who wants to go to fire lake?

I wrote this in response to this piece, entitled “If God is dead then what?” It should be noted that the writer is a dear friend of mine, and has been since junior high, so to say we go way back is putting it mildly. I have a great deal of respect for him, though it’s not terribly unusual for that to be a respectful sort of disagreement .

His answer to the question tends toward the position that god being dead would be a bad thing. And yes, I disagreed.

• • •

In the beginning there was the word. Now, I’m going to ask you to imagine a world in which there were no words in any language for the actions we know of as murder, manslaughter, rape, child abuse, robbery, slavery, torture, terrorism, human sacrifice, or hate crime. Imagine interacting with a society such as this, and trying to explain these concepts to them. If this society had a benevolent god, what would they think of ours? And if, in addition to all those terrible things they had no words for, they also lacked a term for god, what would they think of *us*? What if they didn’t even have a word for terrible? Now, look around you, listen, read. Is this the world a benevolent god would create? It is not. Should we be stressed out if he were to suddenly fail to exist?

So let’s assume that everyone in the whole world had a simultaneous, abrupt epiphany, and all the world’s religions were rendered a moot point. For atheists, the concept of “no god” is a familiar one, and the lack of belief in an afterlife causes us no particular sadness or hopelessness — so the effects of sudden worldwide atheism would very much depend on the manner in which the religious came to find themselves de-converted.


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