The most terrible acts in the world happen when human beings treat each other as less than human.
A Chinese orphanage where special needs children had their limbs tied to hard kitchen chairs and left alone all day to stare at the walls.
A dirty room on the top of a brothel in India, where girls lay sleeping, fragile and exhausted from another night of abuse.
The cries of a young girl as she was taken down the stairs to a basement, by a man who was supposed to be caring for her while her parents were away.
Many look and say, “How could God let this happen?”
And even more deadly, religion says, “Everything happens for a reason.”
If I had a communion shot glass of wine for every time someone carelessly attached the phrase “God’s Will” to someone terrible, I’d be slurring my words right now.
I used to believe suffering made us better, so God must cause it. It was not for us to understand, only embrace. God wants to “break” us, and He will do whatever it took to get us to rely on him.
I imagine a mother or father using similar phrases as they abuse their children, all in the name of “love.”
This is not love.
I don’t believe in this god anymore.
I don’t believe in a god who would orchestrate horrific pain, destruction, and death.
Light and dark can’t mix.
I don’t believe in a god that picks and chooses whom he loves and whom he disregards.
Love is not true if it has conditions.
I don’t believe in a god who controls your fate, who is nothing more than a cruel puppet master putting on a show.
Love does not force its will or manipulate, but allows freedom of choice.
I don’t believe in a god who is looking for ways that we don’t measure up, who is constantly pushing us to try harder and be better.
Love doesn’t force or condemn or have an agenda to change someone.
People usually have a valid reason for not believing in god.
I don’t blame them.
But my God is pure love, acceptance, grace and beauty.
My God, in his love has given us control over the earth and our lives. Even though He risked us screwing everything up, it was the only way to offer freedom.
My God always gives good gifts, always redeems, always makes things new.
My God is found in the eyes of the abused prostitute, in the compassionate activist who rescues her, in the bread she is given to nourish her frail body.
He is in the laugh of a special needs orphan tied to a chair as the sunlight pours through the cracks in the walls.
He is in the words of the little girl who is restored and redeemed and telling her story.
My God writes the book of our lives with us, bringing adventure, romance, and surprise endings.
So, sometimes I am an atheist.
Because I refuse to believe in the god religion has created.
But Jesus—I can’t help but believe in and love him.