Author Stephen King was recently interviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air and the conversation at one point turned to his views on God. While King referred to organized religion as “a theological insurance scam,” he wasn’t quite so dismissive of God in general.
Here’s what he said to host Terry Gross (around the 15:45 mark):
“I choose to believe [in God]. … I mean, there’s no downside to that. If you say, ‘Well, OK, I don’t believe in God. There’s no evidence of God,’ then you’re missing the stars in the sky and you’re missing the sunrises and sunsets and you’re missing the fact that bees pollinate all these crops and keep us alive and the way that everything seems to work together. Everything is sort of built in a way that to me suggests intelligent design. But, at the same time, there’s a lot of things in life where you say to yourself, ‘Well, if this is God’s plan, it’s very peculiar,’ and you have to wonder about that guy’s personality — the big guy’s personality. And the thing is — I may have told you last time that I believe in God — what I’m saying now is I choose to believe in God, but I have serious doubts and I refuse to be pinned down to something that I said 10 or 12 years ago. I’m totally inconsistent.”
… the hell? There’s only one appropriate reaction to that:
King is merely echoing Bill O’Reilly‘s “Tide goes in, tide goes out” line. He doesn’t understand it, so it must be the work of a higher power, right?!
That’s entirely backwards. Losing your belief in God in favor of more rational, scientific explanations allows you to enjoy sunrises, sunsets, and the way nature works. Letting God take credit for all of that just cheapens it all — it makes everything just a part of someone’s blueprint instead of something that turned up naturally yet came together beautifully. Even if King is speaking metaphorically and talking about us missing the “big picture,” he’s still wrong.
We may be atheists but we’re not missing out on anything that matters.