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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. Evan

    Kalam Argument: Infinity does not exist in the material world.

    1) If you had infinity CD's, and each had infinity songs, and you listened to every song on one CD, you would have listened to the same number of songs as if you had listened to all the songs on every CD.

    2) A dad in a racecar is doing laps around a 1 mile track. His son on the infield is riding in circles on his tricycle. For every one lap the dad does, the boy does 12. If the dad did infinity laps, so would the boy. X=Y even though Y is 12 times greater than X.

    3)"Now" would not exist it time was infinite. Picture "now" as a train station. The train tracks are infinitely long. Would the train ever get to you? It never would. Similarly, time would be non-exsistent if it were infinitely long, for "now" could not exist.

    Thomas Aquinas gave us 5 reasons to believe God exists:

    1)"All that is moved must be moved by another". Things moves when something causes it move to move. This pattern cannot regress infinitely because infinity cannot exist in the material world. The first thing, therefore, could not have been moved by anything else. We call this being God.

    2)"Everything that comes into exsistence owes its exsistence to something else". I was created by my parents, who were created by their parents, who were created by their parents, etc. We know this could not have continued forever. Therefore, something must have created my first descendant. We call this original creator God.

    3)"Not all beings are merely possible, but there must exist something the existence of which is necessary". In other words, things do not have to exist, but they do. The universe is not necessary for there to be "something". The Big Bang theory proves this. If the universe is expanding, it must be going somewhere. If it is infinite, it can go no where. Therefore, there is existence outside of this universe. Therefore, this universe is not necessary. A being who has always existed must have had a reason for this universe in order to feel a desire to create it. Without a desire to create, nothing would have been created. We call this creator God.

    4) We see things are "better" or "worse" than other things. When we say something is "hotter" than something else, we are saying it is closer to the "hottest" thing. When we say something was "nicer", we are saying it was closer to the "nicest" thing. Therefore, our "grading" of how good things are is based on the best it could possibly be. The being who is the best they could possibly be is called God.

    5) We see that natural bodies, most of which do not have any intelligence, work towards some goal. The sun, for example, is not intelligence, but it provides energy for plants to grow, even though it is not intelligent. These plants provide energy for us, even though they are not intelligent. As an intelligent archer fires and unintelligent arrow, so the creator we call God uses unitelligent things, such as the sun and the plants, to do things.

    God: The Moral Argument.

    Many people say "Morals are defined by the individual". There is a problem with this reasoning. If I were to hold a cup of boiling water above a puppy's head (forgive me if this image disturbs you), you could not tell me to stop me, if you were to remain consistent, because what if I think it is right. If I came into your house and stole everything, you would not tell me to stop, because what if I think I am doing the right thing? While this theory seems reasonable, it cannot be lived out consistently.

    Some people think society decides what is right or wrong. However, if this were true, Jesus Christ, Martin Luther King Jr, Gandhi, and other people like them would be the most evil people who ever existed. Their crime? They rebelled against society. They pointed out they saw wrong and fought against it. Another problem with this theory is it is based on observation. Observation is just observing things the way they are, but morals are the way things are supposed to be. Just because society does one thing does not mean it is the right thing to do (slavery, for example).

    Some peole think there is no right and wrong, because sometimes there are disagreements over morals. The problem with this theory is just because numerous people disagree does not mean both are right. Either one is right or they are both wrong. Also, if there is no wrong, why do Atheists say "There is so much evil in the world"? Saying you see evil means there must be a right or wrong.

    Therefore, morals are objective. They are universal. They have a sense of obligation that we all know. Morals are not "it would be good if you did this" or "it would be bad if you did that", but "do this" or "don't do that". These commands must come from a being. We call this being God.

    Where did these morals come from? Either God understands good because it is outside of him, or morals are the way they are because God says they are that way. However, there is a third option. Morals are based on God's character. The are based on God, and are therefore not external to Him nor changeable.

    What about morals that conflict? Morals that conflict are actually not arguments about morals at all. Just facts. With abortion, for example, the anti-abortion group declared "Killing an innocent Human is bad". Pro-abortion people do not disagree that killing an innocent human is bad. However, they just don't consider and unborn human a human at all.

    Have you ever felt guilty when you have done something wrong? To whom do you feel guilty? When you get angry at someone for something that wasn't their fault, it is obvious whom you feel guilty towards: the person you got angry at. However, have you ever thought something, wanted to do something, or have done something when you thought nobody was watching you that you felt guilty about? While you may deny it, you know in your heart that you have felt guilty about things that others didn't know about. To whom do you feel guilty towards? The being that gave us morals. God.

    We may deny it, but all of us know right or wrong. It is not a nagging feeling and a suggestion, but something we know we are obligated to do. While an atheist may claim they believe in subjective morality, they cannot live this philosophy out consistantly.

    There is overwhelming proof for the existence of God. Why is there something rather than nothing? If there were nothing, what would there be? Why is there something when it is not necessary? While atheists claim Christianity has no foundation, atheism has no foundation, for it fails to answer these questions. God exists, whether you want to believe it or not.

    (Note: Christianity is not philosophy, nor should it be treated as such. I merely use philosophy to get my point across.)

    God: The Design Argument
    1) There are many parameters in the universe that, even if changed minutely, would destroy existence as we know it. Some include: The strong nuclear constant, the weak nuclear constant, the gravitational force constant, the electromagnetic constant, Ration of electron to proton mass, ration of protons to electrons, expansion rate of the universe, entropy level of the universe, mass density of the universe, velocity of light, etc. These are all very specific things.
    You may be thinking "Well, if they were different, that doesn't mean things couldn't exist. It just means that different things would exist". That isn't true. If any of these parameters were slightly different, not only would life as we know it not exist, but nothing would exist. Take the expansion rate of the universe: if it was faster than one part in 10^55, galaxies could not have formed. If it were any slower, the universe would have collapsed.
    These extremely specific parameters indicate someone intelligent set them up. We call this intelligent being God.

    2) Information is communication between minds. Is there information on this page? The answer is "no". There is no information on this page, just lines (in a specific order) that are used to signify sounds, which we use to communicate thoughts. Let's use another example: we have infinity monkeys with inifinity type writers. If we gave them infinite time (note: I am not contradiciting the Kalam Argument, as this situation is merely hypothetical), would the monkeys ever type Hamlet? The answer is no. Even if one of the monkeys somehow hit the correct string of letters, it would not be Hamlet. Why? Because the monkeys were not trying to give information. They were not trying to communicate with our mind. What is knowledge? A collection of information. What is information? A communication between minds. Therefore, we know what we know because somebody gives us the information.

    Sometimes it is obvious who give us the information. I learned math from my math teachers, I learned English from my parents, etc. However, some things are much harder to determine how we learned it. Breathing, for example: who taught me how to breath? If I didn't learn fast, I'd be dead. However, it was something I did naturally. An atheist may now be saying "You breathed because it is an instinct". Well, who gave us that instinct, my friend? Because knowledge is information, and information is the communication between minds, something intelligent and transcendent must have taught me how to breath. We call this being God.

    DNA contains information. But where did this information come from. Somebody didn't just sit down with the DNA and say "Look, here is what you are supposed to do". The DNA recieved the information not from something of the universe, for it is not intelligent. However, even though it is not intelligent, it still does things. Atheists are now in a difficult position, for they have to explain how DNA got its information from something that exists in the universe.

    3) Let's use William Paley's argument. If you are walking through the forrest and you find a watch on the ground, you are immediately going to think "Somebody dropped their watch". You are not going to think "Wow, look at this watch plant". You know the watch was made by someone intelligent. In the natural world, there are plenty of things even more complicated than watches, such as DNA, rotation of planets, weather patterns, evolution, etc. (Yes, I do believe in evolution–microevolution to be more specific). Why do we treat the universe any different than we treat the watch in the forrest? This argumemt shows that atheism is actually against human nature.

    4) What could we remove from a mouse trap and have it work the same way? The answer is: nothing. It is irreducibly complex. You can't remove anything from the mouse trap and have it still work properly. The mouse trap could not have evolved over time because its mechanics could not be simplified any further. Similarly, if we find an example of irreducible complexity in nature, we find an organism that did not evolve. If we find an example of irreducible complexity in nature, macroevolution (Darwin's theory) is disproved. Darwin himself admitted this. The book "Darwin's Black Box" argues that organisms like cilium, bacterial flagellum, animal cells, and antibodies are irreducibly complex. The human eye is also something in nature that is irreducibly complex. If one of the eye's millions of parts fails, we lose our vision. DNA is also irreducibly complex. If one single strand of coding is removed, it messes up the whole cell.

    These arguments put atheists in a difficult position. Logic, science, and reason, the thing they use to try to defend themselves, have turned against them. Not only are logic, science, reason, and God compatible, God is necessary for these things to exist. Ultimately, atheism is trying to attack the source of reason with reason, the source of science with science, and the source of logic with logic.

    The above theories prove that God exists. Now, the is "Which God exists?" The theories above have given us qualities God must have. God must exist. God is necessary, for God can exist without the universe, but the universe cannot exist without God. Clearly, He is powerful, because if he were not, he couldn't created anything, and then nothing would exist. God must exist outside of the universe, for it is His own creation. God must be non-contingent, as Aquinas' arguments and the Kalam argument show us that God was the "first cause", and therefore could not have been created (note: God did not need to be created because he has always been. While this may seem difficult to picture, this is also proof that God is transcendent, for He exists beyond our knowledge and understanding). Clearly, He is intelligent, for He knows how all things work. However, despite the fact that God is transcendent, God is personal, as the moral argument shows, as He gave us morals to show us how to live. Because we are given morals, He cares about what we do, and is therefore personal. He is moral because our morals are based off of his personality. Because He gave us morals, He has a will for us, and because He cares about we we do, he is engaged and active in his creation. Finally, He is unique, and there can not be anyone like Him, for there is nothing He could not create.

    Atheism: Atheism states that God does not exist, or that we can know nothing about Him. Not only does this view contradict all the above theories, but it fails to give any theories of its own. Someone who is truly an atheist would not be arguing with Christians over the exsistence of God, for what do they have to defend? Also, it takes as much, if not, more, faith to be an atheist than it does to be a theist. We don't know everything about the universe. Saying that "God doesn't exist" is basically like saying "I know everything about the universe". The only being who can make such a claim is God, the very being an atheist is trying to disprove. At this point, atheists will say "Maybe God does exist, but we can know nothing about him". Where did you get that information from? This view ultimately fails to meet any of the necessary criteria.

    Atheism says:
    Exists:No
    Necesary:No
    Powerful:No
    Transcendent:No
    Non-contingent:No
    Intelligent:No
    Personal:No
    Moral:No
    Engaged:No
    Unique:No

    Agnosticism, while it doesn't flat-out deny God, ultimately is no better than atheism. It is simply an individuals description of their own current lack of knowledge than the way things are.

    Pantheism: Pantheism says the everything that exists is God, similar to the Force in Star Wars. It believes only nature is real, and that material reality is just an illusion. In this view, opposites cannot exist. Good and evil cannot both exist, which is clearly not true. In this view, logic and reason are illusions. The problem with this view is that is says God is not personal, therefore not engaged, and therefore not intelligent. Also, God could not be transcendent, for everything is God. ALso, this God is not just, as, in this view, Hitler and Mother Theresa share the same fate. Also, in this view, God is unchanging. However, if we have changed and we part of God, God has changed. Pantheists will now claim "Logic is just an illusion". What about that statement itself. It uses reason and logic to say reason and logic do not exist. Ultimately, this view in unlivable, for we cannot live without logic and reason.

    Pantheism says:
    Exists:Yes
    Necesary:Yes
    Powerful:Yes
    Transcendent:No
    Non-contingent:Yes
    Intelligent:No
    Personal:No
    Moral:No
    Engaged:No
    Unique:Yes.

    Panetheism: Panetheism says God is both the tree and the seed at the same time. He is both dependent of the world and distinct from the world at the same time. It says we are part of God, but we are not God, and as we change, He changes. In other words, "God is to the world what the soul is to the body". However, the main problem with this view is it says God is always changing. the "current state" of God is always lacking something. That means that God would have to be bound to time, yet eternal, meaning infinity would have to actually exist, which is clearly not true. There would also be no right or wrong, because right or wrong could change too, which is also not true. In short, this view fails to explain anything.

    Panetheism says:
    Exists:Yes
    Necesary:Yes
    Powerful:Yes
    Transcendent:No
    Non-contingent:No
    Intelligent:Yes
    Personal:Yes
    Moral:No
    Engaged:Yes
    Unique:Yes.

    Finite Godism: Finite Godism says that while God was the "first cause", He is not all-powerful because evil exists and He can do nothing about it. This theory may seem appealing to some because it describes how the universe was created and why evil exists at the same time. However, this theory has its major flaws. If God is finite, what created God. In Zoroastrianism, God can be defeated by too much evil. The problem with this is if God can be defeated, then the universe can exist without him, and He would therefore not be necessary, which is clearly not true. If He cannot defeat evil, He could therefore not be powerful, and therefore not personal. God would not be non-contingent because our evil could destroy Him. Again, this theory ultimately brings up more, and harder, questions than we started with.

    Finite Godism says:
    Exists:Yes
    Necesary:No
    Powerful:No
    Transcendent:Yes
    Non-contingent:No
    Intelligent:Yes
    Personal:No
    Moral: Yes and no. Yes, because God does want good to happen, but no because He cannot do anything about it.
    Engaged:Yes
    Unique:No

    Polytheism: Polytheism says that there are multiple Gods, and that he universe has always existed. Many of the world's religions are polytheistic (Mormonism is a form of polytheism called "henotheism", which means that while it believes in multiple Gods, only one should be worshiped). However, the problem with this view is it believes in actual infinities, which the Kalam argument proves do not exist. The universe could not have always existed. Some polytheists will then say "Gods created other gods". The problem is if the universe can exist without these "gods", they are not necessary. Besides, this chain of "gods" could not regress infinitely, because polytheism states that these "gods" are from the universe, and are therefore neither transcendent nor non-contingent. God could obviously not be unique. God couldn't have morals either, because sometimes these "gods" contradict each other (note: in Christianity, the Devil is NOT a god. The Devil is just the leader of those who oppose God, and is not all-powerful like God is). Because they had to be created, they are not powerful. In the end, explaining how this view works is harder to understand than the creation of the universe.

    Polytheism says:
    Exists:Yes and no. God does exist, but there are multiple "gods".
    Necesary:No
    Powerful:No
    Transcendent:No
    Non-contingent:No
    Intelligent:Yes
    Personal:Yes
    Moral: Yes and no, as the different "gods" conflict.
    Engaged:Yes
    Unique:No

    Deism: Deism says that God is not known through religion, but logic, reason, and science. In other words, it says that God is not engaged in his creation. Therefore, miracles do not exist. This view is similar to agnosticism, except it accepts that God exists. However, if God is not engaged, that means he does not intervene. If God never intervened in anything, the universe would never have been created. If this is how God were, the universe would never have been created. This view fails to explain much.

    Panetheism says:
    Exists:Yes
    Necesary:Yes
    Powerful:Yes
    Transcendent:Yes
    Non-contingent:Yes
    Intelligent:Yes
    Personal:Yes
    Moral:Yes
    Engaged:No
    Unique:Yes.

    Monotheism: Monotheism (Judaism, Islam, and Christianity) says that there is one, and only one God. God is involved with His creation, moral, intelligent, unique, necessary, powerful, and transcendent. Ultimately, monotheism is the only theory that explains why things are the way they are.

    March 11, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • PRISM1234

      Evan, thank you for such in depth articles that truly speak volumes. I Find them just amazing, and I know that they would enlighten those who would read them. But not many will, because they are not here to seek answers but to run from them.....To them (their) ignorance is a bliss!

      March 15, 2011 at 8:13 pm |
  2. Jim

    I like the article and i do not believe that a person hates god because they are "evil" as some replies state. i personally hate him because of things i have seen happen in life not just my life but others some friends some just complete strangers and it makes you wonder why a supposed loving father figure like god would allow things like this to happen to good people . i think he is a jerk and has a really bad ,sick sense of humour and i have a very firm hatred for that kind of abuse of a parent to their children.

    March 11, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • brad

      The concept of God as loving father has never made impression on me. I have spent my entire life dealing the effects of serious child abuse at the hands of mothers. So mine is a feminist theology: God is a female who hated the product of her own womb, abourted it, abandoned it, or outright abuses it. This theology represents very well (for me) the reason for our condition. Of course, we don't hate our mothers so I don't hate God. I just try to survive her.

      March 11, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
  3. Well Read

    Awesome book that will change your mind. http://www.jamesbouvier.com

    March 11, 2011 at 9:49 am |
  4. Bob

    Becky, its not about 'better'. The ability to REASON gives us the edge in the quest for truth. The list was presented as food for thought. The list, and there is more, contains the kind of ideas, sometimes presented as fact, for supporting the idea that there is no God; no need for God. In the final analysis there either is a God, or there isn't? these are mutually exclusive propositions. If there is, does he have any expectations? We (all of us) live as though good is our desire and that good is what we expect from others (even athiests live this way–they may not talk this way, but they do live this way–actions speak louder than words. If the God who actually exists has no expectations, then our behavior is rather silly, misguided and irrelevant; we created morality and God is laughing at us. If, on the other hand, God built the law (morality) into us, and we are accountable, thats quite a bit different. If there is no God, we have evolved a whole bunch of things that are of no use (belief, what's the point; reason, does it help me steal meat/bread from my weaker neighbor–as Darwin stated the only real law of life is: "Bloody tooth and claw"; conscience, why should I feel guilty). Just something to reason on in the quest for truth (however, if God doesn't exist, there's really no need for truth, either).

    March 10, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  5. jon

    Even if a god did exist, which I don't, why does it have to worshiped?

    March 10, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
    • Barry

      The worship of God–like everything in all creation–is for our benefit. God gets nothing from this, we get everything.

      March 10, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
  6. Bob

    Barry, nice post. I have discovered two major threads in the Bible (obviously there are more than 2, but...)

    1) God's plan of Redemption
    2) God will 'vindicate' his name

    As you know, God's name is blasphemed all day long.

    What is readily apparent in this blog, and addressed in the Bible, is that men cannot reach out to, understand or comprehend God. God had to reach out to man, and He did it through a people (Abraham, The Isrealites, The Jews, culminating in the finished work, His Beloved Son) Man can't reach out to, or understand God due to man's broken spiritual nature. We all, as little god's would like to believe that aren't broken, that we are spiritually intact and that we can reason out the meaning of life. It is a fallacy. God took action because He loves His creation. So, this being true, what is left for man is to acknowledge his lack (called humility, hard for little god's) so that the Spirit of God can lead him to his true benefactor. Sadly, there are a lot of deceptions and misinformation that easily grabbed onto. They are akin to a life raft that won't inflate, ending in drowning (death).

    So why does God have to vindicate His name, one might ask? Vindication, in this sense, means that God desires to clarify to mankind who He really is (we've got all kinds of bad ideas, some leading to our blaspheming His Name–certaintly can see this in this blog)j. He has been working at this since the foundation of the world. God will prove out to be righteous, loving, patient, etc. when the dust settles, to the chagrin and shame of many of His creatures.

    March 10, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • Barry

      Well said, Bob.

      –Barry

      March 10, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • PaulC

      I respect a person's believe that the bible is the word of God but remember that a group of men decided what would be in the bible and what would be left out. It makes me wonder what was truly holy directed and personal preference.

      March 14, 2011 at 9:24 am |
  7. Barry

    Undoubtedly people hate God for various reasons.

    Some hate God, because they resent his instruction and discipline (See: the book of Proverbs).

    Some hate God because they do not understand his ways (that God is correcting and disciplining his people, and that this is necessary for their long-term benefit.) (See: Isaiah, Ezekiel, Job, the Gospel of Matthew, Paul’s epistles, etc.).

    Some hate God because they lack faith (trust).

    Some hate God because of the way they see his people behaving.

    And some hate God because of what they see him doing to his people.

    The Apostle Paul in his New Testament epistle to the Christians at Rome wrote "...As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed ... because of you....

    Paul writes about the former days, when God was disciplining his people because of their unfaithfulness and disobedience. God was disciplining them by means of the Assyrians and the Babylonian Exile.

    As God disciplined his people, many mocked his people, not realizing what God was doing.

    The Hebrew Prophet Isaiah (Old Testament) wrote: “And all day long my name is constantly blasphemed....

    “And now what do I have here?” declares the Lord.
    “For my people have been taken away for nothing,
    and those who rule them mock,”
    declares the Lord.
    “And all day long
    my name is constantly blasphemed.
    Therefore my people will know my name;
    therefore in that day they will know
    that it is I who foretold it.
    Yes, it is I.”

    And the Hebrew Prophet Ezekiel (Old Testament) wrote:
    "And wherever (my people) went among the nations they profaned my holy name, for it was said of them, ‘These are the Lord’s people, and yet they had to leave his land. I had concern for my holy name, which my people caused to be profaned among the nations where they had gone. “Therefore say to the [people of God] ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: It is not for your sake...that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone. "

    Jesus Christ, who was a devout Jew and the founder of the Christian faith, taught that God's people should live their lives in such a way (doing good)–that people would see these actions and deeds and praise God.

    There was a memorable episode of the popular TV show of the 1970's, “All In The Family”, where Edith says to Mike, “Do you mean you believe that there aint no God?” Mike responded by saying: “I don’t know whether there is a God, but if I do believe in God, I will believe because of good people like you.”

    .

    March 10, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
  8. Bob

    Reference to the proposition that we can reason this thing out (a quote) "Reason is Devine, but men are not". So, what does that really mean? Why would the wise men of the past decide reason is devine. Any thoughtful man/woman can extropolate that if the universe were indeed created out of irrational chaos initiated by nothing more than a big bang of an infitesimally small, but infinitly dense bit of matter, the quality of reason would not be present and could not result by any 'natural' processes present. Therefore, it is infered, by human reasoning, that reason was introduced from outside of nature (nature: see material universe as understood by 'material humanists'). This, of course, leaves the door wide open to any number of difficult things that science can't explain (except of course in unprovable theories). Someone previously mention the word 'biogenisis' in reference to the 'origin' of life. It might be more correct to use a word like 'bioreplication' when talking about what we know concerning life. Far as I know, no one has definitively determined how life 'started'. Granted, there are a lot of theories being bandied about, all of which attempt, in one way or another, to exclude an 'intelligent' creator.

    Anyway, getting back to hate. Says in the Bible, "Men hate God" (look it up, its there). Why? Well, it really boils down to guilt. Now, don't jump too far ahead here. The premise is that men/woman resent the fact that they feel guilty. The guilt comes from some small or large breaking of the rules (ethics/morality). No one can deny that this phenomenon of ethics/morals is present in all men/women. Atheists make a big deal, on the one hand, that there can't possibly be any moral absolutes , but on the other hand are often heard talking about trying to be a good person (man;y times on this blog)(in the atheist mind, or even the polytheistic mind, all morals/ethics are relative–which in fact they very seldom are–eliminating any meaningful statement about good/evil–remember atheist, good/evil doesn't actually exist) . Somewhat of a contradiction in the presupositions vs. behavior. But, guilt, as a result of many actions, exist. Why, You might ask? How could an irrational, inanimate (simply atoms), chaotic (big bang, lots of heat) create guilt, or even a psyche, for that matter. Well, it couldn't. This, like reason, had to come from outside of nature. The point!!!! We were 'created' this way.

    Try to remember when trying to REASON this out (life, the universe and everything):

    Scientists DO NOT know how life started on this planet (they only have theories)!
    Scientists DO NOT know that evolution is a fact (even though they present it that way), its a theory!
    Scientists DO NOT know how the 'known' universe began, they only have theories!
    Scientists DO NOT know that multi-verses exist, it is just a theory to improve the probabilities that all of their other theories might be probable.

    Did you know that Einstein fudged one of his complex equation, to his regret to the end of his days? He did it because the correct form of the equation pushed him in the direction of the possibility that there was an intelligent creator. He didn't like that idea. So he mickied up the equation (so he didn't have to talk about it, so others wouldn't see it????). Remember, men hate God (for various unREASONable REASONs).

    March 10, 2011 at 11:54 am |
    • Becky

      @Bob
      I completely agree with all of the things you iterated as "scientists DO NOT know", but you neglected to mention that the same can be said for your religious beliefs.

      You DO NOT know how life started on this planet (you have only a theory).
      You DO NOT know that creation is a fact (even though you present it that way), it's a theory!
      You DO NOT know how the 'known' universe began, you only have a theory.!
      You DO NOT know that only one universe exists, it is just a theory to improve the probabilities that all of your other theories might be probable.

      Why does one have to better than the other for everybody?

      March 10, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • Evan

      Becky, you are correct, but Christianity is not a religion, but a relationship. Christianity is not outdated philosophy, but having a personal relation with God. Christianity's goal is not explain the universe. Its goal is not to give a set of rules. Its goal is not to hate those who refuse to believe. Its goal is to show how much God loves us, and how he would rather suffer Himself than see us suffer.

      March 11, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
  9. Misotheism Fan

    Great article. Im a Misotheist! And Im putting it in writing!!

    Cheers

    March 10, 2011 at 11:50 am |
  10. Skepticz

    Wow! What an outpouring of responses!

    Well, I think Schweizer's article deserves it. It is not yet another article debating atheism vs. theism. Leave that to Dawkins and Hitchens!

    "Misotheism" presents a completely new form of rebellion.

    Bravo Professor Schweizer. Finally someone changed the tune, and provided us with a group that I think many would identify with.

    March 10, 2011 at 11:47 am |
  11. Jeff

    Thor and Apollo have really been making me angry lately.

    March 10, 2011 at 5:43 am |
  12. David Gibson

    Some religious people hate God because some churches blame God for all events and take life as a test. I am religious, but I understand that if God took away all the natural hard aspects of life, there would be no life, just an eternal vacation where we could bath in boiling oil with no effect and eat quarts of haagen daas with no artery problems and if we reached to steal a cookie our hand would freeze in space. Odd world indeed. But the world is a hard place. God never attacks us even if he doesn't take the pain of the world away from us.
    One writer compared God's role in the worlds troubles to us disciplining a child, as if Auschwitz was akin to disciplining a child. With thoughts like that no wonder some religious people hate God.

    March 10, 2011 at 12:04 am |
  13. Josh Brooks

    Uhhh..."....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." Isn't this in reality, the primary/same reason people claim to have become Atheists? Also, I don't agree with your underlying hypothesis...if someone TRULY believes in a creator/God, then she/he can't possibly hate/scorn him. Hate and scorn only comes from a shred of disbelief. True belief focuses on faith and hope and holds fast through all of the injustice and suffering.

    March 9, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • Teddy

      How can you hate or scorn something you don't believe in?

      March 11, 2011 at 11:43 am |
    • Teddy

      Believing is knowing something on a personal level that is validated by your own reason and witness, which can be understood through evidence and without contradiction.

      Faith is thinking is true that you can't prove, but which is tied to a feeling or idealized notion.

      I believe that believe in G_D is easy, but that Religion place too much interest in Faith because there are gross inconsistencies between believe and faith of religion.

      March 11, 2011 at 11:47 am |
  14. Jason Cooper

    I would just like to take this oppurtunity to let the author know that when I say "f#(k god" I am doing so from the position of what he calls a "new atheist" and as I consider god to be a fictional character it's really his (or their for people who choose to believe in lots of gods) followers that have irritated me with millennia of wars, abuse of children, misuse of resources, and not to mention obfuscating the fundamental nature of reality. I am 100% positive that is the longest run on sentence I have ever written.

    March 9, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
  15. KritoLucas

    People hate god because they fear wht the very idea of him can and has done. God can bring war in some peoples eyes, in others it can heal emtional wounds for the people they oppress. The idea of God brought us the crusades, nine major ones and, believed, to be a few minor ones, these crusades brought death to both Islamic people and Christain people all because there faith had a different name, and or what the different faith had in its possesion, like Jerusalem. But other crtusades, both major and minor have lead to the deaths of other people in cities that were hated by christains, or were just along the way. But what ever people hate him for, there is only one way to describe him, "I am the Alpha and the Omega–the beginning and the end, I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come–the Almighty One."

    March 9, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
  16. Michael

    @Andrew Johnson

    Believing in God to fulfill a need for purpose does not make your belief true. Life not having meaning can be a scary thought. If believing in God helps you sleep at night thats great. Just remember your need for purpose is not proof God exists.

    March 9, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • Bee

      but having proof would negate the purpose of faith. I practice faith because I find it an advanced way of living, not as a comfort blanket.

      March 9, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  17. Curt

    I found this article quite interesting and refreshing.

    March 9, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      Curt, so did I, now I have to reread my Zora collection in a new light.

      March 9, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
  18. Dub King

    Atheism is still a religion. What is being discussed is comical. Can you all get over the god discussion please so we (people of the planet Earth) can get on with our lives? There is no god. End of discussion

    March 9, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Calling atheism a religion is meaningless. Perhaps you redefine religion to equal anything a person believes. However, you may as well say science is a religion or marketing is a religion. However, you also may as well say that not believing in faeries is a religion.

      March 9, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • Andrew Johnson

      I like to try think about everyone's point of view, but I can't seem to find any purpose in a universe without God. Can you tell me what the purpose of life is?

      March 9, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      Andrew Johnson, who says life has to have a purpose, other than being alive (living)?

      March 9, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • Andrew Johnson

      @johnQuest- I can't seem to wrap my mind around it. if we just live a while then cease to exist then why be here at all? It seems like everything we know (all matter) has at least a finite purpose (plants produce oxygen, nutrients feed plants ect.) so how can the thing as a whole (the universe) have no ultimate purpose? how can something that ultimately leads to nothing even exist?

      March 9, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • goat

      Atheism is the absence of religion. To call Atheism a religion is to say the number 0 is a very high number, or to look into an empty field and say it's full of cattle.

      March 9, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • Bee

      Atheism is a system of beliefs, just like a religion is. Atheists claim it is a system of obvious facts. By my definition, atheism is a religion, although many atheists will find that incorrect.

      March 9, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • TwoCents

      @Andrew
      If you're really open to other people's point of view, have you explored Buddhism? It tries to explain life's purpose without a requirement to believe in a God. I don't think life's purpose is about belief in a being that's supposedly the creator of everything, but rather the understanding of sufferings in one's current life and how to overcome them.

      It just doesn't make sense to me that the belief in one being is the requirement for a "better life". Truth is truth, something exists or not. We shouldn't need to believe something into existence. Knowing how to live a meaningful live should be independent of believing in a being or not. If one needs to believe in a being as crutches to live life to the fullest, so be it. However, it's not the only way as there are others who are able to find their own path to the same destination.

      March 9, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
  19. Andrew Johnson

    If there is no proof of a creator God then why is this debate never ending? Why have all generations of humans sought to worship something that so clearly (as some say) does not exist?

    March 9, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • Dub King

      I suppose it's because some people just love to hear themselves talk, even thought they are ignorant. Belief in God is what destroys the real world.

      March 9, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • Justina

      Because all the self-claiming atheists cannot give up the idea that there is one true righteous God. Humans are evil, that's why some of them hate God. Righteous people acknowledge their sins and trust in Jesus for forgiveness and salvation.

      March 9, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
  20. Danny

    I think the article itself was just silly, but the discussion and comments posted here have been great! Wonderful discussions and debates by real people who seem to have thought about this a bit. I learned nothing from the article, but have been given a great deal to think about from the comments. Thanks to all who contributed.

    March 9, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • Andrew Johnson

      I agree, I enjoy discussing "deep things!" Thanks to everyone who considered it long enough to wright a reply:)

      March 9, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • Misotheism Fan

      I really liked this article. As expressed in many of these posts, Schweizer seems to have identified a whole new class of religious rebellion, called "Misotheists".

      Enough of the black and white, Atheists vs Believers. Finally a more eloquent distinction.

      Nicely done.

      March 10, 2011 at 11:54 am |
    • Watcher1185

      It is hard to find any posts that are not riddled with anger and pent-up emotion. Would be great if people could debate the existence of God without throwing the f bomb around. I also thank some the posters for their opinions.

      March 10, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
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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.