And I have taught his words; and I taught them because they were pleasing unto the carnal mind; and I taught them, even until I had much success, insomuch that I verily believed that they were true; and for this cause I withstood the truth, even until I have brought this great curse upon me. - Alma 30:53To give some context, the quote is from one of the Book of Mormon's many anti-Christs. He has been going around teaching atheism and hedonism and has now been compelled to accept the existence of god because he has been struck dumb, so he is repentant of his earlier attitude. I find it interesting that religious scripture often denounces unbelievers for various reasons. Skeptics and seculars are mocked and ridiculed. But this particular one is very interesting to me. The idea is that people deny belief in god because they are selfish--they think that god is an inconvenient truth, they want to live their own life, they want to live a life of pleasure and free from the commands of a god. The reason that I find this to be interesting is because of sentiments felt by believers exhibited in the image below, which I found circulating on Facebook.
I have often thought about how selfish this mindset is. In fact, I noticed it being depicted in Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame. At one point, Esmerelda is discouraged by the fact that people were so mean to Quasi Modo. She prays to god for help. During that song, it shows many of the believers (who I believe are intended to represent regular church-goers) praying for very selfish things--wealth, fame, glory. Then Esmerelda says "I ask for nothing, I can get by." That really struck me hard when I saw that.
So, I ask you to consider how incredibly selfish it is to believe that god interferes in our lives, when we stand as the most prosperous part of the world. To think that there is an all-powerful god that shows his love for his children by interfering in a football game or in an accident when there are millions of children in the world who are in need of basic necessities.
I do not mean to pose this as an argument against the existence of god. Some do, and perhaps there is substance to that argument, but that is entirely beside the point. The point is that I would ask you to consider how incredibly self-centered it is for you to ask god to help you on a test or to bless you as you make advances in your career or even to bless the food that you are about to eat. Think about how egotistical it is for you to believe that god will come to your aid and yet he will leave entire civilizations to die of starvation.
Put yourself in god's place. Just consider for a moment that you have two children. One of those children has not eaten in three days. The other is about to take a test in biology. Instead of getting some food for your starving child, you sit down with your other child and help them study for their test. Is this truly a display of your love for your children? If you saw a parent doing that, would you seriously consider them to be a loving and capable parent? I hope that you answer that in the negative. For you to think that god shows his love for you by helping you find your car keys when all the while there are millions of your siblings (in god) literally starving to death is a rather selfish thing to believe.
And so, the reason why I believe the scripture I quoted above is interesting is because to me it is ironic. That the religious accuse non-believers of being selfish when they themselves are being extremely self-centered. Of course, religion does have a history of encouraging self-importance--thinking that the Earth is the center of the solar system (or of the universe itself), thinking that the Earth was created for humans, etc. So, I can't say I'm surprised.