...and I don't even believe in Him
There's a bit of hand-wringing over the consequences of the Blasphemy Challenge going on at Uncommon Descent. A couple of posters (here, and here) are apparently distressed over the long-term fallout from the Challenge, in which one uploads to the web a video of his/her denial of the existence of the "holy spirit."
Now I happen to think the Blasphemy Challenge is a silly stunt (though it does have the small benefit of helping to foster a cultural environment in which it's okay to talk and think about these things freely). But as I read those who anguish over this activity it's hard not to imagine Hollywood B-movie scenes of natives recoiling in fear and covering their heads as the white explorers arrive and inadvertently step on their graven images - "Umm...Steve? You're standing on their God."
What if these "blasphemers" someday renounce their atheism and become Christian? - the UD posters whine.
What will they hear when they come to the pearly gates? - they whimper.
What will become of their souls? - they wail.
To which I respond - what the hell kind of God do you worship?
I spend a fair amount of time defending the great silent bulk of Christianity as non-literalist, non-science reactionary, non-bigoted, non-Old Testament regular kind of people just trying to go through life with enough of an eye to traditions they hold dear to give meaning to their existence. But sometimes I wonder if there isn't a bit of fire and brimstone in nearly every Christian's conception of God. Perhaps it's inevitable given the reverence for the Bible as a whole.
It seems that I, as an atheist, have more respect for the concept of God than they do. What god worth worshipping would hold someone accountable for a bit of tomfoolery they spouted when they were young? What kind of omnipotent god is incapable of looking beyond its own petulance to see what is in the heart of a petitioner? What sort of all-loving deity chooses eternal punishment over everlasting forgiveness?
Look, if you're going to believe in God, at least try to get over this childish fascination with a lightning bolt wielding, flame throwing Scourge who's going to show all those infidels the error of their ways. The entire concept of supernatural entities is untenable enough without saddling it with all these savage notions of tribal retaliation.
Doesn't your god deserve to grow up?