The Egocentric Nature of Religion

In a memorable game vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers, Denver Broncos quarterback, Tim Tebow, threw a pass to receiver Demaryius Thomas that resulted in a game winning touchdown in overtime. The team’s deeply Christian leader then dropped down to one knee and gave thanks to his god for the win. Yes, Tim also famously gave some love to Demaryius Thomas but we all know who Tim really believes deserves the credit. He has no doubt that the god he worships prefers one team to win over another and that out of all the players casting their desperate pleas God’s way on any given Sunday, that Tim’s prayers are the ones he finds worthy enough to act upon. You will be hard pressed to find an interview in which Tim is being asked about his performance in a game where he doesn’t give credit to his god. Inspiring, yes? The message seems to be that anyone can be a good quarterback as long their god is a fan. So stop practicing, everyone, and start praying. Oh, and never, ever have sex. God will not help you if you have sex.

Understandably, Tim’s fellow Christians love him.

Atheists love him too.

You see, Tim Tebow is the absolute perfect example of the egocentric nature of religion. Most religious people truly believe that their god has so much time on his hands that he will regularly interfere in their lives, in often the most trivial of ways, in order to make their lives just a little bit better. He loves them that much. And honestly, how can you not find such an idea appealing? If I worship the “right” god he will help me to achieve my goals and even protect me from life’s daily inconveniences. Neat!

All of us have heard the testimonials of people giving their god credit for influencing their lives in the most superficial and trivial of ways. Apparently God truly cares whether or not your child gets into that specific school. Apparently God didn’t want you to get pulled over for speeding and be late for that important job interview. Apparently it really matters to God if you get that line of credit. Apparently God favored that particular actor/rapper/singer over the others during award season. Apparently the outcome of just about every sporting event rests in God’s hands. Apparently God didn’t want you to get into a fender bender when you ran that stop sign while texting your mother the address of the restaurant where you two were supposed to be meeting. Apparently God felt bad about letting your dog run away and so helped get him back to you (all those posters you stapled to every telephone pole in town had nothing to do with it). Apparently God is invested in the outcome of every political election (though he clearly has no specific political affiliation, otherwise the Holier Than Thou Party would win every time). Apparently God loves drunk drivers … and priests who rape children in his churches … and televangelists who pilfer the life savings from the desperate and lonely … and on and on and on. The religious seem to believe that their days are often filled with moments where their god intervenes in the daily occurrences of their lives.

And how incredibly egomaniacal you must be to believe that.

You see, in the exact moment that Tim Tebow believes his god was influencing the outcome of that particular football game, somewhere in the world an innocent child was being raped. In that exact moment that your god was helping to reunite you with your lost pet, somewhere in the world an innocent child was starving to death. In that exact moment that your god helped you avoid getting into an accident when you ran that stop sign, somewhere in the world an innocent child was being murdered. In that exact moment that you were giving your god credit for whatever trophy it is that you were just awarded, somewhere in the world an innocent child was being diagnosed with cancer. In that exact moment that your god helped you get elected, somewhere in the world an innocent child was dying of thirst. In that exact moment that your god was revealing that last box to be the final gold bar you needed in your scratch off ticket, somewhere in the world an innocent child was being born … to someone who didn’t want him. In that exact moment that your god was proving to you how special you are, somewhere in the world an innocent child is suffering.

In that exact moment.

Every time.

How do the religious reconcile their adoration of a god who acts on their pettiest of wishes but ignores the suffering of innocent children? How can the religious, in all their arrogance, even pray for their own selfish needs while every second of every day there are innocent children suffering in a myriad of ways throughout the world?

When Barack Obama was elected and took power, if he refused to help anyone else in the world except those specific individuals who voted for him (no SSI, no Medicaid, no unemployment, etc), and once more, he wouldn’t even listen to those who didn’t vote for him, he would be considered a monster. Adolf Hitler supported only a very specific collection of people, all the rest he persecuted. According to what many religious people appear to believe, their god seems more like a discriminatory dictator than a deity deserving of one’s devotion.

Once upon a time I myself worshiped the Christian God and I often pleaded with him to grant me my petty wishes as if he were a fast talking blue genie. But once I realized that faith was simply a synonym for hope, I found I could no longer dedicate myself to a fantastical being who I hoped was real, especially when all the evidence, which I was finding increasingly difficult to ignore, seemed to prove otherwise. But I have recently come to understand that even if one of the religious multitude were able to convince me that their god was real, still I would not drop down to my knees in supplication to him. For if god were real he could fall into only two categories: He has the power to help the innocent, suffering children of the world but chooses not to or he would help them if he could but he is unable to. You are therefore left with only one of three choices: You can either worship a neglectful god, worship a helpless god, or worship no god at all. The world may be complicated but religion is not. For a rational thinker, the choice is a simple one.

The decision of whether or not to worship a god is a deeply personal one and that is especially true when a person decides to stop worshiping a god. Therefore, I truly believe that it is not the non believer’s duty to try and “convert” the believers into their way of thinking. It is simply our duty to supply the information that helped guide us out from under the blanket of subjugation in the hopes that the gleaning of this knowledge may help do the same for another.

One last thing. To all those people out there who are having fun with the whole Tim Tebow thing. You know what I’m referring to; the douche bag who successfully bounces a ping pong ball into a cup of beer and immediately drops down into that silly pose, or the girl who finds she aced her mid term exam, whoops and does the Tim Tebow. It’s becoming a bit of an epidemic. Yes, Tim has sort of become the clown prince of Christianity but there is something you should remember. Whenever you’re jokingly dropping down into that silly pose after a somewhat remarkable accomplishment, remind yourself that this guy, this grown adult male, is completely serious.

And that, my friends, isn’t funny, it’s just sad.

 

Thomas Keane (DoubtingThomas)

Please visit my main page (https://doubtingthomas426.wordpress.com/) to gain a better understanding of where I am coming from. There you will find all my observations regarding religion and the bible categorized on the Right hand side of the page. Please feel free to read through them and leave a comment or two if you like.

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3 Responses to “The Egocentric Nature of Religion”

  1. Laurel Hall Says:

    I enthusiastically applaud your comments about the “duty” of non- believers to pass on the information that helped throw of “the blanket of subjugation.” I especially like that blanket metaphor. As a teenager I went to a party where I played a game in which a girl and a boy sat on the floor together under a sheet or blanket and take off articles of clothing one at a time until the certain correct item was taken off. Of course, it got very got under the sheet or whatever it was, and finally after taking off all extraneous articles of clothing, I threw off the sheet. Voila! That was the certain correct thing to take off.

    I’ve just recently discovered your blog, and am finding it a very wonderful place to read! Thank you!

  2. Laurel Hall Says:

    Oops. I see my sentence structure is a bit off there. Sorry. I usually write more carefully than that.

  3. […] say these things in an attempt to placate their deity into giving them more things.  It is very egocentric and leads me to my next point.  How can someone feel so good about their God blessing them, while […]

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