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The God Hater: A Novel

The God Hater: A Novel

4.9 12
by Bill Myers

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A cranky, atheistic philosophy professor loves to shred the faith of incoming freshmen. He is chosen by a group of scientists to create a philosophy for a computer-generated world exactly like ours. Much to his frustration every model he introduces—from Darwinism, to Existentialism, to Relativism, to Buddhism—fails. The only way to preserve the computer


A cranky, atheistic philosophy professor loves to shred the faith of incoming freshmen. He is chosen by a group of scientists to create a philosophy for a computer-generated world exactly like ours. Much to his frustration every model he introduces—from Darwinism, to Existentialism, to Relativism, to Buddhism—fails. The only way to preserve the computer world is to introduce laws from outside their system through a Law Giver. Of course this goes against everything he's ever believed, and he hates it. But even that doesn't completely work because the citizens of that world become legalists and completely miss the spirit behind the Law. The only way to save them is to create a computer character like himself to personally live and explain it. He does. So now there are two of him—the one in our world and the one in the computer world. Unfortunately a rival has introduced a virus into the computer world. Things grow worse until our computer-world professor sees the only way to save his world is to personally absorb the virus and the penalty for breaking the Law. Of course, it's clear to all, including our real-world professor, that this act of selfless love has become a reenactment of the Gospel. It is the only possible choice to save their computer world and, as he finally understands, our own.

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SAMUEL PRESTON, a local reporter with bronzed skin and glow-in-the-dark teeth, turned to one of the guests of his TV show God Talk. “So what’s your take on all of this, Dr. Mackenzie?”

The sixty-something professor stared silently at his wristwatch. He had unruly white hair and wore an outdated sports coat.

“Dr. Mackenzie?”

He glanced up, disoriented, then turned to the host, who repeated the question. “What are your feelings about the book?”

Clearing his throat, Mackenzie raised the watch to his ear and gave it a shake. “I was wondering…” He trailed off, his bushy eyebrows gathered into a scowl as he listened for a sound.

The second guest, a middle-aged pastor with a shirt collar two sizes too small, smiled. “Yes?”

Mackenzie gave up on the watch and turned to him. “Do you make up this drivel as you go along? Or do you simply parrot others who have equally stunted intellects?”

The pastor, Dr. William Hathaway, blinked. Still smiling, he turned to the host. “I was under the impression we were going to discuss my new book?”

“Oh, we are,” Preston assured him. “But it’s always good to have a skeptic or two in our midst, wouldn’t you agree?”

“Ah.” Hathaway nodded. “Of course.” He turned back to Mackenzie, his smile never wavering. “I am afraid what you term as ‘drivel’ is based upon a faith stretching back thousands of years.”

Mackenzie removed one or two dog hairs from his slacks. “We have fossilized dinosaur feces older than that.”

“I’m sorry?”

“Just because something’s old doesn’t stop it from being crap.”

Dr. Hathaway’s smile twitched. He turned in his chair to more fully address the man. “We’re talking about a time-honored religion that millions of—”

“And that’s supposed to be a plus,” Mackenzie said, “that it’s religious? I thought you wanted to support your nonsense.”

“I see. Well, it may interest you to know that—”

“Actually, it doesn’t interest me at all.” The old man turned to Preston. “How much longer will we be?”

The host chuckled. “Just a few more minutes, Professor.”

Working harder to maintain his smile, Hathaway replied, “So, if I understand correctly, you’re not a big fan of the benefits of Christianity?”

“Benefits?” Mackenzie pulled a used handkerchief from his pocket and began looking for an unsoiled portion. “Is that what the thirty thousand Jews who were tortured and killed during the Inquisition called it? Benefits?”

“That’s not entirely fair.”

“And why is that?”

“For starters, most of them weren’t Jews.”

“I’m sure they’re already feeling better.”

“What I am saying is—”

“What you are saying, Mr… Mr.—”

“Actually, it’s Doctor.”

“Actually, you’re a liar.”

“I beg your pardon?”

Finding an unused area of his handkerchief, Mackenzie took off his glasses and cleaned them.

The pastor continued, “It may interest you to know that—”

“We’ve already established my lack of interest.”

“It may interest you to know that I hold several honorary doctorates.”

Honorary doctorates.”

“That’s correct.”

“Honorary, as in unearned, as in good for nothing… unless it’s to line the bottom of birdcages.” He held his glasses to the light, checking for any remaining smudges.

Hathaway took a breath and regrouped. “You can malign my character all you wish, but there is no refuting the benefits outlined in my new book.”

“Ah, yes, the benefits.” Mackenzie lowered his glasses and worked on the other lens. “Like the million-plus lives slaughtered during the Crusades?”

“That figure can be disputed.”

“Correct. It may be higher.”

Hathaway shifted in his seat. “The Crusades were a long time ago and in an entirely different culture.”

“So you’d prefer something closer to home? Perhaps the witch hunts of New England?”

“I’m not here to—”

“Fifteen thousand human beings murdered in Europe and America. Fifteen thousand.

“Again, that’s history and not a part of today’s—”

“Then let us discuss more recent atrocities—towards the blacks, the gays, the Muslim population. Perhaps a dialogue on the bombing of abortion clinics?”

“Please, if you would allow me—”

Mackenzie turned to Preston. “Are we finished here?”

Fighting to be heard, Hathaway continued, “If people will read my book, they will clearly see—”

“Are we finished?”

“Yes, Professor.” Preston chuckled. “I believe we are.”

“But we’ve not discussed my Seven Steps to Successful—”

“Perhaps another time, Doctor.”

Mackenzie rose, shielding his eyes from the bright studio lights as Hathaway continued. “But there are many issues we need to—”

“I’m sure there are,” Preston agreed while keeping an eye on Mackenzie, who stepped from the platform and headed off camera. “And I’m sure it’s all there in your book. Seven Steps to—”

• • •

Annie Brooks clicked off the remote to her television.

“Mom,” Rusty mumbled, “I was watching…” He drifted back to sleep without finishing the protest.

She looked down at the five-year-old and smiled. He lay in bed beside her, his hands still clutching Horton Hears a Who! Each night he’d been reading it to her, though she suspected it was more reciting from memory than reading. She tenderly kissed the top of his head before absentmindedly looking back to the TV.

He’d done it again. Her colleague and friend—if Dr. Nicholas Mackenzie could be said to have any friends—had shredded another person of faith. This time a Christian, some megachurch pastor hawking his latest book. Next time it could just as easily be a Jew or Muslim or Buddhist. The point was that Nicholas hated religion. And heaven help anybody who tried to defend it.

She sighed and looked back down to her son. He was breathing heavily, mouth slightly ajar. She brushed the bangs from his face and gave him another kiss. She’d carry him back to bed soon enough. But for now she would simply savor his presence. Nothing gave her more joy. And for that, with or without Nicholas’s approval, Annie Brooks was grateful to her God.

• • •

“Excuse me?” Nicholas called from the back seat of the Lincoln Town Car.

The driver didn’t hear.

He leaned forward and spoke louder. “You just passed the freeway entrance.”

The driver, some black kid with a shaved head, turned on the stereo. It was an urban chant, its beat so powerful Nicholas could feel it pounding in his gut. He unbuckled his seat belt and scooted to the open partition separating them. “Excuse me! You—”

The tinted window slid up, nearly hitting him in the face.

He pulled back in surprise, then banged on the glass. “Excuse me!” The music was fainter but still vibrated the car. “Excuse me!”

No response.

He slumped back into the seat. Stupid kid. And rude. He’d realize his mistake soon enough. And after Nicholas’s call to the TV station tomorrow, he’d be back on the streets looking for another job. Trying to ignore the music, Nicholas stared out the window, watching the Santa Barbara lights soften as fog rolled in. Over the years the station’s drivers had always been polite and courteous. Years, as in Nicholas was a frequent guest on God Talk. Despite his reclusive lifestyle, not to mention his general disdain for people, he always accepted the producer’s invitation. Few things gave him more pleasure than exposing the toxic nature of religion. Besides, these outings provided a nice change of pace. Instead of the usual stripping away of naÏve college students’ faith in his classroom, the TV guests occasionally provided a challenge.


Other than his duties at the University of California, Santa Barbara, these trips were his only exposure to the outside world. He had abandoned society long ago. Or rather, it had abandoned him. Not that there was any love lost. Today’s culture was an intellectual wasteland—a world of prechewed ideas, politically correct causes, sound-bite news coverage, and novels that were nothing more than comic books. (He’d given up on movies and television long ago.) Why waste his time on such pabulum when he could surround himself with Sartre, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche—men whose work would provide more meaningful companionship in one evening than most people could in a lifetime?

Nevertheless, he did tolerate Ari, even fought to keep her during the divorce. She was his faithful companion for over fifteen years, though he should have put her down months ago. The golden retriever was deaf and blind, and her hips had begun to fail. But she wasn’t in pain. Not yet. And until that time, he didn’t mind cleaning up after her occasional accidents or calling in the vet for those expensive house calls. He owed her that. Partially because of her years of patient listening, and partially because of the memories.

The car turned right and entered a residential area. He glanced down to the glowing red buttons on the console beside him. One of them was an intercom to the driver. But, like Herbert Marcuse, the great neo-Marxist of the twentieth century (and, less popularly, Theodore Kaczynski, the Unabomber of the 1980s), Nicholas mistrusted modern technology as much as he scorned the society that created it. How many times had Annie, a fellow professor, pleaded with him to buy a telephone?

“What if there’s an emergency?” she’d insisted. “What if someone needs to call you?”

“Like solicitors?”

“They have do-not-call lists,” she said. “You can go online and be added to their—”


“Okay, you can write them a letter.”

“And give them what, more personal information?”

“They’d only ask for your phone number.”

“Not if I don’t have one.”

And so the argument continued off and on for years… as gift occasions came and went, as his closet gradually filled with an impressive collection of telephones. One thing you could say about Annie Brooks, she was persistent—which might be why he put up with her company, despite the fact she doted over him like he was some old man who couldn’t take care of himself. Besides, she had a good head on her shoulders, when she chose to use it, which meant she occasionally contributed something of worth to their conversations.

Then, of course, there was her boy.

The car slowed. Having no doubt learned the error of his ways, the driver was turning around. Not that it would help him keep his job. That die had already been cast. But the car wasn’t turning. Instead, it pulled to the curb and came to a stop. The locks shot up and the right rear door immediately opened. A man in his early forties appeared—strong jaw, short hair, with a dark suit, white shirt, and black tie.

“Good evening, Doctor.” He slid onto the leather seat beside him.

“Who are you?” Nicholas demanded.

The man closed the door and the car started forward. “I apologize for the cloak-and-dagger routine, but—”

“Who are you?”

He flipped open an ID badge. “Brad Thompson, HLS.”


“Homeland Security Agent Brad Thompson.” He returned the badge to his coat pocket.

“You’re with the government?”

“Yes, sir, Homeland Security.”

“And you’ve chosen to interrupt my ride home because…”

“Again, I apologize, but it’s about your brother.”

Nicholas stared at him, giving him no satisfaction of recognition.

“Your brother,” the agent repeated, “Travis Mackenzie?”

Nicholas held his gaze another moment before looking out the window. “Is he in trouble again?”

“Has he contacted you?”

“My brother and I seldom communicate.”

“Yes, sir, about every eighteen months, if our information is correct.”

The agent’s knowledge unsettled Nicholas. He turned back to the man. “May I see your identification again?”

“Pardon me?”

“Your identification. You barely allowed me to look at it.”

The agent reached back into his suit coat. “Please understand this is far more serious than his drug conviction, or his computer hacking, or the DUIs.”

Nicholas adjusted his glasses, waiting for the identification.

The agent flipped open his ID holder. “We at HLS are very concerned about his involvement with—”

Suddenly headlights appeared through the back window, their beams on high. The agent looked over his shoulder, then swore under his breath. He reached for the intercom, apparently to give orders to the driver, but the Town Car was already beginning to accelerate.

“What’s the problem?” Nicholas asked.

The car turned sharply to the left and continued picking up speed.

“I asked you what is happening,” Nicholas repeated.

“Your brother, Professor. Where is he?”

The headlights reappeared behind them, closing in.

“You did not allow me to examine your identification.”

“Please, Doctor—”

“If you do not allow me to examine your identification, I see little—”

“We’ve no time for that!”

The outburst stopped Nicholas as the car took another left, so sharply both men braced themselves.

The agent turned back to him. “Where is your brother?”

Once again the lights appeared behind them.

Refusing to be bullied, Nicholas repeated, “Unless I’m convinced of your identity, I have little—”

The agent sprang at him. Grabbing Nicholas’s shirt, he yanked him to his face and shouted, “Where is he?”

Surprised, but with more pride than common sense, Nicholas answered, “As I said—”

The agent’s fist was a blur as it struck Nicholas’s nose. Nicholas felt the cartilage snap, knew the pain would follow. As would the blood.

“Where is he?”

The car turned right, tires squealing, tossing the men to the other side. As Nicholas sat up, the agent pulled something from his jacket. There was the black glint of metal and suddenly a cold gun barrel was pressed against his neck. He felt fear rising and instinctively pushed back the emotion. It wasn’t the gun that concerned him, but the fear. That was his enemy. If he could focus, rely on his intellect, he’d have the upper hand. Logic trumped emotion every time. It was a truth that sustained him through childhood, kept him alive in Vietnam, and gave him the strength to survive in today’s world.

The barrel pressed harder.

When he knew he could trust his voice, he answered, “The last time I saw my brother was Thanksgiving.”

The car hit the brakes, skidding to a stop, sliding Nicholas off the seat and onto his knees. The agent caught himself, managing to stay seated. Up ahead, through the glass partition, Nicholas saw a second vehicle racing toward them—a van or truck, its beams also on high.

The agent pounded the partition. “Get us out of here,” he shouted at the driver. “Now!”

The Town Car lurched backward. It bounced up a curb and onto a front lawn. Tires spun, spitting grass and mud, until they dug in and the vehicle took off. It plowed through a hedge of junipers, branches scraping underneath, then across another lawn. Nicholas looked out his side window as they passed the vehicle that had been behind them, a late-model SUV. They veered back onto the road, snapping off a mailbox. Once again the driver slammed on the brakes, turning hard to the left, throwing the vehicle into a one-eighty until they were suddenly behind the SUV, facing the opposite direction. Tires screeched as they sped off.

The agent hit the intercom and yelled, “Dump the Professor and get us out of here!”

The car continued to accelerate and made another turn.

Pulling Nicholas onto the seat and shoving the gun into his face, the agent shouted, “This is the last time I’m asking!”

Nicholas’s heart pounded, but he kept his voice even. “I have already told you.”

The man chambered a round. But it barely mattered. Nicholas had found his center and would not be moved. “I have not seen him in months.”



The car made another turn.


Nicholas turned to face him. “We ate a frozen dinner and I sent him away.”

The agent searched his eyes. Nicholas held his gaze, unblinking. The car took one last turn, bouncing up onto an unlit driveway, then jerked to a stop. There was no sound, except the pounding music.

“Get out,” the agent ordered.

Nicholas looked through the window. “I have no idea where we—”


Nicholas reached for the handle, opened his door, and stepped outside. The air was cold and damp.

“Shut the door.”

He obeyed.

The Town Car lunged backward, lights off. Once it reached the road it slid to a stop, changed gears, and sped off. Nicholas watched as it disappeared into the fog, music still throbbing even after it was out of sight. Only then did he appreciate the pain in his nose and the warm copper taste of blood in his mouth. Still, with grim satisfaction, he realized he had won. As always, logic and intellect had prevailed.

© 2010 Bill Myers

Meet the Author

Bill Myers holds a degree in Theater Arts from the University of Washington and an honorary doctorate from the Theological Institute of Nimes, France, where he taught. As author/screenwriter/director his work has won over 50 national and international awards, including the C.S. Lewis Honor Award. His DVDs and books have sold 8 million copies. His children’s DVD and book series, McGee and Me, has sold 4.5 million copies, has won 40 Gold and Platinum awards, and has been aired on ABC as well as in 80 countries. His My Life As… series has sold 2.1 million copies. He has written, directed, and done voice work for Focus on the Family’s Adventures in Odyssey radio series and is the voice of Jesus in Zondervan’s NIV Audio Bible. As an author, nearly all of his children's series have made the bestseller list, as well as 7 of his adult novels. He has been interviewed for Good Morning America and ABC Nightly News. Several of his novels are currently under option for motion pictures, including Blood of Heaven, Threshold, Eli, Fire of Heaven, When the Last Leaf Falls, and Forbidden Doors. The motion picture, The Wager, starring Randy Travis and based on Myers’s novel by the same name, was released in 2009.

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The God Hater 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
In today's age, video games and virtual realities are becoming a bit of the norm. Yet what we don't see is how they overlap and parallel one another. In this technological age, artificial intelligence has been toyed with but never fully mastered, until now. Using nanobots to replicate a single cell and transfer that information to a computer has been simple, but we know the human body is made up of more individual cells than we could count, much less taking all the information and storing it in one place. We have discovered a way to compile that information using a simple program like the ones that compile information for SETI, that has given us access to personal computers when they are not being turned on to run our data through. Billions and billions of them are being linked together to translate this data and create a virtual world in which, we, are the computer generated likenesses in a new virtual world. The one problem is that free will of the characters can not be tampered with, they must chose their own fate, and every single program up to this point has lead to self destruction of the race. Now it's up to Nicholas Mackenzie, an professor with a rare intellect at disputing the creation theory, now has the chance to prove himself correct or admit defeat. I received the book, The God Hater by Bill Myers, compliments of Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Tours for my honest review, and was blown away by the storyline and how much it overlaps where we, as a world and technology are headed. The parallels in the lives of Nicholas Mackenzie and his virtual alter ego, and that of the son he lost at the age of five, teaches us all a different version of the price that is paid daily for the individual choices we make and what differences we can make in the lives of those around us. I love this book immensely for the way it uses a combination of The Matrix, Tron, and The Sims, to showcase to us all where we are headed if we choose to follow the virus. Hands down one of the best books I've read to date, with an outstanding 5 out of 5 star rating. This is a must for anyone who is interested in what the story of redemption is really all about. For those of you that love all that high tech, virtual reality and nanobots, this is one written just for you. This book is available in paperback, hardcover, eBook, MP3 and CD formats.
jubilee25 More than 1 year ago
The God Hater is a very well done novel. I enjoyed reading it and had a hard time putting it down. In fact, once I got past the first couple of chapters, I read it in a matter of seven hours or so (over two days). That's not to say there was anything wrong with the first few chapters, it just took me personally that long to become invested in such a way that I completely ignored the dishes, the sweeping and other chores so that I could read. The book explores an atheist's journey into his longest held, most cherished beliefs. Let me say that again: it is one atheist's journey of discovery. I only emphasize that because there will be naysayers that will try to use that very small, but significant fact to tear down and rip apart the premise of the book. The author, Bill Myers, certainly isn't afraid of any controversy or debate. He jumps right in and tackles all kinds of philosophies like Plato, Descartes' model, Buddhism, Hinduism and Eastern mysticism. Don't be alarmed if you are not familiar with ancient philosophers. Mr. Myers makes it all totally accessible. And he doesn't dwell on these but effectively explains, puts them into perspective and moves on. The story is thought provoking, imaginative and puts message of The Incarnation in a modern day scenario that will stay with you long after you've finished the last page.
Janna6 More than 1 year ago
Okay, here is a book about someone who hates God and all religion so much that he despises anything to do with it - he has only one friend (a fellow professor) and her little boy and his brother who he sees about once a year. Outside of that everyone avoids him like the plague, not a pleasant person to be around to say the least. Then suddenly, everyone is after him, literally. Nicholas is asked to help his brother on a project he has made, creating a CGI world with characters that are supposed to act and react like we do in real life. Basically it is an alternative universe but there is a problem. The characters keep killing each other off, or they let nature do it for them... that's where Nicholas comes in. His job? What do they introduce into the world that will give the characters a reason to survive? Eerie similarities to the Gospel start creeping up and everything Nicholas has believed comes into question. At the same time some intense stuff is happening in the real world. The story goes back and forth between the two worlds and it is very fast paced. Excellent and this is a book that will make you think, hard, about everything you've ever taken for granted about the Gospel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An exceptional case is made in this book for the existence and the necessity of God. This is not just an apologetic for the Christian faith; Bill Myers, in expert fashion, provides the reader with perfectly logical reasons why God must exist and why the cross was necessary. I found it very interesting that he presented his views through the eyes of an athiest, demonstrating how perfectly logical Christianity is. A wonderful, wonderful book that deserves as wide an audience as possible.
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TrishPerry More than 1 year ago
I almost wished I didn't know the story of Christ's redemptive sacrifice when I read Bill Myers' excellent new novel, The God Hater. If you know that story, in some ways you know where this allegory has to go in order to be a true parallel. But Myers still manages to infuse his tale of atheist Nicholas Mackenzie with intensity, intrigue, surprise, and emotion. If you've ever struggled to explain why Christ did what He did for us, or how Christ and God could be separate but one, or how Jesus relates to Old Testament law, use this book to do it. A fresh, imaginative, entertaining take on the greatest story ever told.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Sexagenarian philosophy Professor Nicholas Mackenzie is a brilliant thinker who has no use for the human race and is a recluse. His only exception is his meetings with Professor Annie Banks; who gives him arguments defending her position that matches his opposite stance. The subject is God and when a tragedy occurred in his life he became an atheist. His brother Travis is a genius at programming. He uses cloak and dagger techniques to draw Nicholas to his lab where he and other computer scientists formed an A.I. population that thinks and feels as much as its creators do. Every philosophical theory they bring to the computer society results in the death of that civilization. Nicholas the ultimate philosophical thinker is asked to determine if he can prevent society from self destructing. Using micro-technology he downloads his personality into the sentient computer world where his actions end up imitating those of Christ though he is unaware of what he is doing. He just hopes his actions will teach people how live a better life within a caring nurturing society. As always with a Bill Myers' novel, readers know they will receive a terrific pulse-pounding storyline with underlying strong Christian principles. Nicholas is a fascinating person as he and his virtual doppelganger come to love their "sim" people especially those based on his family. The "sim" Nicholas embrace the emotions the flesh Nicholas buried many years ago. In a sort of bringing King Solomon into the virtual age, wisdom (including science and art) without caring passion is amoral. Harriet Klausner