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.
The best TV shows and films coming to the servicetv
Watch the new House of Cards series three trailerTV
Oscars 2015It was the first time Barney has compered the Academy Awards
Oscars 2015 From Meryl Streep whooping Patricia Arquette's equality speech to Chris Pine in tears
Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants
TV ReviewThe intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
- 2 Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face death penalty
- 3 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 4 Dakota Johnson's 'It's only Isis' Saturday Night Live sketch sparks controversy
- 5 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
Downton Abbey Christmas special 2014, review: Love is everywhere, actually
Broadchurch series 3: David Tennant and Olivia Colman to return for third season, ITV confirms
EastEnders may bring transgender character to Albert Square to challenge 'traditional' viewers
Game of Thrones season 5 spoilers: What we can expect according to George RR Martin's books
Indian Summers recommissioned: Channel 4 confirm a second series of British Empire drama
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Russia's roadmap for annexing eastern Ukraine 'leaked from Vladimir Putin's office'