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on Oct. 12, 2011 :
There is writing talent here. There is also sloppy thinking.
I'm not sure where the author got the idea that Jesus said "Pan is dead!" from the cross. I've done a Google search and found the statement only attributed to Plutarch.
The author adopts the same narrow-minded view of Jesus and of God that is common in the established churches and then knocks these paper tigers down as if they were the real thing. And also implies, just like the churches, that a universe without god is a universe in which there is "no point to life, no point to good behaviour". Here again he shares their folly.
The fact that an insecure patriarchal society projected onto their perception of the creative principle of the universe a face like their own, that of an intolerant, controlling man, does not mean that that creative principle does not exist. Nothing is truly random because everything which occurs is part of an interactive net of cause and effect. Through this process energy unfolded eventually into intelligent life. This would not have happened by a series of unrelated accidents equivalent to the throwing of dice.
But this is a blind process with no inherent sense of justice, so people who behave well towards their fellows will still perhaps die a painful death and kind people have died in concentration camps. There is no God who can protect an individual against a sickness in the system.
But love is the creative principle at work in human society. Without at least a modicum of love, society would collapse into chaos and the human race would come to an end.
Though Jesus used the term "God", which had been misused by those who came before him, what he was talking about was love and impediments to love. He used the term "sin". In this scientific age it would be more correct to use the term "neurosis". He recognised that our intolerance towards our own imperfections was what made us intolerant of others and also selfish. So he put forward a philosophy of mutual forgiveness. God can't magically solve our problems, problems like cancer, war, poverty, etc. But we can solve those problems if we cooperate with each other. And the more we love the more we cooperate.
The author also talks disparagingly about the belief of some that Jesus will return. Like these people he makes the mistake of the superficial in thinking that Jesus' promise was that of a physical return of himself as an individual. He gave voice to the creative principle that was at work within him, just as it is at work in the depths of the subconscious of us all, and what he meant was that there would come a time when his vision of the transforming power of love would return with a vengeance.
I think this will happen, and that the angry conflict taking place between the atheists and the churches are the death throws of two dinosaurs - those of mechanistic nihilism and supernaturalism.
(review of free book)