Thu 25th Dec 2008

2009, actually.

Religion, in under 500 words

Well work's been a little slow this last few weeks, so here's the first of a series (maybe) of weighty subjects discussed and dispensed with in 500 words or less. This week, religion.

"It is the duty of every human being to think God out of existence. Then we have a future. Because then - and only then - do we take full responsibility for who we are."
(Bad Boy Bubby, 1993, Rolf de Heer)

"I pity you," she said. "Lost. Adrift in an empty, meaningless universe. A hostage to random chaos. Eyes blind to the true majesty of creation. How can you keep going? What sustains you in the bleak times, when everything seems dark and hopeless? Who lights your way now you have turned your back on God?"

"It's not so bad," he said. "Look - I'll show you. Come to the window. Now look at that tree and tell me what you see."

"I see the hand of God," she claimed.

"I see a tree," he countered. "Look at the leaves moving in the breeze - there are thousands of them, each slightly different from the other. Every single one is made up of a tracery of tiny veins filled by an enormous and complex community of cells. Within each cell there are billions of molecules and within each molecule impossibly minute particles whirl amongst relatively vast, yet impossibly tiny spaces. But that tree, that gigantic structure, is just one of billions on a planet that is almost incomprehensibly larger than itself: and that planet, just a microscopic speck of dust within a miniscule section of a galaxy, that is itself just one of uncounted millions that dance slowly within the uncharted deeps of space."

"Now," he said. "Look away from the window for a second. Imagine that there is no God. Can you do that?"

"I'm not sure," she replied. "But I'll try."

"Then look out of the window once more, and tell me: what has changed?"

There you go - I make that 254. Dawkins eat your heart out. Next month (maybe): why Dawkins is a dick.