Name: Tony Musso
Former Religious Affiliation: Catholic
The God of My God is the Man behind the Curtain
My name is Tony and I am an atheist. I’m 29 years old and was baptized into the religion of Catholicism. I was sent to Sunday school like many young children and had God forced into my life by my father, rather than being told to explore and discover for myself. There were many times in my life that I questioned the existence of God, and then there were many times that I was a born again Christian in my life as well. It wasn’t until recently that I finally decided to search for evidence of God on my own instead of listening to others opinions which never seemed to be based on any real facts.
How did I become an atheist? I used reason, logic, and the brain I was born with. One statement made by philosopher Vernon Linwood Howard made me think. He said, “Man can accept God becoming man to save man, but man can’t accept man becoming God to save himself.” I want all readers to think about this statement for a while, as I will come back to it later.
As time has progressed science has been able to explain things we had previously attributed to God. Such as demonic possession (mental disorders), and how planets rotate around the Sun for example. As we learn more and more, things that we didn’t understand and previously attributed to God, will eventually diminish even further into scientific explanation. Although I’m sure humanity will never be able to explain all that there is to know about the universe, I’m also quite sure that the existence of an “all powerful and all knowing God” can be disproved a lot quicker.
So first, I asked “how can God be omnipotent?” How can he know everything and do anything? There are so many things that don’t work with this idea. I thought to myself what it’d be like to be God… What would God do or think? Is God bored? Did he create man because he was lonely? Not likely, if he was so powerful, he would have no need for us. If God created man in his image, that means that God too, is imperfection. What about human emotions?
A god would have no need for any emotion as they’d cloud judgment and cause imperfection. As humans we live, feel emotion, experience, love, and learn…but we also hurt, kill, steal, get sick, and die. This is the concept of “duality” right and wrong… a “god,” would not have these attributes and would be unable to learn from mistakes (as an omnipotent being). After a while there wouldn’t be a lot left to experience as an all-knowing, ever-present god. Things would become rather mundane. As a human, things can be newly experienced and life is finite. This would lend a great deal of meaning and value to life. If I were a “god,” I’d envy humanity.
As a “god,” the concept of attaining knowledge would be meaningless. An “omnipotent god” would already know all and never be able to attain knowledge; this would make for a very boring and meaningless existence, if in all that you did, nothing was ever learned or gained… and you already knew the end result. Why would anyone want to ever be a “god” or God? In fact this raises questions about the nature of free will. If God knows everything, then why bother with free will? If God knows all, and all is written as destiny by an omnipotent being, then I guess this kind of undermines the idea of free will. That’s like saying you can do whatever you want as long as I tell you what you can’t do.
Then you have “the ignorant and unsaved.” There are many areas of the world where religion and tradition has been passed on from generation to generation and Christianity has nothing to do with their beliefs. Yet, missionaries try to save them with the Bible and Jesus, as if countless generations had it all wrong and their souls have been floundering about for all of eternity. I seriously doubt that an all powerful God would damn billions of souls simply because they’d never heard of Jesus Christ. I guess aliens and animals are left out too, because they don’t have a Jesus either. No just God would condemn a morally right individual for his beliefs. If an individual were Jewish or Hindu and the nicest people you knew, they’d still be condemned for not believing in Jesus and the Christian God. There are many religions out there, but they can’t all be right. The logical thing to think is that none of them are right.
Some might think that godless atheists have no basis for morality. Morality doesn’t stem from religion; it comes from the idea of being autonomous for the sake of sharing the planet comfortably and peacefully with other people. We all have to share the same planet with each other, so why not make it a pleasant experience. Using religion as a means of morality or “God’s law” is really in essence a form of mind control. “Do what you’re told or God will smite thee!” This is fear-mongering and a tool to control people.
The god of my god is the man behind the curtain. In my opinion religion is nothing more than a business for profit and control. It just makes it easier for bureaucrats to control you and say “do this because God told me he wants you to.” I have the utmost confidence that people can think for themselves and are capable of being autonomous towards one another. Yes, it is also true that people are greedy and deceitful, but I’m sure if you spent just thirty seconds… I’m sure you can think of crimes against humanity committed in the name of religion.
Now let’s get back to what Howard said, “Man can accept God becoming man to save man, but man can’t accept man becoming God to save himself.” This statement to me mostly says that people don’t want to take responsibility for their actions, that they like being told what to do, and they want someone else to save them. You can sit around and pray all you like, but if you want to get something done… get up off the couch and do it! If something doesn’t go your way or you don’t get what you want, chances are that you didn’t do enough to make sure that you’d succeed, or it wasn’t reasonable to begin with.
If you do something morally wrong it’s not because the devil made you sin, it’s because you made a bad decision. You have no one to blame but yourself; but if you like having a scapegoat and being able to repeatedly commit morally unjust acts and be forgiven by an invisible fairy tale… then by all means… sin away! Don’t worry, no matter how many crimes you commit God will forgive you! Jesus will forgive you too, because he died on the cross for your sins! What I’d really like to know though, is why Jesus didn’t show up sooner? What did people do before he got here? I guess their souls were floundering around endlessly in limbo/purgatory or hell, before God gave us heaven. Better late than never, right Jesus? Most importantly, why would God make an imperfect human capable of sin and then punish them eternally for something that was inherently given to man, thus making them prone to it?
Now finally we come to the question of the end, the great beyond… yes, that’s right, death. This is the biggest fear-mongering tool for all religions. After all, if you have the fear of God in you, wouldn’t you be more docile and likely to do what you’re told? If a heaven does exist, then their most certainly is a hell right… because, good people get rewarded for doing the right thing and bad people get punished with eternal torture… forever… right? The fact of the matter is that a lot of people by these standards are going to hell. So for those of us that get into eternal paradise, wouldn’t we be worried for our friends and loved ones in hell the whole time we were in heaven? I don’t think I could enjoy a heaven if I knew people I cared about were being tortured for all eternity.
So what really happens when you die? I honestly don’t know… probably nothing. Is their any reason to fear death? Death is just a part of life; as Mark Twain said, “I was dead a long time before I was alive and never suffered the slightest inconvenience.” In fact one could argue that the promise of an afterlife devalues life itself. I’d like to think that the fact of finite life brings a great deal of beauty and true sense of worth to what you do. This allows us to truly live life to the fullest and experience it as we should. Don’t do something because it will “get you into heaven,” do it because it makes life better for others and yourself. Religion is not going to bring world peace, and neither will any savior. The fact is the only person you can change is yourself… and perhaps if each of us decided that we didn’t want to be greedy or selfish, and decided that we wanted to be kind to one another… then maybe that is true peace. That to me would be heaven on Earth. In fact Jesus himself said to his disciples, “Heaven is in the midst of you.”Tagged with: 1983 • catholic • Tony