As a child, certain things are put aside. Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny are all left behind as we mature. God fell into the same mix for me. I haven't believed since I was seven. Sounds young to make such a life-changing decision, but in my heart of hearts, I knew God did not exist. I had to hide it from my parents. They were very strong Catholics. I went to parochial school. I wore the uniform that screamed our faith. I had none. My friends could never hear my secret. I was the heathen we were warned about in school. I not only suffered through mass every Sunday but all the times the nuns dragged us to on first Fridays and funerals. I had to go to confession when I didn't think for one minute a priest could intercede for me and grant me forgiveness. You cannot imagine how lonely it is when your life is an unrelenting difference in basic philosophy.
You are perpetually watching what you say so you don't slip up. Wretched! I was wretched. I tried to believe, but my sensibilities just wouldn't let me. Finally, in 10th grade, my parents let me transfer to a public school. One of my very first friends was also an atheist. We became very close and she's still my BFF even though she lives in Arizona now.
You must understand that not believing in God does not make you evil. I am who I was raised to be. A liberal, thinking, kind-hearted person. A law-abiding, moral member of society. I give to charities, have volunteered my time to the community. All the things you would want as a neighbor in the universe of humanity.
I found church frightening. I found the phrase "fear of the Lord" confusing and terrifying. In high school, I had several gay friends and the religious often do not accept that. Therefore, I find it hard to accept the religious as who they portend to be. After all, gay people would be God's children, too. There were too many contradictions for me to reconcile.
There are many of us out there. Arian Foster, Sir Richard Branson, Julianne Moore, Al Pacino, Kiera Knightly, to name a few. A long list of scientists, as well. I just couldn't commit to a God who seemed to be so random in his justice. People always say, "well, you know, God has a plan." Yet I know of no one who wouldn't move away from an oncoming car. If it isn't "your time" will the car disappear? It's God's design every time someone dies. What's that about? There is no disposition that should require the early death of a loved one.
What God supposes war is a good idea? Child molestation, rape, murder, spousal abuse, and myriad other crimes are part of God's plan? There are 7 billion people on this planet and many believe He has a plan for each one. I don't think so. How can someone be prosecuted for a crime, if it was God's plan that he does so? Why punish anyone here on Earth if they are going to face God's judgment in the afterlife? Folks have made Him the ultimate judge. The contradictions just pile up. I don't think an argument based on Bible passages could iron out this confusion.
Everything we know and many things we don't are explainable by science. Not much mystery there. Today I am visiting Georgia and I saw a sign for a church that said they have a divine healer who works miracles in this church. If you go to their services, you will see miracles. The laws of physics prevail. If there is a God, don't you think there would be evidence of whim? A tree growing upside down or a waterfall that goes up? Perhaps he is a humorless God because so much of what happens on this planet is anything but funny.