Tuesday, November 04, 2008

There is a God

...which is my tongue-in-cheek response to

which is a campaign organized by the British Humanist Association and running on London's buses.

The campaign is lame for a number of reasons, foremost of which is: if they really believed what they were saying, why couldn't they have been forceful enough in saying it? "Probably" no God? Which means there "probably" is.

And, of course, by "probably" denying it, they're putting the focus back on God. All well and good. That's why even some religious groups have contributed to the campaign.

So I'm putting out my corrected version. As for the bottom tagline, I think that overall, Christian believers do have more fun out of life. Here's what Chesterton has to say about it:

The mass of men have been forced to be gay about the little things, but sad about the big ones. Nevertheless (I offer my last dogma defiantly) it is not native to man to be so. Man is more himself, man is more manlike, when joy is the fundamental thing in him, and grief the superficial. Melancholy should be an innocent interlude, a tender and fugitive frame of mind; praise should be the permanent pulsation of the soul. Pessimism is at best an emotional half-holiday; joy is the uproarious labour by which all things live. Yet, according to the apparent estate of man as seen by the pagan or the agnostic, this primary need of human nature can never be fulfilled. Joy ought to be expansive; but for the agnostic it must be contracted, it must cling to one corner of the world. Grief ought to be a concentration; but for the agnostic its desolation is spread through an unthinkable eternity. This is what I call being born upside down. The sceptic may truly be said to be topsy-turvy; for his feet are dancing upwards in idle ecstasies, while his brain is in the abyss. To the modern man the heavens are actually below the earth. The explanation is simple; he is standing on his head; which is a very weak pedestal to stand on. But when he has found his feet again he knows it. Christianity satisfies suddenly and perfectly man's ancestral instinct for being the right way up; satisfies it supremely in this; that by its creed joy becomes something gigantic and sadness something special and small. The vault above us is not deaf because the universe is an idiot; the silence is not the heartless silence of an endless and aimless world. Rather the silence around us is a small and pitiful stillness like the prompt stillness in a sick room. We are perhaps permitted tragedy as a sort of merciful comedy: because the frantic energy of divine things would knock us down like a drunken farce. We can take our own tears more lightly than we could take the tremendous levities of the angels. So we sit perhaps in a starry chamber of silence, while the laughter of the heavens is too loud for us to hear.


  1. You're right,of course. The word "probably" makes the whole thing lame. But, they are Humanists and the BHA web site says humanism "encompasses atheism and agnosticism" and I guess the agnostics aren't as certain as the atheists.

  2. Oh I'm sure they're sure. The "probably" is most likely meant in the scientific sense in that you can't prove nonexistence, but can determine reasonably low probability. It's still a bad decision though; most people will just interpret that as a lack of conviction.