November 16, 2014

If God Is Everywhere...

Going to Sunday school at the Baptist Church. ...
Going to Sunday school at the Baptist Church. Lejunior, Harlan County, Kentucky. - NARA - 541344 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In Sunday school, I was told countless times that some sort of god is "everywhere." It was in and around all of us. Sort of like what Star Wars called "the force," I wondered aloud? No, of course not! Star Wars was fictional; this god is real.

I remember having at least two questions about this idea of god being in and around all of us:
  1. If this god is in me, it would know my every thought. Why I am still told to pray?
  2. If this god is present everywhere, what is the point of building so many churches and spending so much time in them?
Although I never found satisfactory answers to either of these questions, I was able to ignore #1 for the most part. I concluded that the act of prayer was more important for me than it was for any god, and I tried not to think much more about it. I prayed because I was afraid of what might happen if I didn't. Prayer helped to soothe me.

I had a much more difficult time with #2. Even before I came to recognize that I no longer believed in gods and intensely disliked church, I viewed it as an unpleasant waste of time. There were so many other things I'd have preferred to do instead. And if this god was everywhere, why was it so important that I sit in church week after week? Wouldn't this same god have been with me wherever I was?

I was required to dress up for church, putting on uncomfortable clothes that were reserved for church. Why did this god care what I wore? I was expected to be "on your best behavior" during church. Who was I fooling here? Didn't this god already know my every thought and deed? Would it really be impressed that I managed to keep a lid on various urges while sitting in the pews? Again and again, I was told that church was a "sacred" and "holy" place. But this made no sense at all. Why would a god that was everywhere be more present in one particular location?

It would take me a few more years to realize it, but I had started down the path that would take me to atheism.
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