Letter: No role for God
Friday 05 March 1999
Sir: The "atheism" discussed in Paul Valley's interview with Karen Armstrong (Review, 26 February) has nothing to do with the atheism of most atheists. It just isn't true that "most of us have ceased to believe in Him - and yet we remain very fixed in our notions Who it is in Whom we no longer believe" because most of us have never believed in the first place.
Most of us have no more interest in a God who is "within us" than one who is outside us, or in God as an "experience like music or art" than as a person, or in an "Eastern" than a "Western" "view of the divine".
Atheism itself has no necessary relationship - whether positive or negative - with "spirituality" or "the sacred" whatever they may mean. It is not a dogmatic denial of the existence of superhuman person(s) or supernatural power(s) above or below, outside or inside, before or beyond life, the universe and everything, but simply a pragmatic presumption that there isn't anyone or anything of the kind about whom or which it is worth bothering. Then serious discussion can begin.
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