Hello fellow inquirers!
I am a Central Texan residing in the heart of the Bible Belt, and in a place where religion is all too often used as a force to control, ostrasize, diminish and justify hatred of others. It’s sad, because there is a noble element among many who are religious, the charities and agencies which help other people, but usually, those agencies are seeking to proselytize through their good deeds, rather than just taking satisfaction that helping other people is the right thing to do, whether or not they believe in your version of God.
I was brought up attending church, and for much of my life, religion has been a dominant element. It’s a hard thing to avoid based on where I reside and my family background.
I certainly do believe in God, but not the bloodthirsty, angry, jealous, vengeful God depicted in the Bible or the Quran. In fact, I believe God would sue those religions for libel, if he/she/it would even condesend to become involved in those types of petty human affairs in such a manner.
I do not believe in a God who would condemn anyone to hell for eternity to suffer in agony forever and ever without any hope of remediation. That type of god would be an absolute monster, demanding allegiance and slavery, and not offering true love, freedom or the ability to have freewill and chart our own course.
I believe God has given us nature and logic, and that we then set our own course. This God would never punish us for disbelief, or demand absolute obedience. If you believe or don’t believe, it is of no consequence to God. He/she/it is above such things, but I do believe this God would be horrified at many of the atrocities commited and blamed on or credited to a superior being.
A close study of the Bible leads a person to 1) either rationalize and seek to justify the evils that are blended with apparent goodness, 2) to reject the bad and accept only the good, or 3) to reject it altogether.
I believe that you have to take everything in the Bible as a whole. You can’t mix dung with nutritious vegetables in a salad and expect everything to come out right. You either say it’s all good for consumption—including the dung—or you have to toss the whole thing out.
I look forward to many discussions with fellow freethinkers.