Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

God Botherers

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

God Botherers

Article excerpt

There's "probably no God", apparently. I read it on the back of a bus last year, courtesy of an advertisement paid for by the British Humanist Association. Mind you, then the Christian Party countered with its own series of ads claiming: "There definitely is a God." For a period last year, in fact, all my spiritual guidance came from slogans painted on buses. If confronted with an ethical dilemma, I'd stroll down the high street and wait for the number 42 to trundle past with "Morality itself being a construct, only your conscience can be your guide" written along the side.

But now that the bus wars have died down, the consensus seems to be that it's unlikely there's a God. Ever since Richard Dawkins wrote his book on the "delusion" a few years ago, the anti-God industry has enjoyed a boom period. The shelves have been crammed with titles such as God Is Not Great, 2,000 Years of Disbelief, 1,000 Tiresomely Reiterated Anti-Church Arguments, and so on.

An atheist Christmas service at London's Bloomsbury Theatre was a box-office smash. Dawkins is now the most popular God-basher since the days when Christians used to be fed to lions. You can hardly have a nativity play without the bespectacled bogeyman storming the stage, scattering the little shepherds and angels with a cry of "Where is the proof of this?!"

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

In short, atheists are becoming as annoying as believers used to be. Yes, Christianity and all the world religions are based on ancient, unreliable texts; and, yes, they've been used to legitimise awful deeds; and, yes, it's awfully difficult for a man to come back from the dead. …

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