Not much time has passed since I made the step to atheism. Since openly admitting to myself 3 years ago that God was likely not real, it catapulted these deep seated thoughts from the subconscious to the active thinking, allowing more and more epiphanies and self-realizations to surface. Truthfully, I had been an atheist longer than I was willing to admit, and the fact of the matter was, even before my loss of theism, the notion of the god I was raised to believe in was long gone. In it's place was this feelgood notion that conveniently tuned in to my every wants and needs while accepting every single flaw.
But those days are long gone, and now most conversations about God I have devolve into these shouting matches that end with me being told I will either go to hell, or that I will be prayed for, the latter of which I have found to be more insulting than the former. As it is, we live in a world filled with societies that host a cavalcade of cultures and subcultures among them. A lot of these cultures share the same values and belief systems, but often you'll find there are variations of those, which can often lead to conflict.
"I believe in God." "God does not give us anything we cannot handle." "God is always good." "God is white" "God is black." "God is Jesus." "Jesus and God are different beings." "Mohammed is the true prophet." "Hail Satan." Just a few of the things I've heard in my limited existence on this planet.
Do you know how many gods are believed to exist or to have existed at one point in time? Thousands. And of those thousands, the people that believe them do not even agree on the characteristics and workings of those gods, and some have conflicting views on the same god. Having had to deal with countless theists through social media and in person, there is only one conclusion I have come to: Until there is a working definition of any god, it makes no sense to ponder on its existence or nonexistence.
Why on earth would one want to argue with someone about why they believe a certain thing exists if they are unwilling or unable to define it from the get go? What many of us nonbelievers tend to do is make arguments based on not only past arguments from other theists, but from our own personal experiences, as most of us are former believers in some form or another. Using blanket characteristics in one instance may not work when talking to a different theist, because that person may not believe their god has those qualities.
Before we talk about "God", you need to be able to define your god. If your god possesses characteristics that make it indistinguishable from any other god or something that does not exist, it is nothing more than a useless concept. What can I do with a god that is timeless, "spaceless" (whatever the hell that means), invisible, beyond our understanding, and immaterial but somehow managed to create everything we see around us including what we have yet to discover? Seriously, what is that?
The underlying issue is that I contend most theists are afraid to logically define their god. Let's be honest: a logically defined god can be reasoned out of existence, just like an illogically defined god can. But the illogically defined god supports its own demise. It is not that illogical gods don't exist; they can't exist. A god that is both all good and kills innocent people is contradictory. A god that is all powerful yet needs to rest on the seventh day of creation, while also being incapable of stopping his first humanly creations from being duped by another creation of his? And those are just the little things...
And before we talk about God, if you have the "faith" card, please play it before starting. The fruitless endeavor of having a deep felt conversation with an individual, attempting to argue their points with evidence or asking for them to present evidence for their assertions, only to have the entire encounter wrapped up with "You have to have faith" is enough to make any calm atheist write off all religious people as being cut from the same cloth, which is not true at all. Faith is not a discernible tool; it tells you nothing about your beliefs and it gives you even less justification to continue on with a conversation about a god. How can you justify something when you openly admit you have no evidence for it, but continue to believe it anyway and tell me I should, too?
So, that is my two cents on that subject. None of us will have the same beliefs, and even if we share like-minded ideologies, we tweak them to suit our personal tastes and experiences, often creating different perspectives while all under the same umbrella. But before we go presenting our beliefs and experiences to others, we better be able to define them and not resort to making up qualities as we go along. Intellectual dishonesty only serves to further divide groups while further demonstrating a foundation built on unsupported grounds.
Okay, I'm done.