An Irish woman's social, political and domestic commentary
Tuesday, January 11, 2005  

Is there a God?

Sooner or later I knew someone would ask me this. I thought it might take place at some time in the future when I was running for political office and my answer would make or break me. Still, sitting here, creating life, is as good as time as any to contemplate the issue.

In short. No. I don't think there is a God or one all powerful being or ghosts or angels or anything else. I fully confess that due to training, as soon as anything goes wrong I do say pleasegodpleasegodpleasegod don't let that bad thing happen. However I know that this is a prayer onto which a form of words has been attached.

However, and perhaps this is where I might differ from most who say they believe in God but hate religion. I do believe in mass religion (or religion for the masses). I believe in ceremony and sacraments at crucial stages in our lives. I think christenings and marriages and funerals are essential. I will willingly support our local church because the fact remains, that when someone dies, we want prayers said over the body. And it's not enough that these prayers are just good wishes or intentions. Having known rituals performed at stressful times is good for the living (if useless to the dead). Religion provides the simple infrastructure for death - churches and graveyards - provided locally and cheaply. And when my child is born I want it baptised into something and if being made a Catholic gives it a label well then let's call that label a sense of identity which gives him or her a place in the world. Instead of being a nothing.

In addition I believe since the state can and should only legislate for so much, religion is essential to teach and encourage personal morality. Without someone to impose (or impart if you like) values as opposed to civil law, I think we are just one step from Lord of the Flies and we need some force to make us behave in a manner which promotes peace in society. I don't deny for a second the great evil perpetuated by religion (from war to making certain sinners into outcasts) but the way forward is to encourage loving religions not angry religions.

Furthermore I believe that certain people have great spirituality and can be called holy or rabbi or guru or whatever you want. I put the spirituality but others might call it charisma or presence. Whatever you call it, its a positive energy that others can feel and respond to. If that 'holiness' can be harnessed and more people are encouraged to aspire to saintliness/goodness then that's a great thing. For example in my brief encounters with Buddhism (which doesn't have a God but possesses amazing spirituality) I have really seen how teaching a way of life or attitude can have a ripple effect and turn into a 'do onto others as you would have them do onto you' philosophy. In other words, religion can have an incredibly positive effect on both a global and individual level. And if to facilitate it, we call the centrepiece of religion, God, then let God exist.

In conclusion, my mother is a reader of the death announcements in the papers. As she observes, even tho' a lot of people say they don't believe in God - 99% of the announcements include details of the funeral service which takes place in a church. So I say, send your prayers out whomever you want - your family, your dead friends, God. But cough up a few quid so there's someone there to bury you when you die.

posted by Sarah | 20:38 2 comments
I can understand ur view and agree to some of it.
I have no god to belive in , Science and understanding should be the way to go.
Hi Sarah,

It sounds like you shoudl check out the Unitarians. I'm not prosletysing and I'm not one myself ( It took me 21 years to get excommunicated from my last religion) but I think it would be up your street. They do christenings.
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