If you wake up tomorrow morning thinking that saying a few Latin words over your pancakes is gonna turn them into the body of Elvis Presley, you have lost your mind. But if you think more or less the same thing about a cracker and the body of Jesus, you’re just a Catholic.
Now, I’m obviously not saying that all that Dr. Craig, or all religious people, are psychopaths and psychotics, but this to me is the true horror of religion. It allows perfectly decent and sane people to believe by the billions, what only lunatics could believe on their own.
And I’m not the first person to notice that it’s a very strange sort of loving God who would make salvation depend on believing in him on bad evidence. Just think about that: through no fault of their own, they were born into the wrong culture, where they got the wrong theology, and they missed the revelation.
It is not only tiresome when otherwise intelligent people speak this way, it is morally reprehensible. This kind of faith really is the perfection of narcissism: “God loves me, don’t you know? To think in this way is to fail to reason honestly, or to care sufficiently about the suffering of other Human beings.
Nine million children die every year before they reach the age of five. Picture an Asian tsunami of the sort we saw in 2004 that killed a quarter of a million people—one of those every 10 days, killing children only under five: that’s twenty-four thousand children a day, a thousand an hour, seventeen or so a minute. That means before I get to the end of this sentence, some few children very likely will have died in terror and agony.
Think of the parents of these children. Think of the fact that most of these men and women believe in God and are praying at this moment for their children to be spared, and their prayers will not be answered … Any god who would allow children by the millions to suffer and die in this way and their parents to grieve in this way, either can do nothing to help them or doesn’t care to. He is therefore either impotent or evil.
nd worse than that, on Dr. Craig’s view, most of these people, many of these people certainly, will be going to hell because they’re praying to the wrong god. Just think about that: through no fault of their own, they were born into the wrong culture, where they got the wrong theology, and they missed the revelation.
There are 1.2 billion people in India at this moment; most of them are Hindus, most of them therefore polytheists. In Dr. Craig’s universe, no matter how good these people are, they are doomed. If you are praying to the monkey God Hanuman, you are doomed — you’ll be tortured in hell for eternity. Now is there the slightest evidence for this? No. It just says so in Mark 9 and Matthew 13 and Revelation 14.
So God created the cultural isolation of the Hindus; he engineered the circumstance of their deaths in ignorance of revelation, and then he created the penalty for this ignorance, which is an eternity of conscious torment in fire. On the other hand, on Dr. Craig’s account, your run-of-the-mill serial killer in America, who spent his life raping and torturing children, need only come to God, come to Jesus on death row, and after a final meal fried chicken, he’s going to spend eternity in heaven after death …
one thing should be crystal clear to you: this vision of life has absolutely nothing to do with moral accountability …
and please notice the double standard that people like Dr. Craig use to exonerate god from all this evil. We’re told that God is loving and kind and just and intrinsically good. But when someone like myself points out the rather obvious and compelling evidence that God is cruel and unjust, because he visits suffering on innocent people of a scope and scale that would embarrass the most ambitious psychopath, we are told that god is mysterious.
Who can understand god’s will? Yet this merely Human understanding of God’s will is precisely what believers use to establish his goodness in the first place. If something good happens to a Christian – he feels some bliss while praying, or he sees some positive change his life – we’re told that God is good. But when children by the tens of thousands are torn from their parents’ arms and drowned, we are told god is mysterious.
This is how you play tennis without the net.