Not a word that is on the dverse -less list, but it’s close to my heart.


Imagine a godless world­—

no jihad

no martyred missionaries

no women draped in black

no In God We Trust excuse for economic thumbscrews

no Taliban

no Mullah-power

no abducted girls

no circumcision or excision

no divided Ireland Cyprus Palestine

no paedophile priests

no anti-Semitism or Paki-bashing

no invocation of the supernatural

to excuse genocide, bigotry, repression, discrimination.

Would it be so terrible

to see the world

not through a veil of incense and muttered prayers

but as it really is ?


Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

39 thoughts on “Godless”

  1. wow powerfully profound statement … with no excuse we would actually have to take responsibility for our own words and deeds … might be more wise and mature than most could handle!

      1. There’s something for everybody, I think, violence and oppression as well as peace and love. There wouldn’t be so much divergence about who was right if there was only one interpretation.

      2. no fanatics advocate violence and oppression, sincere practitioners would never entertain the idea let alone perpetuate … of any faith!

        There are always the hangers on keen to distort the truth … celebacy didn’t create peodophiles … peodophiles just joined the Churces cos it gave them easy access to kids! Short and simple.

        The fact that said churches then buried the transgressions shows how shallow and superficial their faith was.

        Kids should always come first!

      3. I agree, the church as an institution protects is members even when they break the law in the most heinous of ways. They even protected Nazi war criminals after all.
        Where I’d disagree is about how anyone can judge who is sincere and ‘normal’ and who is a fanatic. Religious codes all have a clause or two that allows for violence, and always lots of clauses regarding keeping women firmly in a subordinate position, being as how they are weak and congenitally drawn to the wiles of Satan.
        Attacking/murdering another religious group is a national passtime in some countries, Catholics and Protestants in NI and Scotland, Sunnites and Shi’ites in Iraq, the Iranian state dedicated to wiping Israel and its Jews off the face of the earth, Buddhists massacring the Muslim Rohingya, the list is endless, but all those who kill in the name of their religion claim to be ‘good’ whatevers and those who tolerate and live in peace are ‘bad’ whatevers. They can all quote the bit of scripture that condones or even encourages it.
        The problem is that these religious codes are written by men, not gods, and men do what they like.

      4. It’s still very much a man’s world, where they let us play sometimes just to show they really do care and it’s all for our own good (even if we’re too stupid to see it).

  2. One less box to put people in would not be a bad thing, not to mention getting rid of all the rules they try to impose on everyone else. But getting people to take responsibility for their actions will still be difficult. (K)

    1. Yes, that’s a whole nother story. Yet we’ve never been so keen to stuff ourselves with advice on our spiritual and mental health, healthy minds and bodies, looking after myself, learn to love myself (I’ve never totally understood that one). We’re obsessed with the ego, id or whichever it is, or both. Yet we constantly look for someone to blame, someone to tell us what to do and to take the rap when it goes wrong.

      1. I just had a conversation with Claudia about all this self-affirmation garbage, finding yourself and getting the life you “deserve”. If only, in the case of our “leaders”.

      2. The people who write and buy this happiness stuff must live on a different planet to me. Most ordinary people don’t have enough room in their worry zone for self-affirmation.

      3. Deserve is one of those affirmation words that irritates me, along with authentic. It’s been co-opted by advertising here which is even more irritating. Do we really “deserve” any more “authentic” consumer products?

    1. I’m an atheist by conviction and as sure that there is no god as any believer is that there is one. I’ve been at the receiving end of sectarian violence and seen how divisive religion is. It offers nothing except delusion, an excuse for never having to make up one’s own mind about the big moral issues, and an excuse to take out your frustrations legitimately on whichever scapegoat your priest/mullah/holy man holds up as the devil’s spawn. It’s the most sophisticated form of social control ever invented, far more effective than the bogey of Communism. I was going to say that you only get religious martyrs (though you’re not a martyr if you force other people to die with you) then I thought of the kamikaze pilots, but they thought their emperor was a god so maybe it’s the same syndrome.

      1. In college, I wrote a paper comparing Christianity and Communism. I wasn’t drummed out of school; the chaplain kept a copy out of interest (not inquisition, I don’t think). Communism certainly has been miserably interpreted, but to say the least so has Christianity. I don’t know how many might divide religion from spirituality, which can become an excuse as well. Spirituality as the sacred, God-led part. Religion as the human institution of that. Since it’s human, then, well how could good can religion be? We all make mistakes (like inquisitions, crusades, campaigns of hate against difference, and scapegoats as you say). Jettisoning all that is reasonable. As for the kamikazes, I think you’re right: delusion out of delusion. Not to say Anglos don’t do that. The church, all kinds of churches, have been so destructive. Certainly gives sense to atheism.

      2. I think you have to make the distinction between spirituality, the belief in ‘something else’ and organised religion which is more or less the same as any other powerful organisation only infinitely more successful than any that has evolved so far.
        Nowadays from our position of great wisdom and tolerance (Shoah, Afghanistan, Taliban, Vietnam, KKK etc) we say that in the olden days of the wars of religion they got it wrong. But they were just doing what scripture told them. It’s all there, all the smiting and rending, the excuse for imposing upon people who don’t follow exactly the same rule book.
        If people could only stick with ‘belief’ without imposing that belief on others, just ‘believe’ quietly in their heads, putting into practice what they claim they ‘believe’ in like peace and love tolerance compassion. If they’d just do that, the world would be much more peaceful. When they band together beneath their banners of Christian Morality or Islamic Morality, or Hindu Tradition etc that’s when things get ugly.

  3. I don’t know if a world without religion would be any better than our current one. It seems that throughout history mankind has always had this need to worship something. If not God, then wouldn’t it be money, power or something else? I don’t believe this world would all of a sudden be full of peace and unity without religion. I do agree that religion has caused an immense amount of suffering and division. But is that what God originally wanted? You mentioned you’re atheist, and I certainly can understand why, but I can’t shake the feeling that God wants something better for all of us. Otherwise, why would we be encouraged to love one another, be freely forgiving, be compassionate, patient and attain all of the virtues that promote peace and unity.

    1. Isn’t it rather an indictment of religion that this world isn’t a better one though? Given that the greater part of humanity belongs to one religious faith or another why isn’t the world full of peace and love? If religion really is pushing such a vision, what’s stopping it achieving it, since almost all world leaders claim to be religious believers?
      Religion is simply a handbook of man-made rules. Spirituality is something completely different.

      1. That’s a great question and I’ve wondered that myself. I think the answer lies in the truthfulness and adherence of the scriptures. After reading many different religious texts it seems the majority, including religious leaders, are simply not following God’s word. I’ve seen many leaders say they are religious and faithful but their actions show otherwise. Religion has been used as a means of deception, violence, genocide and a vehicle of greed and power for centuries and none of that is supported by the scriptures. Put simply, most are not practicing what is preached. I have faith that God will sort this out one day and what a scary day that will be.

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