Religion frequently proclaims that an all-loving, all-merciful Heavenly Father kills people vengefully when displeased.
The bible describes it in Noah’s flood, the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah, and various other passages. Puritan preacher Jonathan Edwards did so in his famed sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” Dies Irae — Day of Wrath — was a grim medieval chant about brutal divine punishment. Later it was copied powerfully by several composers, such as Hector Berlioz in his Symphonie Fantastique.
This causes “cognitive dissonance.” How can a “God of infinite mercy” be a ferocious killer?
Some examples are ludicrous.
When a regional airline crash killed 35 at my city of Charleston, W.Va., a local minister said it was divine punishment for sins such as B-girls soliciting drinks in nightclubs. At an Egyptian mosque, an imam preached that earthquakes are caused by women wearing skimpy clothes. When Muslim fanatics murdered 3,000 people in the historic 9/11 terror attack, evangelists Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson declared on national television that God allowed the tragedy because he was affronted by America’s tolerance of gays, abortion, feminism and secularism.
Actually, the puzzle of an all-loving killer deity is no puzzle for science-minded freethinkers. We know that supernatural religion is fairy tales. There is no “Father in Heaven.” There is no divine son born as a half-human. There is no heaven or hell or purgatory after death. There is no Satan, Virgin Mary or host of singing angels. It’s all a fantasy concocted by the human imagination.
Comedian George Carlin said religion is the “greatest bullshit story” ever told, explaining:
“Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man, living in the sky, who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of 10 things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these 10 things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ’til the end of time! But He loves you.”
Thankfully, this nonsense is fading from Western democracies. The more it disappears, the more people can focus on the urgent need to make life better for humanity.