Is there a new face of atheism?

 

Sir, – Astrid Malachewitz may indeed be “irked” by some “Irish misperceptions about atheism” (Arts Ideas, October 26th), but her description of this conviction as being something where “Belief in God is replaced with belief in science, justice and equality” is simply preposterous. The implication of her statement is that God, science, justice and equality are incompatible. What a ludicrous notion!

I suggest she read the Sermon on the Mount, in the book of Matthew. I can promise her that this revolutionary address, given circa 2,000 years ago, incorporates more inclusivity, justice and equality than she is likely to find in society today and remains a stunning moral and spiritual template for all of society today. – Yours, etc,

GEOFF SCARGILL,

Loreto Grange,

Bray, Co Wicklow.

Sir, – Thank you for doing the godless cause a fine service by publishing Séamus De Barra’s criticism of atheism (October 30th). Mr De Barra draws some interesting (and amusing) parallels between the differing philosophies of Catholicism, Protestantism, and the consequences of what he imagines to be the splintering of atheism into disparate groups. These parallels are intriguing and perhaps even foundational for a worthwhile attack on the core principles of atheism; yet, despite the potential for opening up a more interesting and novel aspect to the debate, Mr De Barra just can’t help himself – and falls into the same trap that continually plagues blinkered religionists.

This intellectual blindspot is the inability of the strongly religious to conceive of the existence of individual moral responsibility. As Mr De Barra puts it, “what I can’t understand is this: if there is no God, and no life hereafter, why does it matter a damn what you do in this life?” Put simply: it just does. Take it on faith, if you must. – Yours, etc,

PATRICK BISSETT,

Saint Patrick Street,

Toronto,

Ontario, Canada.