Laughter in the dark 36

We need a new word for belief in a deity (or a plurality of deities). “Theism”  is not really the right word because it has a specific meaning in the jargon of religion: it means belief in a god who not only made the world but continues forever to concern himself with it, act in it, play a part in human affairs, and generally preside in his inscrutable way over all goings-on, from the most trivial preoccupations of every single individual to the hugest events of history and nature, retaining full control whenever he feels like exercising it over whether (eg) this person will pass his exam, that volcano will erupt, this African tribe will slaughter that African tribe, this baby will be born deformed, that virus will eat the flesh of a few thousand people, and so on. A whimsical power, the theist’s god, who will never, never be shaken off.

“Theism” is opposed to “deism”. The deist believes that a god made the world and set it going, then brushed off his hands and went away forever. He’s had nothing more to do with it nor ever will. “Okay, there’s your world, now tata!”

Both theism and deism literally mean god-ism, the first derived from Greek, the second from Latin.

We prefer to use English and coin the term godism. It lugs no semantic baggage about with it. Its meaning is clear.

But for its opposite we’ll stick to “atheism'” rather than “godlessism” which would be too clumsy.

It’s good to know that godists are becoming seriously concerned about the spread of atheism. As more and more atheists are daring to declare themselves, and more and more books in defense of atheism and attacking godism are appearing, the godists are getting desperate. They still can’t prove the existence of a god, of course, so they resort to abuse and mockery.

For an example of intense irritation disguising itself as scorn and hilarity, see an article by Bill Murchison here at Townhall.

He claims to find Stephen Hawking’s theory of spontaneous creation side-splittingly funny. In the same way churchmen split their sides when Copernicus said that the planets go round the sun, and again when Giordano Bruno said he was right, and again when Galileo said the same thing. They stopped laughing to burn Giordano Bruno to death, did those godly protectors of The Truth. And Galileo was threatened with torture until he “recanted”, and then was kept confined in his house so the world would not hear what he had to say. Fortunately, his words got out.

Murchison’s get around more easily through the Internet. Here are some of his thoughts:

Assuming, no doubt, our anxious world could use a good laugh, Stephen Hawking undertakes to provide one. He says the universe created itself.

The theory itself isn’t the joke. The joke is the dogged persistence of atheists trying in the face of common sense to persuade the world as to the wisdom they see in their every utterance. Another way of putting it would be, atheism is the joke. …

Hawking’s new book, “The Grand Design,” (written with one Leonard Mlodinow) argues that “the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.”…

A series of questions follow which are supposed to baffle the atheist:

I suppose the intent of such stuff is to render non-atheists, Christians especially, mute and fearful. Which is more than a little bit odd. Who is likely to grow mute in the face of a bald claim that the universe more or less invented itself? Was Hawking there with his camera? That would be the first question. Soon other questions would follow. The vast variety of life — that was spontaneous, too? The human organism — the brain, the eye, the ear, the digestive tract — just sort of, you know, happened? The sky, the seas, the seasons, not to mention human reproduction — those things, too?

He seems to be urging a Proof of God by Awe and Ignorance.

He goes on:

And the greatest minds of history failed to catch on, century after God-fearing century? That or they practiced denial? Uhhhh … yeah….

Yes, Bill, they did practice denial of anything that threatened their belief. But their Greatness of Mind is proved to Murchison by their believing. Hawking doesn’t believe, so his mind is not great –

There is a poignancy to the atheist fixation on showing up God. What’s wrong with these people? Many of them are technically intelligent (Hawking is routinely labeled “brilliant”), but they swallow with satisfied smiles the intellectual bilge called atheism. …

Apparently having not the least idea of what atheism is, he invents a church for atheists:

It’s really all too funny, as things tend to get when certain people — over and over without pause — do the same stupid things. Such as instruct the whole of human history to get off this God thing and start believing in spontaneous creation. I can see it all now, can’t you? — The Church of Spontaneous Creation; services whenever you’re feeling spontaneous; come feel the creative power surge through your veins; learn to laugh at fools and frauds and idiots stupid enough to disagree with the doctrine of “It All Just Happened.” …

Seems he fears to be laughed at. He needn’t worry, he’s not funny.

We guess he won’t even try to read Hawking’s book. And if he read it, he wouldn’t understand it. And even if he understood it, he still wouldn’t believe it. He knows The Truth.