Western religions all feed on the most fundamental terror that a living being can ever face, the innate fear of death. They all said that if you just live your life exactly according to the pattern that was given to us on the high mountain, if you would give up most of life’s little pleasures, and if you would shell out a major hunk of your after-tax income for the greater glory of God, then by golly, they’d take care of everything and wouldn’t really have to die after all! They’d written vast piles of impossibly obtuse and deliberately unintelligible theology to prove that every work of it was true.
The real truth was that it was all a bag of nonsense designed for the sole purpose of keeping priests well fed and comfortable without any of them ever having to work for a living. It gave them a high-status job, being the direct representatives of the absolute boss, while letting them all live as lazily as any cheat on welfare.
It was so simple. All you have to do is to invent a God and then say that everything you wanted to do was on his orders. Only to pull that off, you have to explain just what this God thing is. Well, to be a God, a being must have at least three main attributes. He must be all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving.
What throws a wrench into the works of every Western Theology is the obvious existence of evil. There is a lot of really bad shit happening in this world, and God lets it go on happening. The innocent are wrongly punished. The good die young. Babies are born with incurable brain cancers. God lets it happen.
Obviously, if He and evil both exist, He either can’t get rid of evil, or He doesn’t know about evil, or He doesn’t much care if evil exists or not. Yet if He has only two of the three godly attributes, He just doesn’t make it as somebody worth worshipping.
If He is all-knowing and all-loving, but not all-powerful, then He knows that evil is happening and really feels bad about it, but He can’t do a thing about stopping it. Well, that the same position that I’m in, and it would be pretty stupid to worship someone who’s no better than me.
If He is all-powerful and all-loving, but not all-knowing, then He’s sitting somewhere up there like a fat cat thinking that everything is just fine with us darkies down below. I could never worship so ignorant a being, and even if I did kowtow to Him, what difference would it make? If He doesn’t know about something as obvious as evil, how could He notice something as insignificant as me? How would He know if I was worshipping Him or not?
And if He is all-powerful and all-knowing, but not all-loving, then the existence of evil proves Him to be one nasty son of a bitch. He must like it, that a baby is born with brain cancer! I’ll be damned if I’ll worship such a bastard! I may lack His power and knowledge, but I’m still a better more moral being than He is, since if I could cure all the wretchedness and pain of this world, I would certainly do so!
All of which goes to prove that if there is a God, His character and abilities are such that He’s not worth worshipping. Not that there is the slightest bit of evidence proving that such a critter exists in the first place.
Pages 96-97, published 1999 by Baen Books