Something has just occurred to me. Once upon a time, whenever faced with a terrorist atrocity I would find myself asking “Where is God?”
I've just realised that I haven't done that. And I'm delighted. It means I've shed the poisonous delusion in its entirety. I've come to realise that it's a non question, a sub standard question. It doesn't help to combat delusion with delusion. And whilst religion was clearly foremost in the minds of the Paris attackers, along with its promises of fast tracking to Paradise and more Virgins than they can shake their proverbial sticks at, I can't say I've heard a great deal of people ask the “Where was God?” question. For me this is a positive. It's the kind of question that takes up intellectual space. All I know is that if I was God, and if the people of Earth were my children and meant anything to me, I wouldn't be relying on the infamous free will defence to explain away my inaction. If I saw evil descending upon my children I would intervene. I would intervene because I exist. God does not intervene because he does not exist. And if he did, what should we make of such a creature that sits back in his celestial armchair and watches as armed goons unleash heavy weaponry upon terrified crowds? I don't doubt that there are a great many persons of religious persuasion that have been trying to square this circle, but I can save you the trouble. That belief that's so foundational to you, the thing that gets you through the rough stuff and gives you peace. A fabrication, I'm afraid. One you've spent years invested in, but one that is empty. Now it's not too late for most of you. You don't have to keep up the pretense, and let's face it you've wasted more than enough time already. As painful as it is to accept you have wasted years on a myth, on a zero, on the greatest lie of them all. This must be painful, perhaps terrifying to contemplate, but it is what it is. And in 2007 I walked the road myself, and it was a hard one. But my goodness, looking back now, jumping ship from religion to reality was the best leap I have ever taken. It meant turning away from friends, from a way of life and of being. And it took a very long time to fully extricate myself. But I have. And I survived. And the air is clearer because I don't have to defend the absurd anymore. Life is an incredible tapestry of experience, a rich banquet from which you can taste freely. You don't need religion to do your thinking for you. You never did. And as I write this, and as saddened as I am by the recent atrocities, I take comfort in the knowledge that there is one question I do not have to ask anymore.