I’m quite sympathetic to Mr. Prine’s (RIP) point of view here. But–to take the song more literally than it was probably intended–who is John Prine to speak for what Jesus likes and don’t like? Certainly many Christians have argued for the concept of just war. WWJD? Who knows?

And this gets at one of my beefs with all theistic religions: They purport to speak for the (posited) creator of the universe. Even before I was an atheist, this rubbed me wrong. Is it not hubris to think you know what God approves of and disapproves of?

Certainly the Westboro Baptists are obnoxious when they go around with signs like “God hates fags.” That is a bigoted and hateful ideology. But epistemologically, is it any worse than progressive Christians who are equally certain that God approves of same-sex marriage? Let me be clear: I strongly believe same sex couples should have 100% equality under the law, and that bigotry against gay people is odious. But I base that on my own moral and legal reasoning–I don’t attribute that opinion to God.

I’m not aware of any theistic religion that doesn’t purport to speak for God, at least to some degree. Can anyone convince me that this is anything but hubris?

Is this a valid reason to avoid religion, even if you believe in God?