I came across this poem which I had forgotten. It's very relevant to atheism.
by A. E. Housman (1859-1936)
The laws of God, the laws of man,
He may keep that will and can;
Not I: let God and man decree
Laws for themselves and not for me;
And if my ways are not as theirs
Let them mind their own affairs.
Their deeds I judge and much condemn,
Yet when did I make laws for them?
Please yourselves, say I, and they
Need only look the other way.
But no, they will not; they must still
Wrest their neighbor to their will,
And make me dance as they desire
With jail and gallows and hell-fire.
And how am I to face the odds
Of man’s bedevilment and God’s?
I, a stranger and afraid
In a world I never made.
They will be master, right or wrong;
Though both are foolish, both are strong.
And since, my soul, we cannot fly
To Saturn nor to Mercury,
Keep we must, if keep we can,
These foreign laws of God and man.
I like it very much! Thanks for posting.
If, very hypothetically, a god were found to be real, and actually imposing consequences for following a particular code of conduct or not, that wouldn't make that god's laws "right", but simply a fact of the world to be dealt with.
I like that point G Cat.
On a related line https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152255173023897&set=a...
"Religion was invented when the first con man met the first fool." (Mark Twain)
Actually, I'd guess that religion was invented before that.
How do you pick up an apple, or push a key on a keyboard? You "will it" and it "just happens", your body seemingly "magically" moves. For early humans, with a primitive worldview, it's not much of a stretch to posit that there are spirits that similarly "will things" to happen in the world. Then they get subsumed by the big boss spirit, like the familiar western one who's supposed to have said "let there be light" and there was light. (And everyone said, "Hey, cool! Do you do parties?" :-)
How do you pick up an apple, or push a key on a keyboard? You "will it" and it "just happens", your body seemingly "magically" moves.
The Christian apologist Frank Turek actually stated in a debate that when people will their bodies to move, the motion of their bodies is not a consequence of the laws of physics.
So people still say that kind of thing.
Beautiful and sincere.
The poem is well done, but pedestrian. Not much by way of memorable phrases or powerful lyrical language.
"To be or not to be" it is not.