THE SATAN FACTOR
OR WHY I LOST MY FAITH IN GOD
by Alex Bennett
for HUSTLER Magazine – July 2010
After years of doing talk shows about wars I arose one day to find that all this chatter about God being on our side was getting to me. The constant invoking of a deity prompted me to ask myself a major intellectual question: Is there a God?
I know there is (spoiler alert) no Santa Claus. There is no Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy. So how come I believe in God? In my case, I realized, it was because I wasn’t taking any chances. If there were a God and I hadn’t believed in Him, I would spend eternity in Hell with George W. Bush and Hitler. But that wasn’t a good enough reason to believe. So my logical and ostensibly divinely created brain finally decided, “There is no God.”
My belief in science is why I can’t wrap my brain around the notion that a sentient being brought about what Bible-thumpers call “Intelligent Design.” If God were such a design genius, why did He create man with a prostate that is wrapped around the urethra so it’s harder to pee as men get older? Good going, God. A few inches either way would have solved that problem.
Meanwhile, there’s never been a war where the name of God wasn’t invoked. Every army in history has believed God was on its side. So how come a God-fearing army loses?
I’m amazed how many people don’t know that Muslims pray to the same God as Christians and Jews. Both sides are fighting each other over who has the covenant of God.
The covenant was handed down from God to Abraham. It was God’s promise to protect His people and allow them to multiply if they, in return, would obey two simple rules: worship Him as the single God (monotheism) and circumcise all males (apparently to correct a defect in his “Intelligent Design”). Muslims, who are also descended from Abraham, believe they are the only true owners of God’s covenant because the Jews broke it when they worshiped the Golden Calf while Moses was out hiking.
European noblemen launched the first crusade to take back the Holy Land from the heathen Muslims. George W. Bush triggered the most recent crusade. I’m sure Bush thought he was doing God’s work. In fact, while President, W. even mentioned the word crusade in one of his speeches. That went over well with the Muslims, escalating their fears and justifying their jihad.
Like it or not, what we have created in the Middle East is a holy war. Two God-fearing peoples have killed hundreds of thousands of innocents in His name. As Edward G. Robinson asked in The Ten Commandments, “Where’s your God now, Moses?”
Then there are the more trivial invocations of God’s name. For example, “In God We Trust” appears on all our nation’s money. Don’t we believe in the separation of Church and State? What does money have to do with God? Oh, yes, I forgot: In the United States, money is God! My bad.
How about those awards ceremonies where the winner runs onstage, grabs the award, looks upward and says, “Thank you, God.” I don’t think God had anything to do with the outcome. It was a combination of talent and the bad judgment of those who did the voting.
Then there’s the baseball player who crosses himself before swinging the bat. Does he really think—with the host of things God must attend to, like all the deaths and natural disasters in the entire universe!—that He has time for a ballplayer’s shitty little turn at bat?
It bothers me when people pray. Most of the time it’s for themselves and not for others. Most praying is simply a selfish act. I admit that even though I now consider myself an atheist, I say a prayer every night. But it’s to send out a good thought, always for other people and very rarely if ever for myself.
There’s nothing wrong with the concept of a loving, all-powerful deity. But when a country gets too invested in the idea that God is a reality, people get hurt. They are misled into thinking someone or something else they can’t even see has power over their lives when the real power is within themselves.
But what if there actually is a man with a beard and a white robe? What will I do when my time is up? Well, if He is the God as advertised, He’ll forgive me and praise me for using the wonderful brain He created, albeit to a wrong conclusion. Then He’ll say, “Come right in, and if you turn left, your friend Bruce David is waiting for you.”
Alex Bennett is a longtime HUSTLER contributor. The two-time Emmy winner, who broke into broadcasting as a teenager, currently calls Sirius Left 146 his radio home.
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