First meeting: The God we don’t believe in
Seventeen people attended our first meeting which was on 21st September 2015 and held in Le Pub, Brighton. Our speaker for this inaugural meeting was the Rev Chris McDermott, lead chaplain at the University of Sussex. His subject was “The God we don’t believe in”. Small-group discussion followed from Chris’s introduction. He started the evening by reading his poem “Cartoon God”, reproduced here with permission (thanks Chris!)
[Cartoon] God is on our side,
blesses our guns and mortar
and approves our cause.
This God hates our foes,
burns with fire and
bids us join his jihad and crusades,
can be banned from schools,
is found on Facebook,
backs ‘our candidates’,
and is very big indeed
and heavy as infinite rock.
This God is a Muslim–Christian-Jew-
liberal- conservative- fundamentalist
is whatever suits us and makes righteous
our mighty axe when swung with indignation,
inhabits the rhetoric of Dawkins and ‘true believers’ alike,
and is ugly and lovely in turn.
This God is the God of the Book,
written large in red warning,
smells like Brimstone,
is begotten of dark imaginings,
is no stranger to blood sacrifice,
sends armies into the oblivion of his ‘good cause’;
and the stench of mangled corpses is his incense.
He hovers over altars,
well hung with massive phallus
protecting them from women priests,
sits in his highest heaven
and morosely ponders what humans do
with their willies and winkies and with whom.
His likeness is sold on the sides of buses,
on the web, the radio, God-TV,
and taunts with hallelujahs more vile than curses,
and gives solace to the afflicted
with a nudge-wink promise..
Violent husband, abuser of children,
murderer of women and men:
No court is big enough to try his crimes.
It is godly duty to bring him to book,
starve him of praise
join his executioners and
rid the world of dark shadows
cast by this Imposter
This Cartoon God is No God,
this invention of dark dreams
out of our dungeons of fear.