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The Forum > Article Comments > Preaching to the diverted > Comments

Preaching to the diverted : Comments

By Craig Thompson, published 4/4/2012

If God did not exist it might be necessary to invent him, or her.

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With the majority of atheists I know seeking equality rather than an end to religion, I think the bulk of the authors concerns are unfounded. People calling for an end to belief is a distinct concept to people calling that religion not interfere in their life.
Don't get me wrong, the arguments to counter religious apologetics likely to be discussed at the convention are pretty good, but they are not being taken door to door in an attempt to make converts. Atheist missionaries are not being trained and sent to theistic hotspots around the world.
I have read and heard from people who would like to see religion banned, but I would stand against any campaign to institute legislation in that vein as readily as I seek to bring an end to other forms of discrimination in our community.

You are not being told to give up your beliefs. Your right to believe is respected, even if the beliefs themselves are not.
Posted by Diver Matt, Wednesday, 4 April 2012 8:18:32 AM
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The beauty of philosophers Ė just like the beauty of God Ė is that in our society we can shop around until we find the one we like.

Nietzsche is rather niche to my way of thinking and I much prefer William James.

But I just don't believe you've made your case. A quick tinker with some of your sentences yields:

In the absence or presence of God *all we have* is each other. And we see daily how poorly God does at keeping the peace and bringing justice to all who seek it.

What ails us as human beings is being human.
Posted by WmTrevor, Wednesday, 4 April 2012 8:35:37 AM
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I have no trouble with religious people keeping their imaginary friend to themselves.

When they use their book of fiction as an excuse to force their narrow bigoted minds onto other people is when the line should be drawn.

No one has the right to tell two consenting adults what they can or cannot do behind closed doors, or as long as it is not illegal out of doors.

Forcing their imaginary friend on children is also not a good idea. Wait until they are old enough to vote and can define their own imaginary friend.

Creationism is a laughing stock along with alchemy and Dragons and all three should not be taught in schools religious or not. Do not pray in schools and do not think in churches.
Posted by ponde, Wednesday, 4 April 2012 8:47:35 AM
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I hope we can live together in peace. Religion has been both a source of violence and peace. My reading of history is that religion has been more of a source for violence than for peace. Generally armies go to war with the blessings of the religious institutions of their country whatever their country is.

"Gott mit uns" was on the belt buckles of Hitler's and other German armies. "Allah Akbar" (God is great) is supposedly a common cry of Muslim suicide bombers.

The words of Pope Urban II calling for the Crusades in
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Urban_II

"All who die by the way, whether by land or by sea, or in battle against the pagans, shall have immediate remission of sins. ... O what a disgrace if such a despised and base race, which worships demons, should conquer a people which has the faith of omnipotent God and is made glorious with the name of Christ!"

Martin Lutherís sermons advocating violence against the Jews were printed in the Nazi newspapers as an inspiration.

The Book of Joshua in the Bible glorifies God mandated genocide against the Canaanites.

Servetus was one of many who died at the stake for denying the Trinity or denying other beliefs in the vast array of Christian mumbojumbo.

Missionaries followed the gunboats as the British built their empire.

Buddhist clergy supported the Sinhalese violence against the Tamils in Sri Lanka.

I am going to the atheist convention in Melbourne. I have never heard any atheist call for violence against believers in any religion. Atheism does not seem to have the propensity for violence that exists in almost all religions. I hope for a world where there is no such thing as religion or atheism. Atheism is merely a reaction to the oppression of religion. People donít concern themselves denying the existence of Zeus, Thor or Apollo because we realise that they donít exist. They were human inventions. Atheists realise that all supernatural entities are merely human inventions.

Atheism by itself will not bring peace, but it is a start to eliminating a source of war.
Posted by david f, Wednesday, 4 April 2012 8:58:33 AM
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My first thought, from looking at the article's subtitle, was "we already did that"

"If God did not exist it might be necessary to invent him, or her."

God is, whichever way you look at it, a human invention. Invented, most probably, for some of the purposes stated. But also, I suspect, in order to fill that gap created by the question "why are we here?". It is still difficult for some people to answer that question with the obvious... "no reason. Does that bother you?"

The key give-away came late in the piece:

"What ails us as human beings is not "God" as such, but the absence of a common story which both calls us to live together in peace and takes seriously that, in the end, we cannot do just that"

The common story can only mean, "if we all had imagined the same God, there would not be a problem".

Which indeed, might well be true. We will never know for sure, of course. But there would certainly be a few more people in Belfast who still have their kneecaps, if the inhabitants had all shared a common belief, not only in the same deity, but one with all the same rules and regulations.

Reality cannot be subverted by wishful thinking.

"The absence of God will not bring with it the presence of human harmony"

A nice theory. But until and unless we actually get around to imagining the same god, in the same way, "human harmony" will be as far away as ever.

Which brings us full circle, to the point where it is possible to suggest that if and when we get to the stage where we don't have to imagine a god at all, "human harmony" will be a lot closer.

Sadly, each is as unlikely as the other, given that out-of-control variable, "human nature".
Posted by Pericles, Wednesday, 4 April 2012 9:01:21 AM
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If you do a google on Craig you will find this statement: the work of the god of Israel in the world ....and the significance of that story for human existence today.

The ony thing that that story does is create a mystified flock of both infantile and childish believers who pretend that their mommy-daddy good luck god is looking after them. It also effectively prevents people who subscribe to it from growing up.

What has the tribalistic cultic "god" of a small tribe in Israel/Palestine got to do with anything in 2012? Especially when two thirds of the worlds human population are not Christians. And when there are now over 30,000 differet and differing Christian denominations, sects and sub-sects all competing for market share in the Barnum and Bailey marketplace of religious consumerism.
PT Barnum was of course wrong - there are thousands of suckers born every minute.
Posted by Daffy Duck, Wednesday, 4 April 2012 10:59:15 AM
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