This was written in 1974 by Barbara Smoker and is still distributed as a leaflet by the National Secular Society

So You Believe In God!

  PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE IN A DIVINE CREATOR, trying to live their lives in obedience to his supposed wishes and in expectation of a supposed eternal reward, are victims of the greatest confidence trick of all time.

A children's hospital will provide you with ample evidence against the existence of a being that is both all-powerful and all-loving. And even if some specious explanation is contrived for the sufferings of humanity  such as its giving us opportunities for merit, or its being caused by the "sin" of Adam or that of ourselves or our parents-what about the suffering of animals, during the many millions of years before humankind came on the scene?

Since all life and its evolution are based on the principle of the weakest going to the wall, the creator, if the universe really were deliberately created, would be a monster of unimaginable cruelty-enjoying the sight of one animal devouring another, condoning the wastage of a myriad doomed species, and taking sadistic pleasure in the miseries of humankind. If our promised heaven means spending eternity in the company of such a monster, let alone in lickspittle adoration of him or it, what self-respecting human being would want "salvation"?

If the alleged creator really were all-powerful, then he certainly could not be a god of love. If he really were a god of love, then he must be so incompetent that it would surely have been better had he left creation uncreated.

What is the I.Q. of "divine intelligence"? Since it apparently scores no better than random chance, and has learned nothing at all from billions of years of trial and error, "divine intelligence" would be put to shame by the powers of adaptability exhibited by the least of its supposed creatures.

To say that God is good is meaningless unless his alleged goodness is to be judged by some independent criterion-that is, by human values. Therefore, when god-believers argue that human values must come from God they are chasing their own tails.

Most god believers also postulate God as an explanation for existence itself. But if existence needs to be explained, the god-theory fails to explain it, for it leaves us with the necessity of explaining why and how God exists. The assertion that God has existed from all eternity, uncaused, is no advance on the hypothesis that matter (or energy) has existed in varying forms-from all eternity, uncaused.

Now just consider the vastness of the universe in relation to ourselves. Would an overlord of the universe be likely to take a special interest in the doings of individual members of a particular animal species, recently evolved on a small satellite of an inconspicuous star, among the billions of stars of a certain galaxy, itself one of billions of galaxies?

Is ours the only planet anywhere inhabited by a species comparable in intelligence with us? If so, and if the creator's main concern is therefore assumed to be with us, why should he create such a vast universe to house so few of us? Besides, with such a huge choice of territory available, why did he not choose a less hostile environment for us?

If the more likely supposition is made that there are other colonies of intelligent sentient beings scattered about the universe, then god-believers must assume either that God has an equal concern for all-presumably, for instance in Christian terms, sacrificing his son more than once or else, with supreme arrogance, that earth is his chosen planet and humankind his chosen species.

Even more arrogant, and selfish in the extreme, is the assumption, within the context of our own planet at this particular moment in time, that I and mine (especially in the more affluent areas of the planet) are God's chosen few. Although this is rarely admitted, it is clearly implied in every prayer of thanksgiving. To say grace, knowing that people on this globe are starving, indicates a highly selfish acquiescence in the arrogantly supposed  favouritism of the almighty. A really decent god-believer, far from giving thanks for the food and good health and fortune enjoyed by himself and his family and close friends, would surely curse God for his neglect of the hungry, the sick and the tormented, throughout the world.

To imagine that God wants prayers and hymns of praise is to make him out a sort of oriental potentate; while praying for favours is an attempt to get him to change his allegedly all-wise mind.

To say that "God moves in mysterious ways" is to put up a smokescreen of mystery behind which fantasy may survive in spite of all the facts.