You already know it isn’t true
For the sake of argument, when discussing religious faith in this post, I will be referring to the Christian faith most specifically. Simply because it is the one with which I am most familiar, and the one that any readers I may have are most likely to subscribe to. I am not familiar enough with Islam to really delve into it, I will have to read the Quran before I even attempt to do so.
I’m not going to get into the absurdities of the Bible itself too much — there are plenty of other sites that do so, and I’ll link them either in this post or my next one — but I do need to address the issue of faith in God.
Simply put: you don’t have any.
“The audacity!” you cry. “You dare presume to know my heart?!” Well, no, that’s not what I said. I’m sure that in your heart you’re a good person and you tell yourself that you believe in God and that helps you through the rough spots. But if you’re a Christian, you are not following God’s word.
The very fact that you can read this shockingly audacious post is proof that you are not following God’s word. If you were following God’s word, you would not have the internet, a computer, or even the roof over your head.
To illustrate the point further, I give you a video from GodIsImaginary.com, to spare you from some reading, and me from some writing:
The video neglects to mention Matthew 6:24, Matthew 19:28-29, Luke 9:23-25, Hebrews 13:5, and Acts 2:44-45, which all repeat some form of “give up everything” in a very literal, material sense.
Still here? Of course you are. You didn’t run out immediately and sell everything you’ve got because in YOUR version of the faith, all you have to do is be a good person and say Jesus’ name every once in a while. In your version, John 3:16 is all there is. But that is not what the Bible says. And if you don’t accept what the Bible says as true, on what basis ARE you basing the notion that Jesus and God exist, and that Jesus is the son of God (and also God himself1)?
The only evidence of God/Jesus is the Bible. If the Bible is an unreliable source, then there is NO reliable evidence of God/Jesus.
If you’re my age or older, your choice of a job will involve the medical insurance benefits offered. If you really had faith in God, you wouldn’t have insurance. You wouldn’t have a doctor. You wouldn’t carry a first-aid kit. You wouldn’t even have Advil in your medicine cabinet. You would pray your headaches away.
The next time you get hurt, say a deep wound that’s losing a lot of blood, are you going to PRAY that it stops? Maybe, but that’s sure as hell not ALL you’re going to do. You’re going to call 911, you’re going to try to stop the bleeding yourself, you’re going to wrap it in bandages.
And THEN, when you’ve done all that YOU could possibly do, and all that’s left is to wait and see, you’ll start mumbling “Please God, please God.”
If you really had faith, that would be the first and only thing that you did. But you are not stupid. You know, on some level, that just praying will get you jack shit.
Unless, of course, you’re a member of the Church of Christian Science. They DO believe in prayer-only. They DON’T go to the doctors or take medicine. Their mortality rate is pretty high. And if you’re not one of them — even if you identify yourself as a Christian — you have no trouble agreeing with me that they are irrational and foolish in their sole reliance on prayer.
Consciously you may really think you believe, but some part of you knows that it’s nonsense, and not something you can rely on solely.
Still don’t buy the part where I said you don’t really have faith in God? Let’s talk about amputees.
It sounds like a silly question, but it’s actually significant.
Some of my following argument is borrowed from parts of both of those sites. I am essentially summarizing their argument and encourage you to read both sites thoroughly.
If you’re a Christian, you presumably pray to God for things.2 All things, big and small. You’ll pray that you pass a test, you’ll pray that your car will not spin out of control if your car skids on a wet road, and if you get sick, you pray for your illness (AFTER making all possible medicinal assurances, as mentioned above). Especially if it’s a dire illness, like cancer.
If you or someone close to you gets cancer, durn tootin’ you’ll be praying for them. And if the cancer goes into remission: hallelujah, it’s a miracle! And if it doesn’t, well, it was all part of God’s plan (which deserves a post of its own).
You would pray for cancer. You would pray for a tumor. You might pray for a broken arm, although most people recognize that since fixing a broken arm is standard procedure, you don’t really NEED to put that in God’s hands.
But if you LOST your arm, or your child lost his arm, it would never occur to you to pray that God re-grow the arm. You would never pray for someone to re-grow any lost appendage. Would you?
If you would, then my argument fails to address your truly prodigious level of faith, and you can pretty much skip the rest of this post.
But if not, why? You’ll pray for anything else, but why not that?
Because you KNOW that the prayer won’t work. The prayer won’t work because it is currently impossible for a human being to grow back a limb, and your faith in prayer only works as long as the efficacy of prayer is ambiguous. You pray to God to help you with your test. If you pass, it was his doing, regardless of the amount of studying and hard work you put in. If you didn’t, it wasn’t his plan. You pray to God to cure your cancer. If the cancer goes into remission, it was his doing, regardless of the rigorous chemotherapy and other brutal treatments that beat the cancer back; if not, it is usually MEDICINE’s fault for being imperfect or not doing “enough”.
You pray for things because it might work out, and you’ll be able to hold on to your faith and give it up for the big man if it does.
Except for a lost limb. Because you know, deep down that there is a 0% chance of it working and you see no reason to waste your time trying. But if you REALLY had faith, you would pray to re-grow that limb.
Jesus said of prayer:
For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. (Matthew 17:20)
There’s no need of interpretation here, it’s very direct and literal. Nothing will be impossible to you if you have faith “as a grain of mustard seed”. In case you’re wondering, mustard seeds are really small.
I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. (Matthew 21:21)3
Again, totally direct, totally literal. You will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. Mountains into the sea, for fucks sake! Surely a missing limb is nothing.
Mark 11:24, John 14:12-14, Matthew 18:19, James 5:15-16, Mark 9:23, Luke 1:37. God says, unequivocally: I WILL answer your prayers. Not I might if I feel like it, not there’s a 50-50 chance it’ll fit in his plan. He WILL answer.
And does he?
No. And you know it. You won’t pray for any amputee you know because you know that prayer won’t do any good. Cancer might go into recession, but humans do not regenerate lost limbs. The limb is gone. And all the mustard-sized faith in the world isn’t going to get it back.
Even if God does exist, you have no faith in him to be true to his word — and rightly so, because he is NOT true to his word. The atrocities of the Bible aside (see EvilBible.com for a list of God’s Greatest Hits in that regard), the efficacy of prayer is statistically zero, whereas an unselfish prayer should always be answered according to God himself. A God who does not fulfill his promises is as unworthy of faith/trust as any human being who has failed, time and time again, to fulfill his promises.
That is, if you believed in the God/Jesus that’s in the Bible. Which you don’t, not really. You have material goods and you take medicine for your ills and you don’t bother praying for things that can’t be helped, even though supposedly God can help ANYTHING. You don’t believe in that God/Jesus because you have clear evidence that that God/Jesus doesn’t exist, and if he does, is wholly unworthy of your faith and worship, because he is a liar and a sociopath.
So that begs the question: What God/Jesus DO you believe in, exactly?
- This makes no fucking sense to anyone, by the way. Even theologians call it the “Mystery of the Trinity”, as though its truth were a foregone conclusion, and it was just beyond our comprehension. Maybe it doesn’t make any sense because it isn’t true.
Seriously, if I made a movie with a gaping plot hole, and called it the “mystery” of that film, I’d be laughed out of whatever place I happened to say such an inane thing. ↩
- If you don’t, we can skip this step of the argument entirely, because you already have so little actual faith in God that you know better than to expect anything from prayer at all.↩
- FYI, “what was done to the fig tree” is this: Jesus comes upon a fig tree and is hungry, but the tree has no figs. So Jesus curses the tree on the spot and it dies. This story shows up in TWO of the four Gospels: Matthew 21:19, and Mark 11:13-14, 20. In the Matthew account, the tree dies instantly; in the Mark account, the tree is dead the following day. Also worth noting, the Mark account states that “the time of figs was not yet.”
In other words, the tree had no figs because it was OUT OF SEASON, and Jesus STILL condemned it to death. And then BRAGGED to the onlookers about how anyone could also lash out irrationally with the power of God, if they had just the smallest bit of faith. Gives WWJD a whole new twist, don’t it?↩