the friend online
28 September 2007

Quaker atheists - preview

Peter Arnold of Alderney, Channel Islands, finds light inspiration in the human brain

I think we can be atheist Quakers by interpreting the terms Quaker and atheist with care
  • An atheist can be a person who has found insufficient evidence for a belief in the supernatural
  • For an atheist it seems likely that anything that contradicts the laws of nature is most likely to be a product of the mind
  • I suspect that the story of Jesus walking on water could have come about after one of his followers said in casual conversation 'He is such a wonderful person that you'd think he could walk on water' or way out in the countryside he and his entourage may not have brought sufficient food and drink, but if those who did could be persuaded to share it there might be enough to get them all home again
  • The writer then could not resist icing the cake with the baskets full of left-overs
  • Romantic writers and readers love to do that sort of thing
  • The stories in any of the holy books can help us to get beyond reacting automatically to situations, something we do most of the time incidentally, and persuade us to be more sensitive to a situation and to think about it before saying or doing anything
  • We also need to choose the situations in which we should pause to think
  • A boxing ring is not the best place, but the rugby player who thinks is likely to be just as useful as the biggest bulldozer forward, and hovering out there on the wing could be a good place to start becoming a skilful fly-half or team coach

  • Peter Arnold

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