Pathetic. Well, Ima change THAT trend. I’ll start with this crowd pleaser by Bernard Schweizer of CNN’s Belief Blog:
There’s a lost tribe of religious believers who have suffered a lasting identity crisis. I am referring to the category-defying species of believers who accept the existence of the creator God and yet refuse to worship him. In fact they may go so far as to say that they hate God.
No, I’m not talking about atheists. Non-believers may say contemptuous things about God, but when they do so, they are simply giving the thumbs-down to a fictional character. They may as well express dislike about Shakespeare’s devious Iago, Dickens’ scheming Uriah Heep or Dr. Seuss’ Grinch who stole Christmas.
For atheists, God is in the same category as these fictional villains. Except that since God is the most popular of all fictional villains, New Atheists – those evangelizing ones such as Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins – spend a considerable amount of energy enumerating his flaws.
But someone who truly believes in God’s existence and yet hates or scorns him is in a state of religious rebellion so perplexing as to strain our common understanding of faith to the breaking point.
Fascinating subject matter. I am especially pleased with the author’s apparent understanding of atheists’ feelings. Furthermore, he goes on to say something that, for me, helps to answer the following question: “If there were no god, then why has Christianity/Judaism/Islam/etc. lasted so long?”:
At the same time, they are exercising self-censorship because they dare not voice their opinion openly. After all, publicly insulting God can have consequences ranging from ostracism to imprisonment, fines and even death, depending on where the blasphemy takes place (Ireland, for instance, imposes a fine of up to 25,000 Euros for blasphemy) and what God is the target of attacks (under sharia law, being found an enemy of God, or “mohareb” is a capital offense).
Not to mention that you get ostracized in this country for simply being atheist, let alone hating any of the Christian gods. We finally have a black president, but how long will it be before we have an atheist one? My guess is that would come AFTER we have a gay one.
The author then goes on to point out that certain writers displaying “misotheism” (the word that the author coined to represent people who believe in a god yet hate that god) are kept under wraps:
At the same time, these writers count on the reader’s cooperation to keep their “secret” safe. It’s like a pact between writer and reader.
And immediately following that, the author systematically outs them (this is the very next paragraph):
Zora Neale Hurston could write that “all gods who receive homage are cruel” without anybody objecting that “all gods” must necessarily include the persons of the Christian Trinity.
Or Rebecca West could write that “something has happened which can only be explained by supposing that God hates you with merciless hatred, and nobody will admit it,” counting on the fact that, since nobody will admit it, nobody will rat her out for blasphemy.
There lies, in a sense, the awesome, subversive power of literary writing, something that had worried Plato 2,400 years ago when he required that all poets be removed from his ideal “Republic.” Interestingly, though, while guardians of propriety have put Huckleberry Finn on the list of proscribed texts because of its liberal use of the N-word, few people have declared Hurston’s “Their Eyes Were Watching God” or Shelley’s “Prometheus Unbound” or West’s “The Return of the Soldier” as forbidden texts because of the underlying misotheism of these works.
And even where the misotheism is overtly expressed, as in Elie Wiesel’s “The Trial of God” or in James Morrow’s “Godhead Trilogy,” literature offers an enclave of religious freedom that is vital to the human spirit and its impulse to free itself of any shackles, even the commands of God.
Crazy. Finally, he ends with this nugget:
If people continue to believe in a God they find to be contemptible, then belief is such a powerful force that it cannot be simply switched off on the basis of empirical data.Thus, in the last consequence, the study of misotheism is a testament to the power of belief, albeit a twisted, unconventional form.
Who cares about facts, anyway. It’s all twisted, Bernard. What’s my point to any of this? I don’t know.