Just like the spousal syndrome it's named after, this disorder is characterized by the inability to see anything but love in the actions of the abuser. Every hit is the victim's fault as this is the only rationalization to keep the image of someone who is loving alive.
And so it is with the believer. No matter what terrible event happens in their life they can't see their god as anything but a loving father. He never gets any of the blame. It's either a lack of faith, too much sin or perhaps not enough praise that day.
Suppose a believer's child was murdered. Can she conceptualize her god idly watching as the event took place, doing absolutely nothing? Yes, but it was for a reason. Her god still loves her, of course -- that's what she been programmed to believe. She'll probably come up with the standard answer designed to preserve the love like "god works in mysterious ways," "it was for the greater good," or "god wanted him in heaven."
All these answers skirt the real issue, though. To see how one need only exchange the deity in the equation with a person. What if a police officer sat and watched silently as a child was murdered even though he had the power to stop it? Oh, the rules are different now, aren't they? Why, though? Different programming, basically.
People are programmed to see police officers as people who have to help and should even risk their lives saving people. If one of them doesn't help, they're not doing their job and they become just as bad as a criminal. They are neglecting their duties to the people.
Gods and goddesses, on the other hand, whose "actions" are based on the hit and miss randomness of chance events, are expected to not do anything in many situations. These beings are also endowed by their creators, us, with great magical powers and control our destiny in the afterlives we made up. Add to this equation the endless stream of loving propaganda that is shot into the believer's brain and the resulting mix of expectation of inaction, fear and love combine to make a powerful formula able to transform an abuser into an angel.
Atheism frees a person from this madness. Instead of wondering why some invisible cloud father would allow or cause something to happen, we take it as it is: reality. Why did it happen? We look to real causes. Why was her son murdered? Look at the the murderer himself. Look at the events in his life that led up to the event. Where were the police? Could a stronger police presence have thwarted this? Look at the safety precautions the mother in this story could have taken in order to prevent this tragedy. Look at what the boy himself could have done to avoid such a situation in the first place.
By thinking critically, instead of superstitiously, we affect the real world in a positive way. We can come up with real solutions instead of asking for divine intervention that never arrives. It is only us who can save ourselves.
Online Reading List
- An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish by Bertrand Russell (1943)
- Bible Teaching and Religious Practice by Mark Twain
- God is Imaginary
- Is there an Artificial God? by Douglas Adams (1998)
- Skeptics Annotated Bible
- The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (1795)
- Which Way? by Robert Ingersoll (1884).
- Why I Am Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell (1927)