Why be an atheist?
Letter to an atheist
Why believe in God?
religious power comes from
do we exist?
Ladder of Deception
celibacy of priests and nuns
Religion - the
parent - church school
animals have souls?
Letter from Laura
Letter from Dred
Letter from Thomas
Tricks of the
13 Guest writers
Letter to an RE teacher
Sample essay answers
note on Islam
gods are there, what gods have there ever been, that were
not from man's imagination?"
God created us in his own image, we have more than reciprocated."
many people find it repugnant that we, with our language, our consciousness,
and our creative powers, should be subject to and answerable to a dumb,
stupid inert material world. Why should we be answerable to the world?
Why shouldn't we think of the 'real world' as something we create, and
therefore something that is answerable to us? If all of reality is a
'social construction' then it is we who are in power, not the world.
The deep motivation for the denial of realism is not this or that argument,
but a will to power, a desire for control, and a deep and abiding resentment."
Searle, Mind, Language and Society, 1999
Superman is what our fantasies aspire to. His infinite strength
and vastly superior senses give him commanding confidence and respect
from man and beast. He can fly and roam the universe at will. He lives
in a black and white world clearly painted in colours of good and evil.
He is an immortal super-being who chooses to live amongst us and, amazingly,
has a distinct preference for the country in which his (original) target
audience lives - The United States of America. He lives in anytown U.S.A.,
a city named Metropolis.
Clark Kent, of course, is another being entirely. Hesitant and uncertain,
he is a loser of no consequence to the female population - Lois Lane
overlooks him completely. (The real Lois Lane, a girl called Lois Amster,
who was at school with Jerry Siegel, co-creator of Superman, never even
knew he had a crush on her). Never able to catch the big story - Clark
Kent goes through life inventing feeble excuses for his failures.
If only they knew who Clark Kent really was! All men would have to admire
him (and possibly fear him) then, wouldn't they? And Lois Lane would
fall for him hook, line and sinker. Because inside Clark Kent is a superman
with the powers of a god.
Clark Kent is you and me - a Mr Bean of the spiritual world - (visit
link) but with a giant God residing within who has but to reach
out to command all around him. We identify with Clark Kent just as we
agonise over Mr Bean's failures because we can see ourselves in him.
We share his failure in the face of life's adversity but we also know
there is a little god inside us just as there is inside him. Just like
Clark Kent, we are supermen: unconquerable in our imaginations - Lords
of all we survey. And superman is a God.
And why is Superman so interested in Clark Kent's home town of Metropolis?
For the same reason that in wars both sides often pray to the same god.
Superman is a patriot! Our god is there for us to control. God becomes meaningless if he is not connected
with our well-being - so obviously god lives in our home town.
Superman is engaged in a black-and-white fight between good and evil.
That's easy! We're the good guys and the guys we're shooting at are
the bad guys!
Through Superman Clark Kent takes control of the world around him -
and Superman is such a nice fellow! (aren't we all?). The nice thing
about Superman is the ease with which we can talk to him. (That's called
prayer). He's not overly intellectual and can think of nothing better
than selflessly to help us out - not even bothering to have a life of
his own. Just like god!
Supposing an omnipotent god were not interested in people? We
would ignore him and even scorn him. Supposing god were not manlike?
We would be unable to control him. If we could not control him we would
not be able to use him to justify our actions (invade! murder! destroy!)
and control others (In the name of God I command you...!) - god would
give us no political power.
Control of god is the very essence of any religion. Through incantations,
spells, prayers, penances (offering suffering in return for influence),
payment and the surrender of power to the spiritual authorities who
claim to control god, we hope to gain a little of this control ourselves.
And to the extent that we control others, we become little gods in another
There is nothing unreasonable or unnatural about our superman fantasies.
A monkey falling from a tree can imagine stretching its arm to grab
a branch that is just out of reach. So can we. Perhaps we are a bit
more sophisticated: we can imagine taking to the air when we are stuck
in a traffic jam. It is normal to use our imagination to dominate the
environment around us. It is no surprise that many men fantasise about
having the power to choose any woman (or as many) as they wish - and
that women have similar fantasies. The rich and the powerful (or the
very attractive) often have a darn good try at putting their fantasies
The existence of god is something to do with our obsession with ourselves
and our limitless sense of our own importance. This is why the church
so vehemently resisted the idea that we were not the centre of the universe.
Poor Gallileo had the temerity to say he saw moons orbiting another
world in space and so took away our planet's claim to be the centre
of everything The church did not treat him very nicely. If we were not
the centre of the universe then it was not made for us! If the universe
were not made for us then any god that made it would have had little
concern for our existence. He certainly wouldn't support our side in
a war! Such a god would not care to do our bidding and we would not
Jesus walked on the water of our imaginations not only as evidence of
his supreme power, but because this is an extension of our own fantasies
of omnipotence. Religion can let these fantasies run riot. Fantasies
are just that - fantasies, but religion is a dangerous thing.
"I have visitied your
pages and I found them very interesting. I especially liked the article
about Superman and Clark Kent - the fact that theist religion serves
as a vehicle for human omnipotence fantasies is in my opinion too rarely
Rene Hartmann International
League of Non-Religious and Atheists