in sidestepping various grades of evidence which challenge the given truth-claim—and all, of course, under the auspices of protecting the individual from arbitrarily assigned divine punishments, to be meted out after death, for the sin of being created in His image. ! One might be tempted to say that without theological authority, specific aspects of which weʼre told on pain of eternal damnation to place beyond any doubt, God simply vanishes. But where the natural world continues completely unconcerned with our capacity or wish to describe it in every complete way, very few Christians would miss the opportunity to insist the same is true of their personal God, with whom they have a relationship as real to them as it is to billions of their brothers and sisters around the world, quite independent from the parts of scripture they choose to either observe or discount. The fairest I can be about that, is to accept that Christians often seek solace in their beliefs with scriptural reference points which they have simply never thought to account for, or consider how these texts pertain exactly to the nature of their personal experiences— whilst also being somewhat forced to insist that it is faith which gives them meaning and focus, not evidence based reality. And since faith is unavailable to those who do not believe in any gods, theyʼre disentitlement to play with invisible chess pieces is not for anyone else to determine—least of all some godless heathen who by definition does not pretend to understand the nature of the soul and indeed goes further in their denial that there is any evidence of a supernatural aspect. Whatever one can say about this hermetically sealed belief in belief, it certainly isnʼt lacking the vocabulary to talk its way out of trouble—or at least satisfy itself that it has, when in reality it hasnʼt. Not that this would be half the problem I assert it is, if believers in a personal God of this kind actually practised what they preach and kept it to themselves rather than impose it upon other people. But it is all too sadly the case, that there are those who threaten the very fabric of our society—and in a way which seeks to force or cajole highly divisive policies on health, education and social welfare upon the whole electorate, whose religious beliefs are directly informed by their political and social activism. From interventions in the affairs of governments abroad to the provision of social welfare and sex education at home, the religious lobby in American politics has proudly claimed victory in ventures as diverse as the wholesale destruction of the environment to the revoking of birth control for victims of incestuous rape, and the carte blanche handing over of hundreds of billions of tax dollars to private security contractors staffed by murderous, unaccountable mercenaries in Iraq. And yet the myth persists that God is the ultimate arbiter of moral reasoning. I disrespectfully beg to differ.
Work in progress