by David Eckert
Many religious belief systems represent their gods as benevolent, omniscient, and omnipotent, and their religion's holy texts as "the word of God."
Were William Shakespeare & Ronald Reagan better communicators than God? Wouldn't a loving, omnipotent God communicate clearly to all his children? Would a loving God allow the confusion and religious conflicts of 19-21 major religions, 4200 total world religions, and 33-41,000 Christian denominations? Humans share 99.9% of their DNA, but some religions such as Jews, Calvinists, Mormons & Jehovah’s Witnesses believe God has a chosen people. “Every Christian sect is a certificate that God has not plainly revealed His will to man” (Robert Ingersoll).
Were television fathers such as Andy Taylor & Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable better parents than God? Would a loving, omnipotent God allow millions to die in religious wars such as the Crusades, the Thirty Years War, and uncounted civil wars in Africa? Why permit inquisitions that involved the persecution and killing of people labeled as heretics, apostates, infidels? “The Bible just said ‘Thou shalt not kill’, then told hundreds of stories of people killing each other and becoming heroes, like David with Goliath.” (John Marsden).
Religions also often seem to find one holy book insufficient. Another communication problem? The Torah is supplemented by the Talmud, the Qur'an by Hadith, and The Book of Mormon by the Doctrine & Covenants. God apparently lacks broadcast capabilities and so communicates only via select prophets such as Moses, Muhammad, and Joseph Smith. However, as Thomas Paine notes about religions: “It is revelation to the first person only, and hearsay to every other, and, consequently, they are not obliged to believe it.”
Finally, consider these quotes about holy books. “The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose” (William Shakespeare). “Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived” (Isaac Asimov). “To be fair, much of the Bible is not systematically evil but just plain weird, as you would expect of a chaotically cobbled-together anthology” (Richard Dawkins). “The [Qur'an] shows every sign of being thrown together by human beings, as do all the other holy books” (Christopher Hitchens). “[The writers of the holy books] did not even know the earth revolves around the sun. Why are we listening?” (Lawrence Krauss).