So, a few times I’ve been asked why arguing against the existence of God is so important to me as an atheist. Most recently, my sister Grace (who, by the way, is awesome, and is one of the very few to respond to my apostasy with genuine questions, rather than blind assertions), asked:
if God is just a magic man and/or type of Santa Claus… why all the fuss in arguing His non-existence? If He truly does not exist why are people so passionate about denying Him? What is the point on your end? people don’t write about denying Santa Claus, because they don’t believe he is real but even if some people do believe in Santa no one spend their time trying to convince them.
The response I gave, that I’m actually not passionate about denying God, and that the concept of God doesn’t bother me, is true, but also potentially misleading and may have been missing the point. As I also said in the response, there are things I’m passionate in arguing against, and while I may feel indifferent about the actual existence or non-existence of God, I feel very strongly about particular conceptions of God, or certain arguments that are built on the premise of His existence, and I think I can state my position a little more clearly as follows:
There are a number of people for whom God does not fit any of the above at all. I have no quarrel with them. Some atheists claim that “liberal” religion is bad because it provides a sort of safe haven for fundamentalism, but I have yet to see a strong case for this. If all your God does is provide you with hope, and a motivation to do what is right as determined by your own conscience, and to love your fellow human, then good on ya. I could care less about convincing you He or She isn’t real. It’s when belief in God begins to convince you that what is evil is really good, or that some factually-supported knowledge must be untrue just because it contradicts what your God said that I become indignant. And yes, that’s the sort of God-belief I will be somewhat passionate about: because, unlike Santa Claus, it has a very real and direct impact on the world in which I live.