For those that do not know me, I am an agnostic. I do not believe that there is a God, nor do I believe that there isn’t one. In fact I think that both the theist and the atheist make the very same mistake; They each affirm something that there is inadequate evidence for. The agnostic claims that the only intellectually honest answer to ‘is there a God?’ is ‘how the hell am I supposed to know?’ By ‘theist’ I mean someone who believes that there is an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving being and by ‘atheist’ I mean someone who denies that. Theism should be distinguished from religion. All existing religions are silly and are obviously the product of Mankind. It is also demostrably true that organized religion has been one of the greatest forces for evil known to man.
Having said that I want to ask the theist a question . Why must we worship God? Closely related to this is the question ‘what is the point of it?’
I suppose that there are three traditional answers to this question.
1. Because God is all-powerful!!! He could destroy you in a micro-second or banish you to an eternity of pain and torture…so you had better worship Him or you’re screwed!!
This might be a reason that it is in my best interest to worship God, but it does not seem like the kind of reason that I am looking for. This answer makes God out to be a petty tyrant and that is incompatible with the description of Him as all-knowing and all-loving.
2. Because God deserves it! He created this Universe just for us. Think of a beatuiful sunset, or any natural beauty, don’t you think that it would be nice to thank the Creator of that beauty? We worship God to show our appreciation for the gifts that He has given us.
This answer has always kind of bothered me. In the first place why am I obligated to be grateful for a gift that I did not ask for? But let us wave this consideration. The more pressing problem is whether God really deserves to be worshiped. The problem of evil in the world seems to me to be reason to think that He may not deserve it after all and as far as I can see there is no really good answer to this problem.
3. We should worship God because he commands us to do so!
If this answer is to be different from (1) then the reason that we should follow the command cannot be because of fear of the consequences or desire for reward. It seems that there must be some reason that grounds God’s command, but so far we have not found one…but let us leave that aside. The more pressing concern is ‘what kind of God would command us to worship him?’ This seems sort of needy and insecure, something that I take to be at odds with the characterization of God as all-knowing, all-loving, and all-powerful.
A related question that has always bothered me is what is the point of prayer? It seems contradictory to hold that an all-loving, all-loving being would require that I ask for something that I need before He would give it to me. What kind of a person would i be if I knew what my girlfriend wanted and I could give it to her, and I claimed to really love her, yet I refuse to give it to her simply because she did not ask me for it?!?!?!?!
So it seems to me that even if God exists there is no reason that it is obligatory that I worship Him or pray to him, nor do I think that He cares if I do or not. So it is contradictory to hold that there is an all-powerful, all-loving, all-knowing being who will punish me if I do not pick the right religion.