We did not make ourselves, nor did we fashion a world that could not work without pain and great pain at that, with a little pleasure, very little, to string us along--a world where all organisms are inexorably pushed by pain throughout their lives to do that which will improve their chances to survive and create more of themselves. Left unchecked, this process will last as long as a single cell remains palpitating in this cesspool of the solar system, this toilet of the galaxy. So why not lend a hand in nature's suicide? For want of a deity that could be held to account for a world in which there is terrible pain, let nature take the blame for our troubles. We did not create an environment uncongenial to our species, nature did. One would think that nature was trying to kill us off, or get us to suicide ourselves once the blunder of consciousness came upon us. What was nature thinking? We tried to anthropomorphize it, to romanticize it, to let it into our hearts. But nature kept its distance, leaving us to our own devices. So be it. Survival is a two-way street. Once we settle ourselves off-world, we can blow up this planet from outer space. It's the only way to be sure its stench will not follow us. Let it save itself if it can--the condemned are known for the acrobatics they will execute to wriggle out of their sentences. But if it cannot destroy what it has made and what could possibly unmake it, then may it perish along with every other living thing it has introduced to pain.
Thomas Ligotti
Christians don't think that Dawkins thinks that they think that God really has a beard. Old man in the sky with a white beard is a figure of speech – shorthand – which neatly encapsulates various errors which lazy atheists and naive theists sometimes make, for example: 1: They imagine that Christians think that God is a human being of some kind and therefore ask questions like: What does he eat?; If he made the world, what did he stand on?; If he doesn't have a beard, how does he shave? and How did he evolve? (Three guesses which of those questions troubles Professor Dawkins.) Christians don't think that God is an old man. They don't even think he is a man. They probably don't even think he's made of atoms. 2: They confuse symbols with representations: they think that when Michelangelo painted God on the Pope's ceiling, he was making an informed guess about what someone would have seen with their eyes if they bumped into God on the Roman metro – as opposed to using pictures to put across theological ideas. 3: They imagine that Christians think that God lives in some particular place in space and time. They may not think that we think that he lives in the sky, but I think that they think that we think that if you had a fast enough spaceship you could eventually track him down. Dawkins doesn't commit himself on the question of God's facial hair; but it is pretty clear that he thinks that God lives in the sky – or at any rate, in some place in the empirical universe.
Andrew Rilstone