Tuesday, 24 December 2013


I believe in heaven. I also believe that my belief in heaven has nothing to do with its existence and heaven would remain, whether I believed in it or not. There’s a scene in Peter Pan where Peter explains to the other children, that every time a child says they don’t believe in fairies, a fairy dies. Well my beliefs don’t sustain heaven and my beliefs certainly don’t sustain God.

 “God doesn’t exist,” a friend of mine said emphatically to me over lunch last November. A couple of years ago, this statement would have set my inner workings in turmoil. Then, I was questioning the very foundations and roots of my faith and every outer expression of atheism seemed to me confirmation of what I already knew inside: it was all a sham. I felt that if I stopped believing, then it wasn’t true. Whereas I now realise that the end of my belief would have had no wider ramifications than that. Just as a refusal to stop believing in gravity, does not stop me from living in a world when plates fall and smash on the ground, just so a refusal to acknowledge God does not stop me from living in the world He has created and enjoying His mercies everyday.

 I smiled at my friend, obviously setting out to rile me up and continued eating my lunch. “The existence of God is independent of both of us.”
“Don’t give me that. This table exists. This chair. God? No.”
“Pass me the salt.”
“It’s not that I have anything against people that are Christians or anything like that. I don’t think fire should burn you in hell or whatever."
He was deliberately using a phrase sometimes mockingly associated with Nigerian Pentecostalism, perhaps to annoy me even further. I laughed.
“That doesn’t make sense.”
“If you don’t believe in God then you don’t believe in the devil and therefore you don’t believe in hell. So it’s a paradox to say you don’t want Christians burning there. You should have said something like you don’t want atomic bombs falling on our heads.”
“You win.”

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