Religious belief of any sort is completely incompatible with an intelligent, sane, rational, omnipotent, just, loving God. Further, the more one attributes to God, the weaker, dumber, more inept, more incompetent, more malicious, etc, he becomes.
Just look at Intelligent Design: If God truly “designed” organisms on Earth, then he’s obviously not very intelligent. It wasn’t the best idea to make the wind intake mostly the same pipe as the food intake. There were probably better skeletal structures than to give us the same spine and forward-tilted pelvis as apes, but an upright posture. For maximal efficiency, our knees should bend backward. And look at the myriad problems that can easily develop, even before birth. Thus, attributing the structure of the human body to God detracts from his intelligence, and in fact makes him seem a little cruel.
There’s a troubling lack of divine intervention that one would hope would prevent, for instance, atrocities like the Holocaust, slavery, systematic clitoral circumcision, and the vast spectrum of other horrible things we’ve managed to think of to torture and destroy each other with. Thus, attributing the capability of divine intervention to God makes him seem either inept, powerless, or possibly even malicious.
I could continue along this vein, but I guess the best demonstration is the idea of eternal damnation. My friend Matt (Djur) has a succinct analysis of this: “For one soul to be tormented forever in hell would be infinitely worse than the crimes of Hitler and Stalin combined. For, indeed, it’s eternal punishment for sins which are inherently ephemeral. Nobody could possibly do anything that would justify punishment for all eternity. Not if they spent their entire life doing as many hideous things as they could imagine. Eternity.”
To punish someone for an eternity for what is, at least relative to the punishment, an infinitesimally insignificant misdeed, or because they’re afflicted with a condition beyond their control which is the result of something for which they’re not even responsible is cruel beyond the ability of humans to fathom. Thus, attributing this – the whole “hell” thing, eternal damnation, et cetera, which all seems to be a pretty large stone in the foundation of Christianity and many other systems of faith – to God obliterates any illusions about his compassion and love, and makes him seem like the worst monster that could ever possibly exist.
So you see, the more you believe in God – the more you attribute to his control and powers – the less powerful he truly becomes, and the less you find yourself worshiping an omnipotent, intelligent, loving, caring, capable God. And what can you really say about a supposed God that requires such belief?
(More on this and similar ideas later, possibly when I finally manage to get Secular Savior up and running.)