If you want to see God’s non-existence in action, just look at the public rest rooms in North Carolina and Alabama, and then look at all the conservative Christians pushing and shoving each other in their rush to get on the anti-trans hate bus.
I happened to tune in the local Christian talk radio show on my way home from work last night just in time to hear the hosts and their guest caller have a fairly animated discussion about the anti-trans bathroom laws that the Christian right is trying to get passed in a number of states. They were indignant that anybody could even think of questioning the legitimacy of their cause, and insisted that this wasn’t discrimination or bigotry at all, nosireebob, no this was just a public health and safety issue. The male talk show host huffed about how dads used to wait outside the girls room for their little daughters to be done (back in the good old days), and wondered aloud if it was now the dad’s job to barge in to the ladies room too? Because that’s obviously a rational response to a transgendered women using the women’s room.
And these guys aren’t atypical. “Ban the Trans” has become the battle cry across the entire Christian right. It’s almost as though they’re desperate to find some harmless minority somewhere that they can persecute in peace without being called hateful. And it’s exactly this kind of hateful, selfish godlessness among believers that eroded my former faith in God to the point that I was willing to seriously call it into question.
The thing is, if there really were a God, and specifically if there were a Christian Triune deity, as the church preaches, then there ought to be this thing called the Holy Spirit that would act like the voice of God in the hearts of believers. It might be difficult to detect in the heart of any one individual believer, but its cumulative influence spread out over millions upon millions of Christian hearts ought to have a noticeable impact. And it very clearly does not.
How many incidents have you ever heard of where a transgendered woman committed any kind of sexual assault against another woman? If there were even one, can you imagine the scandal? The viral Facebook posts? The headlines on Fox “News”? We’re talking about passing laws to “protect” women against something that has a current and historical crime rate of zero.
Now, if you had to pay me $10 for every sexual assault committed in the past 20 years by someone who professed Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, how much money would you owe me? Pretty big chunk of change, right? I could probably get a pretty fancy new car just from Roman Catholic priests’ offenses alone.
Now suppose someone were to propose that we ban Christians from all public rest rooms. Not out of discrimination or bigotry, nosireebob, just as a public safety issue. After all, unlike transgendered women, Christians do have a record of sexual assaults against women. But of course, if we declared that all Christians were a menace to public health and safety, people would be shocked and outraged by our obvious hatred towards Christians. And they’d be right, it would be hatred—just like the bathroom laws are pointless attempts to unfairly slander transgendered people, and falsely presume that they were somehow toxic just because they are different.
A real God would understand that better than believers do. A real God, who was also a good God, would be appalled by the dishonesty and injustice and self-centeredness and spite that is being proudly trumpeted by those who claim to be indwelt by His Spirit. He would be telling them, “Guys, look, you’re making yourselves look foolish and evil! You’re passing laws that require certain men to use the women’s rest room, while claiming that you’re banning men from it. You’re claiming to want to protect women from rapists, but you’re obviously targeting a group that’s least likely to sexually assault a woman, and failing to target actual sex offenders. You’re openly boasting about your refusal to understand transsexuals, and you’re reveling in your own ignorance. It’s an embarrassment! Cut it out!”
But sadly, God is not real. He’s a product of the believer’s imagination, and that means He can do anything the believer can imagine, but only what the believer can imagine. And since the believer cannot imagine God failing to share his or her prejudice against transgendered men and women, He can’t. You can see it. This is the cumulative influence of an imaginary God whispering into believers’ hearts only those same biased, ignorant, phobic suggestions that they imagine Him making. That’s why, when you see a situation like this where a real God would be promoting truth and love, you see instead dishonesty and hatred coming from those who claim to be closest to God’s will. He’s not real. He’s an imaginary being limited by the imaginations of the bigots who imagine Him.
And it shows.