“It is a rare cocktail of trauma, a sense of righteousness, rationalism, and a rebellious constitution,
combined with an indestructible belief in divinity,
that leads to misotheism. “
. . .Not merely taboo, misotheism is illegal in a few places. In some Islamic countries the death penalty awaits a person convicted as a mohareb, an enemy of God. Only in 2008 did Britain repeal a long-unenforced blasphemy law that made saying something like “I hate God” or “God is hateful” a punishable offense.
Ireland has moved in the other direction. Last year it strengthened prohibitions against blasphemy. To publicly spit at God in Ireland can now cost you 25,000 euros.
. . . Misotheists are a category-defying species:
They believe in God (hence they are not atheists), but they hate him
(hence they are not theists).
So who are these people? Obscure, cranky, immoral, unproductive, and
criminal loners? Not quite. Try William Blake, William Empson, Zora
Neale Hurston, Philip Pullman, Percy Shelley, Mark Twain, Rebecca West, and Elie Wiesel, among other writers who have enriched our literary and philosophical heritage over the last two centuries. . . .
Misotheists’ affinity for literature is partly due to its make-believe
quality, which has served as a defense against public prosecution of
authors from Flaubert to Joyce and Nabokov. But fiction has another
advantage over nonfiction when it comes to God-hatred: The imaginative scope of literature allows one to toy creatively with an idea that is both troubling and difficult to act upon.
Indeed, only in fiction is it really possible to wrestle with God with any degree of realism. Consider Elie Wiesel’s play The Trial of God; Philip Pullman’s fantasy trilogy, His Dark Materials; or James Morrow’s speculative Godhead Trilogy. All provide shelter for the idea that God is guilty of gross negligence, dishonorable conduct, and criminal behavior.
. . . Looking around them, misotheists cannot believe that slavery, pogroms, genocide, world wars, tsunamis, plagues, and a host of other natural and man-made disasters are compatible with the existence of a wise, compassionate, and all-knowing God.