Brian Edwards Media

Posts Tagged 'Atheism'

An atheist reflects on God, religious belief and Isis [Updated]


I was 18 or 19 when I told the local Church of Ireland minister in Dunmurry, Canon Robert C Ellis, that I was an atheist and could no longer sing in the church choir or superintend the Sunday School classes on the council housing estate in nearby Seymour Hill where I lived with my aging mother. [Note the background similarity with John Key, though it stops there!)

Canon Ellis, whose initials ‘RC’ were a cross he had to bear, was  a liberal on most things, including sex, but his liberalism did not extend to the Roman Catholic faith which he could not stomach. He was a gentler man than Ian Paisley, though cut from the same cloth in matters sectarian.

My declaration that I no longer believed in God did not faze the Canon one bit. His brilliant son Stuart had, like me, found and then lost religion. The university did that to impressionable young minds.

“You can,” RC said, “continue to attend church, sing in the choir and teach Sunday School. Just don’t say The Lord’s Prayer or take communion and confine your teaching to the historical account of Jesus’ life.”

I spent a day or two considering this solution before deciding that it really wasn’t feasible for the person of conscience I considered myself to be.   Read the rest of this entry »


My Hero


If you’re interested, Part Two of this selection, from the period shortly before Hitchens’ death from cancer of the throat, can be found at .


Keep Satan (and God) off the Buses




NZ Bus has bowed to blackmail and changed its mind about allowing the slogan there’s probably no god – now stop worrying and enjoy your life to appear on the sides of its buses.

As a commercial operator, the company is entitled to make that decision. It no doubt reasoned that disgruntled theists would stop travelling on its buses and might well start a campaign to encourage others to do the same.

The god-botherers must believe that their creed is pretty weak if they see something as innocuous and understated as this particular slogan as representing a threat. Most atheists would say there is almost certainly no God, conceding only that it isn’t possible to prove the case one way or the other. The non-existence of God comes as near as possible to being a fact, since there is absolutely no empirical evidence to support a claim to the contrary.  Read the rest of this entry »


On Death, Dead Parrots and the Divine

_19-6-06-parrot12 Had an email from my old friend Ivan Strahan in Belfast.  Ivan’s a bit worried about his mortality. People of his own age, and younger, are dropping like flies. ‘We are,’ he wrote, including me in this dire prognosis, ‘in the death zone.’

Death is a no-win situation for the atheist. If you’re right, you don’t get to tell anyone; if you’re wrong, everyone, including God, gets to tell you. That’s the scary bit.

There is of course an upside to being right – you don’t have to worry about being tormented for eternity by some divine psychopath. The downside is that you are inevitably going to find yourself, like Monty Python’s Norwegian Blue: ‘stone dead, demised, passed on, no more, ceased to be, a stiff, bereft of life, snuffed it, up the creek and kicked the bucket, extinct in its entirety, an ex-parrot’. Well, an ex-atheist really. Read the rest of this entry »


The Powerlessness of Prayer


Watch almost any television news bulletin and you’ll  hear someone praying for something to happen, or not happen. The background to their prayers is normally a real or potential  tragedy of some sort.

Individuals pray for themselves or those close to them to be cured of life-threatening illnesses. The relatives of people who have gone missing pray for them to be found and returned home safely. Families pray that the names of loved ones will not appear on the lists of those killed in plane crashes. Churchgoers pray for the victims of natural disasters.  World leaders pray for peace. Read the rest of this entry »