I am now reminded of the Joni Michell / Mingus rendition of "God must be a boogie man".
"World opinion's not a lot of help, when a mans trying to find out how to feel about himself"
It's the other way around. The God of the Buy bull was created in the image of vicious and bloodthirsty Bronze Age goat herders. But this God is also in our image today. The Buy bull takes all of the worst, most despicable, qualities that we human beings display, and make those the highlights of the Hebrew god's personality. He is jealous, bloodthirsty, vengeful, petulant, overbearing, oppressive, controlling, and any other evil aspect of humanity one can come up with.
Thomas Paine said, "Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man". I think it justifiable to take that truth uttered by Thomas Paine and reverse it with as much justification..."A cruel man believes in a cruel God". All gods ever believed in by men have been known by their followers to have been cruel at times, but the God of the Buy bull takes the prize for cruelty and viciousness. What say you ?
I say that it is only logical that the god of the believers is cruel, since a good number of believers are cruel, sometimes without realizing it. The bible was used by slave owners prior to the Civil War to justify enslavement of Africans, and although most don't own slaves, the Mormons until only recently regarded blacks as inferior. I think the argument from evil is consistent with your conclusion. He is either good and impotent or he's powerful but evil. Why believe in such a deity? And since all Christians believe God is good, the only conclusion one can reach is that the evil god does, or allows as the case may be, is regarded as "good." You know the old saying that the Greeks did not love their Gods but feared them. Believers in our time claim to love their gods (Jehovah-Jesus, Yahweh, and Allah) so they must love the evil that is perhaps the most characteristic trait of the gods of the O.T., the Torah, and the Koran. (It is inconceivable to me that although the O.T. was written three or four centuries B.C.E., Christians claim that Jesus honored its pronouncements -- "came to fulfill the law of the prophets -- but his "turn the other cheek" philosophy is at odds with the O.T.'s "eye for an eye" way of looking at things, but I digress.) To me it is an either/or proposition. Either God does not exist, or he exists but he's a mean old shit. Paine was right on. Wasn't it John Adams who referred to him as "that damned atheist"?
I've met some mean old bastards.
I've met very few wanna-be warlords, but twice recently voted for a presidential candidate who's showing signs of wanting to be one.
One very angry man expressed the most punitive thought I've ever heard when he remarked that 45-caliber bullets cost less than arresting people and trying them in court.
James, how sure are you that we weren't made in that old fart's image?
I assure you I am non-violent. I have the thoughts, but I would never act on them. An atheist cannot afford to be murderous.
You are spot on when you say that we atheists cannot afford to be murderous. Many polls and studies have shown that a majority of non-atheists, even those who are not particularly religious, view atheists as on a par with rapists and child molesters. Atheists are ranked by non-Muslim believers even below Muslims and homosexuals.
Atheists are the most despised, hated, and mistrusted people the world over. It is our burden, our duty to the truth, to work to educate people that atheists are not the immoral monsters that everyone thinks. While there are bad people in every demographic, including atheists, this is not true of each individual in a demographic. There are good people in all demographics, and bad people. There are bad and good atheists, just as there are bad and good Christians and Muslims. As atheists we have the special, and I feel, privileged, burden and duty, to do our best to be the voices of reason in an irrational world. Therefore, we must do our best to behave as good and better than the opposition, i.e., theists. We have to show people that morality does not come from some ancient book or another.
There are many examples among nearly all lower animal species of morality, showing that morality precedes humanity or any holy book.