Frank Skinner recently hosted a talk show on BBC2 called “Opinionated” where celebrity guests and a studio audience would discuss news events of the preceding week. One week Frank called on a member of the studio audience, who was a noted atheist, to make a comment about a news item. The atheist duly commented, and Frank’s response was unsurprising, given his staunch Catholic convictions. He said “What gets me about Atheists, is that although they’re quite happy to deny the existence of God, if you ever ask them to hold their arms up to the sky and shout “God –If you exist, prove it by striking me down now!” they never take you up on your offer! Is this because they’re hedging their bets?”
Well, this was like a red rag to a bull to me. As a staunch atheist, could I do this?
After a few days, and, plucking up all my courage whilst in the middle of walking my dog in the park on a Monday evening, I raised both arms skyward, and said, in quite a loud voice “God! If you exist, then strike me down - now!” As you all must have guessed, nothing happened because a) I’m typing this right now, and b) there’s no such thing as God.
Ok “Big deal” I can hear you saying. However what I found hard to get over was that this is indeed a big deal. Certainly for me. It was something I could only do after thinking about the act for a great deal of time. It certainly wasn’t something I could do easily and without a second thought. And – I’ve figured out why this is so – it is because of the sheer mass of indoctrination that bombards us all from a very early age, that God does exist and that he is all knowing, and more importantly, all seeing. I know that this is not true – just a myth dreamt up by some clever people a few thousand years ago, but that myth pervades because of its constant repetition and reinforcement by so many people when you are young and impressionable. I’m very confident that there’s no such thing as God – indeed I’ve been confident of that since I was 16, but – it’s still difficult to throw your arms in the air and deny his existence. It just shows the power of propaganda. I know absolutely, in my heart of hearts that having spoken, nothing is going to strike me down, but that insidious propaganda – religion – just causes that tiny little niggle in the back of your mind that says “are you certain you know what you’re doing?”
Nevertheless – I’ve now said it – more than once – and feel liberated. So f*ck you, Frank Skinner!