Since I am a highly moral person, many people assume that I am a Christian who goes to church. They are shocked to discover that I am a nonbeliever who hasn’t set foot in a church in years.
Believers ask how can I be a moral person if I don’t believe or go to church. My response is simple: I don’t believe and I don’t go to church for the very reason that I am a moral person.
As a highly ethical person, I believe many things are wrong: murder, wars of conquest, terrorism, sexism, rape, theft, armed robbery, bigotry, racism, etc. Yet when I read the Bible I see the Christian “God” either engaging in many of these things or blessing the people that do. The Book of Genesis, for example, teaches that it was a highly moral thing for Abraham to plan to stab his son to death because “God” had commanded it. Later on, “God’s chosen people,” the Jews, invade other people’s countries, murder the populations, and steal their land and possessions. “God” even goes so far as to punish the Jewish King Saul for not destroying everything in an enemy country.
If the “God” of the Bible were around in the world today he would be on the lists of major human-rights violators compiled by both the U.S. State Department and Amnesty International. So would many of the “good” and holy men of the Bible such as David, Moses, Saul, etc.
Nor is the “God” of the New Testament much better. Although Jesus supposedly sacrificed himself for all of humanity and forgave all of humanity’s sins by dying on the cross, we are clearly taught that only those who believe in Christianity will be saved; everyone else will be condemned to eternal damnation in hell. I can think of nothing more immoral than untold billions of otherwise innocent people condemned to eternal suffering simply because they did not accept a given theology.
Many of the greatest and most moral human beings in history would be burning in hell because they weren’t “Christians.” Those condemned to hell would include Einstein, Socrates, Gandhi, Homer, Confucius, Virgil, Marcus Aurelius, Geronimo, etc. Meanwhile “wonderful” people such as Oliver Cromwell, Cortes, Pizzaro, Caesar Borgia, Al Capone, the Inquisitors, virtually all of Hitler’s generals, and most of Stalin’s henchmen would be enjoying eternal bliss in heaven because they were “Christians.”
If this weren’t bad enough, in the book of Revelation “God” inflicts unimaginable suffering, cruelty, brutality and violence on humanity. “God” inflicts humanity with terrible plagues and lets Satan conquer the world. Satan then sets up a horrendously evil, cruel and oppressive dictatorship that imposes horrendous tyranny, suffering, cruelty and violence upon humanity. This is followed by a terrible war in which Jesus himself goes on a rampage and kills wantonly and brutally. This is the only future that the Bible tells us that we have to look forward. There is no way that I as a highly moral and ethical person could believe in a “God” who would behave in such a vicious, cruel, brutal and unethical way.
If I were to start believing and worshiping such a “God,” I would be endorsing and approving of his terrible and unethical behavior. I would be saying that it is all right to murder or inflict cruelty upon those who don’t share my beliefs, all right to justify slavery and other such evils. In other words, I would have to put my morality aside and endorse many of the very things which I hate in order to become a believing Christian. To this I say “no way.” If my values are to have any meaning at all, they must apply to everyone and everything–even “God.” If “God” doesn’t follow those values why should human beings?
Worse, by going to church and claiming to believe I would make myself into a liar and a hypocrite since I not only believe that much of what is taught in the Bible is wrong, but I do not believe in the Christian “God.” Thus, I would have to lie to myself and others in order to pass myself off as a Christian. I would have to become the worst kind of liar: a hypocrite. That is, I would have to demand that others believe in things that I do not. To that I say “no way”–my ethics and values give me no choice. If I want to be a moral and ethical person I cannot be a Christian.