Friday, July 29, 2011

Why I don't believe in god

The New Statesman has an article that consists of a collection of statements by an array of people who doubt the existence of god or gods. It is definitely worth reading, but I recently had a not-so-subtle reminder of why I don't believe in god.

My wife was flipping channels, and came upon a documentary on PBS about life on planet Earth. The show had just begun talking about the relationship between predators and prey. During this segment, there was one scene that was only up for about five seconds, displaying a young gazelle that had been felled and was being devoured by two lions. It was still alive, looking back over it's shoulder and pathetically flailing it's front hooves at the two lions that had torn open its belly and were already feasting upon the flesh of the small animal.

A horrific scene, but necessary for the lions to continue living. Scenes similar to it are played out thousands (if not millions) of times per day, from spiders feasting on insects, to housecats toying with baby birds for sport (this happened in my back yard on Monday - I discovered a neighbor's cat had been chewing on a featherless chick near my shed), to piranha consuming other fish alive. This has been going on for hundreds of millions of years, and will likely continue until our sun runs out of fuel and expands to the point where it envelops the Earth.

Who could possibly be so naive as to believe that a benevolent, caring god would create a system that requires so much pain and suffering?

*Edited to include the link to the New Statesman article that I neglected to insert


  1. Sinned,
    I think your observation drives at the overarching point that leads to atheism for most people : The world is exactly how I would predict it should be if there was no omni-benevolent and personally invested deity and not anything like I would predict if such a being exists.

    Last night I was watching the Daily Show and John quoted some military guy about the Afghanistan war and the concept seems apt for just about anything, including countering Pascal's Wager....
    We may not leave victorious, but we won't leave ashamed. (or something like that)

    So in the religious debate, when someone says that I might be wrong, I propose "I may yet die wrong, but I won't die ashamed." The position I take is based on the totality of the best evidence I have had given to me, and damned if I'm going to fearfully buy into the snake oil. If I am wrong, at least I tried to be right- at least I didn't abandon evidence for comfort's sake.
    Also, thank you for being the lone voice of support in my abortion thread...I'm obviously not popular with pro-choice and pro-life supporters.

  2. George,

    The massive volume of suffering and death that exists, nay, is required for life on this planet to continue to exist is only one of the myriad reasons why I cannot believe in an omnipresent, all-powerful, benevolent deity.

    You're welcome for the support on your blog. Everyone needs a buddy now and then, and as an internet asshole, I'm jealous of your ability to piss off both sides in the abortion debate!

  3. It's easier than you think.
    Just take an issue that seems black and white to people on both sides of the issue and argue that it is grey.
    People hate hearing that they are right for all the wrong reasons.