Journal Of Applied Misanthropology

Beyond Belief

No one believes in God.

Not really. Not intuitively. Indeed, the mere fact that God is something people have to 'believe' in is evidence enough. No one asks "Do you believe in gravity?" or "Do you believe that standing on train tracks as the train bears down on you is a Really Bad Idea?" But people always ask about God.

No one would jump off a ten story building, claiming God would save them. There are endless rationalizations for this. "Thou shalt not put thy God to the test." "Free will." But what it really boils down to is -- no one believes.

People believe in gravity. You drop a dish, it falls. You drop off a tall building, you splat. It works. There is no scientist who says, "Thou shalt not put Newton to the test." Newton, and Einstein, and Darwin, are tested all the time, day in and day out, and scientists dream of having them fail. The scientist who finds where another scientist was wrong is on his way to research grant city, maybe even to Stockholm. But the religious do not test.

Do people act differently due to faith? So it is claimed. But where are these people? "It is the love of God that makes a man devote his life to the poor." Very well. Let us find such a man. Let us ask him:"If I could convince you there was no God, would you abandon the causes you've dedicated your life to and embark on a life of hedonism, selfishness, and sadism?" Will he say, "Yeah sure! The only reason I do this charity shit is 'cause I'm afraid of hell!"? No, he won't, and you all know it. And the thing is -- he won't be lying. The jails are filled with murderers, robbers, and rapists who believe in hell...and the annals of history are filled with heroes, saviors, and healers who believe in nothing but their own sense of right and wrong. Belief in God does not change anyones actual actions -- because no one really believes in God. Those with faith as a mustard seed can move mountains, but the mountains and the molehills stay put, because no one has such faith.

Those who promote belief know this to be so -- else why would they suppress anything which threatened belief? Belief in that which is real is not fragile or easily shattered. It would take a lot to make a man believe a gun pointed at his forehead would not kill him -- but it seems that it is impossible to sustain the belief that god will stop the bullet. Any dissent, any questioning, must be suppressed as heresy -- but no such suppression is needed on matters of genuine fact. It does not bother geologists that people publish books claiming the Earth is hollow, because the geologists know they can prove it otherwise. Why, then, does it bother preachers when people publish books saying there is no god -- if not for the fact their own faith is so weak as to be, frankly, non-existent? No one believes, not even -- especially not even -- those who preach belief the loudest. They shout 'Believe!' in the hopes of silencing their own voices of doubt, but the voices are never truly silent, though the soul grows hoarse from screaming.

If anyone believed, you would know it. They would not act like the unbelievers. They would do things that would seem irrational...because their world is warped around the idea that there is an omnipotent being who is watching them, personally, and will take immediate and direct action on their behalf. Let me try this another way. If you woke up tomorrow with the powers of Superman, say, would you toddle through life as you always have? Or would this power inevitably change you, set you apart? Whether you used it for good or evil, you would be different. You would make totally different choices. If you could change the course of mighty rivers and bend steel in your bare hands, the basic inputs into each decision you make in your life would alter beyond recognition. But those who claim there is a God watching them do not, for the most part, act noticeably different from those who figure they're totally on their own in this wretched reality. No one believes.

Does God empower people? It is easy to find those who will state "God helped me quit smoking!" or "God gave me the strength to go on after my family was killed in that freak buffalo stampede!" But look around you, across the world, across time. Everywhere, there are those find that strength -- through belief in countless gods, or rituals, or spirits -- or nothing at all. From Allah to Zoroaster, people find a focus...but they can't all be real. So the strength is not coming from your god, but from YOU. You are your own magic feather. If there were any real god, he would only help those who had faith in him, not in countless false gods...but if any belief works, then there is nothing that is actually doing the work, except the believer.

Oh, it is true, you can find those who do believe, clearly and evidently. You can find those who really do live each day with the absolute clear certainty that supernatural powers exist and are provable, reliable, and as factual as guns or gravity, who make decisions that are tangibly different from those they would make if they did not believe. Where do you find these people? In asylums.

So not only do we not believe, we also know, instinctively, that anyone who does believe -- who truly acts as though there is a God -- is insane, a danger to himself and others. (Ask 600+ Ugandans!) But our society revels in hypocrisy -- demanding we all confess to beliefs none of us truly hold.

Which is, perhaps, the greatest insanity of all.

Addendum:Anyone who is saying "He's wrong! I believe!" is welcome to tell me something they have done, due to their belief, which:
a:No non-believer would ever do.
b:Would not be done by a believer in a different God.

Do not waste my time with how you survived some operation with 100-to-1 odds;every week, someone wins a lottery with six-million to one odds or more. Do not tell me of how your faith sustained you in crisis;see above for why. Do not tell me of some miracle you can't prove;not only can't you prove it, but I can truck in people from a thousand religions who will tell of such miracles,and UFO cultists right after them. If all faiths produce miracles, then, perhaps it is the faith itself -- not the object of the faith -- that is the source, and, if so, then let us dispense with faith and instead divine (pun intended) how to extract this power reliably.)

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