|« The Bible
God's CameraAuthor of this text: A. J. Mattill, Jr, A.J. Mattill, Jr.
consider A.J. Mattill, Jr. one of the top experts on the Bible in the world.
Since I took over editorship of the American Rationalist
in 1996, Mr. Mattill has submitted close to a hundred original, perceptive,
meticulously researched and documented commentaries on both the Old and New
Testament. He has also published
several books, among them Polluted Texts and Traditional Beliefs (published by the Flatwoods Free Press, Route 2, Box 49, Gordo, Alabama
35466-9517) and Luke and the Last Things (published by Western North Carolina Press, P.O. Box 29 Dillsboro, NC 28
There is no doubt in my mind that in a public debate with any theist-whether a highly credentialed professor of theology, the Pope, or any other „god
Mattill, Jr. would put them all to shame with his impressive, detailed knowledge
of a collection of old Hebrew stories, myths and fairy tales, known as the Bible.
thanks to Mr. Mariusz Agnosiewicz, Editor of Racjonalista, Mattill's excellent commentaries will at last reach a wider audience. I will try to republish many of them under the general title
„Searchlight on the Scriptures" as part of the English service of Racjonalista.
Perhaps these commentaries will help some to understand the immense hypocrisy
and scam called Christianity and to face up to the fact that if we don't solve
our problems, then nobody-no
god or gods-will.
Kaz Dziamka, Editor of the American
the English service of Racjonalista
Kevin, age 4, was standing at the patio window during a thunderstorm. Each time there was a flash of lightning, he would look up at the sky and smile.
Finally, his mother asked, „Kevin, what are you smiling about?"
Kevin replied, „God is taking my picture with his camera."
knows nothing about the positive and negative charges which make lightning, but
he does know that persons take pictures with cameras and flash bulbs.
Therefore when he sees flashes of lightning he naturally assumes there
must be a Superphotographer out there snapping pictures.
At the same time, Kevin, observing how his own little world revolves
about him, also assumes that he is so important in the universe that the
celestial camera is focused on him. And
seeing his own parents' interest in him manifested by their repeated
photographing of him for the family album, Kevin infers that the Cosmic
Cameraman wants a whole series of snapshots of him for the divine photo album. Kevin thus makes three assumptions: the forces of the
universe are personal, Kevin is important in the universe, and the personal
forces of the universe are interested in Kevin as an individual.
The Catholic Digest (November
1995, p. 74) tells of a mother who was busy in the kitchen when five-year-old
Kelly came in."What have you
been doing?" the mother asked."I've
been playing ball with God." „Just exactly what do you mean by that,
Kelly?" "Well," Kelly answered, „I throw the ball up to God,
and God throws it back." Kelly, not knowing about the impersonal force of
gravity, makes the same three assumptions as did Kevin.
Since the ball always comes back, there must be a supernatural ballplayer
who catches it and throws it back. She
is so important in the scheme of things that the Superballplayer takes time out
from operating the universe to play catch with her.
And the Superplayer focuses his interest on Kelly alone, singling her out
from all the children of the world to play ball with her.
three assumptions made by Kevin and Kelly are much more than the fantasies of
unsophisticated children. They are
the central affirmations of the scriptures: A personal God (not impersonal
natural forces) created and sustains us and the universe (Genesis 1: 1-31).
The God who created us loves us individually, and addresses each of us by
name (Isaiah 43-1).The heavenly
Father takes notice whenever even one of the world's billions of sparrows falls
to the ground, and he has numbered all the hairs on every person's head (Matthew
10:29-31 Luke 12:6-7). „God cares for you, so turn all your worries over to
him" (1 Peter 5-7, Contemporary English Version). I am important in the eyes of the personal Supreme Being.
He is interested in me and in my welfare as an individual.
„His eye is on the sparrow. I know he watches me," says a popular gospel song.
And hear this Catholic prayer: "Thank you, Father in heaven, for
singling me out by name and claiming me as you own" (God's Word Today, April 1998, p. 21).
may smile at children like Kevin and Kelly who naively personify the forces of
the universe as cameramen and ballplayers.
We can even understand how the „inspired" writers of ancient
scriptures could base their writings on these simple, childlike inferences, for
these writers were living during the childhood of the human race when their
knowledge, like that of children, was limited and often erroneous.
But at the close of the second millennium, the fact that so many
otherwise informed people still avow their faith in these immature ideas boggles
now know that we live in a violent universe with crashing meteorites and
asteroids, with exploding stars, killer stars, cannibal stars, cannibalistic
black holes, and with colliding galaxies and erupting galaxies-all occurring
without respect for life of man or beast on this or any planet.
We also know that the fossil record suggests that some 99% of life forms
that ever existed on earth are now extinct, indicating that no divine eye is on
the sparrow or on the kangaroo, Kevin or Kelly. Mass extinctions care nothing
about whole species, let alone about individuals.
It's a fierce world. We know,
too, that our century has witnessed millions of people perish like flies and
sparrows in famines, natural disasters, persecutions, plagues, and wars.
in spite of the fact that this modern knowledge about the nature of the world is
readily available to people today, only a comparatively few persons have
questioned, investigated, and then rejected the quaint notion that the
individual is of importance and interest to a personal, superhuman power.
It is high time for all thinking people everywhere to put away childish
thoughts (1 Corinthians 13:1 1) and recognize that the personification of
natural forces is a childlike process of primitive peoples who understandably
thought that thunder was the voice of deity (Psalm 29) or caused by the flapping
of the wings of a great black thunderbird.
And then there were the peasants who were terrified by the sight of a railway train. Their pastor sought
to relieve their fears by explaining how a steam engine works.
The peasants nevertheless insisted a horse must be inside the train.
When careful search into every nook and cranny of the train failed to
reveal a horse, the peasants insisted a horse was there anyhow-an invisible
we are not omniscient, we cannot prove a universal negative, that is, we cannot
prove with absolute certainty that there is no thunderbird or ghosthorse
somewhere in the universe, or that there is no supernatural photographer or
otherworldly ballplayer out there in the wild blue yonder.
Neither can we prove that there is no god of any kind hiding in some
far-off corner of the cosmos. But on the basis of what we know about the cruel world in
which we live we can affirm with as much certainty as we can affirm anything in
theology: the universe is brutally impersonal and has not the slightest interest
in us as individuals. In the final
analysis, we are no more important in the cosmic scheme of things than are ants,
aphids, and armadillos.
love, let us be true
one another! for the world, which seems
lie before us like a land of dreams,
various, so beautiful, so new,
really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
we are here as on a darkling plain
with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
ignorant armies clash by night.
- Matthew Arnold (1822-1888), „Dover Beach."
published in the American Rationalist.
« The Bible (Published: 16-05-2003 Last change: 24-01-2004)
All rights reserved. Copyrights belongs to author and/or Racjonalista.pl portal. No part of the content may be copied, reproducted nor use in any form without copyright holder's consent. Any breach of these rights is subject to Polish and international law.