Hail deliverer, here I am.
Weave a wicker basket, not a wicker man
Then draw me forth to pass over
The snap and hiss of knives in hand.
Because I am who I am and nothing more
I dug a grave with my own hands
To hide a whip and cruel thoughts
I left my God behind.
But I long to leave this in my past
And burn old laws in desert heat
To sink my soles in scalding sand
And stumble far on burning feet.
Because I am who I am; nothing more
And there is no place for sandals here
A burning vision came at night;
That vision called on me.
Hail deliverer, here I am!
Go and call; speak and free!
Drop the staff and strike the breast!
River to wine, bread to feed!
Ten chimes through a hurried meal
We grab our cloaks and go and steal.
I am who I am! I will unchain!
Hail deliverer! Borne in reeds!
The sand is loose between my toes
Yet fear will not pass over me
Though burning lights guide our way
The path’s not always clear to see.
For doubt still daily plagues my thoughts
Like chariots that I must flee
A task to do; these words to speak;
A burden which weighs heavily.
I have looked back through desert heat
And here I am, down on my knees.
Hail deliverer, now I pray:
Open my eyes so I may see
The sacred flame that I once saw
And hear the voice that guided me.
Split the waters that blind my sight
So I can know all I can be
Unweave the wicker man I am
Like your people, set me free.
I would like to start off this post by distinguishing between three terms: atheism, non-religion, and agnosticism. Atheism typically means a position of active denial of the existence of God; non-religion is a position of passive denial, of disinterest; agnosticism is a position whereby you say that it is impossible to know either way.
I often see agnosticism being misused as a euphemism for atheism; people say they’re agnostic when they really mean that they’re atheists – but they want to appear more open-minded and fair than “close-minded” atheism might be. Agnosticism is seen as being a bit “nicer”. I think that’s a load of rubbish. If you are an atheist then at least have the courage to stand up and say it. If you’re non-religious then say so. If you simply don’t know, then fair enough – in fact, I would expect most teenagers or young adults to have this position! Agnosticism, on the other hand, is the position where you think that it’s impossible to ever know enough to decide either way. If you think that the evidence points quite clearly towards God not existing, you’re not agnostic – you’re an atheist. So just say it!
To be fair though, atheism is a term that is laden with baggage. Perhaps it might be more correct to use the term “materialist” or “naturalist” instead of using the term “atheist”, because in our common use of the word those terms are closer to what we actually mean to say. Atheism is merely the belief that there is no God, yet when someone calls him/herself an atheist there is generally an awful lot more implied than just that. In this post I want to examine some of that baggage. (I think the kind of atheism I am mostly focusing on here is what is called “New Atheism”, i.e. atheism that is actively dedicated to opposing religion.) Continue reading