Close up of Allen's statue in Oviedo (Asturias...
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Narelle Jarrett, Archdeacon for Women’s Ministry in the Sydney diocese has written a response to the Atheist Bus Ads in Britain.

WARNING - Please don't go reading it while smoking or attempting to light a barbecue, as there is an abundance of combustible material in her argument (ie straw).

First we have this gem of reasoning;
While advertisements on London buses say: ‘There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life,’ the atheists’ atheist Woody Alan, in a recent interview said,
‘I am an atheist. I’ve never found any comfort for the misery of life, or the terror of death’.
A worry free, enjoyable life? Woody Allen has a good awareness of what life on earth without God is like.
According to the Archdeacon, because Woody Allen is a grumpy old Nihilist and an Atheist then it holds true for all Atheists. Either that or we all of the Eric Idle school of philosophy,
‘You come from nothing; you are going back to nothing. What have you lost? Nothing!’
and we are all in denial. We are terrified by death.

apparently Atheism can ascribe no logic to
  • pain
  • suffering
  • acts of mindless cruelty
  • the death of the human body
  • the death of the universe
But some fairy tales from the middle east can. Why not fairy tales from the Arctic North, or the Subcontinent while you're at it.

The Ads were in part a response to religious threats of hell advertised previously on British buses. So in essence they were saying don't worry about god banishing you to hell for not believing in him, he probably doesn't exist, stop worrying and get on with your life.

To be honest since becoming an Atheist I don't think that my worrying has changed dramatically. I don't fear hell, or death and I didn't before. The idea of death saddens me, but hey, its inevitable so I don't tend to dwell on it - make hay while the sun is shining is my motto.

I suspect I share many worries that the god filled do. Thing is, if I can do something to alleviate these worries I will, if I can't, I try not worry about it.

But what gem of wisdom, or hope, does Christianity give us that promises us a worry free life -
‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning
Bugger, that's me convinced. Some illiterate goat herd says "In the beginning was God" and I immediately feel great relief.

Then we get a run down on how she used to be a non believer and that-
  1. she was a miserable nihilist like Allen
  2. she met a believing community,
  3. learned to pray in a coffee shop( I use to pray on the loo - beat that!)
  4. she was rejected by her old friends and accepted by her new
  5. we should be resolute in the face of the skeptical, opposition
And concludes that the message to Atheists should be
‘There is God! Stop worrying and discover him.’
Ho hum. I really do expect more from what I assume is an educated member of the clergy(don't ask me why, as this is the second article this week that I have read that makes spurious claims then launches into personal testimony and prostelyzation).

There's none of the good will voiced by other clergy - many who see it as an opportunity for the public to openly discuss the God question. No, lets mischaracterize, lets preach instead of open a dialogue.

A far better approach would have been to talk from personal testimony about how God does alleviate her worry, less confrontational and more intellectually honest.

Disappointing Ms Jarrett, very disappointing - no gold stars for you.

PS Sydney Atheist's response

PPS Dave the Happy Singer's response
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Cross posted on Sean the Blogonaut

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