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 obe
dience to his supposed wishes and in expectation
of a supposed eternal reward, are victims of the greatest confidence
trick of all time.
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?
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.