Our Duty to God is not to believe in him
Insofar as God exists, it is our duty not to believe in him. Any God who was, would expect, in proportion to his wisdom, autonomy in those he loved. No fair God would expect allegiance or worship. Only idols ask for devotion.
For to translate Yahweh as God, Jesus as God, what a poor estimate of the possibility of divinity. If you seek the wisest being, look elsewhere. If you seek majesty, doubly look elsewhere. But if you seek a mystery, then here you go, for it is the theologians irony that God must be the greatest being, yet he stinks so thoroughly in the Bible and in the Testament. Yahweh the war god? Yahweh the commander of rape? Yahweh the commander of obligation and love? Jesus as maker of hell? Jesus as approver of hell? Yes, Yahweh is a mystery, and the theologians would have us cover our mouth and sprinkle dust on our heads as Job—but reason find nothing but offense here.
But let us define God as the greatest possible being. Since we mean "great" as we understand greatness in men, he would be most wise, most just, most kind. And thus he must not be believed in. To desire worship is ungodly. To desire obedience is ungodly. To desire admiration is ungodly. Any God who is must not be believed in. Only then would he reward us.
For man owns creative reason, capable of defining his world and establishing his laws. Man is the creator of civilization, of technology, of philosophy, all with the aid of reason, all without the aid of "revealed" scripture. Man progresses by his reason. Any God likewise reasonable would honor this as the best in man, and not faith or worship. Such a God would view worship and faith as poor investments, as crutches for the terrified, and if he cared to communicate to man, would leave a "testament" of mutual respect: "Have no God before me—including me!"
A parent would expect no praise from his daughter or son. "Holy, holy, holy,"—no, daughter. You honor me be being yourself. Afford me love insofar as we have known each other face to face, but do not sing hymns to me. Spend your energy on your creative goals. Use your reason to create something beautiful in the world. But do not reflect it back on me. You are your own light.
What exactly does God do with all the praise he exacts? Does he need adoration? Does he need devotion? Does he need us to follow his commands? If not, then it must mean that we need it, we need to adore, worship, and obey? Yet in our greatest men, our inventors and writers, we see just the opposite. It is the men who insist on themselves, who do not bend to precedent but force a new way, the usurpers and dreamers who make the future.
No, it does not better man to grovel on his knees. It does not better man to read the same old book over again hoping to understand his life by it. It does not better man to believe the unbelievable. It does not better man to follow, to obey, to believe in, to have faith, no.
What raises man’s esteem and life is to have faith in himself, in his reason, his creativity, and to honor it in his fellow man. Any God who was God would expect this and honor it, and if he were a rewarder, it is precisely independence that he would reward in man. Heaven is reserved only for those who do not believe in it.
Therefore, man’s faith in his reason, in his creativity, in his love, is the greatest worship and duty he knows. Any God who was God would honor this, and nothing else. And so it is the atheist and the humanist that are beloved by God, and none other.
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