Saturday, 23 May 2009

Godbothering Exemplified

Those of us who follow various atheist blogs and discussion groups on facebook and elsewhere will be aware of the sudden visitor from outer space, the sudden alien posting from the "other side".  On the whole I think these visitations are to be welcome as they surely indicate the depth of penetration of the atheist awareness movement. Sometimes these visitors are seeking serious discussion about what they consider a valid point about the atheist/religious divide, sometimes they post purely self-indulgent rants only serving to display the extent of their self-indoctrination. In the last category is a comment recently posted by one Tally Smith on "Thank you Everyone" of the Atheist Bus Campaign website . This is the closing statement of her post:-

"May all those who think there’s absolutely no God or creator, have a second to ponder their belief the last second of their life so that they might see the vision and enter into heaven to meet their loved ones. Enjoy life. Live every day as if it were your last, and live your last day as if you will live forever in heaven or hell. Ask forgiveness of sins your last moment of breath and I think the creator will forgive and accept you. What could it hurt?"

I think Tally  is from the US  because elsewhere she makes reference to the American ABC and  she also exemplifies the fairly naive attitude to religious belief that still holds sway over large areas of the States. To give prosyletisers on this side of the pond due credit I think they would have adopted a far more sophisticated or oblique approach if venturing to advance some pro-religion argument on this particular blog.

What strikes one immediately about this comment is its insufferable smugness and air of superiority. The amazing assumption that she knows what is best for the rest of us who do not happen to believe in her particular Invisible Magic Friend.  Apparently she can read her IMF's mind and knows that if in our dying moments we do not revise our disbelief, he is not going to let us meet up with our "loved ones". Yes, it is rather  vindictive, but that's the god of the Bible for you. But try not to let this worry you too much. In the meantime "enjoy life" and live your "last day as if you will live forever in heaven or hell". Not quite sure how we identify our last day or exactly how we should conduct ourselves if we could. If we think we are going to heaven perhaps we could relax a bit? If hell, do we just give up? Not much practical advice there. 

And then we get to the business of sin. What exactly is it that make the religious so preoccupied with "sin"? Do they go about “sinning” all over the place secure in the knowledge they can always ask “forgiveness”? I don’t want to sound arrogant but, sincerely, I can’t remember the last time I did some “sinning” nor exactly what the sin was. Anyway might as well be on the safe side and ask the IMF for forgiveness so 
here goes: "Please forgive me my sins O Invisible Magic Friend". There, that's better. Yes, she is quite right, it didn't hurt.


  1. Thanks for pointing this one out. I replied to Tally on the Atheist Bus website. Here is my answer:

    @Tally Smith-What culd it hurt? Well, it's a waste of time if God does not exist, or does not care wether you "sin" or not. Since there is no reason to believe that the God of the Bible is any more real than any other, and since God has never been the answer for any question we solved so far, worshipping seems pretty pointless. Asking for forgiveness when one is about to die is even worse: I have other things more urgent to do, such as spending quality time with the people I love. And even IF he exists, he would know I am an unbeliever, so my repentence would be hypocritical. I would be acting out of fear of punishment, or self interest, not out of any moral consideration. If that's okay for this hypothetical God, then he does not deserve to be worshipped, plain and simple. Until I die, I will rather try to act morally according to the effects my actions have on this world, seeking to be a good person towards my fellow human beings.