a new beginning

An Atheist's 
& Agnostic's 
Guide to God


The biblical story of Adam and Eve (Genesis, Chapt. 3) gives a remarkable account of the human condition. In beautifully symbolic language it describes the one thing that really seems to distinguish humans (or some of us, at least, some of the time) from other animals: our potential to experience higher levels of awareness, to wonder at and about the world around us and our place in it, and to consider the consequences of our own behaviour: 

". . . the eyes of both of them were opened and they discovered that they were naked".

After giving such clear and beautiful expression to this fundamental insight, the ancient author (or perhaps a less enlightened or less inspired editor) goes on to describe how God cursed Adam and Eve for their disobedience, throwing them out of Paradise as punishment and barring the way to the tree that would give them eternal life. This was the Fall of man, according to Judaeo-Christianity, which for hundreds of years has burdened us with the guilt of "original sin", instead of encouraging and advising us how to meet the challenge of our newly acquired awareness and responsibility.

For if Eve had not had the curiosity and courage to eat the forbidden fruit and share it with her husband, their eyes would not have been opened and we would have remained on the same level as other animals - unable to marvel at the world or to question our own behaviour. No science would have arisen; technology would have remained very rudimentary; and we could commit no crime, because we would know no better.

The story of Adam and Eve may depict man's fall from the comfort of living in blameless ignorance, but it also describes his first - thanks to woman - courageous step on the long and difficult journey towards greater awareness (of himself, of others, and of the world at large) and responsibility, away from ignorance and the instinctive, blameless behaviour of his animal nature.

How different the following millennia of Western Civilisation might have been if, instead of cursing them, God had praised Eve for her courageous spirit and desire for knowledge  -  in contrast to her spineless husband, who, instead of sticking up for his wife, gave her the blame when God discovered what they had done. My (concept of) God would have made men subservient to women, rather than the other way around, at least until they had learned to stop being such wimps!

For generation after generation our forbears worshipped and submitted to a (concept of) God that required them to feel guilt and remorse for the greatest step man has ever taken. 

It is high-time that we exchanged Yahweh for a more enlightened (concept of) God. Instead of cursing them, this is what my God (with more than 2000 years of hindsight), after sending her unworthy husband away, might have said to Eve:


Curiosity and the desire for knowledge and awareness have led you to disobey me, but I like your courageous and independent spirit, which is in contrast to your obedient and wimp of a  husband.

You have started to become conscious of yourself, of others and of the world about you. This means that you must learn to take responsibility for you own behaviour. You will become aware of primitive thoughts, feeling and inclinations which stem from your animal nature. You are not responsible for them, but for what you do. It is your behaviour that you must learn to control, in accordance with the more enlightened human nature, which will develop in you to progressively replace your primitive animal nature.

Your descendants will learn to understand the workings of the world, making great discoveries and inventions along the way. Used wisely and responsibly these will make life much easier for them, greatly reducing hardship and suffering; used vainly and irresponsibly, they will cause great harm. One of the most useful - but if misused, also most harmful - inventions will be called money.

There will be times when you will despair. Trust me. Over time I will help you to transcend your primitive animal nature, your evil inclinations, your ignorance, fears and vanity. I will increase your understanding and love, and give you the strength and courage needed to do justice to the name that your descendents will one day prematurely give to human kind:  Homo sapiens, wise man.