Saturday, March 27, 2010

Why Some People Need A God: Fear

In this, the first post in a three-part miniseries exploring some of the common responses from theists to the question, why do you need a god?

Help Me...Someone?
Many of those responses include, at least in part, a desire to be safe and secure.  We all need a Superman every now and then; someone who can "take the wheel" as it were.  Even those of us who have no illusions of magical beings that interact with or even guide our day-to-day activities occasionally yearn for a break.

At the heart of it all lies fear -- generally of the unknown.  People are afraid of death, afraid of not knowing what tomorrow will bring, afraid of being helpless in any given situation.  To a lot of these people, their deities come to the rescue.

As with most of the reasons theists give for being theists, however seemingly innocuous, this reason hinges on the idea that you cannot help yourself.  How many of you (theist or otherwise) have heard phrases like, "put it in God's hands", or "God has it all planned out"?  It is true that there are certain situations in which we all find ourselves unable to cope or do something to better are predicament.  Those helpless situations reveal two distinct types of people: those who resort to fanciful ideas and talk of magic, and those who find comfort and strength in themselves and their fellow humans.  While it may not be easy to be the latter, it is certainly more honest and, I think, ultimately better than wishful thinking. 

Don't get me wrong; I'm not saying nobody should ever hope for anything.  I'm saying stop lying to yourself and saying that you can't get out of bed without Jesus, or you could have never ran that obstacle course without the strength of the Lord.  Start doing things for yourself.  Find self-confidence and throw away these primitive notions of doom and antiquated doctrines that tell you you're worthless and undeserving of happiness.  You don't need that bullshit, and you don't need a God to find help, happiness, love, peace, or an end to your fear.



Anonymous said...

This goes against alcoholics anonymous 12 step program that basically says you must submit yourself to a "higher power" BS...

- Fastthynbs

STA said...

There are some good, secular help groups that a basic Google search will bring up, but there are far too many (like Alcoholics Anonymous) that rely on using some kind of "spiritual healing" approach.

Take a look at the 12 AA steps. The best, most useful steps on there are step 4 and 8 through 10: remembering the injuries you caused to others and actually making amends to those you've wronged. I think they worded it that way because they want to include all faiths. If they were Christian-centered (which most are anyway) they would have replaced 8-10 with "just ask Jesus to forgive us so we can feel better about ourselves".