Question for the devout believers

Why do God’s most zealous followers think God is habitually angry, always ready to punish people?

I picture God differently. If self-control is indeed a virtue, then God must have more than we do. A god who is constantly losing his temper – not credible even as a metaphor of a justice-obsessed being. I see God as an “old softy” – a kind, gentle, loving, understanding and forgiving being, who is above all pettiness and resentment. A great teacher who wants to teach us how to be like God, that is, happier, and as a result of being happier, more moral, more honorable, more loving and generous. I picture God as a being who is always transmitting a wise and loving message. All we have to do is tune our receivers to God’s wavelength and act as God would act in every situation. Then we are both highly moral and joyful. If everyone habitually did this, we could all be happy. However, when others act in a most un-Godlike manner, we can at least be joyful in our having acted properly.

I picture God as an omniscient being who knows what is going to happen before it does. How can such an omniscient being possibly get angry when the bad things happen that He knew were going to happen? How can an omniscient being not understand and forgive those of us who by nature cannot believe what we have been told about God? Thus, why would an omniscient God punish those who honestly cannot believe what others claim is a divine revelation?

Although the belief in a balanced multiverse with no god at all seems simpler to my Occamic mind, it is in some respects less desirable than belief in God. Though my God seems to good to exist, to good to be credible, I can still believe in my God as the most perfect role model I can imagine; to date I have not been able to believe in the god with the overly zealous followers. My reasons for not believing in their god can be grouped into four categories: scientific, ethical, legal, and others. Believe it or not, the strongest reasons for not believing in their god are legal.


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