I was so moved by the movie Into the Wild that I was compelled to buy the book. I'm about a third of the way through it so far, and I'd definitely recommend it to anybody who liked the film. Obviously, it fleshes out a lot of the details that only a novel can.
One thing that I found particulary interesting was when the author, Jon Krakauer, interviewed the old guy that Chris McCandles lived with for some time before setting off on his ill-fated Alaska adventure. The guy, Ronald Franz (which is a pseudonym, actually) was a very religious man all of his life, but when he learned that McCandles died out in the wilderness, he decided that he couldn't believe in any god that would allow for such a thing to happen - especially considering that he prayed for McCandles' safe return.
Oftentimes, I have written and spoken about how the character of God is like a brutal tyrant. I believe that I have good reasons for pointing this out, but I think that it confuses people. Recently, I made a post on Facebook where I linked a video (see below) that basically mocks the fundamentalist version of God - you know, the one whose biggest concern is whether you're born again or not. A couple of people responded and said that they don't blame me for being an atheist.
The thing is, this has nothing to do with why I don't believe in God. Also, I feel bad for the old guy who befriended McCandles, but whether God answers prayers or not has nothing to do with his existence. Of course, there might be a lot more to the man's reason for deconverting, but that alone doesn't make much sense to me, as I know that there are probably many atheists who stopped believing due to a traumatic event. Shoot, I remember one time somebody insisting that "something must have happened" to me to get me to not believe in God. She seemed incredulous when I told her that my lack of belief was a result of something else entirely.
So, if I don't believe, then why should I go on about what a petty, brutal dictator God is? Why don't I write about what a heel Zeus is for always cheating on his wife? Why not pick on Odin for his capricious ways? How about picking on leprechauns for not sharing their pot o' gold - or their Lucky Charms for that matter?
I suppose that the reason why I don't go after all of those things is that I don't live in a society where people still worship Zeus or Odin, and they don't go looking for leprechauns. If I did, then I'd feel the need to do just that. I mean, nobody's out there trying to convince me that Zeus is all-loving. There wasn't somebody asking for Odin to bless this country at Obama's inauguration. And nobody's trying to have Leprechaun-design taught as an alternative theory as to why rainbows exist.
So, do I think that the character of God, as described in The Bible (and even by a lot of believers) is a jerk? Yes. But I also think that Voldemort is a jerk. Still, that has nothing to do with my lack of belief.
I will say, however, that Heimdall and his stupid Ragnarok horn is exactly the reason why I don't believe in him. I mean, a horn? Seriously? A rainbow bridge? What an ass.