Hating God: The Untold Story of Misotheism

Hating God: The Untold Story of Misotheism

Hating God: The Untold Story of Misotheism

Hating God: The Untold Story of Misotheism


While atheists such as Richard Dawkins have now become public figures, there is another and perhaps darker strain of religious rebellion that has remained out of sight--people who hate God.

In this revealing book, Bernard Schweizer looks at men and women who do not question God's existence, but deny that He is merciful, competent, or good. Sifting through a wide range of literary and historical works, Schweizer finds that people hate God for a variety of reasons. Some are motivated by social injustice, human suffering, or natural catastrophes that God does not prevent. Some blame God for their personal tragedies. Schweizer concludes that, despite their blasphemous thoughts, these people tend to be creative and moral individuals, and include such literary lights as Friedrich Nietzsche, Mark Twain, Zora Neale Hurston, Rebecca West, Elie Wiesel, and Philip Pullman. Schweizer shows that literature is a fertile ground for God haters. Many authors, who dare not voice their negative attitude to God openly, turn to fiction to give vent to it. Indeed, Schweizer provides many new and startling readings of literary masterpieces, highlighting the undercurrent of hatred for God. Moreover, by probing the deeper mainsprings that cause sensible, rational, and moral beings to turn against God, Schweizer offers answers to some of the most vexing questions that beset human relationships with the divine.


C’est tout un monde d’idées qu’il faut retrouver derrière “The
supreme evil, God.” Que Messieurs les Critiques commencent. (A
whole world of ideas needs to be discovered behind “The supreme
evil, God.” May the critics begin.)

—Denis Saurat (1938)

This study originated in a profound sense of bafflement and mystery. I was researching the work of the British journalist and novelist Rebecca West while reading Philip Pullman’s trilogy His Dark Materials on the side. Although these writers have little in common, besides both being British and based in greater London, I repeatedly bumped up against a similar religious stance in their work: an aversion to divinity verging on God-hatred. I couldn’t place that affect on the spectrum of religious dissent ranging from atheism to Satanism: it was not atheism, since the hostility to God obviously presumes the existence of God; and it wasn’t Satanism either, since opposition to God doesn’t automatically lead to reverence for God’s adversary. I was surprised that even academics who normally had answers for everything were nonplussed when queried about this feeling of personal animosity against God. the mystery deepened when I began to realize that the existence of anti-God sentiments often fails to register even . . .

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