26th Feb 2006
SIR - May I respond to the replies of
February 17 and 24 to my letter published on the 10th?
James Bogle, supporting Piers
Paul Reed's statement that "atheists are a rare breed these days",
points to the fact that they number less than 23 per cent of the
British population - but is that "rare"'? If so, Catholics, at 8.R5 per
cent, are very rare indeed. In the world as a whole, atheists and
Catholics are roughly equal in number (one billion each). Of course,
people who believe in some sort of supernatural force-are the great
majority, but the mutual incompatibility of their beliefs hardly makes
Ian white quotes one of the New Oxford definitions of atheism - "The
theory or belief that God does not exist" - but that is a definition
favoured by Christians, not one accepted by -atheists themselves, who
claim merely to have no deity.
However, a clear definition of the attributes and function of an
alleged deity, put forward by professed believers, may provide atheists
with disproof of that particular deity, based on internal contradiction.
If, for instance, believers
posit a personal creator of the universe that is beneficent as well as
powerful, then the problem of undeniable suffering on earth surely
demonstrates the non-existence of any such creator - just as a square
circle is impossible. If there really were a powerful creator
responsible for the unstable tectonic plates that cause earthquakes and
tsunamis and for creatures that can live only by preying on other
sentient beings, he/she/it would surely have to be a sadist.
Philip Goddard claims that god-belief has created "the
greatest art, music, poetry and architecture that the world has ever
known." But the artists had to earn a living - and in the ages of faith
the Church held the money-bags. When the same artists (many of them
secret unbelievers) turned to secular subjects, the quality of their work was no less great.