I had a dream the other morning, the kind of dream you wake up from and want to return to immediately because I was having so much fun. In my dream I was seeking shelter from heavy rain, and ended up in a shed (the location details are not all that important). In the shed were some other people seeking shelter from the storm, one of whom said upon spying me, “Ah, God has brought you to us”. I then argued with the [made up in my head Christian] people about how they could not a) prove that god existed, b) prove that the rain I was escaping was an Act of God, and c) that all of this coincidence was just that, and even if they believed that it was divine intervention, they could not convince me in any way. My alarm went off and then I was annoyed that I was being woken up from my fun.
All of this stems from one of my greatest issues with some religious believers, that a deity/deities have a plan for each and every one of us, and we all walk along a planned path with no individual control over what happens in our lives (because that is the logical follow-through of “it was meant to be”).
Because let’s face it, any deity who claims to love/care/be considerate of every being in creation (or at least humans), and then lets a very large percentage of them (typically the non-white ones), live in gruelling poverty, die of preventable diseases, starve, die of exposure, be raped, have their bodily autonomy ruled by someone else, be assaulted, be murdered, be injured, die of non-preventable diseases etc, really is a complete bastard. That’s of course if you believe your deity to be all powerful. If you believe that your deity is a localised phenomenon, then it makes a little more sense that there is so much suffering in the world, until you too begin to suffer and then you run into the “but does god mean for me/my family/my friends to suffer in this way, and what does that mean?”.
Sadly there are quite a few people who blame suffering in the world on a devil/malicious spirit/deity/sub-deity but then again, if you believe in an all powerful god, how does that god let a devil/malicious spirit/deity/sub-deity make your life difficult? Surely any god that you worshipped would be doing his/her best to keep you safe at all times, at the very least for the worship you undertake (if we subscribe to the Pratchett idea of gods), or in order to claim your soul at death (if we believe in most earthly religions).
There are also those who actually believe that their all powerful god allows suffering in the world, because it is his/her/zie plan and that’s completely acceptable – some hope that their suffering will mitigate someone else’s suffering, and although that’s kinda nice, it still paints the god/s that allows that suffering in the world as a complete bastard, and not a god that I’d like to worship, even if he/she/zhe shows up tomorrow and demonstrates their existence.
“It was meant to be…” that you met person X at event Y and learnt about something that changed your perspective on something else and made a difference to your life.
Well that’s lovely, shall we contrast it with…
“It was meant to be…” that you were murdered.
“It was meant to be…” that you were diagnosed with inoperable cancer and will die in extreme pain.
“It was meant to be…” that an earthquake demolished your village/town/suburb and killed half your family.
When I remember the number of people who believe in the idea of the Christian god, this god that is all loving, all powerful and all knowing, and then think about how much cognitive dissonance they must put themselves through to believe on one hand that their god cares for them, loves them and protects them, and on the other hand be aware of the unfairness of the natural environment and other people – I really don’t know how they do it.
This is one of the main reasons I stopped believing that there was a god. Even if tomorrow you could actually prove to me that there was a god, I would refuse to worship him/her/zhe because they would not deserve it.