Happily Godless

Oct 28, 2014

The following is an excerpt of Happily Godless: Humanism for a Better World  by Tony Akkermans:

Once upon a time there was, in the Western world at least, but a single god. Closely defined with clear-cut attributes. Omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, omnibenevolent. In fact so many omnies that from here on in I shall refer to him as Omnigod. I am talking, of course, about the god of the Bible and the Koran, the creator of heaven and earth. A hands on god who controls every happening here on earth, who is compulsorily worshipped in school assembles, who is at the heart of church services, who hears prayers and who, if they cross themselves in good time, makes footballers score goals.

For some two thousand years this father figure god has had a very good run for his money. He has been feared and worshipped unfailingly and his every capricious move has been meekly documented and accepted. But things are changing. All is not well with Omnigod. Wicked, troublesome rationalists have started ganging up on him. They have been pointing out major weaknesses in his lifestyle, such as the total lack of evidence for his existence. This is greatly worrying his self-appointed representatives on earth. All the great minds in the churches have got together in a telephone box and have racked their brains over a proper line of defence. After Herculean metaphysical labours, laced with much prayer, they have come up with the solution: Omnigod must be given a makeover.

A collection of brand new words and phrases have been brought to bear. Out goes the Omni and in comes the obfuscation. God is now the ‘Ground of all Being’ he is the ‘Ultimate Reality’. He is unfathomable, ineffable and unknowable. He is woollier than a champion sheep. Let Dawkins try and shear him now. The trouble is that if rationalists can’t get to grips with such an elusive customer, then his befuddled apologists can’t either. As Freddy Ayer has said in Language Truth and Logic: if things are unknowable there is no point in entering into further discussion. After all, unknowability and nothingness have much in common. So ‘Blurry God’ as I shall dub this ineffable creature won’t let the religious off the hook. Nice try Don Cupitt, Paul Tillich and the rest, but it must be Omnigod or nothing.

But boy, oh boy is Omnigod on thin ice these days! When he was the idol of the desert tribes his fiefdom was restricted to the sun, the moon and pancake earth. The size of real estate a god worth his salt could manage. But, it turns out, the acreage has grown. Let me give you two remarkable statistics: there are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on all the beaches of the earth. And more staggering still: light from the exploding star GRB 090423 has taken 13 billion years travelling at the speed of light to reach us. (To give you an idea of the magnitude of 13 billion you would not reach that number if you counted uninterruptedly for more than 400 years). Bearing in mind that a single light-year represents a distance of 6000 billion miles this would tend to hint at the insignificance of our otherwise so self-important little planet earth.


 

Read the full excerpt by clicking the name of the source located below.

11 comments on “Happily Godless

  • ” Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are right and God isn’t ‘a magician with a magic wand’ ”

    No, magic man is the kind of magician that ” speaks ” things into existence.!



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  • David R Allen Oct 28, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    The pope’s on board now too.

    He is just spouting the same double-talk as Benedict!

    They “accept the science”, but “trooo science” says god-did-it. – apparently by “mysterious ways”, rather than by “magic” – whatever that difference is?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_and_evolution#Pope_Benedict_XVI

    The Church has deferred to scientists on matters such as the age of the earth and the authenticity of the fossil record. Papal pronouncements, along with commentaries by cardinals, have accepted the findings of scientists on the gradual appearance of life.

    According to the widely accepted scientific account, the universe erupted 15 billion years ago in an explosion called the ‘Big Bang’ and has been expanding and cooling ever since. Later there gradually emerged the conditions necessary for the formation of atoms, still later the condensation of galaxies and stars, and about 10 billion years later the formation of planets. In our own solar system and on earth (formed about 4.5 billion years ago), the conditions have been favorable to the emergence of life. While there is little consensus among scientists about how the origin of this first microscopic life is to be explained, there is general agreement among them that the first organism dwelt on this planet about 3.5–4 billion years ago. Since it has been demonstrated that all living organisms on earth are genetically related, it is virtually certain that all living organisms have descended from this first organism.

    They reject YEC and ID, in favour of Old Earth “Troooo” creationist fudged pseudo-science.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_and_evolution#Catholic_teaching_and_evolution

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994, revised 1997) on faith, evolution and science states:

    159. Faith and science: “… methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God. The humble and persevering investigator of the secrets of nature is being led, as it were, by the hand of God in spite of himself, for it is God, the conserver of all things, who made them what they are.” (Vatican II GS 36:1)

    On October 27, 2014, Pope Francis issued a statement at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences that “Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation,” warning against “the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything.

    Don’t they love double negatives for vacuous assertions!



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  • Sorry mods, for the multiple posts which have now appeared. I have been having some slow up-loading and data-loss issues, so thought these posts had disappeared into the ether!

    Please delete the first two, leaving my latest more detailed one on the Vatican link.

    Thanks,
    Alan



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  • SaganTheCat Oct 29, 2014 at 8:58 am

    More on this story…

    @ your link – I’m making it up as I go along, says Pope

    I suppose admitting it is novel, but they’ve been making it up as they go along for centuries!



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  • S the C.
    That’s some admission by the pope! Praise be! Catholics all over are now free to embrace the ‘big bang’ and evolution without having to qualify their agreement. Sounds far fetched, but I’ve seen this sudden change in mindset close at hand.

    I liked the OP and the whimsical style in which it’s written.



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  • 8
    Light Wave says:

    No self respecting atheist thinks of themselves as godless….most atheists I know gladly never think of that word at all really ……it rarely enters my mind….atheism is more of an absence of the need for any thought about any god…..nature through science has all the answers already….waiting for us analytical categorisers and order imposing organisers to figure everything out….



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  • “Science adjusts its views based on what’s observed, Faith is the denial of observation so that belief can be preserved.”

    I like this. It is a quote from Tim Minchin, a stand up comic from a routine he does called Storm. Basically, his demolition of a hippy chic into crystals, homeopathy and the “vibe”. Very funny. Clearly Minchin is happily godless. Might make an excellent nomination for a secular star. The routine has been converted to a cartoon on youtube which I commend to the rational of this world.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhGuXCuDb1U



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  • Tim is a famously godless entertainer in the UK and altogether awesome. We recently and reluctantly allowed him back home to Australia for this, probably the most concentrated good advice ever and way funnier than Moses…

    UWA Address



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