I have been an atheist for years (I started the website postrapturepost.com) and most of my friends are as well. They all seem to share in the belief that it is their mission to deconvert religious people, who they say are brainwashed and indoctrinated into beliefs that are not backed by any logic or rationality. I wrote a fake (and realistically condescending) letter that I want to share with them that attempts to convince an unnamed religious person that there is no God. I tried to hit all of the points that Atheists usually hit, complete with inflammatory quotes. The whole point is to get them to agree that the letter's points are valid, and then to "spring the trap" on them by substituting "the Government" for "God", keeping every other word the same, and seeing their reaction. And they wonder why religious people never convert based on their reasoning and logic... :-)
Anyways, here is the God version (Government version below, mergely here: http://www.mergely.com/irKo52hi/):
Dear <Religious Friend>:
I love you and value your friendship. I think that you are a wonderful person, thoughtful and intelligent, who has always stood up for what you believe in and I find that quite admirable. I can tell that you only want the best for your fellow man. But as your friend, I feel as though you are being taken advantage of, and I just can't stay silent anymore. Besides, too many people are being hurt.
Please stop believing that there is a God.
I know that the last sentence has probably made you angry. I understand that when you confront another person's beliefs that they are strongly emotionally attached to, beliefs held so deeply that the person does not even recognize them beliefs at all, there will be a response to immediately go on the defensive, but please, if you value our friendship hear me out. I swear I am on your side, I used to be a believer as well.
Let me just come out and say it: belief in God is irrational. He is entirely fictional and made up by humans that seek to control you for their own gain. The evidence for this is all around us.
First off, let's just be honest here… you didn't sit down one day and logically and rationally examine all of the evidence and come to the conclusion that God exists. No, you were told from a young age that God was real, and that He punishes those that broke his commandments and rewards those that obey them. Can't you see that this was indoctrination, and that the only reason you believe in God is because people who benefit from your belief brainwashed you into believing in Him? I mean if there was any evidence for God, why do believers feel the need to push Him on young children? Couldn't they just let the kids decide as adults what to believe?
I mean seriously, people claiming to act in the name of God have controlled your entire existence since birth. They ran your school, they forced you to learn about the Bible and regurgitate this information back to them. They even had you singing songs praising Him! Isn't it clear that the mindless repetition simply reinforced falsehoods in your mind?
The school teachers taught you the concept of Original Sin, claiming that you owe everything you are to God, and that you are nothing without him. Even the best of us still must bow to God, they must surrender to his will, and nobody, no matter how virtuous is exempt from his commandments (except, perhaps Priests and other religious leaders, their transgressions never seem to be punished).
This is ridiculous and an transparent attempt to take your money. You never asked God for any of the things He supposedly gave you, and of course it's not like you had a choice! God acted on his own, before you even existed, and you never asked for any of it. They say that you can never pay God back completely for what he has "given you." Instead, you are told that you must spend the rest of your life repaying Him. Did you ever notice that the money collected in the name of God never seems to get to the people that need it, or that the agents of God are the wealthiest people? That's no coincidence!
You could have been born in Iran. Would you have grown up to believe in the same God as you do today, having grown up in the United States? Of course not. You wouldn't believe in the authority of any other God but that of Iran. For instance, you would believe it was right to stone a woman to death for adultery, but does that make it right? Of course not. But consider that the Iranians would feel the same way about your God, who says it's OK to wipe entire cities off the map. Just because people claiming to speak for God say that something is right does not make it so, and the same goes for your God. To believe otherwise is to be a hypocrite.
Tell me this: if God is so great, and he really helps everyone, why wouldn't everyone believe in him by default? Why do his followers need to fight wars to force people to follow Him? Why does he do evil things and act just like an evil human? Why do his followers need to ride around in bullet-proof cars and have massive security details if everyone knows that God is good and just? Certainly followers of a just God would have no need for bullet-proof glass to protect them.
Please also notice how you are never allowed you to speak to God directly, except by a one-way method called "prayer." You just tell God what you want, and sometimes he grants your wish and sometimes he doesn't. But when God does answer your request, be it for your father to survive surgery or to get $100, it's always other humans or random chance that actually do the work, but God gets the credit. Unless something bad happens. Then whatever happened must be a part of God's plan, and usually God's failure is seen as a failure of men.
I'm sure your teachers also told you that God loves all of mankind (well, maybe only His followers, followers of other religions seem to die with relative frequency), and that He only wants the best for as long as we do as He commands. Those who follow him and never question will be rewarded, and those that break his laws will be punished. But you read in the papers all the time of people who are true believers, who followed every commandment to the letter who had terrible lives, and of course there are those that broke every commandment and are wealthy and prosperous!
They also claimed that God is the ultimate authority on what is right and wrong, but why were some things right at one time but then wrong later and vice versa? Did the nature of what is right and wrong change? How could that be?
Don't you see that the God they spoke of, despite claiming to love man, instead has killed millions of people? Just look at His record; people kill, rape and steal every day in His name. God even condoned slavery for crying out loud! How can you love a God that tells men to kill in it's name? That goes against every person's moral nature! Even if God existed I wouldn't worship Him. It is hypocritical to say that murder is wrong unless God calls for it. And of course God never does the killing! He just commands it, humans who claim to speak for him do all the killing! That's pure evil!
Just think about it. Every human knows that there is nothing morally wrong with loving someone of the same sex, but God punishes people for it no matter how many people pray for him to change His mind! If God really had the power and the desire to help us wouldn't our lives be amazing, with no need unfulfilled? When God does something we don't like, believers say that it is part of his plan, a plan we are not allowed to know and one that always seem to involve killing the enemies of the people that claim to be acting on his behalf, rewarding blind faith and causing human suffering? This is crazy!
Some people claim that the Bible is proof that God exists. But can't you see that that is circular logic? I mean just look at the Bible, the author's names are right on it! You can see that humans wrote it! Seriously, how gullible do you have to be to believe that some really old writings by people long dead prove that there is a God? Plus it's obviously been changed a bunch of times by a large group of people that all had their own agenda! There's stuff in there that says that slavery is good, obviously written by people who benefitted from slavery at the time!
And why is it that the most outspoken agents of God are always killing in his name? They literally get a bunch of brainwashed people together, convince them that they will die for God and send them to blow people up they've never met! That's just crazy! Our young people, barely old enough to think for themselves strapping on weapons… any worldview that supports that will never have my support.
Some people claim that without the all-seeing, all-knowing 1984-esque like surveillance of God, people would just go around murdering, stealing and lying. But we can see that that is the case now! You can be good without God! You don't need to pray to God to cure the sick, or to feed the needy, or to clothe the poor, you can do these things yourself! Look around you: how many poor people are out there. How many children starve to death that believe in God? How many innocent people are killed in God's name? Isn't it clear to you by now that there is no God? It's just a bunch of humans in silly costumes performing unspeakable acts. Government is just an ex-post-facto excuse for their terrible behavior, and every time you pray and acknowledge His existence you are showing your support for that behavior!
The reason I tell you this is because your belief in God is harmful to you, it hurts others even if you don't directly participate in the violence, without your support the Church would never be able to do the things it does. "God told me to" is really scary for the rest of us to hear, especially considering what has happened to non-believers in the past.
Listen, I know you want to believe that there is a God and that He is looking out for us. But even if He does exist (which there is no evidence that he does, other than some buildings with his name on them) just look at the job he is doing, would you call that helping the human race? Please, stop deluding yourself and start thinking rationally.
Let me summarize by saying that there is no God. Here is why:
1) No one has ever seen God
2) You've been indoctrinated since birth to believe in God by people that were also so indoctrinated
3) God is supposed to be good and the highest moral standard. Yet when you look at His actions all you see are atrocities and the most foul acts. Even his greatest boons to humanity have come at a terrible cost, he benefits his Chosen Ones at the expense of the unfavored.
4) There are other Gods all over the planet that people believe in. People are dying every day as the believers in one God kill those that believe in another. But this mystical entity "God" never makes an appearance at these killings. Instead, it is mere people claiming to speak for Him.
Here are some quotes that may be helpful:
“What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof.”
- Christopher Hitchens
"Religion looks forward to the destruction of the world…. Perhaps half aware that its unsupported arguments are not entirely persuasive, and perhaps uneasy about its own greedy accumulation of temporal power and wealth, religion has never ceased to proclaim the Apocalypse and the day of judgment."
- Christopher Hitchens
"Religion comes from the period of human prehistory where nobody—not even the mighty Democritus who concluded that all matter was made from atoms—had the smallest idea what was going on. It comes from the bawling and fearful infancy of our species, and is a babyish attempt to meet our inescapable demand for knowledge (as well as for comfort, reassurance, and other infantile needs). Today the least educated of my children knows much more about the natural order than any of the founders of religion."
- Christopher Hitchens
“I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”
- Stephen Roberts
"Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful."
"Morality is doing right, no matter what you are told. Religion is doing what you are told, no matter what is right."
“One of the great tragedies of mankind is that morality has been hijacked by religion.”
- Arthur C. Clarke.
"Every man thinks God is on his side. The rich and powerful know he is."
- Jean Anouilh
"All Bibles are man–made." – Thomas Edison
"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."
- Napolean Bonaparte
"Two hands working can do more than a thousand clasped in prayer."