Is God Necessary?

Just saw this phrase on a Christian blog … “the necessity of God” … and it puzzled me.

I don’t know about you, but even when I was a Christian, I never felt “the necessity of God.” I mean obviously God was part of my faith, but mostly “he” was someone to send prayers to … someone to sing to in church … someone to “worship and adore” …. and of course, someone that I needed to stay on the good side of … !!

I suppose if you’re religious, God would be considered “necessary” because, after all, that’s what religion is all about. But there’s something about that phrase that seems, well, off.

To me, it makes the whole idea of “believing” rather cold and calculating. In other words, it sounds like you must agree that God is necessary  before you can become a believer.

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m making too much of the phrase. And certainly, as a NON-BELIEVER, God is definitely not necessary.

But I’m curious. Anyone like to offer their thoughts on “the necessity of God?”

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The Ugly Atheist

I want to begin this post by stating clearly and unequivocally  …
I AM NOT AN ATHEIST.

I most definitely do not believe in the Christian god — and I highly doubt the existence of any other type of god. However, to my thinking, this, in itself, does not give an individual (who has never met me) the right to label me an atheist based entirely on comments or thoughts I’ve expressed in public.

Yet people do … simply because I disagree with their perspectives on the god represented in the bible.

Further … while many of my blogger friends have openly stated they are atheists, many others have never made this claim. They are simply deconverts from the Christian religion. They may describe themselves as deists, anti-theists, gnostics, agnostics — or any other word they feel best fits their theological position. ( NOTE: None of these identifying titles hold the same meaning as atheist. Suggest you look them up if you disagree.)

Yet they too are branded as “atheist” simply because they disagree with a person who claims the title of Christian.

The incentive that finally moved me to write this post was the following comment recorded on a blog owned by a Christian:

Aetheism (sic) is the highest level of ignorance. Full of arguments. Carnal. Judgemental (sic) and believe that all and sundry should be dragged into mundane ways of thinking by philosophy, science, myths or ancient facts. It’s a pity.

IMO, the “pity” is the individual who wrote this.

Comments like this are (unfortunately) extremely common among believers. Any and all individuals who do not “profess Jesus” and/or who happen to see life from a non-religious perspective are “ATHEISTS!”

From a personal standpoint, I’ve found it difficult to understand why such anger exists within the hearts of those who claim to believe in a man who (is said to have) made the following comment in Matthew 22:37-39 (NIV):

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.

Even in the Hebrew Bible, there are similar words found in Leviticus 19:17-18 (ESV):

You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. You shall … love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

Yet behind the cloak of anonymity — or simply because it’s not face-to-face conversation — believers apparently seem to feel they possess divine impunity and can strike out at any and all who disagree with their faith perspective. Even those who serve as their god’s ambassadors are guilty.

I’m well aware of the “Great Commission” given to Christians to “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Matthew 16:15, KJV). But there is also another scripture they seem to often overlook which states: And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet (Matthew 10:14, ESV). It doesn’t say call them “atheists” or other derogatory names as you leave.

The diversity of human beliefs about life is immeasurable — primarily because we are each individuals with our own backgrounds and experiences. As has been repeated innumerable times … No Two People Are Alike. Thus, when it comes to religious matters, it would far better serve all of us to keep this in mind and cease and desist placing (often incorrect) labels on other people.

In The Beginning … God?

Christians claim absolute certainty that this world and the universe of which it is a part was brought into existence by an unseen supernatural entity.

Why do they believe this?

Because a several thousand year old book they refer to as “The Holy Bible” says so in its opening dialogue, i.e,  In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

The questions that are never answered, however, are (1) who is God, and (2) who was there to witness this event?

Neither of these questions is answerable because the statement itself is called a “creation myth” —  a cultural, traditional or religious story describing the earliest beginnings of the present world. It is said creation myths are the most common form of myth, are found throughout human culture, and usually develop first in oral traditions.*

What is most fascinating about creation myths is they are frequently accepted as history, which is generally defined as “All that is remembered of the past.” Of course the question then becomes … if there were no human beings yet in existence, who was there to remember this event?

It has been commonly accepted throughout several centuries that the book in which this origination statement is made is “holy;” that is, belonging to, derived from or associated with a divine power, and as such, no matter its age or its contents, everything is factual or, at the very least, based on highly possible/probable happenings.

But this is fallacy.

To place credibility in such a story does not speak well of human reasoning powers. In fact, it demonstrates a complete lack of rational thinking. It is equivalent to a belief in fairies, unicorns, dragons, goblins, cyclops, gremlins, etc. — whose existence all came about through folklore. Such creatures were fabricated to thrill, terrify, entertain and, yes, even to inspire, much like the many and magical gods of the ancient past.

Yet rational, sane, and describably intelligent individuals will look you in the eye and without even the hint of a blink tell you this story is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Some will undoubtedly ask, if not a god, then how did this world/universe get its start? The most direct answer is “I don’t know. I wasn’t there.” But God-Believers will not accept that answer. To them, it’s all or nothing. Even though their “proof” is contained entirely in a book that wasn’t even in existence “in the beginning.”

The indisputable facts are this. We — NONE of us — know how this world began. Scientists/Cosmologists have their theories, but that’s all they are. They weren’t there at its origination any more than those who wrote the creation stories.

P.S. For anyone who’s interested, here is a link to the MANY ways people have traditionally explained the origin of earth and its life.


*A form of human communication wherein cultural material and tradition is transmitted orally from one generation to another.

Reblog: Avoiding the Narrative Trap

Steve asks some VERY good questions in this post. Would you like to offer some solid answers?

Class Warfare Blog

I keep seeing people on the Internet arguing fine points regarding the Christian narratives surrounding the Garden of Eden, the Exodus, the Resurrection of Jesus, or Noah’s Ark. Too often it seems to me that people limit themselves to critiquing the fine points of the narrative offered. With regard to Noah’s Ark people ask: how such a small group of men make such a large ship? How could so many animals fit into such a small space? Where did they store the animal’s food? How did they shovel out all of the shit produced? Were there dinosaurs on the Ark? If one steps back from the narrative and looks at it from afar, one asks quite different questions.

Yahweh is apparently disappointed in his creations. He declared them “good” but now has decided to kill them all and start over. This seems more than a little like admitting a mistake…

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The Old Testament Is NOT About Jesus

This is probably getting a little deeper into “theology” than I usually do, but a recent comment on The Closet Atheist’s blog triggered something I’ve considered writing about but wasn’t sure I wanted to tackle. However, the person’s words were so “right on” I decided to put the topic “out there” to see what others have to say.

Here’s the portion of the comment up for discussion …

The OT is NOT about Jesus. It’s about the development of Torah, the tribes of Israel and a host of pre-historic and mythical fables (2 creation stories, a great flood tale). It’s ancient wisdom collections, poetry, proverbs and more. The concept of a messiah is developed in later OT writings but it’s one who will arise militarily to bring back the Davidic rule.

From my book research, I feel the person’s first sentence is absolutely and totally correct! And his “back-up” information is also accurate — yet there are few (if any) Christians who would agree.

Probably the primary point Christians either overlook or refuse to see is the Hebrew scriptures were written long before Yeshua was born.[1] But more importantly, they were written by the Hebrew people (Jews) and were primarily related to stories about Yahweh, although they also included tales and events relevant to the tribes and their surrounding neighbors.

But what’s really pertinent is what these people wrote related to a coming mashiach (the Hebrew word for messiah).[2] 

The mashiach will be a great political leader descended from King David (Jeremiah 23:5). He will be well-versed in Jewish law, and observant of its commandments (Isaiah 11:2-5). He will be a charismatic leader, inspiring others to follow his example. He will be a great military leader, who will win battles for Israel. He will be a great judge, who makes righteous decisions (Jeremiah 33:15). But above all, he will be a human being, not a god, demi-god or other supernatural being. (From http://www.jewfaq.org/mashiach.htm)

Further (from BeliefNet.Org), they expected the mashiach to:

  • Bring about the spiritual and political redemption of the Jewish people
  • Resurrect the dead and restore all Jews to the Land of Israel
  • Restore the city of Jerusalem to its former glory
  • Bring permanent peace to the world

If believers are honest with themselves, they will see only a couple of these descriptive points even come close to describing their Christian Jesus, i.e.,

  1. Yeshua descended from King David.
    Perhaps, perhaps not. Scholars are at odds regarding the accuracy of the genealogy listed in the gospels.
  2. Yeshua had a good knowledge of Jewish Law.
    Not surprising since Hebrew children are taught about the Law and the Prophets from a very young age.
  3. Yeshua was a charismatic leader.
    Probably true since bible stories describe him as having many followers.

But what about the other qualities?  Was Yeshua a great political and/or  military leader? Did he win battles for Israel? Did he bring about spiritual redemption for his people? Did he restore Jerusalem to its former glory? Did he resurrect the dead and bring all the Jews back to Israel? And most importantly … did he bring permanent peace to the world?

Of course the answer is no to each of these questions.

And the strongest indication to the Hebrew people that Yeshua was not the mashiash — contrary to Christian belief — is because he was a human being.  The later teachings of Christianity related to his divinity were never and are still not a part of traditional Jewish belief.

While this information may go against all you’ve been taught, consider this: It was the Hebrews who first wrote about “God,” so doesn’t it seem logical their perspective would carry more weight than the individuals who were entranced by an itinerant apocalyptic preacher who wandered the countryside and talked about Yahweh?

Certainly the Jewish people during the time of Jesus were hoping the mashiach would come and deliver them from the oppression of the Romans, but if one looks at the scriptures without bias, it becomes evident Yeshua did not fill that role.

In closing, I would like to share a comment made by a Christian pastor related to what I’ve presented in this post: “The New Testament writers intentionally reinterpreted the Old Testament prophecies in the light of Jesus Christ.”

And my response … “Really?”


[1] The books that constitute the Hebrew Bible developed over roughly a millennium. The oldest texts seem to come from the 11th or 10th centuries BCE, while most of the other texts are somewhat later.
[2] An individual anointed with oil for some special purpose, authority, or calling but carries no implication of divinity.