The view from down here

Where Would Jesus Hide?

March 1, 2009

Today I want to discuss the most simple and obvious questions that atheists should put to Christians. That is: If there is a being so profound and important as to shape very fabric of human culture, where is he?

Before you tell me about the wind - you don't see it but it's there, let me call "bullshit." The wind is the wind, and by that argument the wind can prove any sort of imaginary thing, from unicorns to leprechauns to papal supremacy.

It is well past time to stop dancing politely around the central issue. You say there is a god, then you prove it. It's not proof to me that you want to delude yourself into thinking that common meteorological phenomena or medical coincidences are proof of god. To me it only proves your delusion.

I mean it. Make a bush burn and talk to me. Walk on water. Open the sky, look down with that big eye and wink at us all. Until you can show that to me you're just part of the lie.

If I said I had an alien spacecraft in my basement, and that it gave me special powers and performed mysterious miracles, you would probably want to see it for yourself, and not believe me just because I have hundreds of well-dressed grifters making empty promises and taking your money.

This has gone on long enough. If you believe in invisible magical spacemen, gods, angles, or dragons, you are, quite simply and to the point, criminally insane, and you really should know this about yourself.

Actually, if your are like most Christians I have ever known I suspect that you already do know this, and most of your faith is designed to keep you from recognizing this central failure. If fact, that's the central definition of faith - belief in things unseen. How convenient.

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. I am the great and powerful God.

It is staggering that for so many years we have warped so many minds into an utter fantasy based on nothing but wishful thinking. To let such clinical insanity direct public policy must no longer be tolerated. If you want to direct a nation and tell us that this is the ultimate truth of everything that there is, then you have to show your hand. Cards on the table.

Where is he?

By the way, as an atheist, I know exactly where god is, but he's not quite where you think he is. If somebody tells me that I have a secret uncle and he will give me a million dollars if I build a boat in my basement, then there's a good chance that I'll be building a boat in my basement. Real wood. Real metal. Real ropes, put into form and shape over the idea of the invisible mysterious uncle.

God is not real, but the idea of god is very real, and has a very powerful effect on people's lives, their happiness and what they do with their hands.

So what do you do if this idea of god works only if people believe it for real?

We have to be able to discuss this like adults, and not like children watching a puppet show. We need to deal with the idea of god, goodness, compassion, understanding, hope, and trust as first-order issues, and not the by product of some real, but hidden, super being.

Stop clinging to the puppet show. This is the sort of distraction that causes people to devote their lives to evils such as jihad, televangelists, or preaching against gay marriage.

And even if we're going to live our lives guided by the idea of god, and to use that idea to bring about nobel, wise, peaceful, and good things, then why in pity fuck sake would you pick a jealous, vengeful, petty, bully as that image?

For most people the disconnect between their image of god as kind, loving, and pure, versus the strange and unfortunate stories from their bible, is a distant and dismissible distraction. But this disconnect is the central issue. It's what makes me an atheist. I know that my image of god is a fabrication, a mental model that guides what I should do to be the best person I can be. I have the luxury of not being preoccupied by all the utter nonsense of the bible and the parade of ridiculous crap you have to swallow to believe that it's really all true.

Dump the baggage. There's a better god in you than in all the holy books of the world.

Copyright 2009 Daniel LaFavers