There is talk about circulating a book about atheism in secondary schools.It follows Michael Gove giving copies of the King James’ Bible ,freely to schools. It’s called the “Young Atheist’s Handbook”. It has already been freely distributed to schools in the UK by the Humanist Society.What is there to be afraid of? Well it seems that a Free Presbyterian minister , David McElveen has some problem with young people making informed choices about life , god and the universe. He was on the radio saying so.You’d imagine that if a person had a “faith” in an unknown being in the first place , that that very belief would be enough for him. Not so. This minister is in favour of censorship. He doesn’t want this book to be circulated at all. He has an obvious fear of atheism and a humanist approach, as though it is an affront to some “kingly” god sitting on some golden throne …somewhere “out there”.
He came up with a series of puerile arguments based on the Bible’s reading that God created Heaven and Earth. You’d imagine that someone in the 21st century, given all the scientific discoveries at hand, who taught about the existence of a god and never had to produce proof for his theory would be viewed at best, as an eccentric and at worst ,a crackpot. The same minister has major problems with Darwinism and the theory of evolution. The minister’s style of delivery is that quiet passive /agressive approach, in that he alone sees himself as soley equipped to communicate with us as very small awe -struck unknowing children, and anyone else contributing to the debate is a poor deluded non- believer. It’s certainly a better approach than the hellfire and brimstone, fear-mongering of the past , but it is nontheless still an affront to rationalism.He may speak quietly but the wonder is that the man is even listened to in this 21st century.
The sad truth is that he is avidly listened to by a worryingly large plethora of people in Northern Ireland .Some of our government ministers have managed to bring these eccentric beliefs in to the very heart of our legislation. We have in our midst believers in a wholly unproveable Creationist myth . A belief that proposes that the earth is 6000 years old, in face of scientific knowledge that it is in fact billions of years old
. The lady proposing the introduction of the book was asked on air ,what she thought would happen to her at death, as if the fear of death would also produce a fear of a medieval Hell and a divine punishment in her . She simply answered that when her brain and senses shut down she would cease to exist except in the memory of her friends and family. That sounds about right to me , when you consider the graves , bones and dust of the millions gone before us ,that we tramp over in our daily lives…in a constantly recycling, contained universe of cosmically blown stardust.
The belief in religions and gods as a balm for the human fear of death is one thing. To ban another view that there may well be a much more simple believable story, right before our eyes, is wrong.
The simple human story that we are born.We live and then we die.
We can look around us and see the mess on earth that warring religious factions have wrought as they cleave to these ancient fears and seperatist beliefs.How can this simple proposal to think that we human beings are in fact , all the very same and that the only thing dividing us is our own irrational fears.
Surely that should be taught in schools .