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Monday, 16 January 2012

The Arrogance of Believers

I see that the UK government has indicated that it will withhold funding from any "free school" that teaches creationism (Richard Dawkins Celebrates a Victory, Observer, 15 Jan 2012). This is the doctrine that the universe was created more or less as we see it now just a few thousand years ago. This is taught by some organisations as if it were a scientifically sound theory on an equal footing with evolution.

It does seem to me that it is perfectly possible to accept evolution as scientific fact, based as it is on incontrovertible evidence, and at the same time to believe in a creator. Not, of course, a creator who constructed the universe exactly as it currently appears to us, but one who set off the "Big Bang" that science tells us got it all started.

The truth is that we cannot know if there is a creator behind it all. It is difficult for the human mind to conceive of anything that has not been created by an intelligent being, let alone something as vast and complex as the known universe. And then there is that ancient conundrum: if God created the universe, who (or what) created God?

The "Chosen People" Myth
What I do think is the height of arrogance is the belief that the creator, if there is one, did it all for the benefit of the human race. And that is topped only by the belief that it was done solely for the benefit of a small portion of the human race that will at some point see the elimination of all non-believers. I also think that the existence of a creator does not in any way imply the existence of an after-life.

Nor do I believe that praying or offering sacrifices or other forms of obeisance to the creator is at all likely to make that creator change his/its/her plans so as to satisfy our personal preferences. That is not to say that I don't believe in the power of prayer so long as the word "prayer" is a way of describing a period of quiet consideration of ones difficulties, a form of meditation, in which one is enabled to come to some level of understanding of the cause of those difficulties and, thereby, see a way to overcome them.

If you have read this far you will have gathered that, when I am asked about my religion, I tend to describe myself as an atheist or humanist. It is not that I belong to a formal organisation of those who describe themselves thus, just that my beliefs seem to be more closely aligned with atheism and humanism than with any of the multiplicity of belief systems based around the notion of a supreme being.

1 comment:

  1. well said Mr Parker! and i agree 100000 percent! i am neither athiest nor believer, i call myself a Bloomist for now, and then I*'ll croak. danny le bloom, 1949-2032