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Friday, October 28, 2016

I was standing in line with God, buying tickets to see Monsters University. He’s a big Billy Crystal fan.

“So,” I said, “have you heard about these religious atheists?”

God gave me a look. “Is this a joke?” He asked.

“No,” I said. “It’s a story that ran in the Washington Post recently about religion in America. It was fascinating. Turns out 12 percent of those who say they don’t believe in you nevertheless pray. Some of them pray to something they call a ‘universal spirit.’ It also said 18 percent of atheists say religion has some importance in their lives.”

“Really?” said God as the line edged forward. “So where’s this coming from?”

“It was from a Pew study that came out in October. For some reason, the study didn’t get much traction, but the Post story has been making noise all over the Internet. People are blogging about it, tweeting about it.”

“I hadn’t heard,” said God. “My Internet’s been down.”

“So anyway,” I said, “about these religious atheists?”

“What about them?”

“You don’t think it’s weird? They don’t believe in you, but they pray?”

“To this ‘universal spirit’?” said God.

“Yeah.” We edged forward again.

“Why should that bother me?” asked God. “I am a universal spirit.”

“But it’s hypocritical,” I insisted. “The story even talks about atheists who mimic religious practices, who gather in so-called ‘godless congregations’ on Sundays to, I don’t know, meditate and reflect.”

“This annoys you?” God waggled His fingers at a toddler who was staring at Him.

“A little,” I conceded. “Just seems like they’re trying to have it both ways. Heck, some of them throw hissy fits at any passing mention of you. If I write some innocuous line — ‘Lord, have mercy,’ let’s say — suddenly, I’ve got atheists out the wazoo.”

“Sounds painful,” He said.

“I’m just saying: If you believe, believe. If you don’t, don’t. Make up your mind.”

  • oldtack

    This “tongue in cheek” article leaves much room for thought and reflection on Religion and the name “God”. A research of ancient Hebrew religion will reveal that the diety we call “God” did not have a name. The creator was known only as “I AM” or the Creator of all. Later there were words Ellah, Allea, Eloheim, Allah, which all denoted “the Creator”. There was no mention of the Earthly word “God” for there were many “Gods” of every diverse form permeating every civilization. Did the ancients adopt the word “God” for the great “I AM” to more assimilate with the rest of the world? To become more acceptable? I prefer to refer to the creator as “The Creator” or the Great “I AM” rather than the earthy word “God”. For HE is not a GOD in the worldly sense. He is the creator of all.

  • bpai99

    “To you, I’m an atheist. To God, I’m a conscientious objector.” – Woody Allen

  • jointerjohn

    I can’t prove that the god of the bible doesn’t exist. Its just that after reading the book, if indeed he does exist, then I refuse to hang out with anyone so disloyal, brutal and despicable.

  • Allan Richardson

    This article is almost a definition of liberal and metaphysical forms of Christianity such as Unity! I am forwarding a link immediately to the Unity ministers I know.

    The English word “god” is derived from “good” (which is why the Friday before Easter is called “Good Friday” in English). The Latin word “deus” and the Greek word “theos” were originally the generic words for any of the beings worshiped by polytheists. The Hebrew word that is translated “God” in Genesis 1 (from the P document) is Elohim, the grammatically plural form of El, which was also the name of the top Canaanite deity (most scholars say it is the “plural of majesty” analogous to the “royal WE”). The proper name of the Hebrew god in particular, spelled “yod, heh, vav, hey” in Hebrew, which is never pronounced (good Jews substitute Adonai, meaning Lord; REALLY devout Jews substitute Ha-Shem, meaning “the Name”), is thought to derive from the verb “to be” in Hebrew, hence I AM. Since the medieval rabbis who developed the system of vowel notations used the vowel markings for Adonai over this holy Tetragrammaton (Greek for four letter word), this word first found in Genesis 2 (from the J document) is translated as Lord, or The Lord, or mistakenly as Jehovah. There are many synonyms for God’s name in the Old Testament (known as the Tanakh to Jews) and in Jewish culture, such as El Shaddai, which may suggest that the oldest stories may have been polytheistic, but were cleaned up or “monotheized” by the scribes who edited scraps of documents into the Torah.

    Some trivia in American popular culture: the two Jewish writers who invented the Superman character gave his “Kryptonian” name as Kal-El, which LITERALLY means “All is God” or “All God” in Hebrew. In Unity we teach that if we can totally understand (or to mix spiritual metaphors, “grok”) that God is in everything, including us, we will become “supermen” in the spiritual sense.
    Blessings to all!

    • Mark Robinson

      son of Jor-El

  • Michael Kollmorgen

    Atheism in its dictionary meaning means; no belief in any supreme being, deity or spiritual entity. This is the definition what I follow as being an Atheist.

    With all the horrors mankind has perpetrated not only against himself but also the planet at large, I don’t believe there is a god. There is no way a god would create such a devastating creature, especially one who could turn against his own creator.

    I have become firmly convinced over the years that mankind is NOT of this earth. He is a freak of nature, something that’s not supposed to be here. We are an experiment that went wrong – terribly wrong at that.

    As far as a Universal Spirit, there may be one “on the other side”. There is some scientific basis for the belief in Physics. We may find “on the other side” something so bizarre and so different from our belief systems that while we are “here”, we could never understand it. Our minds are simply not able to comprehend it.

    Anything we believe in, as far as any religion, is nothing but pure BULLSHIT.

  • Peter Brown

    Anyone who thinks that atheism is a threat then they miss the whole point of being an atheist. It is not belief or even faith, it’s just that your god has no traction in my world, I feel more strongly for a finely tuned vintage British race car than I do for a mythology based on hatred and separation. I cannot prove or disprove the presence of gods just like I cannot prove or disprove the words of Harry Potter, I just don’t think that they are in any way relevant. If god was not such a polarizing infleunce in your lives we could all probably get along a whole lot better.