In the unlikely event of losing Pascal’s Wager, I intend to saunter in to Judgement Day with a bookshelf full of grievances, a flaming sword of my own devising, and a serious attitude problem. ~ Rick Moen, rec.arts.sf.written
Animals on our little planet have it pretty tough, humans included. Traditional Darwinian life is a constant and vicious struggle for survival, and despite all of our recent scientific and technological progress our caveman brains are still tuned to the chaotic competition of natural selection that produced us.
I completely understand the urge to believe that there’s some part of the universe that unconditionally loves us and promises us that everything will be okay. Such a claim is unsupported by evidence, but it has a warm and fuzzy emotional appeal to it — to believe in something not only bigger than ourselves, but better; something without the cruelty we see in ourselves and the chaos we see in our world.
I think it’s interesting that modern religion seems to be just about the exact opposite of that. For centuries we’ve made gods and goddesses in our own image, from the childish tantrums and arguments of the Greek gods to the pure dickishness of the Old Testament god. Even when modern Christians talk about love, it has some pretty big strings. “Love me or I’ll throw you in a pit of eternal torture.” Doesn’t sound like a very loving thing for a deity to say, but it’s basically par for the course.
On the other side, moderate Christians drastically distance themselves from such divisive teachings. They acknowledge evolution and the big bang, accept homosexuals, and do all the things a good liberal should do, and I’m happy for that, but I can’t quite suppress the snarky comment that forms in the back of my head: “Look, we’re good, liberal Christians! We’re hardly Christian at all!”
I don’t believe in any gods or goddesses and I follow no religion, but if I did die and find myself face-to-face with a creator deity, I would be least surprised to find a mean, spiteful, violent, childish, cruel, genocidal god of the Old Testament type, for on my darker days those are the qualities I see represented most often in this world. Of course such a meeting will never take place, but in the unlikely event that it did I’d be adequately convinced that god created humanity in his own image.