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.
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
- 2 Antonio Martin shooting: Police and protesters clash over teenager's death just five miles from Ferguson, Missouri
- 3 Northern Lights above Britain: Stunning Aurora Borealis illuminates Northumberland sky on Christmas Eve
- 4 British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
- 5 New route to Mars could make manned mission much cheaper and easier
Christmas Day TV guide 2014: What to watch from Strictly Come Dancing to the story of Frozen
Cruel Woman in Black prank sees cinema-goers terrified by movie poster - watch their reactions
Best underrated Christmas movies: From Trading Places to While You Were Sleeping
Game of Thrones season five: First preview clip shows a beardy Tyrion, a moody Cersei and a distressed Arya
Christmas TV guide 2014: The best shows to watch from Doctor Who to Downton Abbey
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food