- Published on Sunday, 10 February 2013 06:37
- Written by John Draper
- Hits: 3881
Atheists reject all gods, not just those of the Judeo-Christian and Muslim religions. If you look at many of the so-called "new atheist" blogs and their posts, they give very good reasons why Christianity or Islam are just plain wrong. These religions don't make sense, they are not logical or rational. Many Christians will even admit that and talk about the need for faith and something outside reason. But most of the believers I know really only believe in a "higher power"; even many who are Church-goers and nominally Christian. They like to hear all the good things said in sermons and bible readings and dismiss most of the irrational nonsense - yet they still cling to the notion that there is a need for a higher power, a creator of some kind. This higher power has a more limited definition and although his/her attributes vary a lot depending on the individual, they can be summarized as follows:
- A higher power has no connection with any organized religion and has never appeared on earth in person.
- The higher power is not like a person and has no human attributes except good-will
- The nearest we can get to this higher power is by communing with his/her creation - e.g. nature.
- A higher power is not a personal god and does not respond to praying nor require worship.
- It is not possible to really know much about such a being.
Given this kind of definition, you can then use the existence of such a god (higher power) to explain anything not yet explained by science. This would include mystical things such as some of our feelings but also apparent paranormal events like ghosts and psychic powers. You can also comfortably call yourself an agnostic and even go to a Church and participate without feeling too hypocritical.
For atheists (well, at least this one), a higher power is still a man-made invention. If you have never read the work of Stephen Hawking (right) or similar physicists and astrophysicists or, if you have, you can't make sense of them, then you can satisfy the human need for an explanation by postulating a higher power. From a scientific point of view, there is in fact no need for a creator; there is no need for a higher power. You could take the Einstein route and say that god is "Nature" or the "Universe" but that's not what most people mean when they say god or even a higher power.
One problem for atheists is that such a higher power cannot be disproved with evidence. All you can say is that this kind of god is not necessary to explain anything. But just think about it. If God (a higher power) does not require anything from us and does not manage our lives in any way, then he can safely be ignored. We can live as an atheist and there will be no consequences. We could also live as an agnostic with the same result. Further, if scientists came to a consensus that such a higher power was necessary to explain the world, then maybe most atheists would believe in a higher power. Since scientists have already come to the reverse consensus (no god is necessary), then this is highly unlikely.
Another thing to remember is that it is not the belief in a god that causes problems in the world - Hitchens did not say God poisons everything - the false and evil thing in this world is religion, especially organized religion, and not personal beliefs.
Originally published February, 2011