Thursday, December 15, 2011

If I am an atheist, can I still take the children to Carols by Candlelight?

I confess that I am a  soft atheist. I still enjoy reading my stars and other illogical things, especially when they make me feel better than being confronted with pure reality. I also occasionally take issue with my scientific friends for failing to adequately respect the mystery of life and for putting too much faith in the little bit of knowledge we are able to prove. 
Normally I am also content to live and let live in matters of belief, but when fundamentalists begin to meddle in politics or seek to impose their beliefs on the rest of us, particularly in schools and science classes and with respect to evolution, abortion and population control, it is time to come out of the closet and take a stand, before the new Dark Ages and witch trials begin.

There are many things about our celebrations at this time of year which are very appealing such as the carol singing, Myer’s windows, getting together with family, friends and colleagues, Christmas trees, community spirit, excessive eating and drinking, giving of gifts, Santa, thinking of others less fortunate etc. Not too much problem there since most of these predate Christianity and have been adapted to fit, so there is no need to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
But back to the carol singing. Would anyone be interested in having the spectacle of candles and massed community singing without the more dirge -like hymns?

At the moment I feel like I do when looking at a fine cathedral. I can appreciate the workmanship, but it isn’t long before I see Christ impaled on a cross somewhere with a crown of thorns piercing his head or hear the faint echo of those who were tortured during the Inquisition, and its beauty no longer thrills me. Most of all though, I can do without the guilt. Did I ask Christ to die for me? Nor do I believe that we were born in sin. 

[I can also do without the excessive consumerism and the sense of obligation to family and friends too, though I enjoy doing things for them when I can or dare I say it, when the spirit moves me].
 
Meanwhile, one of my sons has a plan. If creationism and intelligent design are to be taught in science classes, he wants a copy of Dawkins’ “The God Delusion” alongside every Bible in every hotel room and the right to go door to door every Sunday to teach people logical thinking.
If you don’t have time to read the book but want to know where I am coming from, check out Richard Dawkins: An Atheist’s call to arms on You Tube



or
http://atheist-experience.com
Did I mention that I come from a long line of missionaries and lay preachers and now feel obligated to go around undoing all their well intentioned work? It was such a release from darkness when God left our home permanently.

PS Not that churches don't do good work or that they are not a comfort to their followers. I also really like the idea of the confessional and think we need a lay version of it. Perhaps we already have it. I guess this is mine.  

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