Personal revelation is one of the main reasons many modern evangelical Christians believe in their god. They claim to have personal experience with the divine. Usually I will argue against this utilizing knowledge from psychology regarding the fallibility of the human mind. This unfortunately has little effect, as it is often more persuasive to argue from emotional appeals than intellectual ones. This is my emotional appeal, this is my argument from personal revelation. This is why, aside from all the philosophies and sciences, I know that there is no personal, loving god who gives a damn about my family and I.
About five years ago my step-mother was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. This is a neurodegenative disease that essentially destroys a persons ability to move their own body, first locking a person in their own body, and then eventually suffocating them as the muscles that control breathing degenerate to the point of non-functionality. This disease took my step-mother from my family in her mid fifties, leaving behind a family that included a 19 year old daughter, a 26 year old daughter about to get married, as well as myself and my father. The last 2 years were spent with my family acting as caretakers for my step-mother, and all I can say is that I would not wish this on anyone’s family.
Two years ago my biological mother was rushed to the hospital one spring evening with what she described as the worst headache in her life. Upon arrival at the hospital, she was promptly rushed to surgery. An aggressive tumor (glioblastoma multiform) had formed on the right side of her brain and was hemorrhaging. She was saved that night, and has undergone chemo therapy, radiation therapy, and a secondary tumor resection. Tonight, she lays on her bed in a nursing facility, most likely days from her death. I visited her this morning with my 16 year old sister and 12 year old brother. She had irregular breathing and was using her accessory muscles to engage in irregular breathing. The tumor has come back, and has crossed the midline of her brain. My family thinks she is still lucid, I don’t have the heart to tell them that most likely she is not. She demonstrates no control over her muscles, aside from the grasping reflex, and will not track to you with her eyes, on the rare occasions they are open. While I am doing my best to spend this holiday season with my family, and celebrate what happy moments we have together. But the impending death of my mother looms over all we do. Soon my younger siblings will be left with their father and myself for guidance.
I was fortunate enough to be given two amazing women to guide me into my adult life. In the course of about two years, both will have left this world. Both in horrible fashions, both much earlier than they should have given the average lifespan of women. Both leaving behind children who would have been much better off with these women in their lives. I now worry about my youngest siblings, and hope that they can both be sufficiently strong enough to deal with this tragedy.
This is how I know there is no god. No just and loving being would ever allow this to happen. No great personal being would take both of these women from their families in such a horrible and prolonged fashion, leaving behind children who need them. No God who would want to love and know me personally would leave me and my family, on a holiday in which family time is special no less, cautiously awaiting the imminent death of my mother. Not once, but twice.
Instead, I know that these conditions are the unfortunate circumstance of random chance in a universe without a God. This does not comfort me, but it helps me understand. I know that medical science has done the best for both of these beloved women. And I am most grateful to those who lead the scientific advances who gave me extra precious time with each of them. I am not, however, grateful to an imaginary being who supposedly created a universe that includes these modes of death that steal away one’s dignity. I will, however, do my best to preserve the memory of these amazing and strong women.