Should we Fear God?

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Short answer:

No. That’s exactly what the inventors of God want us to do.

Long answer:

Back in those neolithic days when things were new, and Man was still getting to grips with world, he came to a certain number of realisations. He realised if you banged a couple of rocks together, you could make fire. He worked out that sticks could be fashioned into tools, and particularly tools that could be used to killing things; axes, spears, bows, you name it. And the things he killed could then be fashioned into both food, and the remnants fashioned into clothes, or containers, or more tools. Man the toolmaker was not only capable of creating things, but also capable of looking around him and realising that the world seemed to suit him pretty well.

If I made this spear, and this loincloth, he reasoned, I wonder what made the sticks, and the things I can kill, and the rocks? And for that matter, who made me?

A toolmaker implies a maker of toolmakers.

It wasn’t long before it became implicit that there must be someone responsible for all of this, and clearly, he had a special interest in Man. And it wasn’t much longer before people came along who specialized in telling us exactly what this creator wanted.

Two approaches were used by these proto-priests. Firstly, we had the ‘carrot’ approach: People who did as their creator asked would eventually be rewarded, be it with successful crops or beautiful women (the beautiful women traditionally didn’t have a lot of say in this), or with something less tangible, such as eternal paradise after death.

Then, we had the ‘stick’ approach. Those who angered this creator, and didn’t follow his word, would be smitten: Their crops would fail, they’d marry the boot-faced slappers of the tribe, and possibly even suffer eternal torment after death.

On the whole, it was discovered that the Stick approach worked rather better. Man was familiar with sticks. Sticks worked.

And so it remains. Stick technology has come a long way of course, but religious beliefs seem to be stuck in the same mode. We have more plausible models for where rocks and twigs come from, and indeed where Man came from. And despite the creator theory still being rather popular, and despite the modern version claiming to be a gospel of love and forgiveness, it still seems to rely pretty heavily on the stick method. The Creator has been away for a while, but he’ll be back any minute now, and he’ll be bringing a big enough stick to smite the whole world. Unless you’ve been very good, of course. In which case you get to follow him back home, whilst laughing at the people who haven’t behaved themselves.

The modern version of God is morally indefensible, and increasingly implausible. If we allow ourselves to be cowed by the proclamations of his followers, we deserve everything we get. And it’ll be a whole lot worse than eternal damnation.

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