Old Testament), racism (not directly praised in the Bible, but that doesn't stop people from using it to somehow justify it), imperialism (many people believe/have believed the Bible gives them an excuse to conquer the world), war (many wars, not all, but many, are religious...the rest are usually nationalistic, which is a kind of godless religion...). Many atheists believe that religion makes man needlessly arrogant while making him feel somehow (usually subconsciously) worthless at the same time. One can only imagine how such paradoxical tendencies can drive our cultural evolution.

Now of course a theist believes the complete opposite. Many theists, particularily Christians, believe that man is inherently biased towards committing bad deeds, and that without god we would have no moral compass with which to guide our futures. Many (not all) theists are convinced that man is a wicked abomination that needs to be controlled from afar. The Bible tells them "you can't even come close to god," "you're a sinner," "you've missed the mark, try again." God is the solution, not the problem, they profess. It is this attitude that man is a "problem" needing solution that gives atheists the reverse opinion. Believing that man is basically a crude and worthless being without a god in the heavens (especially when said god doesn't exist) is only setting the entire human race up for failure. Personally, if I died and lo-and-behold found myself at god's throne, I'd have a hard time not asking "Why did you create me in the first place if I'm 'broken'? And if you created me in your image, what does that say about you?"

As an atheist, I subscribe to this theory, this idea that striving for impossible perfection makes it impossible to be truly happy and cooperative as an imperfect being, whether or not said being believes in god. I personally believe that the belief in eternal life (far separated from this world) has created a planet teeming with vicious assholes, who for whatever reasons devalue just about everything except their own existence. Life is disposable -- everything is disposable. Who cares about posterity? Who cares about the environment? Who cares about the unborn (unless they've been conceived within a womb at this juncture in time)? If we weren't so convinced that there was something "better than this," we wouldn't be so vindictive and so quick to make life out to be a living hell for others and ourselves. It's a conscious attitude that results in a subconscious behavior. The material world is worthless to those who drool at things that exist only in their imagination.

I'm sure there are some people out there who claim to be atheists yet are really frustrated in that they would like to believe there is a god, but they simply can't. They may be Agnostic and may embrace science to such a degree as to say "I can't believe in god because there is no evidence, and everything appears to be an absolutely ungodly mess. But I'd like to think someone is going to fix this." This is a result of a new, aspiring, potential atheist's unwillingness to embrace the fact that the Universe is ambivalent. It doesn't care whether you live or die, it doesn't exist to make your life better or worse. Such atheists suffer from an inner conflict that results from their naive outlook on the world, combined with their newfound lack of faith. Their problem is that they fail to see the beauty of chaos. I would say that this type of atheist is rare, as generally those who want god to exist can make it so, within the confines of their own mind. As an atheist, I find harmony in the fact that while I'm not blessed or cursed by the heavens, I do, remarkably enough, exist, and have been granted an opportunity to do some cool stuff while I do. The fact that I exist makes the chaos beautiful. Chaos admiring chaos is an amazing idea.

Atheists must face the fact that there is nobody out there to dictate how they should live their lives (except maybe their parents). They must come to terms with their own undeniable mortality, and they must develop a morality and ethics based on common sense, one that allows them to stay alive as long as possible by cooperating with fellow human beings (a la tit-for-tat). Most atheists have come to terms with the (disputed) fact that the Universe is not here for our benefit, but that if we play by the right set of arbitrary rules, we just might have a good time while we're here.

As an aside, I think that Ayn Rand's biggest flaw was to believe the Universe is innately benevolent. Maybe that's why she believed that absolute, unrestrained Capitalism would work. Unfortunately the forces of the Universe have no concern for what goes on within our pale blue dot. While I wouldn't want to complicate the definition of "atheist," I think that every true atheist has to come to terms with the idea of Universal ambivalence at one point or another. The majority of atheists I've encountered don't believe in good or evil, except in the cultural context of human civilization. Without gravity, life never would have materialized on Earth. This doesn't mean gravity is benevolent. You can test this easily on your own...

I Hate God

In the write-ups above, it was asked, "Why believe in an omnipotent being you then profess to hate?"

Before I set out to answer that question, let me throw out some defining factors.
Belief: Assent to a proposition or affirmation, or the acceptance of a fact, opinion, or assertion as real or true, without immediate personal knowledge; reliance upon word or testimony; partial or full assurance without positive knowledge or absolute certainty; persuasion; conviction; confidence; as, belief of a witness; the belief of our senses.

Based on the Webster 1913 Dictionary, belief in God can and for the purpose of this discussion should be "To accept the common knowledge that God exists."

This does not force me to like God, but meerly states that I believe he exists. I believe in Satan, but I do not like him, nor will I follow his ways. I can walk into a eatery, and be served food that I believe is spinach dip, but that does not mean I have to like it.

I believe if the Church of God, I believe in the Catholic Church, I believe in the Lutheran Church, I believe in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I believe in Paganistc Churches, but I do not attend them all.

Belief does not constrain me to Love, but it can lead me to it. It can also lead me to hatred.

I suppose a better question might be, "How can you have something that does not exist, and if it exists, then you Must believe it exists, Right?"
I don't hate god... Why? Because I don't believe in him. Yes, I believe in some sort of higher power out there, some sort of governing force, but I just don't believe in "God" in the typical Christian sense of the word.

What I do hate is their idealized, stylized version of "him". I hate the fact that if you don't believe in THIS God, THIS version, people will tell you that you're going to hell, that you're a sinner, and that you absolutely must accept him into your heart or else you will meet dark impending doom. I once was at a pregnancy-testing clinic, and on walking in, I had no idea that the people there were ultra-Catholic. Before I was allowed to take the test ("Just give me the goddamned test, I want to be sure it's negative once and for all, the sooner the better!!"), I had to sit in a room and talk with them about what options I would choose ASIDE from abortion, being as that's just not allowed, and what my feelings on God were. I told them flat-out that I didn't believe in him. They told me that they really wanted to hear my opinions of why I didn't, that they promised they wouldn't be offended by anything I said, and that they would listen with an open mind. Promptly, I launched into my reasons on why I think that the bible is merely a political work of fiction, and that Christianity was merely something used to destroy the Roman Empire, but caught on a little too well. I told them that I didn't respect the fact that most Christians will not accept any other viewpoints except their own, even though one of the main concepts in their religion is that God loves and accepts everybody. When I was finally done, they looked at me and said, "We respect your opinions, BUT when you die, you will find out just how wrong you are for not accepting God into your heart, and we're very sorry that a nice girl like you will have to suffer for eternity in hell".

I don't hate God. How can I hate something I don't believe in? I just hate all those bible-thumping fanatics, all those brainwashed people who can't even hear others' views and actually listen to them, all those people who insist that it's their way or the highway, and that everyone else is wrong, no matter what.

I don't hate God. I hate religion.

Supposing that I had irrevocable proof or at least had been persuaded that some x-ian group was right in their interpretation of God; that we exist in a universe where God dictates who goes to heaven and hell according to who obeys God's orders.

In such a universe I would have no choice to hate God given that such a being invested us with free will and then punishes us for exercising this in the best way we know how. It'd be like a friend giving you a really cool christmas present and then setting you on fire for all eternity because you didn't play with it right.

Think about it: what right would such a being have to dictate that people not given full opportunity to even figure out the rules of the game (let alone make the right choices) be punished for all eternity? Hell no. Perhaps I'm too stubborn for salvation, but I figure that's the way God made me, and that's the way he's going to have to live with me.

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