God does not have a monopoly on creation. There are other forces at work who may not be so "caring" towards us. Who is to say that they know how the universe began and for what purpose? I attempt to demonstrate the intellectual dishonesty in claiming such a thing.
It is without a doubt that many of the world's most terrible acts have been committed, not just in the name of God, but directly following a belief in Him. Arguments from "they weren't following the true path" equate to nonsense as the perpetrators believed very much in what they were doing and found justification within their faith. Before I begin, a few rules of engagement: I must distinguish between God and a Creator. By the creator, I mean an entity which created the universe; God also has the honour of this achievement but with it comes the ability to answer prayers, a concern for human behaviour, a jealousy of other (fictitious by his own admission) gods along with all the other attributes that I will not insult the reader by naming; you know what I'm talking about. Big Brother, Yahweh, Allah, whatever you may wish to call him. The creator is trusted with none of these duties; it is only the cause of the universe. As we shall see, there is no reason to assume more. Also, I would like to draw the attention of the reader to the fact that I wish no person any harm whatsoever, I am not attacking people, but rather I am attacking ideology. I believe that people as a whole, religious or otherwise, are inherently good, there are a select few who give us a bad name, a few who appear to be inspired by religion.
There is a sense of intellectual dishonesty in religion in making the claims it does. How dare those of religious persuasion tell us that they understand the true nature of the cosmos? Especially when those who actually study it admit to ignorance of certain aspects (an ignorance that is temporary and receding as the frontiers of knowledge are pushed back). I myself cannot say with certainty one way or another about the existence of a creator, entailing a fascinating debate. However, one must exercise caution if they are to attribute human emotion etc. to this being. I believe that we must be wary of the hubristic claims of religion, as they provide no real means of justification. There may well be a creator, I concede that, but that is no reason for assuming that it possesses the traits that are assigned to it by religion, especially the great monotheistic religions. The very fact that our morals are not reconcilable with the atrocities of Yahweh or Allah should point to a different nature of divinity, if it exists. This assumption must be one of the largest and most overlooked non-sequiturs in history. There simply is no logical apparatus that one can construct to arrive at this conclusion from the premise of the existence of a creator. The reason that my dismissal is so brief is in the fact it does not require much dismissing. All religions claim ownership of the creator, creating a monopoly of consideration. Mostly, people argue for God and not the creator when considering if the universe was created or designed. I believe that this is a logical mistake.
I am ambivalent to a creator, a de-facto atheist, because it seems clear to me that such a creator would be ambivalent to humanity. I conclude this from the fact that we really are cosmically insignificant. This should be evident to anyone capable of rational thought. If the universe is, in fact, designed, then its designer is uncaring for our fate.
This view leads to my proto-atheism in the sense that I live my life without concern for a creator as it is of no consequence. Nature is uncaring and relentless. My thoughts may appear to be a confused mess of atheism, pantheism and deism but this is due to the fact that they seem to amount to the same thing, anti-theism, if you reject outright theism, then you rid yourself of the necessity to worship a creator. Deism, to my mind, does not demand that the deity be believed in, prayed to etc. I argue that with theism out of the picture, it is possible to debate the existence of a creator from the point of view of ignorance: we don't know if there is a creator, but it may be intellectually enjoyable to consider it one way or another, without having to involve superstition, blood sacrifice, fear and quite frankly, sheer stupidity in the discussion. Personally, I don't think that the existence of a creator is necessary, as it does not explain our existence to any degree of satisfaction; there is always the problem of infinite regress. It is far easier to only consider the existence of what we actually know to exist, namely, the universe. But I digress; this is not the point in question. The point in question is pointing out the cheek in claiming to know that the universe was created for us and its creator is highly concerned about what we think, allowing it to convict us of thoughtcrime with eternal punishment and all the other absurdities that come about from this belief.
Thus, it is my intention to make allies of those who may well believe in a creator, but not necessarily God (I hope the distinction is clear), and momentarily set aside the metaphysical question of its existence and combat the idea of religious thought, which time and again shows itself to be evil. Evil in the sense of the surrender of the mind that must take place in order to be part of it, evil in the sense of the terrible acts committed because of it and evil in the sense that they appear to wish for the destruction of humanity, the apocalypse. In summary, my use of evil does not mean acts and thoughts that I "don't like" as it is so used from a religious point of view (consider religious views on homosexuality for example), but evil in the way that religion so often stands in the way of human progress and happiness. I hope that use of such a strong phrase is justified.
Do not be led to believe that I want nothing less that the complete disappearance of religion from the planet. That is not my minimum requirement, as it were, largely due to the fact that I feel that it may never be achieved, at least in the foreseeable future. What I desire is a world where religious views are not given the prominence in society they are today, because of the harm they cause. If my neighbour wants to worship, fear and adore Allah or Jesus or whoever, so be it, it is their right as separate human beings to hold their own beliefs. But if they dictate to me what is true, on no evidential basis, or if they mutilate the genitals of their new born child, fly planes into skyscrapers or command that the people of AIDS ridden countries not to use condoms, I feel that I am compelled to object.
There is, however, a caveat to the preceding argument. I don't think my 'minimum requirement' is enough to rid the world of the blight of religion. This is partly due to the fact that what people believe in this respect actually has an active influence on their behaviour. For example, would any practising Jew or Muslim agree to depart from the mutilation that is so euphemistically termed "circumcision"? Of course not. Also, by allowing people to hold thoughts that are not open to critical discussion by the community, we give them a certain kind of respect that they do not deserve. Humanity progresses socially through such a mechanism of open discussion; allowing ideas to ferment in private is not a healthy state of affairs. There is, in a sense, a global censorship that controls the zeitgeist of human civilisation, a human solidarity that is, in fact, not uniquely human by any means, many of our non-human brethren show this type of solidarity. It is only when we start considering what will benefit the lives of others and their happiness with some amount of seriousness will we start to move away from appeasing some man-made apparition, Blake’s “mind forg’d manacle”, a totalitarian regime that so often causes the destruction of hopes, dreams and the very lives of people who could spend that time and energy truly enjoying life without belittling it with babblings of the beyond.