Conditional Love

All arguments to the viability of God notwithstanding, I will never comprehend why anyone would want to believe in such a foul creature. The God of Judeo-Christian-Islamic monotheism is inarguably a God of genocide, sexism, racism, bigotry, homophobia, and sexual ignorance. It continues to perplex and depress me that any thinking human could defend the premise that a moral philosophy centers on them receiving prizes when a blameless man is beaten bloody and nailed to something.

All this may sound familiar to atheists and even theists to the point of triteness, but that is precisely why it is the crux of my anti-theism: we have grown callous to the overarching theme of religion, which is the death in the most grisly fashion of innocent people, usually preceded by lifetimes of discrimination and pain. I don’t want to worship a God who stopped the sun for three hours so Joshua would have light by which to massacre the guiltless town of Jericho. I don’t want to be loved by an entity who demanded Abraham to kill his own son, and the fact that he suddenly stopped Abraham just before the deed proves not his mercy but his caprice. I don’t want to hold in awe a character that demands to be loved only as much as he demands to be feared—that is a mutilation of the idea of love and is the only kind of blasphemy that truly exists.

If my kind of atheism holds any moral conclusion, it is not based in the logical or empirical truth of its claims, but in its rebuttal of a God who bathes in gore and requires subservience regardless of his existence. To call any of our major monotheisms 'religions of peace' is a lie of greatest possible creativity. My love cannot be commanded, it cannot be threatened, and it cannot be provoked by my terror of eternal damnation. What is more, these are not theological concepts, despite how desperately the religious want them to be—thereby making such ideas as 'love' the province of their faith and not the essence of the human condition. My empathy cannot be defined by those who seek to corrupt it.

Atheism may be unbelief. It is also an unwillingness to surrender our humanity.

—Joshua Kelly