I've heard this said a few times during my visits to Creationist Facebook pages and it never ceases to make me wonder how insane their argument is if you actually give it some thought.
First we must establish what atheist means:
Someone who denies the existence of god
Let us, for argument’s sake, suppose the Abrahamic God of the Old Testament exists. He’s sat up there, reminiscing on all of the things he has done in his life. This would include mass genocide perpetrated against those who don’t believe in him and the murder of babies. Yahweh, for that is supposedly his name, is not a forgiving God, far from it. He is depicted as a tyrannical dictator with a fine line in demanding wholesale slaughter.
This is what the Lord of hosts has to say: 'I will punish what Amalek did to
when he barred his way as he was coming up from Israel . Go, now, attack Amalek, and deal with him and all that he has under the ban. Do not spare him, but kill men and women, children and infants, oxen and sheep, camels and asses.’ Egypt
~ 1 Samuel 15:2-3
He’s not even understanding of teenage angst. How many of us can honestly say we would be alive today had our parents followed this wonderful passage from the Old Testament?
All who curse their father or mother must be put to death. They are guilty of a capital offense.
~ Leviticus 20:9
I’m not a child of
so, according to Old Testament law, I could have ended up a slave if such barbaric practice wasn’t condemned by civilized society. Israel
However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of
, your relatives, must never be treated this way. Israel
~ Leviticus 25:44-46
Fundamental Christians believe this is their God speaking. They believe that by accepting his son, Jesus Christ, into their hearts they have assured themselves a place in Heaven. These people wilfully ignore, and tacitly condone, the obscenities for which their God is demonstrably guilty throughout the Old Testament. Why would they do that?
Well, the Bible clearly states God’s followers should fear him.
The fear of the Lord leads to life: Then one rests content, untouched by trouble.
~ Proverbs 19:23
But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.
~ Luke 12:5
So we have a God that, whilst he has repeatedly shown himself capable of extreme evil, demands you fear him but also love him unconditionally, that you comply with his commandments and accept his son into your heart. In return for a life in servitude to him you will hopefully be granted a place in Heaven.
However, if you don’t accept God or Jesus into your heart but still live a good life, one spent trying to help others and to not bring harm, you’ll still be banished to Hell. Go figure, I don’t understand this reasoning but then I don’t understand the following …
I have even seen it written that Adolf Hitler, one of the single most evil men in history, would be in Heaven if he accepted Jesus into his heart before placing a bullet in his brain. What of those Hitler butchered? If they didn’t accept Jesus into their hearts, they’ll be in Hell. Unbelievable? Sick? Depraved? Yes, but this is what some Fundamental Christians actually seem to think! Anybody, however evil, can be redeemed by accepting Jesus.
How does this speak of a loving, benevolent God. Any God that cares more about how you worship him than treat others is not perfect, he’s psychotically narcissistic and insecure!
Now we have an idea of what God’s nature is like we can examine the “atheists are cowards!” claim more rationally.
Supposing, as we are, that this vicious, homicidal God exists and will judge us upon our death, is it cowardly to deny his existence? Even if God did exist I would still denounce him for his actions in the Old Testament, he’s not a God I consider worthy of acknowledging much less praising. I would rather be condemned to Hell than spend five minutes in the presence of the God portrayed in the Bible.
Does that make me more or less of a coward than those who, to get into Heaven, will turn a blind eye to the millions slaughtered in his name, the babies who had their brains dashed out on his command, the slaves beaten as per instructions he gave?
Those who denounce an evil dictator are not cowards. Those who condone and support one are at best cowards, at worst they are collaborators.
Given what God would do to me if he had the chance, it’s a good job he doesn’t exist!