Why Do People Hate Religion?

Some claim that religion is the cause of the world’s problems and believe that the God of the Bible is not good. But do they blame the wrong one?

When readers find graphic accounts of gruesome events in the Holy Bible, some see God as the culprit. Is God really the bad guy, or did someone else mastermind the crimes and then diabolically conspire to make it look like God’s fault?

The Bible that is revered by millions covers the spectrum of events, from blissful to horrifying! They range from prophecies of utopia in the Kingdom of God for the majority of all who have ever lived, to orders from God Himself to kill all the Canaanites.

Why would a fatherly, merciful God want an entire society dead? Isn’t that evidence that supports His critics?

Or was God delivering the Israelites—the chosen vanguard of His fabulous plans for the future of the planet—from violence and immorality at the hands of the debauched molesters and murderers of that society?

Check out some of God’s laws in Leviticus 18. As they neared Canaan, why did the Israelites have to be told (and the rest of us have to read and blush) not to lie carnally with sisters, mothers and farm animals? Not to sacrifice their little children? Were those bizarre sins standard fare in Canaan where they were going? Was the Canaanite culture so debauched and diseased it couldn’t be fixed?

Do people hate religion because they read these awful things in the Bible and presume God caused all that?

Not God’s fault

It wasn’t God’s fault that the Canaanites had become so degraded.

The root of all human vice can be traced back to a single watershed incident, an enormous sin committed by the very first two humans. They had been perfectly formed at their creation, ensconced in a lush garden, taught the right way by Almighty God Himself, then swindled by the serpent and his bald-faced lie!

They set the precedent for sin for all men for all time, including the gross sins of the Canaanites. Humanity’s choices, beginning with the Garden of Eden fiasco, have resulted in the evil and suffering we have experienced ever since.

And the whole gory story is found in the Holy Bible, supposedly the book of mercy, love and salvation. Considering all the evil and suffering, it’s no wonder some people hate religion.

Who lied in the Garden of Eden?

God had generously provided Adam and Eve room and board in a luxuriant setting of colorful blooms and fruits and tame beasts, birds and fishes. They enjoyed an all-you-can-eat buffet of fruit from every tree in the garden save one, and they were sternly warned that if they ate fruit from that one tree, they would die.

But then the serpent told them they would not die after all. He said that God was the liar, the controller, unfairly denying them the freedom to run their own lives.

Obviously, somebody told a whopper in the Garden of Eden! Satan says it was God! God says it was Satan! Can we deduce who it was? And does it have anything to do with why people hate religion?

There’s an old gnostic false teaching, some nuances of which are still around in big churches, that paints the Old Testament God as the bad guy of the cosmos: grumpy, elderly, selfish and overly strict.

But why would God deceive?

Why would God need to lie? What would He gain from it?

The Holy Bible claims God cannot lie (Titus 1:2) and that the serpent Satan, currently god of the planet (2 Corinthians 4:4), is a great liar. More dangerously, he’s the creator of the concept of lying—the father of lies—and a murderer to boot (John 8:44)!

Satan is the great perjurer

Satan convinced the first humans they had immortal souls that would surely not die if they ate the banned fruit—even after their Creator God had cautioned them it was a fatal act. Adam and Eve and billions of other humans now dead have believed that snake—swallowed his lie hook, line and sinker—and then blamed God!

No wonder some people hate religion. They see the destruction of society (ancient Canaan, for example) instigated by Satan (the Apollyon—destroyer—of Revelation 9:11) recorded in the pages of the Bible and in news headlines. Then they fall victim to the long-running satanic conspiracy to convince mankind that it’s all God’s fault.

It isn’t God’s fault!

God is the benevolent Creator of marvel and beauty; the Savior of all men; a loving, affectionate, caring parent; the builder of all things seen and unseen. He has an incredible plan to share it all with virtually every human ever to have lived on the earth, including the ancient Canaanites. (Read more about this in the article “Second Resurrection: A Second Chance?”)

Is the hatred justified? Isn’t it high time we reconsidered God’s true religion, sorted this out and got it right?

For more about the true God, check out the articles in our section about “God” and especially the article “God Is Good.”

About the Author

Sam Shrauner

Sam Shrauner is an elder in the Lakeland, Florida, congregation of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association.