I’ve got both.  So you want the Good News first ?  God does not exist.  And the Bad ?  God does not exist.  

It took me a long time to replace the Gospel, the “Good News”, with the realization that revelation was a myth.  I guess the difficulty in daring to recognize that one’s whole belief-system had been built on fairy-stories, is a bit like withdrawal from drugs, alcohol or tobacco.  Religion, like them, creates dependence.  It’s not easy to give up the pleasure, the comfort, the security they provide.  Intellectually, you may accept that you are better off without them, but that doesn’t make it any easier.

To have to do without unquestioned “certitudes”, to realize that there is No One up there, or anywhere else, to come to your aid in face of dungeon, fire, sword, sickness and death – your own and others’ – makes life a dead-end street : death becomes the definitive end not only of life but of personal existence.  It is, in a word, Bad News  But as with other withdrawals, the courageous, the persevering, realize how much better off they are.  Life is better, free and independent of the artificial high provided by stimulants – and the opium of the people.

There is, curiously, a distinction between substance-withdrawal and religious withdrawal.  Reformed drug-addicts, alcoholics and smokers all know the danger of craving for those flesh-pots of Egypt, of relapsing into dependence.  It is, on the other hand, extremely rare for atheists to relapse into religion.  Maybe because it is so much harder to give up “God” than to give up what our body craves.  Atheism, for former believers, is the result of a radical change of mind, not just a controlling of physical need and desire.  In a past life I would have called this change “metanoia“, the New Testament’s Greek word for “conversion“.

There is no guarantee that I will not one day question, even renounce, my atheism.  But I seriously doubt it.  Once you have analyzed the foundations of faith and the supposed reasons for believing, and found them not only wanting but pure illusions, it is hard to imagine going back to believing in Saints, Santa Claus and the Sacraments, Heaven, Hell, pie in the sky, life after death, Grimm’s fairy tales, the Gospel, “miracles“, God and the Easter Bunny.  I know no atheists who envy believers, or regret their rejection of religion.  Drugs may continue to tempt and attract the former addict.  Belief in God tempts and attracts me not at all.

RIDENDA      RELIGIO

 

 

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