...He Stood By And Watched
The recent crisis unfolding in the island nation of Japan is frightening and heartbreaking to witness. In this age of hand-held computers and instant communication, we are able to see first-hand the destruction our planet is capable of. We can use our phones, netbooks, game consoles, and other devices to offer monetary aid and coordinate relief efforts.
Yet, there are many who use this technology to do something that is a lot less helpful. Twitter tweets, YouTube videos, and Facebook comments have exploded with droves of prayers. The religious-minded in all countries have looked at this tragedy and in lieu of lending money or a helping hand to clean up, have instead turned to -- in their mind -- a deity who has all of this under control.
As an atheist, I get laughed at when I ask the simple, "Where's your God now?" questions to theists. They don't seem to appreciate the logic and instead take it as an emotional attack. But I'm serious...where was God when the Tōhoku earthquake and subsequent tsunami slammed Japan, killing 20,000 and washing away entire villages? You'd think that for a being of unequaled love, keeping that way of reaching the shore would be a no-brainer. If you could have stopped it, would you? I know I would, and yet an All-Loving being is supposed to be overseeing -- or at worst, planning out -- this kind of destruction.
And yet, religious people everywhere seem to perform backbreaking mental gymnastics to rationalize to themselves that the All-Powerful creator of the universe has His/Her/Their reasons for not intervening. Free will and mysterious ways are high up on the list, for not only things like earthquakes, but also rape victims, or those afflicted with childhood leukemia. For an All-Loving God, he seems to be on the sidelines a lot.
...He Commanded Hatred
Since I'm in the bible-belt of America, I'll address what I hear most about this "God" thing everyone seems so keen on sharing. More importantly, I'm to aqueous to His love for me and my fellow man, and "trust only in Him". But love and trust are earned, and so far God's track record does not show a loving being. (It actually shows a world operating without such a deity, but I'm getting ahead of myself.)
The testament to this God's supposed love is found in the Holy Bible. A book where, even a cursory read should show atrocities that would anger a rational person. Genocide, mass murder, and other forms of hatred are not only committed by God, but are commanded by him. If God loved the world so much, why did he drown nearly every living thing in it?
...He Created Atrocities
But many of the religious will holler, "That's not my God!". Indeed, many theists don't profess the bible has any bearing on the nature of their deity -- even if they do call themselves "Christian" or "Jewish". But even if your god is a Magic Hamburger in outer space, you probably subscribe to the idea of a deity who created the world. This deity created rainbows, gravity, puppies, and the laughter of babies. But this deity would then also have had to create birth defects, cancer, and scores of viruses that can kill us in ways that would give you nightmares. Perspective again seems to be lost on the theist.
...He Never Existed At All
So instead of falling victim to a fallacy or wearing yourself out trying to jump through the hoops it takes to make a 100% Good God do evil things, instead comfort yourself with the thought that there was never any divine plan for it in the first place. You'll see that the universe wasn't made for us, but we have what it takes (so far) to be in it. You won't have to try to come to grips with why God won't heal your dying mother of cancer, something that is truly comforting. It's nice to know that no one's intending for bad things to happen, or that someone is deserving somehow for the ill that befalls them.
We're in this boat together, and it's up to us -- not any gods or magical creatures -- to do what's right, to help, and to provide. Please, give $5 to help the people of Japan, or find other ways to help. We don't need God, we need you.