The Hellishness of Hell

Dragged to Hell and back, as hot as Hell, one Hell of a party, Hell yeah!, Hell and high waters, what the Hell?, highway to Hell, when Hell freezes over, Hell hath no fury, neighbours from Hell…

There are literally dozens and dozens of phrases like these but what is it about Hell that puts the ‘fear of God’ into people?  Before we look at that, though, the phrase ‘fear of God’ is something I discussed with my mother a few weeks ago.  I said that it was probably alluding to the God of the Old Testament – the mighty, powerful, jealous, megalomaniacal, destructive, angry god.

The benevolent god portrayed and taught in today’s Christian society is a far cry from the childlike but power-hungry god of the Old Testament which, I suppose is at least a step forward.  Most Christians no longer feel the need to punish someone by stoning them with stones for gathering a few sticks on the Sabbath day.  Or by doing the same to a son or daughter who has cursed. Continue reading

Blast that apple! Or, how the tree of knowledge was his biggest mistake

This post needs an additional sub-heading ‘Or was it?’ for reasons that will become clear by the end.

Many a child has been told about the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve, that pesky snake and the forbidden fruit.  Genesis 2:16-17 explains that God put man (Adam) into the garden and told him he could freely eat the fruits from all the trees with the exception of the ‘tree of knowledge of good and evil’.  There is debate about whether ‘Adam’ was mankind or just the first man but that’s for another day.

Firstly, the merism ‘good and evil’ is a just a poetic way of saying ‘everything’.  Why go to the effort of splitting this up?  I believe it is to generate a better picture of what this fruit is capable of.  ‘Knowledge of everything’ would hint at the omniscience of the ‘creator’ and surely that couldn’t be possible when assuming Adam to be a mere mortal although, at the time, it can be assumed he was immortal.  Therefore, ‘knowledge of good and evil’ directs our attention and interpretation to things that are good and things that are evil. Continue reading

Ancient Gods

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about some of the possible reasons why the ancient gods (the Olympians and Titans from Greek Mythology, Ra, Isis and co from Egyptian Mythology etc.) no longer seem to have a massive dedicated following.  I wonder if gods come and go like this, they remain ‘fashionable’ for a period of time (hundreds, maybe thousands of years) until the number of non-believers outnumber those that do.

If this does indeed happen then when can we expect the current trend of belief in the Abrahamic God(s) to start waning?  I suspect this has already happened in certain parts of the world although there is still some way to go before the scales are tipped due to so many factors which will be discussed in future posts.

The ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians were polytheistic, they had dozens of gods to worship, each of whom had his or her speciality.  If you happened to be a Greek traveller you’d pray to Hermes.  If you happened to be a Greek travelling javelin thief you’d be triply protected as he covered kleptomania as well as athletics. Continue reading

What is atheism?

The Oxford English dictionary defines the term ‘atheism’ as:

Disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods

I prefer Richard Dawkins’ definition (although he may well have borrowed it from someone else) that atheism is ‘Believing in one less god than a theist’.

Dawkins has a particular way with words and anyone who has read The God Delusion, The Blind Watchmaker or The Greatest Show on Earth will attest to the fact that he possesses a knack of explaining things in simple terms, although he can sometimes dwell on a particular theme. Continue reading

In the beginning…

Ok, so my first post has a tongue-in-cheek title.  I’m going to start this as I mean to go on – light-heartedly.  This isn’t a one man crusade nor is it a mission of any kind, simply the ramblings and musings of a recently designated atheist.

My journey started, from what I can recall, with trips to Sunday School and holiday clubs at the local church.  Stories of Noah, David and Goliath and other favourites were read while we sat, cross-legged, on a large rug eating digestive biscuits and sipping on orange squash from plastic cups. Continue reading