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My Take: Why some people hate God
March 8th, 2011
10:07 AM ET

My Take: Why some people hate God

Editor's Note: Bernard Schweizer is an associate professor of English at Long Island University in Brooklyn. He specializes in the study of iconoclasts and rebels, including the controversial writer and public intellectual Rebecca West. His third book is “Hating God.”

By Bernard Schweizer, Special to CNN

There’s a lost tribe of religious believers who have suffered a lasting identity crisis. I am referring to the category-defying species of believers who accept the existence of the creator God and yet refuse to worship him. In fact they may go so far as to say that they hate God.
 
No, I’m not talking about atheists. Non-believers may say contemptuous things about God, but when they do so, they are simply giving the thumbs-down to a fictional character. They may as well express dislike about Shakespeare’s devious Iago, Dickens’ scheming Uriah Heep or Dr. Seuss’ Grinch who stole Christmas.
 
For atheists, God is in the same category as these fictional villains. Except that since God is the most popular of all fictional villains, New Atheists – those evangelizing ones such as Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins - spend a considerable amount of energy enumerating his flaws.
 
But someone who truly believes in God’s existence and yet hates or scorns him is in a state of religious rebellion so perplexing as to strain our common understanding of faith to the breaking point.
 
Although these radical dissenters could steal the thunder from the New Atheists, they have remained almost unknown to date.
 
When it comes to God-hatred, a collective blindness seems to settle on us. First, we lack a generally agreed-upon name to refer to this religious rebellion. And anything that doesn’t have a word associated with it doesn’t exist, right?
 
Well, in the case of God-hatred, this principle doesn’t hold because the phenomenon does exist whether or not there’s a name for it. And in any case, I’ve ended the semantic impasse by naming these rebels and their stance once for all. My chosen term is misotheism, a word composed of the Greek root “misos” (hatred) and “theos” (deity).
 
Why do I care so much about them? They strike me as brave, visionary, intelligent people who reject God from a sense of moral outrage and despair because of the amount of injustice and suffering that they witness in this world.
 
At the same time, they are exercising self-censorship because they dare not voice their opinion openly. After all, publicly insulting God can have consequences ranging from ostracism to imprisonment, fines and even death, depending on where the blasphemy takes place (Ireland, for instance, imposes a fine of up to 25,000 Euros for blasphemy) and what God is the target of attacks (under sharia law, being found an enemy of God, or “mohareb” is a capital offense).
 
But I also care about these rebels because they chose literature as their principal medium for dealing with their God-hatred. I am a professor of literature, and the misotheists’ choice of literature as their first line of defense and preferred medium endears them to me.
 
Literature offered them the only outlet to vent their rage against God. And it was a pretty safe haven for doing so. Indeed, hardly anybody seems to notice when God-hatred is expressed in literature. Such writers cleverly “package” their blasphemous thoughts in works of literature without seeming to give offense in any overt way.
 
At the same time, these writers count on the reader’s cooperation to keep their “secret” safe. It’s like a pact between writer and reader.
 
Zora Neale Hurston could write that “all gods who receive homage are cruel” without anybody objecting that “all gods” must necessarily include the persons of the Christian Trinity.
 
Or Rebecca West could write that “something has happened which can only be explained by supposing that God hates you with merciless hatred, and nobody will admit it,” counting on the fact that, since nobody will admit it, nobody will rat her out for blasphemy.
 
There lies, in a sense, the awesome, subversive power of literary writing, something that had worried Plato 2,400 years ago when he required that all poets be removed from his ideal “Republic.” Interestingly, though, while guardians of propriety have put Huckleberry Finn on the list of proscribed texts because of its liberal use of the N-word, few people have declared Hurston’s "Their Eyes Were Watching God" or Shelley’s "Prometheus Unbound" or West’s "The Return of the Soldier" as forbidden texts because of the underlying misotheism of these works.
 
And even where the misotheism is overtly expressed, as in Elie Wiesel’s "The Trial of God" or in James Morrow’s "Godhead Trilogy," literature offers an enclave of religious freedom that is vital to the human spirit and its impulse to free itself of any shackles, even the commands of God.
 
I refer to the story of misotheism as “untold” partly because misotheism tends not to be noticed even when it hides in plain sight. Another reason why the story of misotheism is “untold” is that nobody has bothered yet to draw the larger lines of development over time, beginning with the Book of Job and ending up with utilitarianism, philosophical anarchism and feminism. That story in itself is quite engrossing, but again it is not a story that has really ever been presented.
 
So I am doing quite a bit of connecting the dots, unearthing overlooked connections and making distinctions such as proposing a system of three different types of misotheism - agonistic (conflicted), absolute and political. Misotheism in its various manifestations is a dark, disturbing and perplexing strand of religious dissent. But at the same time, it is an attitude toward the divine that shows just how compelling belief can be.
 
If people continue to believe in a God they find to be contemptible, then belief is such a powerful force that it cannot be simply switched off on the basis of empirical data. Thus, in the last consequence, the study of misotheism is a testament to the power of belief, albeit a twisted, unconventional form.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Bernard Schweizer.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Books • God • Opinion

soundoff (1,730 Responses)
  1. JonathanL

    I think there may be something to it. A lot of us Atheists began life trying to believe in God beacuse we were told to, and for a period of time he, the old white man with the beard above the clouds watching and keeping track of everything I did, existed in my imagination. Eventually I realized that was the only place he did exist, and I then categorized him with all the other mythological creatures I encountered in my reading and elsewhere. My mother however, also an Atheist, I think became one at an earlier age than I possibly to spite him for killing her mother (my mother was only 7), and also for allowing some of her friends to be abused by Catholic priests, and yet another upstanding Catholic tried feeling her up in a public place when she was only 8 (Buffalo NY in the 1930s) With all this going on, you either have to hate God (if you believe in him, 'not believing in him' may be seen as a way to make him feel your anger) for letting these things happen, or you have to realize the more likely possibility that he doesn't really exist. My conversion away from Theism began with several tests such as cursing him and seeing if thunder and lighting would appear in a blue sky, praying for certain unselfish good things to happen, or to stop bad things from happening. It became very apparent that no one was listening. If for all intents and purposes this invisible being doesn't exist in any way that is observable or provable ... hmmmm ... It makes you wonder, right Mr. Doubting Thomas? But my point is that you feel a bit betrayed when you realize this wonderful all powerful divinely intervening God we are nearly forced to believe in as real, was a product of our collective historical imagination. How could a myth this hoaky have been perpetuated for so long? How could I have been duped? There is a little anger and spite, but whether you just swallow it with a grain of salt and move on, or direct your anger at the fake itself, doesn't really matter too much. I think if eventually you come to terms with the truth of the matter, that he doesn't really exist it really helps. It really explains almost every question and issue you might have about this idea. If you can't let go of your unfounded belief, then I guess I can see why you would wind up hating him. "he never listens! " "He let's innocent people suffer and die", "he lets creeps win the lotto!". "there is no justice!" "he's doing this on purpose!". Just face it – like you did with Santa Clause.

    March 8, 2011 at 11:37 am |
    • Frogist

      Thanks for that post, JonathanL. I really enjoyed reading about your experiences. I truly wish believers woul read posts like yours and much of the conversation up to this point. It is enlightening, not to mention going against the stereotype people have of the angry, hateful non-believer.

      March 8, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
    • Claire

      Jonathan,
      I'm truly sorry for the pain that your family has seen I too have a history of sin against me as a child but I am 100% in love with God. Man failed me, not God, He has used all the violence and abuse of my childhood and early 20s to reach out to others and love them through the pain. He lifted me out of the pit I was in and now I'm free from all the lies that I carried about myself worth and questions only He could answer.

      As a believer we are told up front in scripture that you will suffer hardship and trials. Scripture also says not to test God. Faith is difficult for many, but hope is born out of that faith. History shows that Jesus was real, more than just the bible.

      He hears you...Isaiah 65:24 1 John: 14-15
      You have a beautiful biblical name BTW, Jonathan was a great friend to King David~

      March 8, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • XWngLady

      There are so many reasons, Jonathan, why your post makes me sad, but I will just respond to a few. The bottom line is this...NO ONE can make you believe in God, or in love or in luck or in anything for that matter. Faith, in anything, is a choice. Because what exists, what now is our reality, what we view as "natural" and "scientific" law, or anything else that we find ourself clinging to is constantly in flux. So to believe in anything in this world, this existence, is FAITH....As a staunch believer, I found your post to be thought provoking for the simple fact that I use to be an athiest (after having grown up as believer in name only). I had the same thoughts, the same doubts, curses and resignations. I went through several "phases" in my life including atheism, agnosticism, pan-theism, unitarianism...you name it. There was a time that I was studiying world religions and at other times I allowed myself to "Just face it" as you say and categorically reject any notion of God. Until one day, I had an intellectual 'epiphany' of sorts...I thought to myself, if God is God, then He couldn't possibly be known, understood, logically discerned, felt, or anything else fully by humans without violating the concept of GOD itself...Secondly, I thought, what if concepts like, loss, pain, evil, bad luck, etc. really mean nothing in the grand scheme of things from God's perspective. In other words what if God knew that even the most horrible, evil, nonsensical thing that could happen here on Earth would be comparable to the pain of getting a vaccination as a child, once overshadowed by an eternal existence in his presence? What if God were like the ocean and all that is within it, and what if, having never known or heard of God, someone tried to explain God to you by bringing you a thimble full of ocean water? This is how I see what we think we know about God...My point is this, you said that God is an "invisible being [that] doesn't exist in any way that is observable or provable". I submit that God is observable, but we either don't have the capacity or the willingness to "see" AND he is provable, but we just don't want to believe the proof (because we think everything should make sense to our limited minds). But having made the journey to atheism and back, having had personal, real and unforgettable encounters with as much of GOD as I could humanly stand, I will tell you that GOD is real, and much greater, deeper, wider, grander than anything that we can imagine....I challenge you to challenge God, challenge your notions who God is and what he's supposed to do for you, and think about how we got all here. I heard scientists talking on the radio the other day about the possibility that there might be scientific evidence for parallel or mutliple universes (I believe only God fashion such a thing). I challenge you and to rethink your conclusion that somehow, God is only part of the 'collective historical imagination' of billions of human beings throughout millenia and ponder whether it is you, who might be wrong......Peace.

      March 8, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
  2. Colin

    @Anotheralt. I actually think you are drawing a false equivalence between theism and athism.

    March 8, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • Anotheralt

      Go on. In my own experience, the common usage of Atheist in everyday language is someone who denies the existence of God. I'm more than happy to adjust my definitions. Labels aside, the point remains. Assuming something doesn't exist because you can't prove it is silly. For example, all scientific research is based on the possibility that, "I might be wrong about this", as it should be.

      March 8, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • Colin

      So, here's my point. What if I were to say to you that I believed that a little green man on Mars created and controlled the Universe and that you cannot disprove this. Would you consider a disbelief in the little green man as equivalent to a belief in the little green man? No, of course not. You would (pretty quickly) evaluate the liklihood of my belief being true and discount it. Not believing in something far fetched and unlikely is very different to believing in it.

      The same is true of the idea that the Christian god created the Universe, or that the various Hindu gods did, or that we are reincarnated or the belief ghosts, gods and goblins. An inability to DISPROVE is a far, far cry from saying that belief is therefore credible or on an equal footing with non-belief.

      In this vein, have a quick look at my bluurb on Leprechauns above.

      March 8, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • Anotheralt

      " Would you consider a disbelief in the little green man as equivalent to a belief in the little green man? No, of course not. You would (pretty quickly) evaluate the liklihood of my belief being true and discount it. Not believing in something far fetched and unlikely is very different to believing in it."

      🙂 Incorrect. I very rarely discount possibilities entirely because I think they're unlikely given available evidence. To do that is close-minded and illogical; let's not forget boring. But you're correct that not believing in something that seems unlikely is different than believing it. Ultimately, they're equivalent, though. Atheists, who post here anyway, all seem to think that just because they don't see evidence of something, we can safely assume it doesn't exist. That, sir, is ridiculous.

      March 8, 2011 at 11:49 am |
    • Maybe

      It all comes down to how we conduct our daily lives...

      There *might* be a teapot orbiting a far-away star... shall we stockpile various gourmet teas in honor of it?

      There *might* be an invisible unicorn flying here and there all over the universe... shall we lay in some sparkly oats and build a golden stable and fashion a silver saddle and reins just in case it visits (and even likes those things)?

      There *might* be a god... shall we spend our lives making up lists of its wants and needs and personality traits and conducting rituals for its benefit?

      We *might* win a huge lottery... daydreaming a bit about the fun spending it might be nice; but do we live every day as if it is really going to happen?

      We *are*... its crucial that we use our time to figure out how to make the best of it for everyone.

      March 8, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
  3. David Johnson

    As others have stated, I don't hate god. I don't hate Santa, the Easter Bunny, Zeus, Athena, Ra, Ganesha, Allah, Krishna, Aphrodite, Poseidon, or any other god, new or old.

    I don't hate them! I just am very sure they don't exist.

    Religion is an addiction, just like alcohol or heroin. Would you not try to help me with my drug addiction? Would you not pull the needle from my arm? Slap the bottle from my hand?

    When I point out the silly in believer's delusions, I do it out of love. It is an intervention!

    I am a secular humanist. I believe the world would be a better place without the gods.

    Some beliefs are hard to exorcise.

    Jesus Speaking:
    Mark 9:29 – And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.

    Many a day, I have come to this religious blog, hungry and with knees sore from prayer.

    "Out silly beliefs! The power of Christ compels you!"

    Cheers!

    Cheers!

    March 8, 2011 at 11:27 am |
    • Deacon Pete

      Religion seems to stem from an irresistable need to express our smallness when facing the cosmic vastness. From where does this need or urge come? Like alcohol (which can be addicting), religion can become eclipsing to life and lose its original intent, i.e. to help us make sense of it. What about love? Love can be addicting. Would I dare rescue someone from love?

      Peace, David
      Deacon Pete

      March 8, 2011 at 11:40 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Deacon Pete

      You said: "Religion seems to stem from an irresistable need to express our smallness when facing the cosmic vastness. From where does this need or urge come?"

      Scientists speculate, that believing in god(s) is an evolutionary adaptation.

      All the gods throughout history, would attest to the fact that humans love to create gods. All of the ancient ones, have been designated myths. Why do we think the current crop are any less made up?

      Humans are predisposed to worship gods. But, they are not predisposed to worship any particular god. Do you find that odd? I do.

      Babies are born atheist. Parents start to program the silly into them, almost from birth. Babies aren't born Catholic, Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist. Do you find that odd? I do.

      There are so many versions of god(s). Some, not even human (The elephant-faced god – Ganesha etc.). Each religion, each denomination of each religion, defines god's wants differently.
      All of these religions cannot be right. But they can all be wrong.
      Perhaps man has not yet found the one true god, or perhaps He does not exist.

      If the Christian god, were the one true god, wouldn't you think He would want everyone, or most everyone, to know He exists?
      There are a number of biblical passages that would support this desire.

      1. If the Christian God existed, this fact would be more obvious.
      So obvious in fact, that EVERYONE, or nearly everyone would believe in His existence. There would be only worshipers of the one true god.

      2. The Christian God's existence is not, in fact, as obvious as we would expect, if he existed.
      This fact is evidenced by all the different religions, plus us nasty atheists.

      3. Therefore, the Christian God does not exist.

      Cheers!

      March 8, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
  4. Mao

    Interesting take
    Like a child that hates their parent. Individuals see their god as an abusive parent. Now is hate the solution?

    March 8, 2011 at 11:24 am |
    • Deacon Pete

      Since hate is so destructive to the hater, it is inhuman. It can never serve as a solution to anything.
      Blessings, Mao
      Deacon Pete

      March 8, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • Frogist

      @Mao: I don't think hate is the only solution. But I think it is the only one left if you concede the existence of god, at least in certain forms. If you thought you were subject to an omnipotent, omniscienct will whose purpose is to seek out any flaws you have through his/her creation and punish you for eternity, then hate is a fair reaction. The only other options for belief while questioning god's love are defeatist. Begrudgingly look away from the cruelty, and resign oneself to worship. it depends on how rebellious you are I guess.
      Take belief out of the question and a whole new set of options opens up.

      March 8, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
  5. REDONKULIOUS

    WOW! Seems like CW has some info the rest of us and yet to receive???? Theres nothing i love more then another As* clown pretending he actually has the slightest freaking clue about whats going on here...the Bible was written by people NUF SAID!
    Ancient colony's roamed south America thousands of years before "Christ" was made up, little did they know that down the road they would be wiped out because of it. More people have died in the name of someone Else's religion than the black plague killed... the world would be a better place with out all the "god" Mumbo jumbo.........NUF SAID................

    March 8, 2011 at 11:21 am |
  6. barbara451

    what a waste of time and resources. Does this guy get paid for being so stupid?

    March 8, 2011 at 11:18 am |
  7. TheTruth

    Why would people hate a God that loves them so much... I am not trying to cause arguments and disagreements with people who are atheists, but how can you prove He doesn't exist? It's the same thing if I told you that I don't believe in the wind because I can't see it. You can see the effects of the wind, but you can't see the wind... The same thing goes for believing in God, you can't see Him, but you can see His doings, such as creation (Genesis 1:1).
    It's up to you to decide what you want from life, and that's something that God has given all of mankind, the gift of free-will and choice.
    Once again, I mean no disrespect towards anyone of any different belief system, but why do you reject a God that loves you so much???

    March 8, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • Sybaris

      Ever seen a harlequin baby after birth? Do you know how they die?

      You would have to have a twisted imagination to be able to rationalize a loving god out of that.

      March 8, 2011 at 11:21 am |
    • Colin

      @The Truth. Perhaps I can put matters in context for you. You see, I believe in Leprechauns.

      I believe that the Leprechaun King loves me and hears my prayers. He intervenes in my life periodically by saving me from various ills. All I have to do is think to myself and he reads my mind and answers my prayers. He loves me and when I die, provided I have lived a good life, I will go to Leprechaun Heaven, where I will live happily ever after with all other humans who have ever led good lives.

      I know there is not a lot of evidence to support my beliefs, but that is just the point. The Leprechaun King wants us to have “faith,” so he never reveals himself. To make an unambiguous appearance and settle once and for all the question of his existence would deprive us of free will and, even though he is all knowing, he would not know who his true believers were. In fact, I believe that the Leprechaun King is “beyond understanding”. He is “outside the Universe” and any time I am faced with something about my Leprechaun belief that makes no sense, I don’t dare question it, I just close my mind and tell myself that "the Leprechaun King moves in mysterious ways" or that my mind is too small to understand the greatness of the Leprechaun King. These are satisfying answers to me.

      Some people, called “atheists,” are skeptical of my belief in the Leprechaun King. They point out many inherent contradictions and unsupported assumptions that underwrite my belief in Leprechauns. But, they can’t prove he doesn’t exist, so he must exist. They also can't definitively explain where the Universe came from or how life on Earth first started, so it must be the Leprechaun King.

      And so what! Even if I am wrong, and go my whole life believing in nonexistent Leprechauns, I have lost nothing. However, if they are wrong, the Leprechaun King will send them to hell to burn forever in the presence of the Evil Ground Troll.

      Am I convincing you to believe in Leprechauns yet?

      March 8, 2011 at 11:21 am |
    • Anotheralt

      I appreciate the attempt at a logical argument but your analogy is flawed. Yes we can see the results of the wind. We can measure it. We can create it, or know how it's done. Thus we know it exists. Your justification/proof of a God is based on an underlying assumption that God exists; you're being circular and fallacious. Faith isn't logical. It can't be. Faith is choosing to believe something even though you cannot know it with certainty.

      No disrespect taken. I'm an agnostic. I find arguments for and against the existence of God delightful and flawed on both ends of the spectrum. Trying to prove or disprove something that is completely beyond our understanding is ridiculous. By all means, have faith if that brings you fulfillment, but make no mistake; there is no proof of anything. Only leaps of faith.

      March 8, 2011 at 11:23 am |
    • Mary

      Yes, The Truth. Your logic is flawed. Thanks, AnotherAlt, for pointing out the fallacy. I believe in God and I am a Christian too, but I embraced religion as a leap of faith, not as a rational decision. How do you know that God loves us so much?

      Any student of history can count off one atrocity after another that discounts the existance of a loving God. Even the Old Testament is rife with acts of genocide that were committed in God's name and on God's behalf. Were these examples of His love?

      In this world, Evil triumphs. It always has. If a loving God had His finger in the works, would this world suck so bad? Would innocents die? A personal, benevolent God is missing in this world's equation, despite the hopes of millions of people saying millions of prayers every day. Examples of God's love might be seen in the loveliness of creation or in the acts of love and kindness that are all too rare. But, in the affairs of Man, in the History of the World, there is very little evidence of the existence of a kind and loving God.

      March 8, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • David Johnson

      @TheTruth

      You said: "You can see the effects of the wind, but you can't see the wind... The same thing goes for believing in God, you can't see Him, but you can see His doings, such as creation (Genesis 1:1)."

      Sorry, Sparky. First, you are begging the question. Your argument assumes Heaven and earth had a creator, in order to show your god created it.

      Believers often want to start the argument with the assumption that their god exists. But if this was actually established, there would be no argument. Right?

      So, quoting scripture is of no value, unless you can show me it is the inerrant word of god. But, again, you need to first establish your god exists.

      This rule should help you in the future: "Don't put the cart before the horse."

      When you look at the Heavens and the earth, you use selective observation. You put on your "rose colored glasses."

      You see:
      Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens; Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens; Brown paper packages tied up with strings.

      But your view suppresses evidence: for all its beauty and grandeur, the universe is also full horrible things. Babies born without brains and with hideous birth defects; Good people suffering monstrous tortures such as neurofibromatosis; Evil people basking in the sun and enjoying long lives; Volcanoes erupting; Earthquakes crushing and maiming; Hurricanes and tornadoes blindly wiping out thousands of lives.

      The beautiful and the horrible occur in about the proportion I would expect, if the heavens and the earth were not the "doings" of an intelligent designer.

      There is not the slightest reason to believe in a god.

      Cheers!

      It's up to you to decide what you want from life, and that's something that God has given all of mankind, the gift of free-will and choice.
      Once again, I mean no disrespect towards anyone of any different belief system, but why do you reject a God that loves you so much???

      March 8, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • KingOfErehwon

      Colin, your Leprechaun King expresses it perfectly. I will need to remember to use that analogy myself the next time I am in the mood to bother explaining this stuff to those who are lost in their religious Darkness.

      March 8, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • KingOfErehwon

      Mary, you mentioned the love of god perhaps being "expressed in the loveliness of creation". Well, perhaps consider again when you look out from that beatiful mountaintop on a summer's day at the loveliness of nature below: Each plant in a life-and-death struggle with other plants to get the better light and nutrients, each animal perpetually on the edge of existance as it fights disease and starvation and the threat of other animals that will tear it apart in a horribly cruel death as it becomes weak from injury, sickness, or old age. Only a very sick mind would conceive of a Balance of Nature as the basis for a living world. There is no loveliness of nature. Not really.

      March 8, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • Frogist

      @The Truth: I don't think it's a matter of accepting or rejecting god's love. I think the disconnect between a believer (who loves god as opposed to one who hates god as described in the article) and a non-believer lies in the question itself that you ask. You ask why do non-believers reject god's love, but don't ask whether god loves. That's the key.
      You must first take a step back from searching for an answer, to find out first if you are asking a valid question. So ask yourself why you believe god loves all humans and you are on the path to understanding a non-believer's position.
      I think at this point in time most non-believers were once believers, but they made the tough choice of examining whether they were asking the right questions. And finding that there were flaws in those questions, went back and back to a single, unerring, inescapable problem. To know the answer to why you reject god's love, you must first ask why do you believe in god. I cannot speak for atheists since I am not one. And I'm sure there are those her who will be more than happy to give you their answer. But as an agnostic all I have is questions. And every example of god that has been presented to me has not been capable of answering those questions. So to put it simply, I don't reject god's love, I question whether it is exists.

      March 8, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • Jorge

      @ David Johnson

      You mentioned that all these "horrible" things happen on the earth (and then appear to blame them on God...who you don't believe exists I assume. Interesting point of view by the way) . Where are you getting your sense of "good" and "bad?" If we are just dancing to our DNA, as Dawkings proposes, then all those things you mentioned are completely neutral (how can nitrogenous bases, 5-carbon sugar, and phosphate do "evil" things in a universe of cosmic accidents?). Are you disagreeing with Dawkings? Do you also disagree with Nietzsche who said there is no such thing as good or bad, merely interpretations? If you DO agree with these, dare I say philosophers, then the only way you can accuse "God" of being "evil" is if you are assuming he exists. So which is it? <– Which the whole point of the authors argument. He's not talking to atheists since they have no basis from which to differentiate between good in evil.

      March 8, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Jorge

      You asked: "You mentioned that all these "horrible" things happen on the earth (and then appear to blame them on God...who you don't believe exists I assume. Interesting point of view by the way) . Where are you getting your sense of "good" and "bad?"

      I don't blame god for any of the horrible things. Earthquakes and the like have natural causes. Germs and bugs and other nasty things, are the product of evolution. Arguing from the believers perspective is quite effective.

      Where do I get my sense of "good" and "bad", you ask... Well, let's see:

      Human morals evolved along with their intellect. It is part of the survival of the species. Humans began to feel empathy for our fellow creatures. Sympathy for their misfortunes and pain. Morals were born!

      Primates have been found to have rudimentary morals. -> http://www.godlessgeeks.com/LINKS/PrimateMorality.htm

      We learn our morals and our religion from our parents.
      Society stamps every individual with its concepts. If you were born in U. S., you have many Christian concepts whether you are religious or not.
      The people of Iran have Muslim concepts.

      I obviously, do not believe that the Christian god (or any god) is the moral lawgiver. The Christian god is not moral. Command Ethics, garnered from the Book, should not be considered.

      I think we should judge our ethics on their effect on society. If our idea of something being wrong has a detrimental effect on a segment of society (gays) and has no bad effects on the rest of society, then our ethics should be "adjusted".

      See Morals! No god needed!

      Cheers!

      March 8, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
  8. mttrailboss

    Why did I read this ? This is one of the most 'boring' commentaries, that I have read in my entire life and I'm 64. Where is the enlightenment or information on why some people hate God within the article.. After reading this.., I most certainly will NOT be buying his book or books. Talk about a waste of time, reading this. Mike in Montana

    March 8, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • Sean

      I totally agree. Where can I get the time I wasted back?

      March 8, 2011 at 11:59 am |
  9. Colin

    Hating god is every bit as silly as "loving god". Oce you buy into the fiction, your emotional reacition simply tells a lot about your underlying mental health.

    March 8, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • TheTruth72

      I love God and I'm a perfectly sane individual. You don't know me, but I live a normal life. Get up, shower, eat, work, exercise, watch some YouTube, read Bible, pray, go to bed. The only thing I do that might not be considered normal nowadays is try to live a sin-free life.

      March 8, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
  10. Colin

    Fist, atheists do no spend considerable time enumerating "his"flaws. That would be as silly as calling Snow White a $lut. We decry the pervasive ignorance that perpetuates these myths.

    March 8, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • Mao

      Did you read the part where Mr. Schweizer wrote,
      "No, I’m not talking about atheists."

      March 8, 2011 at 11:21 am |
    • Colin

      Yes. Did you read the bit about Dawkins and Harris supposedly spending considerable time enumerating his flaws?

      March 8, 2011 at 11:24 am |
    • NL

      Love blinds the believer to God's flaws, even as a fictional object of admiration. That's why it's sometimes beneficial to illustrate these flaws. It's like arguing if Edward, the 100 year old vampire trapped in a 17 year-old's body, isn't actually just a creepy old man out after a young girl.

      March 8, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • Bee

      Colin–Have you read Dawkins and Hitchens? They really do spend time listing God's flaws.

      Besides, this isn't an attack on you atheists, it's obviously an observation of troubled believers. Did you read the article?

      March 8, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • David in Corpus

      Thank you Colin, finally an atheist who thinks like me.

      March 8, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • Mao

      @ Colin
      You're equivocating
      Schweizer specifically said, "New Atheists – those evangelizing ones such as Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins"
      rather than the general term "atheists".
      This is why you see a problem.

      March 8, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • Adam

      Awesome post. Snow White. Gave me a good laugh,

      March 8, 2011 at 9:51 pm |
  11. Anotheralt

    Even if you believe in God, it makes very little sense to outright hate something that isn't sufficiently knowable. It's an immature, presumptive, emotional response. I believe in the possibility of God, but for the sake of argument, I'll assume such a being exists. The creator of the universe is beyond my understanding of love, hate, like, distaste, and a million other concepts. To say that I hate him (for lack of a better pronoun–see how our language isn't set up to deal with God) is to put him in a box of understanding with parameters that defy the concept of the Almighty. You cannot reasonably hate something you don't know, and you can't know God because you're merely mortal. I'll grant that the concept of "reasonable hate" is problematic.

    In short, whatever is making someone hate God, regardless of beliefs, could probably be dealt with by a skilled therapist. God, should such a being exist, cannot earn anyone's hate anymore than he could earn someone's love.

    March 8, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • Frogist

      @Anotheralt: I do believe I agree with your hypothesis. And I agree also that it works the same way as someone loving god. People profess their love for god, despite all the things they readily understand him/her/it as doing to their fellow human beings and planet in general according to their personal philosophy. But they will still admit that god is unknowable. It's a mystery.
      But I disagree that "god" couldn't earn a person's love. If s/he is an omnipotent, omniscient being, god could create situations to satisfy the needs, wants and questions of those humans s/he chooses. After all an all powerful god could manipulate any human any way s/he pleased. We can debate whether that would be real love, but it might satisfy a human. Technically, I bet a god could manipulate all humans into "loving" him/her I guess.

      March 8, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
  12. Misotheism Fan

    I love this article and this author. I first learned about him through "Religion Dispatches.Org", where he is a gust blogger.

    He presents a unique form of religious dissent.

    Check out his book, "Hating God: The Untold Story of Misotheism."

    Also, Hatinggod.com.

    Pretty interesting stuff..

    March 8, 2011 at 11:02 am |
  13. CW

    God does exist...nuff said. The Bible is the true word of God...nuff said.

    Believe or not believe...that is the test....eternal life in Heaven or H-'ell

    March 8, 2011 at 11:01 am |
    • Leigh

      The bible is a work of fiction – there is no proof that God exists. If there really is a heaven, I don't personally know anyone who is going, if you follow the biblical "rules". what do i know? The world is huge, yet we all live in such a small space and we are all such a speck of dust. Life and death are the same for all living things – be it animal, plant or man. My death is no different than the death of my dog. This doesn't make me sad – it makes me truly value my time with those I love and appreciate the beauty that I have in my life.

      March 8, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • Sybaris

      Such a waste to go through life with such a myopic view

      March 8, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • Frogist

      @CW: You're a god fanatic. So what do you think about the author's assertion that there are people who believe in god, but hate him?

      March 8, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
  14. Sam

    Wow, does this seem of the mark to me. Most of the people I know who are spiritual, but do not worship in any organized way, do so not out of a hatred of god, but the hatred of man. Too many religious groups Christi have allowed their public face to be about hate-hating gays, hating Muslims, hating Jews, hating Christians, hate the people who practice the same religion in a different way. What intelligent person would worship with a group who professes to follow a peaceful, loving religion but espouses such hateful beliefs?

    March 8, 2011 at 11:00 am |
    • melissa

      no where in the bible does it direct Christians to "hate" anyone. Christianity does not promote hate. people who want to worship & praise God in church are doing it because they're thanking him for the grace & mercy He's given. Maybe you should step into a church & thank the Lord for the gifts He's given you so far in this life. He gives & takes away, will you will ready when your time has run out?

      March 8, 2011 at 11:50 am |
    • TheTruth72

      @melissa...Well said. I just want to add to that and say that Christians are to hate the sin that man commits and not the man itself.

      March 8, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
  15. whatthef

    Believing and worshipping is easy because its what is socially accepted.

    Not believing is easy because its logical.

    Believing and hating? That's a bit of a stretch. That would take some real effort.

    March 8, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • ScottK

      "Believing and hating? That's a bit of a stretch. That would take some real effort."

      I think that people "hating" God is more rare than the author thinks, but I think there are quite a few who have a "dislike" or even contempt for most of the worlds worshiped dieties.

      March 8, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
  16. Sybaris

    Believers hating their god.

    Don't people get evaluated for similar behaviors?

    March 8, 2011 at 10:51 am |
    • Dr. Strangelove

      Yes. Hating God = hating Daddy.

      March 8, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
  17. S.

    I think more people hate religion than any god; after all, religion is ruled by man who is not infallible. I think god has moved on to other projects and doesn't generally care about individuals, so I can't imagine my ego swelling to the point of believing that "god hates you".

    March 8, 2011 at 10:48 am |
    • whatthef

      Even if you are a believer in a god, its REAL easy to hate religion. People seem to jack it up every chance possible. Almost as if they were messing it up on purpose. Hmm, reminds me a lot of politics too.

      March 8, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • NL

      I think what you mean to say is that organized religion tends to distance the worshipper from the deity because, any way you cut it, believing in a god, and then worshipping that god is a form of religious belief.

      March 8, 2011 at 11:19 am |
  18. Harvey

    More delusions for xtains, Can't hate something that doesn't exist, get some mental help thumper

    March 8, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • TheTruth72

      What is an ex-stain?

      March 8, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • Syriac

      More delusions for atheists.
      Can't believe in such a horrible theory. Go get some common sense Harvey.

      March 10, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
  19. Andrew

    I'm disappointed that CNN, an otherwise well respected news team, still feels the need to spout this bronze age drivel.

    March 8, 2011 at 10:31 am |
    • TheGuyUpstairs

      CNN has a journalistic obligation to present opinions and thoughts of every side. Whether or not you believe in God, find it antiquated, or are just a bored rabble-rouser at work, it is both narrow minded and deeply conceded to discount other views without first considering them. Being blindly Atheistic and discounting believers in religion without considering why they believe what they do is just as singularly bigoted and hateful as what is taught in a madrasas or by the Westboro Baptists.

      March 8, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • Andrew

      As a very wise man once said "We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further." Religion has evolved and shifted over the years to meet peoples needs, and it will continue to do so. In light of the morph-ability of religion and the relativity new scientific evidence explaining things that were attributed to sky demons or god in the past, there is no reason why we as a species need to keep deluding ourselves with make believe and wishful thinking.

      March 8, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
  20. SeanNJ

    I don't hate what isn't there. Stop suggesting I do.

    March 8, 2011 at 10:28 am |
    • SeanNJ

      Fair enough. I should've read the article first.

      March 8, 2011 at 10:33 am |
    • Ruby Tuesdays

      he is real or where would this all just "happen"?

      March 8, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • Syriac

      @ Ruby Tuesdays
      According to atheists, this all just happened out of absolutely NOTHING. They say all Christians are delusional, stupid, have no common sense etc. I honestly think THEY have no common sense for believing in such a horrible theory that all this comes from a simple explosion.

      March 8, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      So you're afraid that everything just happened without any reason, and our existence is a glorious accident. Understandable. Stop judging those of us that can see the emperor has no clothes. Thanks.

      March 8, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • Syriac

      Your reply is just the dumbest thing I have ever read.
      I am not "afraid" our existence is a "glorious accident". I know it is just the dumbest thing ever. Think about it.

      March 10, 2011 at 11:57 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.