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News update: there is no god
Why the notion of god is plain silly; the north’s war on drugs; and pop eats itself again.
Eamonn McCann, 31 Oct 2003
I was arguing with a neighbour the other day about the existence of god (it’s that sort of area) when he said something he shouldn’t, along the lines of – “When you look at the beauty and vastness of the heavens and think on how utterly insignificant we are, don’t you sense there’s a power infinitely greater than anything knowable on earth?”
The notion of the heavens as the glory of god’s handiwork is as old as human wonderment. It’s also – and this is the reason he shouldn’t have said it – the worst of all stock arguments for belief in god.
The heavens are huge beyond the range of imagination. A million earths could fit into our sun. There are maybe a million suns in our galaxy. There are more galaxies in the universe than grains of sand on earth. The farthest galaxies we can see are drifting away from us at almost the speed of light. That’s to say, at around 5,880,000,000,000 miles per solar year. They have been moving and will continue to move on their courses amid the seething energy of the swirling universe for millions of solar years.
We know all this because humankind now has knowledge based on centuries of science, plus space platforms, radio telescopes, mathmatical models and the like, and can surmise the heavens with a clearer eye than any who came before us. Which is not to pretend we know more than an infinitesimal part of what there is to be known.
Sure, we can sense this vastness, or at least the mystery of its impenetrability, when we gaze upon the skies at night. Must we therefore posit a god as creator?
Luckily enough, we have to hand god’s own six-day diary of the creation.
Herein is described the construction of our planet from nothingness, the division of light from darkness, the conjuring of beasts, fish and fowl, the animation of humanity. A faction of god’s followers has recently sought to counter the account of evolutionists by suggesting that each of the days of creation lasted a thousand years, or even a thousand “ages”. What’s not in doubt is that it’s the earth which thusways was created and placed at the centre of all. The function of the heavens in god’s story of his creation is as a canopy over the speck of matter of our globe.
It might be objected that at the time of Genesis’ inscription, this was the only understanding humans had available. And quite so. But if Genesis is the account not of humans at all but of the god of all ages, this is surely irrelevant.
The question which arises is: if the heavens are the glory of god’s creation, how come we know so much more about it than he does?
The answer is that what the vast beauty of the heavens reveals is that the notion of god is plain silly.
I see that the volunteers of the Irish National Liberation Army continue their clampdown on drugs.
A friend forwards a piece from the North Belfast News featuring an “exclusive interview” with a delegation of National Liberation soldiers fresh returned from the latest skirmish in their endless battle against those who’d undermine the nation with noxious foreign substances. Last month, apparently, the patriotic group “raided two homes in the Whitewell where a substantial amount of dope was seized.
“Since then the INLA says it has questioned over 35 people they suspect of infesting North Belfast with the scourge of illegal drugs. On Friday last they swooped on a flat in the Whitewell belonging to a dealer identified by the group as K, where they found 13 bars of cannabis resin. K was not in at the time, but an associate was questioned...
“K is an associate of murdered Carrickhill dope dealer Frankie Bugaloo Mulholland, according to the group.” (That would be the Bugaloo Mulholland, father of four, who was gunned down in Belfast city centre by loyalist liberators two years ago. Rumour was, one of the reasons Bugaloo had been marked down for death was that he’d sold Johnnie Adair a bunch of turf briquettes for £16K. He can’t have been all bad).
The INLA anti-dope patrol also claimed to have uncovered a network of pushers of Es and coke. But I couldn’t help noticing that the captured stash, which the paper reported the INLA had handed over to the IRSP, who had in turn passed it on to Holy Cross priest Fr. Aidan Troy, consisted only of cannabis. Troy “arranged for it to be disposed of”.
Disposed of? I can exclusively reveal that this is code for forwarding the contraband to the Police Service of Northern Ireland, an outfit which all national liberators instruct the community to shun, upon pain of national apostasy, or worse.
Aren’t we lucky to have so many liberation armies struggling to save us from thralldom? And isn’t is comforting to note that, notwithstanding our continuing divisions, there are some issues on which Nationalist and Loyalist paramilitaries, the cops and the Catholic Church stand shoulder to shoulder?